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Woog's WCHA Wisdom

02/02/2012, 10:51am CST
By Greg Anzelc

Gophers sit idle this weekend, atop the WCHA

Idle Gophers Rest Atop WCHA This Week

Minnesota is rated #1 in one national poll and #2 in another. The Gophers lead the nation with 19 wins but have a break in their schedule this weekend. Last weekend they got a couple of nice wins against St. Cloud. Minnesota played well both nights, and specifically, Jake Parenteau and Mark Alt played very well at defense. Sam Warning played very well up front. The Gophers will need to continue to pick up points that on paper, they are counting on. With the two wins last weekend they have put themselves in a very good position to control their own destiny in the quest for the WHCA title.

What a difference a week can make…
The path to a potential WCHA title got a little clearer last week. Minnesota got some help form second place UMD as the Bulldogs shot themselves in the foot, gaining only a single point against Tech. The Bulldogs were up by 4 goals on Friday night and ended up settling for a tie. The next night they lost 5-0, meaning Tech scored 9 straight goals against the #1 team in the nation.
UMD does have 2 games in hand over Minnesota, and they finish the season with games against Anchorage, UND, Mankato, CC and SCSU. A quick prediction of the outcome of those games gives UMD another 14 of 20 points, which on top of their existing 25, puts them at about 39 on the season. Minnesota finishes with Bemidji, Omaha, Denver and Wisconsin. If we give the Gophers 11 out of a possible 16, they finish with 41, two points ahead of UMD.  

Minnesota will need to stay healthy, and this week there is a question about Erik Haula after he injured his hand last weekend.
St. Cloud State at Wisconsin
St. Cloud is beat up and injury plagues while Wisconsin doesn’t have much talent this year. The series might come down to the goaltending.
The Call: Split
Bemidji State at Nebraska Omaha
Omaha has the motivation in this series as they sit in sixth place and are eyeing a spot in the WCH A Final Five.
The Call: Omaha sweep
Michigan Tech at Minnesota State
At 9-7-2 Tech is hot right now after coming off a big series last weekend at UMD. There is some advantage to Mankato playing at home and on the big rink, and it will be interesting to see if Tech can continue in their winning ways.
The Call: Tech split
Colorado College vs. Denver
Denver is getting healthy and their big line is scoring.  CC is only 1 point behind the Pioneers in the standings, setting up a great home-and-home series this weekend.
The Call: 3 points for Denver
Minnesota Duluth at Alaska Anchorage
Will UMD be ready to go this weekend after only earning a single point last weekend against UMD? Will the bleeding stop this weekend for the Bulldogs? There are some questions to be answered after last weekend.
The Call: Split

Gopher Goal-Getters

Nick Bjugstad 21-12-33
Erik Haula 11-19-30
Kyle Rau 13-14-27
Jake Hansen 10-17-27
Nate Schmidt 2-25-27
Nate Condon 9-14-23
Zach Budish 6-16-22

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