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Woog's Wisdom

02/07/2012, 1:46pm CST
By Greg Anzelc

WCHA Hits & Highlights

Weekend of Splits?

Last Week in the WCHA

Results of Friday, February 3
: St. Cloud State 5 at Wisconsin 1 (WCHA); Bemidji State 1 at Nebraska-Omaha 1 OT (WCHA); Michigan Tech 3 at Minnesota State 5 (WCHA); Colorado College 2 at Denver 0 (WCHA); Minnesota-Duluth 4 at Alaska Anchorage 1 (WCHA).

Results of Saturday, February 4: Bemidji State 6 at Nebraska-Omaha 4 (WCHA); Michigan Tech 7 at Minnesota State 3 (WCHA); Denver 2 at Colorado College 2 ot (WCHA); St. Cloud State 2 at Wisconsin 1 (WCHA); Minnesota-Duluth 2 at Alaska Anchorage 3 (WCHA).



This Week in the WCHA
Heading into the last month of the regular season, Minnesota owns a three-point advantage over second place Minnesota-Duluth. Third place Colorado College is two points back of the Bulldogs and leads a chain of six teams that that are separated by just four points, including Denver, Michigan Tech, Nebraska Omaha and North Dakota. The bottom group includes St. Cloud State in eighth place, Bemidji State in ninth, Wisconsin 10th, Minnesota State 11th and Alaska Anchorage 12th.

Minnesota at Denver

This is a key series this weekend in the Mile High City as No. 1/2-ranked Minnesota (19-9-1, 15-5-0 WCHA) takes on host and No. 14-ranked Denver (15-9-4, 10-6-4 WCHA). The Gophers are six points up on the Pioneers, lead the league with seven conference road victories this season and are 4-1 over their last five outings. The Pioneers, meanwhile, show a 7-2-1 mark since Dec. 17 and are 6-2-2 at home in conference games.


Denver was the pre-season pick to win the WCHA but has been battling injuries all season. They do, however, have some high-end talent including Wild draft pick Jason Zucker.


Both teams have good power plays and Minnesota has been especially good on the penalty kill. The Gophers have been starting the games strong, scoring 32 first-period goals while opponents have scored 15. They have also been finishing strong, netting 41 in the third period to the opponents 15. The big line of Bjugstad, Rau and Budish will need to get things cranked up this weekend; Rau has only one goal since returning from the World Juniors and Budish has struggled for goals. In their last series, Minnesota fired 72 shots at St. Cloud, they will need to put a lot of rubber on net as well in the Mile High City.


Nebraska-Omaha at Michigan Tech
This weekend is one of college hockey’s most endearing traditions, Michigan Tech’s Winter Carnival Weekend. The Huskies (13-13-2, 10-8-2 WCHA) host Nebraska Omaha (12-11-5, 9-7-4 WCHA) and it should be a great weekend of hockey as the two clubs are currently tied for fifth place. Michigan Tech is 4-2-1 since the start of calendar year 2012.


North Dakota at Minnesota-Duluth

No. 3-ranked Minnesota-Duluth (18-6-4, 12-5-3 WCHA) takes on No. 15/16 North Dakota (15-10-2, 11-9-0 WCHA) in their only regular-season meetings. UND is one of three teams currently tied for fifth place and sports a 7-2-1 overall record since Dec. 9 while the Bulldogs are 3-3-1 overall since a school-record-setting 17-game (14-0-3) unbeaten streak between Oct. 21 and Jan. 14.

Colorado College at Bemidji State

Bemidji State (13-12-3, 7-10-3 WCHA) hosts No. 10-ranked Colorado College (15-9-2, 12-7-1 WCHA). The Tigers are 2-0 head-to-head after sweeping the Beavers in Colorado Springs on the opening weekend of league play. BSU is 9-4-2 overall since Nov. 19 while CC is 7-4-2 since Dec. 9.


Minnesota State at Alaska Anchorage

Alaska Anchorage (7-17-2, 4-17-1 WCHA) hosts Minnesota State (10-19-1, 6-15-1 WCHA) this weekend. The Seawolves, who won 3-2 over top-ranked Minnesota-Duluth last Saturday night, holds a 1-0-1 series advantage over the Mavericks this year after taking three of four points in Mankato earlier in the season.


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