Time has gotten away from me this week, so here is an abbreviated column for the upcoming playoff weekend.
First off be sure to check out the All-WCHA teams from the conference online media at A Tradition of Excellence.
Secondly, UMD’s series with Mankato is an aberration in the new 12 team WCHA. Two teams will play a minimum of six games at a non-neutral site. UMD leads the season series 3-0-1 including a sweep the last time the purple Mavericks were in Duluth.
To the Stats! The StatPack for the weekend:
|Images via Wikipedia: Bulldogs, WCHA, Mavericks|
Alaska – Anchorage at Minnesota – Twin Cities: This is a rematch of last year’s first round playoffs that the Seawolves won. Only difference this year is that the Gophers are a much better team and the Seawolves are a much worse team. The Twin Cities was the one place the Seawolves would have picked to go on the road for the first round, but they do not have enough horses to keep up Minnesota. The Gophers will sweep the series easily.
Bemidji State at North Dakota: The Beavers went into last Saturday’s game knowing if they won, they would be at North Dakota and a loss they would go to Denver. Surprising to me that they won. The Beavers have not had much success against North Dakota going 2-22-1 all time against North Dakota, with one of the two wins coming this season in Bemidji and 1-14-1 in Grand Forks with the lone win in 1970. I don't see an upset here and would be very surprised if the Beavers are even able to get one win at the Ralph. In my opinion Tom Serratore made a coaching error by winning last Saturday's game in Anchorage as UND sweeps.
Michigan Tech at Colorado College: The Huskies stay in Colorado Springs for another round of games after getting swept by the Tigers last week. The Huskies managed a poor total of two goals in the two games last weekend. In order to win this weekend they will need to score more goals. The Tigers sweep last weekend was the first time since December 16 and 17 that the Tigers won back to back games. As much as it looks like the Huskies may have bonked, I think they will be able to get one win this weekend and if they can find their scoring they can get the upset. I pick CC to win the series in three games.
Nebraska – Omaha at Saint Cloud State: The tie by the Huskies last Saturday night along with the loss by the red Mavericks was enough to earn the Huskies home ice for the first round. It was also enough to make some of the Huskies players go so far as to say they were going to go all the way to Tampa in the post game interviews. I like confidence, but that might be a little over confident. The red Mavericks have struggles the last two weeks and it would be hard to think they can turn it around this weekend, but I think they will. Why? Because of the head coach. Yes, this really doesn't make sense to not pick the Huskies, but so many time this year the results of the weekend’s games have not made sense. I will pick the red Mavericks over the Huskies in three games.
Wisconsin at Denver: The Badgers split last weekend against the Gophers and gotten on a little hot streak by actually winning road games. The Pioneers went to Omaha last weekend and swept the red Mavericks. The Pioneers are a good hockey team and now have their big name goalie back in the net, but it does seem that Wisconsin has figured out how to win on the road. I think the Zengerle and Schultz will provide enough scoring for the Badgers to get two wins in three games to earn a trip to St. Paul.
Minnesota State – Mankato at Minnesota – Duluth: The Bulldogs had a chance to win a share of the MacNaughton last weekend, but played as if they had never stepped a skate on an Olympic size rink before earning a meager single point in the two games. The purple Mavericks have played much better in calendar year 2012, but last weekend was swept at the hands of the UND Men's Hockey Team. The purple Mavericks have a bunch of good young players, but do not have enough in the tank to keep up with the Bulldogs in Duluth in a UMD sweep.