Tonight marks the new year in the WCHA, and the conference season starts with a bang when the University of Minnesota Gophers make the trip to Grand Forks to play the-team-to-be-named-later. It should be interesting to see if the UND squad has yet another slow start to the season or if they still have mastery of the Gophers in the Ralph.
This is also the night that the University of Minnesota – Duluth Bulldogs host the Mavericks of Minnesota State University Mankato. I hope we got the name correctly to not offend (see media guide from MSU). MSU is coming off a sweep of a program that is on life support, Bowling Green. This will be the first games that should or could challenge the Mavs. On the flip, UMD needs to come out to play TWO nights this weekend. Not just one as Coach Sandy stated last Sunday night after a disappointing 3-1 loss to Northern Michigan. Look for scoring from UMD and a sweep in the DECC.
The other conference match is CC at Wisconsin. It will be interesting to see how good, or bad really, CC will be this year after the loss of so many key players. Just one point for CC this weekend would be surprising and a good start for them.
It is the start, but not time to start slow. All games have meaning for UMD as Coach Sandy is looking to go over .500 in WCHA play for the third time in his 10 year tenure. We will watch, wait, and, “enjoy the season” (Mike Tice).