Thursday, November 5, 2009

This Weekend in the WCHA....

The league returns to strictly conference play this weekend and eight of the ten member schools are in action against one another. St. Cloud State and Minnesota State will take this week off.

In other league action this weekend:

Denver at Alaska-Anchorage:

  • Records: Denver - 5-2-1 (3-0-1 in WCHA); Alaska-Anchorage - 3-5-0 (1-3-0 in WCHA)
  • Denver will play its first weekend series without goaltender Marc Cheverie (pictured right), who suffered a deep cut to his left calf and will miss at least two weeks. Cheverie had sported three-consecutive shutouts and captured WCHA Defensive Player of the Week honors the week before he was injured. DU will have to fend for themselves with Adam Murray between the pipes. Murray played in last weekend's 4-4 Saturday night tie with Minnesota State, giving the Pioneers three of a possible four points last weekend.
  • UAA returns home after being swept by Minnesota in Minneapolis. The Seawolves won their last home game against North Dakota 2-1 before the weekend sweep at Minnesota. UAA is led in the scoring department by upperclassmen Tommy Grant (3-3-6) and Kevin Clark (4-2-6), each with six points in UAA's eight starts.
  • The all-time series is 39-14-5 in favor of the Pioneers, including 17-7-4 in Anchorage. In the last twelve meetings in Alaska, DU is 10-0-2.
  • DU and UAA met for two series last season. In the regular season meeting, the teams split the two games at Magness Arena in Denver. The Pioneers swept the Seawolves out of the first round of the WCHA playoffs last March.
  • Not sure why this is funny department - Denver has a "New Testament Line," made up of Matt Glasser, Luke Salazar, and Jesse Martin. Gotta love a line which has Biblical implications.
  • DU Schedule, Team Stats, Roster
  • UAA Schedule, Team Stats, Roster
  • Prediction: Denver Sweep
UMD at Colorado College
  • Records: UMD - 5-2-1 (3-1-1 in WCHA); Colorado College - 4-1-1 (3-0-1 in WCHA)
  • After a week idle, CC returns to its home ice this weekend. Despite sitting idle, the Tigers managed to jump up three spots in this week's poll, checking in in the twelfth spot.
  • Joe Howe continues to impress early on. The freshman has answered concerns left by the departure of two-year starter Richard Bachman to the NHL and has played extremely well. In five starts, Howe has sported a 4-0-1 record and has notched a .935 save percentage and a goals against average of 2.17. His play has cemented him in the starter's position and has led one fellow freshman goaltender, Hudson Stremmel, to leave the program this week for Canadian junior hockey.
  • UMD gets back into conference play after sweeping Clarkson last weekend in Duluth. The Bulldogs are back in the top 20 this week (#20) after a one-week hiatus.
  • The high-scoring Bulldogs have the three most prolific scorers in the WCHA. Jack Connolly (6-8-14), Justin Fontaine (7-5-12, and pictured right), and Rob Bordson (3-8-11) are the top three scorers in the league. In fact, Connolly and Fontaine have scored half of UMD's goals this season.
  • The all-time series stands at 81-74-6 in favor of Colorado College. Last season, the teams met for one series in the regular season and once in the WCHA first round of the playoffs. After a tie, the Bulldogs won all three remaining games, including a sweep in the playoffs. All games took place in Colorado Springs.
  • UMD Schedule, Team Stats, Roster
  • CC Schedule, Team Stats, Roster
  • Prediction: Split
North Dakota at Michigan Tech
  • Records: North Dakota - 4-1-1 (2-1-1 in WCHA); Michigan Tech - 2-4-0 (1-3-0 in WCHA)
  • After a week off, the Fighting Sioux make their annual trek to the UP of Michigan to take on Michigan Tech. The Sioux are #3 in the poll this week and check in at #2 in the USA Today version.
  • An interesting note on the Fighting Sioux is that they have the nation's best penalty-kill at 96.4% going into the weekend series. UND has killed 27 of 28 opposing penalties.
  • Michigan Tech's senior captain Malcolm Gwilliam is on a four-game points streak and has notched 5-3-8 in the team's six games. The Huskies are led in scoring by sophomore Brett Olson (4-6-10, and pictured right).
  • Last season, the teams met for one series in the regular season and one in the playoffs. After an initial tie, the Sioux won the remaining three games, including a first-round sweep of the Huskies in the WCHA first round of the playoffs. The teams also met in non-conference action for the third place game of the Great Lakes Invitational tournament last holiday season, and the game was won by Michigan Tech. It would be MTU's last victory until they beat Minnesota in early March (12 games, 0-7-5).
  • In the all-time series, UND holds a 136-90-9 overall advantage and is 57-55-5 all-time in Houghton.
  • UND Schedule, Team Stats, Roster
  • MTU Schedule, Team Stats, Roster
  • Prediction: North Dakota Sweep
Minnesota at Wisconsin - Preview will appear on this site Friday morning.

Enjoy this weekend's action and check here for updates throughout the weekend. Also, please check the blogroll for all the latest on each member school from beat writers and bloggers.

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