January 2, 2013
Nebraska Omaha hosts Colorado College this weekend
MADISON, Wis. – Pursuit of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association regular season championship and the six first-round home playoff berths continues this coming weekend of January 4-5 with a pair of league series as No. 15/16-ranked Nebraska Omaha hosts Colorado College and Alaska Anchorage hosts Wisconsin.
Face-offs at CenturyLink Center Omaha (15,959) between the Mavericks (11-8-1, 7-4-1 WCHA) and Tigers (8-10-2, 5-6-1 WCHA) are at 6:37 pm CT on Friday evening and 7:07 pm CT on Saturday night. This marks the only two WCHA meetings between UNO and CC this season, with the Tigers last playing on Dec. 15.
Up at Sullivan Arena (6,251) in Anchorage, the Seawolves (3-9-4, 1-8-3 WCHA) and Badgers (4-7-5, 2-5-5 WCHA) will engage in a pair of 7:07 pm AT puck drops. Both teams are coming off long holiday season layoffs, with UAA last playing Dec. 15 and the UW's last game on Dec. 14. Alaska Achorage and Wisconsin will then meet again in Madison for their second two-game WCHA set on January 25-26.
Outside the conference this Friday and Saturday, five other league-member teams will compete in non-conference series. Bemidji State (5-10-3) welcomes Central Collegiate Hockey Association-member and 10th-ranked Western Michigan (11-5-2) for 7:37 pm CT and 7:07 pm face-offs at Sanford Center (4,373). No. 11-ranked Denver (10-6-3) will engage ECAC Hockey-member and No. 12-ranked Cornell (7-4-2) at Magness Arena (6,025) at 7:37 pm MT and 7:07 pm MT. No. 14-ranked Minnesota State (12-6-2) will play host to Hockey East Association-member Providence (7-6-3) at 7:37 pm CT and 7:07 pm CT at Verizon Wireless Center (4,832) in Mankato. No. 7-ranked North Dakota (10-5-3) will entertain 20th-ranked Holy Cross (10-4-2) of the Atlantic Hockey Association in 7:37 pm CT and 7:07 pm CT face-offs at Ralph Engelstad Arena (11,634). And No. 15-ranked St. Cloud State (12-8-0) will host Northern Michigan (6-10-3) of the CCHA at the National Hockey and Events Center (5,371) at 7:37 pm CT and 7:07 pm CT.
Michigan Tech, Minnesota and Minnesota Duluth are all idle this weekend.
Then next Tuesday (January 8) evening, top-ranked Minnesota (13-3-0) will play a single home non-conference game against CCHA-member and No. 2/3-ranked Notre Dame (14-4-0) at 7:07 pm CT at Mariucci Arena (10,000).
Heading into the second half of the 168-game conference slate, St. Cloud State (9-5-0 WCHA) is in sole possession of first place in the MacNaughton Cup race with 18 points. Just a single point back of SCSU with 17 points each are North Dakota (7-2-3 WCHA) and Denver (7-4-3 WCHA), with UND having two games in hand on both the Huskies and the Pioneers. Minnesota State (8-6-0 WCHA) stands in fourth place with 16 points in 14 games while Minnesota (6-3-3 WCHA) and Nebraska Omaha (7-4-1 WCHA) share fifth place with 15 points each, both with 12 league games played. Minnesota Duluth (5-6-3 WCHA) currently occupies seventh place with 13 points, and Colorado College (5-6-1 WCHA) and Bemidji State (4-7-3 WCHA) are tied for eighth with 11 points apiece, with the Tigers having two games in hand. Sharing the 10th spot with nine points each are Wisconsin (2-5-5 WCHA) and Michigan Tech (3-8-3 WCHA), with the Badgers having played just 12 league games, and Alaska Anchorage (1-8-3 WCHA) is 12th with five points in 12 games.
Through the first 78 games of the 168-game conference schedule, the "home-ice advantage" has been almost anything but, with home teams logging just a .513 winning percentage and 33-31-14 record in WCHA games.
Three WCHA-member teams head into the second half with some noteworthy momentum, as Wisconsin sports a six-game unbeaten streak overall at 3-0-3 while both Minnesota and North Dakota are undefeated over their last five games each at 4-0-1. Also of note, Minnesota State, under first-year coach Mike Hastings, has fashioned a 9-1 overall mark since Nov. 10 while St. Cloud State is 4-1 over the last five games and 6-3 over the last nine.
In non-conference play over the Christmas/New Year holiday period, three WCHA teams – Michigan Tech, Minnesota and Minnesota State – captured tournament championships. The Huskies won the Great Lakes Invitational in Detroit by defeating Michigan (4-0) and Western Michigan (4-0). The Golden Gophers prevailed in their own Mariucci Classic with victories over Air Force (4-0) and Boston College (8-1). And the Mavericks claimed the UConn Hockey Classic by prevailing over both Brown (3-1) and host Connecticut (3-1). Denver, meanwhile, blitzed visiting Boston University 6-0 on Dec. 29 at Magness Arena in the Hall of Fame Game, St. Cloud State split a Dec. 27-28 series against Rensselaer (3-4, 2-1), Minnesota Duluth dropped two games at the Florida College Classic in Estero, losing to Maine 1-0 and Ferris State 6-2, Nebraska Omaha fell twice at Quinnipiac on Dec. 29-30 by 5-4 and 3-1 counts, and Bemidji State dropped a 4-3 decision to Massachusetts and a 3-2 decision to New Hampshire on Dec. 30-31 in the Ledyard Bank Classic in Hanover, N.H.
After 67 non-conference games through Jan. 2, WCHA-member teams stand 36-27-4 against other Div. 1 teams for a .567 winning percentage. League-member teams are 7-0-1 (.939) vs the Atlantic Hockey Association (AHA), 10-12-0 (.454) against the Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA), 5-7-1 (.423) vs ECAC Hockey (ECACH), 7-8-1 (.469) vs the Hockey East Association (HEA), and 7-0-1 (.917) vs independents. Minnesota owns the best non-conference record so far at a perfect 7-0-0, followed by Minnesota State at 4-0-2. Other non-conference records by team are: Alaska Anchorage (2-1-1), Bemidji State (1-3-0), Colorado College (3-4-1), Denver (3-2-0), Michigan Tech (3-2-0), Minnesota Duluth (2-4-0), Nebraska Omaha (4-4-0), North Dakota (3-3-0), St. Cloud State (3-3-0), and Wisconsin (2-2-0).
Looking ahead to next week's schedule, there will five WCHA two-game series contested on Friday and Saturday, January 11-12. Michigan Tech travels to Minnesota Duluth, Alaska Anchorage heads to Minnesota, Wisconsin visits Minnesota State, Colorado College is at North Dakota and Nebraska Omaha is at Denver. Both Bemidji State and St. Cloud State will be idle.
In this week's USCHO.com Division 1 Men's College Hockey Poll issued December 31, the WCHA again has six teams among the top 20. Minnesota leads the way at No. 1, North Dakota is No. 7, Denver is No. 11, Minnesota State is No. 14, St. Cloud State is No. 15 and Nebraska Omaha is No. 16. Also receiving votes were Michigan Tech and Colorado College.
And in the latest USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine Division 1 Men's College Hockey Poll issued January 2, Minnesota is No. 1, North Dakota is No. 7, Denver is No. 11, Minnesota State is No. 14 and Nebraska Omaha is No. 15. St. Cloud State also received votes.
This Week in the WCHA
Games for Friday, January 4: Colorado College at Nebraska Omaha (WCHA), 6:37 pm CT; Holy Cross at North Dakota (NC), 7:37 pm CT; Northern Michigan at St. Cloud State (NC), 7:37 pm CT; Providence at Minnesota State (NC), 7:37 pm CT; Western Michigan at Bemidji State (NC), 7:37 pm CT; Cornell at Denver (NC), 7:37 pm MT; Wisconsin at Alaska Anchorage (WCHA), 7:07 pm AT.
Games for Saturday, January 5: Colorado College at Nebraska Omaha (WCHA), 7:07 pm CT; Holy Cross at North Dakota (NC), 7:07 pm CT; Northern Michigan at St. Cloud State (NC), 7:07 pm CT; Providence at Minnesota State (NC), 7:07 pm CT; Western Michigan at Bemidji State (NC), 7:07 pm CT; Cornell at Denver (NC), 7:07 pm MT; Wisconsin at Alaska Anchorage (WCHA), 7:07 pm AT.
Games for Tuesday, January 8: Notre Dame at Minnesota (NC), 7:07 pm CT.
WCHA Results, December 27-31
Results of Thursday, December 27: Rensselaer 4 at St. Cloud State 3 (NC)
Results of Friday, December 28: * Minnesota Duluth 0 vs Maine 1 (NC); Rensselaer 1 at St. Cloud State 2 (NC). * Florida College Classic (Estero, FL).
Results of Saturday, December 29: Nebraska Omaha 4 at Quinnipiac 5 (NC); * Ferris State 6 vs Minnesota Duluth 2 (NC); # Minnesota State 3 vs Brown 1 (NC); & Michigan 0 vs Michigan Tech 4 (NC); % Air Force 0 at Minnesota 4 (NC); + Boston University 0 at Denver 6 (NC). * Florida College Classic Third Place (Estero, FL); # UConn Hockey Classic (Storrs, CT); & Great Lakes Invitational (Detroit, MI); % Mariucci Classic; + Hall of Fame Game.
Results of Sunday, December 30: Nebraska Omaha 1 at Quinnipiac 3 (NC); * Bemidji State 3 vs Massachusetts 4 (NC); # Western Michigan 0 vs Michigan Tech 4 (NC); & Minnesota State 3 at Connecticut 1 (NC); % Boston College 1 at Minnesota 8 (NC). * Ledyard Bank Classic (Hanover, NH); # Great Lakes Invitational Championship (Detroit, MI); & UConn Hockey Classic Championship; % Mariucci Classic.
Results of Monday, December 31: * Bemidji State 2 vs New Hampshire 3 (NC). * Ledyard Bank Classic Third Place (Hanover, NH).