Showing posts with label Seawolves. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Seawolves. Show all posts

Thursday, March 07, 2013

Weekend Match-Ups (by Donn)

This is it!  The last weekend of the regular season, buckle up sports fan, ‘cause we got a full slate of games.  The standings are still jam packed, with the top seven teams separated by 5 points.  It is possible to have a four-way tie for the McNaughton Cup, if things work out that way, not likely, but possible.  What we do know is that CC, UMD, MTU, BSU, and UAA will be on the road next weekend, we just don’t know who’s rink they will be at, and SCSU and UND have wrapped up home ice.


1. St. Cloud St……………17-8-1.…….….35
2. Minnesota……………...14-7-2……..…33
2. North Dakota.………….13-6-7………..33
4. Minnesota State………15-10-1....…....31
4. Wisconsin…....………..12-7-7………...31
6. Nebraska-Omaha…......14-10-2…...…30
7. Denver…………..……..12-9-5..…........29
8. Colorado College …….10-12-4...…….24
9. Minnesota-Duluth….…..8-13-5……….21
10. Michigan Tech………..7-15-4.…..…..18
11. Bemidji State……..…..6-13-7.......…..17
12. Alaska-Anchorage…...2-18-6.......…..10

The # numbers below are now the PAIRWISE rankings.

WCHA Games

#2 Minnesota @ Bemidji St.
Last weekend the Gophers split (2-0L, 5-1W) with the Pioneers in Minneapolis and the Beavers got a point from NoDak (4-2, 2-2) in Grand Forks.

The Gopher faithfully will be hoping for some help, from Wisconsin, this weekend to keep their hopes alive for the last WCHA title.  The Beavers still have a chance to move up the standings, they could finish as high as ninth place, with a sweep.  BSU plays sound defense and clogs up the passing and shooting lanes.  The Beavers style can frustrate teams, but if their opponents can get a lead, they can force BSU to change their style.  The Gophers will need to draw some penalties to get the power play some chances to score.  All the numbers point to the Gophers, but when teams like have BSU nothing to lose, you need to watch out for the kitchen sink.  GOPHERS 3-PTS

Alaska-Anchorage @ #8 Denver (Fri/Sun)
Last weekend the Seawolves were swept by the Nanooks (2-1ot, 3-1) in the home/home series and the Pioneers split (2-0W, 5-1L) with the Gophers in Minneapolis.

The Pioneers still have some control over their own fate, but they need to sweep the Seawolves, and have UNO drop below them.  I’m sure the Seawolves would like to welcome DU to the bottom half of the bracket and keep them there, by winning a game or two.  DU played well last weekend in Minneapolis, I watched the replays. And if they play like that again this weekend, they should secure four points.  UAA has nothing to lose; they have been locked into last place for a couple of weeks now.  I wouldn’t be surprised if Shyiak pulled a few tricks out of his sleeve this weekend.  PIONEERS SWEEP

#7 North Dakota @ #8 Minnesota State
Last weekend NoDak got three points (4-2, 2-2ot) from the Beavers in Grand Forks and the Mavericks split (4-1L, 7-2W) with the Tigers in Colorado Springs.

This is a big series for both teams.  UND still has an outside chance at the title and MSUM for that matter too.  The Mavericks are 10-5-1 at home this year and UND is 8-6-1 away from Grand Forks.  NoDak has scored three more goals and given up three more than MSUM has in the WCHA this season, so those are pretty even numbers.  The big difference is that NoDak has 7 ties in the league and the Mavericks have just one.  With so much on the line for both teams, this should be a very entertaining series to watch.  SPLIT

Colorado College @ Michigan Tech
Last weekend the Tigers split (4-1W, 7-2L) with the MSUM Mavericks in Colorado Springs and the Huskies split (5-3L, 5-1W) with the SCSU Huskies in St. Cloud.

The Huskies gave themselves a boost with a win over SCSU on Saturday, and gave the rest of the league hope at title with that win.  MTU has been better over the last month, going 4-4-0 in their last eight games, and CC has gone 3-2-3 over their last eight contests.  The Tigers can’t move up the standings, they are stuck at 8th place and could slip to 9th if they lose twice this weekend.  CC hasn’t been too good on the road this season going 4-8-3 away from home and the Huskies are 5-7-2 at home in MacInnis Student Ice Arena.  I’m going say both black and gold teams win.  SPLIT

#10 St. Could St.  @ #20 Wisconsin
Last weekend the Huskies split (5-3W, 5-1L) with the MTU Huskies in St. Cloud and the Badgers swept (4-3, 6-2) the UNO Mavericks in Omaha.

The other top teams will be watching the scoreboard for these games.  If the Huskies win on Friday, they will secure at least a share of the McNaughton Cup.  The Badgers have plans of their own; a win on Friday (coupled with a UNO loss or DU tie/loss) would secure them home ice.  The Badgers are 7-7-3 home this year, but they aren’t playing in the Kohl center this weekend, they are at coliseum, for a throwback weekend, and the Huskies are 7-6-1 on the road.  I’m not sure if the pressure got to SCSU last Saturday, because if they would have won, they would have already secured a share of the title.  This series should have the feel of a playoff series with the stakes high for both teams.  The Badgers need some quality wins to move up the rankings, and improve their odds of getting into the NCAA tournament.  SPLIT

#25 Nebraska-Omaha @ Minnesota-Duluth
Last weekend the Mavericks were swept by the Badgers (4-3, 6-2) in Omaha and the Bulldogs swept the UAH Chargers (4-2, 4-0) in Duluth.

The Mavericks saw their chance at the McNaughton Cup slip away last weekend.  UNO also saw their home ice spot put in jeopardy, with suffering a pair of losses in Omaha.  They need to put last weekend in the past and move on to this series and get back on track.  UMD is looking to continue to build momentum for the playoffs and what better way to do that by dragging UNO to the bottom half with a sweep in Duluth.  However, that is a tall order given Omaha’s scoring ability and the Bulldogs porous defensive play this year.  SPLIT
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Thursday, February 07, 2013

Weekend Match-Ups (by Donn)

Western Collegiate Hockey Association logo
Western Collegiate Hockey Association logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
We have a full slate of WCHA games this week with all 12 teams in action against each other.  Most teams are down to their last 8 league games coming into this weekend.  The numbers are starting to show who is likely to be on the top half or bottom half of the bracket. A month from now the regular season will wrap up the WCHA as we have known it for about half a century.  The numbers are looking good for the top 4 teams to host first round games, and they will most likely be hosting the current bottom 4 teams.  That leaves the middle 4 teams to sort things out and fight it out for the last two home series.


1. St. Cloud St……………14-5-1…….….29
2. Nebraska-Omaha….....12-6-2…....…..26
3. Denver…………..……..10-6-4……......24
3. Minnesota……………...10-4-4……..…24
3. North Dakota.………..…9-5-6…….…..24
6. Wisconsin…....…………8-6-6………...22
7. Minnesota State……….10-9-1.…...….21
8. Minnesota-Duluth….…..8-9-3…………19
9. Colorado College ……..7-10-3..…..….17
10. Michigan Tech………..5-11-4…..……14
11. Bemidji State……..…..4-12-4......……12
12. Alaska-Anchorage…...1-15-6…...……8

WCHA Games

Colorado College vs #9 Denver
Last weekend the Tigers tied the Seawolves twice (2-2ot, 3-3ot) in Anchorage and the Pioneers swept the Bulldogs (3-0, 4-3) in Duluth.

The Gold Pan is looking to move up to Denver this season.  Back in mid-November the Pioneers swept the Tigers with a 6-5 win on the road and a 6-2 in Magness Arena.  All DU needs is a tie or win this weekend to capture the Gold Pan.  The Pioneers have been streaky as of late, but appear to be heading in the upward direction.  The Tigers have been chasing their tail since the calendar flipped to December, since then they have just 2 wins.  But like we all know you can throw the records and recent game outcomes out the window for rivalry games. SPLIT

Alaska-Anchorage @ Michigan Tech
Last weekend the Seawolves tied the Tigers twice (2-2ot, 3-3ot) in Anchorage and the Huskies split with the UNO Mavericks (4-3L, 2-1Wot) in Omaha.

The Seawolves have not won a game since Dec-1, and that was against SCSU.  However, the bright side for UAA is they are now on a two game unbeaten streak.  The down side is they only have six league games left, and after MTU, they play at UNO and end the year at DU (they play in-state rival Alaska in between those series).  The Huskies are 2-1-1 in their last four WCHA games.  MTU can relegate the Seawolves to a 12th place finish this year, if they can sweep them this year.  If the Huskies can sweep they can try and avoid the top teams in the first round of the league playoffs.  HUSKIES SWEEP

#1 Minnesota @ #8 St. Could St. 
Last weekend the Gophers were off and the Huskies swept the Beavers (4-0, 4-1) in Bemidji.

This is the most important series this weekend, in terms of seeing who will be the controlling their McNaughton Cup title destiny.  Even though SCSU lead UM by five points UM has two games in pocket.  If the Huskies sweep they control their own fate for winning the league.  If UM gets a sweep, they can win the league title, but might need a little help?  SCSU has series at CC, home with MTU, and at UW after this weekend, so they have a favorable schedule to end the season.  With the teams being red hot in 2013, I don’t see anyone losing twice this weekend.  SPLIT

#11 Minnesota State @ Minnesota-Duluth
Last weekend the Mavericks were on a bye and the Bulldogs were swept by the Pioneers (3-0, 4-3) in Duluth.

The Mavericks after a bye weekend find themselves in the bottom half of the standings only two points ahead of the Bulldogs.  The Mavericks have been scoring more goals this year and have been rewarded with more wins.  They need to continue to score three or more a game to give them the opportunity to win.  MSUM can put UMD in the rear view mirror, if they get four points out of Amsoil arena, and improve their chances of getting home ice in the first round.  The Bulldogs still to have hopes of a first round series at home, but need some help to get there.  MAVERICKS 3-pts

#7 North Dakota @ #14 Nebraska-Omaha
Last weekend NoDak took three points from the Badgers (1-1ot, 4-1) in Grand Forks and the Mavericks split the MTU Huskies (4-3W, 2-1Lot) in Omaha.

NoDak plays six of their last eight games on the road.  It starts this weekend with a special game on Saturday, they are playing outside.  With these two teams separated by two points it should be a battle for every inch of ice, well at least of it doesn’t melt outside.  I just hope the weather doesn’t play too much of a factor.  Coach Blais will get welcome his former team to Omaha once again this weekend, NoDak is hoping his team will be a gracious host and give them points this weekend.  SPLIT

Bemidji St. @ #19 Wisconsin
Last weekend the Beavers were swept by the SCSU Huskies (4-0, 4-1) in Bemidji and the Badgers got a point from NoDak (1-1ot, 4-1) in Grand Forks.

The Badgers are currently holding the last home ice playoff spot, but only by a point.  The Beavers are 10 points behind the Badgers for the spot and with only eight games left, which is a pretty tall task.  However, the industrious Beavers can damn up the Badgers chances of getting home ice with taking points out of Madison this weekend.  The Badgers have been, well, awful at the Kohl Center this season, granted they are 5-5-2 their but, those 2 wins are Huntsville and 2 are the Seawolves.  I’m expecting a couple of very low scoring games in Madison this weekend.  I’d be surprised if there was more than four total goals were scored per game.  With that in mind, a bounce here or there could easily determine the winner of these games.  SPLIT  
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Thursday, January 31, 2013

Weekend Match-Ups (by Donn)

Western Collegiate Hockey Association logo
Western Collegiate Hockey Association logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I think it is time to do a top ten list, since I haven’t done with this season, so here it goes.

10 – Number of league games most teams have left
9 – Teams that realistically have a chance at home ice
8 – Games BSU has gone without a win currently
7 – Weeks left in the regular WCHA season
6 – WCHA Teams in the USA Today College Hockey Poll
5 – Number of tie games both UND and UW have
4 – Home games left for MSUM

3 – Periods per hockey game
2 – Outdoor games for the WCHA this season
       (UND/UNO, Feb-9 & UM/UW, Feb-17)
1 – Where SCSU sets to start February


1. St. Cloud St……………12-6-0…….….25
2. Minnesota……………...10-4-4……..…24
2. Nebraska-Omaha…......11-5-2…....….24
4. Minnesota State……….10-9-1.…...….21
4. North Dakota.………..…8-5-5…….…..21
4. Wisconsin…....…………8-5-5………...21
7. Denver…………..……...8-6-4…….......20
8. Minnesota-Duluth….…..8-7-3…………19
9. Colorado College ……..7-10-1..…..….15
10. Bemidji State……..…..4-10-4......……12
11. Michigan Tech………..4-10-4…..……12
12. Alaska-Anchorage…....1-15-4…...……5

WCHA Games

#12 St. Could St.  @ Bemidji St.
Last weekend the Huskies took three points from NoDak (3-1, 2-2ot) in Grand Forks and the Beavers were swept by the UNO Mavericks (5-3, 2-1) in Bemidji.

The Huskies are on a four game unbeaten streak (3-0-1) entering this weekend and the Beavers on a eight game winless streak (0-6-2).  SCSU can put the on official notice that they are in the driver’s seat for the McNaughton Cup with a sweep of the Beavers this weekend.  However, BSU would like nothing better than to play the spoiler to one of their in-state rivals.  The Beavers need to get some timely scoring and stay out of the box, if they want a chance to beat SCSU.  But in the end, the Huskies will leave Bemidji with the points.  HUSKIES SWEEP

Colorado College @ Alaska-Anchorage
Last weekend the Tigers were on a bye and the Seawolves were swept by the Badgers (5-2, 2-1) in Madison.

The Tigers need to get a sweep this weekend if they want to have any chance of getting into the top half of the standings before the regular season ends.  The Seawolves appear to already be mathematically eliminated from home ice, sorry UAA.  The Tigers are 4-8-0 this year away from Colorado Springs, and the Seawolves are 2-7-3 at home in Sullivan Arena.  The Tigers might be a rusty after a weekend off, so look for the Seawolves to come out guns a blazing and try to put CC away early.  The Tigers have the firepower to put up goals, however they are giving up the lion’s share of goals too.  SPLIT

#10 Denver @ Minnesota-Duluth
Last weekend the Pioneers were on a bye and the Bulldogs beat the US U-18 team (3-1) in Duluth.

The Pioneers are on a three game winless streak now, and have been streaking all year, going on two 4 game win streaks, a 5 game win streak, and an 8 game winless streak.  DU has not won a road game since Nov-16 at Colorado Springs.  The Bulldogs have been playing five hundred hockey all season, winning some, losing some.  But looking a little deeper, the wins are against teams lower than them and the losses are against the teams above them.  This is a tough series to predict give the ups and downs of DU and UMD struggles against good teams.  SPLIT

#19 Wisconsin @ #7 North Dakota
Last weekend the Badgers swept the Seawolves (5-2, 2-1) in Madison and NoDak got a point from the SCSU Huskies (3-1, 2-2ot) in Grand Forks.

The Badgers have 1 loss in their last 14 games, going 10-1-3, since Nov-30.  However, in that stretch they have 4 wins versus UAA, 2 wins over Huntsville, and tied MTU twice, so it hasn’t been the toughest competition.  Meanwhile, NoDak is winless in their last four games, going 0-2-2 against UM and SCSU.  If UND wants to keep in the hunt for the last WCHA title as we know it they need wins this weekend.  If NoDak can get the ship righted and some timely saves, they can take the points they need to have.  The Badgers should be confident heading into this weekend give their current winning ways, but their confidence or over-confidence could be their undoing in Grand Forks. 

Michigan Tech @ #14 Nebraska-Omaha
Last weekend the Huskies were on a bye and the Mavericks swept the Beavers (5-3, 2-1) in Bemidji.

These teams met back in November, with the Mavericks sweeping the Huskies in Houghton by scores of 2-1 and 5-3.  UNO has gone 4-1-1 in their past six league games, and MTU is 3-2-1 over that same span.  The Huskies have just two wins on the road in WCHA play this year and those came at the expense of BSU.  The Mavericks are 8-3-1 at home this season and haven’t lost at home since Dec-14 to the other Mavericks.  The numbers point to the Mavericks which is what I’m looking at to predict this series. 

#1 Minnesota
#15 Minnesota State
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Thursday, December 13, 2012

Weekend Match-Ups (by Sioux 7)

Well this is it, the last weekend of hockey before Christmas.  It seems to me that the first half of the season has just flown by, way too quickly.  The biggest surprise last weekend had to be MTU and UW tying both of their games in Madison.
This will be my last post before the holiday break. So, I wish a Merry Christmas to all the Goon's World readers.  I will have my predictions up after Christmas for all the holiday tournaments.


1. Denver…………..………7-3-2………....16
2. Minnesota………………6-3-3………….15
3. Minnesota State……….7-5-0.…...…….14
3. St. Cloud St………….…7-5-0………….14
5. Nebraska-Omaha………6-3-1……........13
5. North Dakota.………..…5-2-3…..……...13
7. Colorado College ……..5-4-1..….……..11
8. Michigan Tech………….3-6-3……….….9
8. Minnesota-Duluth….…..3-6-3…………..9
8. Wisconsin…....…………2-5-5………......9
11. Bemidji State……..…..3-7-2.…….........8
12. Alaska-Anchorage…....1-6-3…...….…..5

WCHA Games

#11 Denver @ Bemidji St.
Last weekend the Pioneers got a point (2-2ot, 6-3) from NoDak in Grand Forks and the Beavers split (2-4, 2-1) with the Bulldogs in Duluth.

The Pioneers have been sliding down the hill since their series with CC; they are winless in their last six games, going 0-4-2.  DU has been having a hard time finding the back of the goal, only netting 12 goals in those 6 games.  The Beavers return home to the Sanford Center, after spending the last two weekends on the road (Mankato and Duluth).  BSU ended their three game losing streak by getting a win on Saturday night in Duluth.  The Pioneers did not look that good last weekend in Grand Forks, so they might be looking for a little mental pick-me-up this week.  BSU will need to play strong defensively, to give themselves a chance to get some points.  SPLIT

#8 North Dakota @ Michigan Tech
Last weekend NoDak took three points (2-2ot, 6-3) from the Pioneers in Grand Forks and the Huskies split (1-1ot, 3-3ot) with the Badgers in Madison.

NoDak has been doing well this first half of the season, both defensively and offensively.  This will likely be the last time these two teams meet for some time, with the conferences splitting next year.  Last year the teams only played in Grand Forks with the Sioux taking three points that weekend.  The last time they played in Houghton was March of 2011, with the Huskies taking a pair of beatings, 6-1 and 11-2, that weekend.  But this is a different year, with different players, different coaches, and like the saying goes past performance doesn’t predict future outcomes.  NoDak 3-pts

Colorado College @ #17 St. Could St. 
Last weekend the Tigers got a point (2-4, 4-4ot) from the Gophers in Colorado Springs and the Huskies split (5-6, 2-1) with the UNO Mavericks in St. Cloud.

The Tigers currently trail the Huskies by three points in the standings, but have played two fewer games.  CC would like to get into the top half of the ledger before the Christmas break, but that means they need at least one win and some help.  SCSU will be looking to distance themselves from CC and lock into the top half before the break.  The Tigers are 3-3-0 on the road this year and the Huskies are tough at home in the National Hockey Center this year, going 6-2-0.  I’m going with each team get a win this weekend.  SPLIT

Minnesota-Duluth @ Alaska-Anchorage
Last weekend the Bulldogs split (4-2, 1-2) with the Beavers in Duluth and the Seawolves were swept (1-3, 0-3) by the MSUM Mavericks in Mankato.

The Bulldogs are struggling this year as are the Seawolves, both teams have six losses and three ties on their records.  UMD has played two more games that UAA and those two more games are in the win column.  The long flight could give the Bulldogs the time they need to contemplate their situation or it might be just away to kill time.  This will be the Seawolves last games before Christmas, their next games are Jan. 4-5 at home against UW.  The Seawolves are averaging just less than two goals/game and the Bulldogs are just under three goals/game.  I expect a couple of low scoring games with favors UAA a bit more than UMD.  SPLIT

#20 Minnesota State @ #13 Nebraska-Omaha
Last weekend the MSUM Mavericks swept the Seawolves (3-1, 3-0) in Mankato and the UNO Mavericks split with the SCSU Huskies (6-5, 1-2) in St. Cloud.

Both Mavericks are exceeding their preseason expectations, which is obviously good for both herds.  MSUM is only two points from the top and UNO is only three points from the top.  The difference is that UNO has two games in hand on MSUM.  Omaha is 5-2-1 at home this year and MSUM is 3-3-1 away from Mankato.  Both teams are averaging over three goals per game, so there should be plenty of offense to go around this weekend.  MSUM comes into this series as the hottest team in the conference winning their last six games, all WCHA games mind you.  The caveat is those wins were over the bottom three teams, UW, BSU, and UAA.  MSUM has a much tougher opponent this weekend, but they should be confident given their winning streak.  They just can’t afford to be over confident.  SPLIT

Non Conference Games

Alabama-Huntsville (3-12-1 overall) @ Wisconsin (2-7-5 overall) (Thu / Fri)
Last weekend the Chargers swept (5-2, 4-1) the Finlandia Lions (D-3 school in the MCHA) in Huntsville and the Badgers split with the MTU Huskies (1-1ot, 3-3ot) in Madison.

The Badgers are still winless at home this season and this is their last home series until 2013 (they host Miami Jan. 18-19).  I think this is the weekend they have been waiting for in Madison, their first home win or wins of the season.  I’m going to go with Cardinal and White to go into the Christmas break on a high note.  BADGERS SWEEP

#4 Minnesota
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Thursday, February 09, 2012

Weekend Match-Ups (by Sioux 7)

What a difference a week makes. The standing show that only 4 points separate 3rd through 8th places. That is a lot of teams in the fight for home ice in the first round, which is just a month away now.


1. Minnesota………………15-5-0…..……30
2. Minnesota-Duluth……..12-5-3….…….27
3. Colorado College ……..12-7-3………..25
4. Denver…………..………10-6-4………..23
5. North Dakota……….…...11-9-0….…….22
5. Michigan Tech………….10-8-2………..22
5. Nebraska-Omaha…….…9-7-4………..22
8. St. Cloud St……………. 9-10-3……….21
9. Bemidji State….…………7-10-3…….…17
10. Wisconsin……………..7-13-2…..…….16
11. Minnesota State………6-15-1…………13
12. Alaska-Anchorage…...4-17-1…………9

WCHA Games

#10 Colorado College @ Bemidji State
Last weekend Tigers took 3-points from the Pioneers in a home-and-home series and the Beavers took 3-points from the UNO Mavericks in Omaha.

The Tigers vaulted over their rivals from Denver in the standings. CC might be riding high after taking care of business last weekend, but they better not be looking past the Beavers. BSU have been good at home in the Sanford Center, boasting a 9-4-1 record in Bemidji. SPLIT

Nebraska-Omaha @ Michigan Tech
Last weekend the Mavericks got a point at home against the Beavers and the Huskies split with the MSUM Mavericks in Mankato.

These games will be like a playoff series, since they are in a three way tie for the last home ice spots. A pair of losses now for either one can now mean the difference in playing in front of their fans in March or going on the road. The Mavericks are 5-6-2 away from Omaha and the Huskies are 8-4-1 in Houghton this season. The Huskies have been scoring at a 4.7gpg pace since January 1st. But when you get to this time of the season and teams are desperate for points, things happen. I’m going with the home team. HUSKIES SWEEP

Minnesota State @ Alaska-Anchorage
Last weekend the Mavericks split with the MTU Huskies in Mankato and the Seawolves split with the Bulldogs in Anchorage.

If the Mavericks sweep this series they pretty much lock the Seawolves into last place. The flip side is if the Seawolves sweep they would be tied with MSUM for 11th place. The Seawolves should have the advantage, being at home last weekend, and MSUM having to travel, way up north. SEAWOLVES SWEEP

#2 Minnesota @ #14 Denver
Last weekend the Gophers were on a bye weekend and the Pioneers salvaged a point against their arch-rivals, the CC Tigers, in the home/away series.
Before last weekend the Pioneers still had sight of first place, now they need to fight to keep in the top half of the league, my how things can change in one weekend. The Pioneers can reel in the Gophers with a pair of wins this weekend. The Pioneers had been on a five game winning streak until last weekend. The Gophers come in winning their last 3 games and 4 out of their last 5. The Gophers offensive has not been putting up many goals as of late, so if the Pioneers can get some good goaltending and a few breaks they can get some points this weekend. SPLIT

#16 North Dakota @ #2 Minnesota-Duluth
Last weekend Bulldogs split with the Seawolves in Anchorage and North Dakota had bye weekend to rest.

The Bulldogs have struggle their last four games, and have slide out of first place in the WCHA. North Dakota has yet to go on their second half run that has been the norm for them the past seven years under Hakstol. UND needs points this weekend if they want to keep hold of the top half and try and secure home ice. The Bulldogs are pretty much assured of home ice at this point (barring a complete meltdown), but I’m sure they want the McNaughton Cup. SPLIT

St. Cloud State

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Thursday, October 27, 2011

Did Lucia give his players an out. Did he lower expectations?

Minnesota Gophers beat writer Roman Augustoviz has this little blurb on his blog today and it kind of caught my attention.

Does anyone think that Lucia is in a way maybe lowering the Gopher fan's expectations of his Gopher hockey team? I guess one could say that Lucia is covering all of the bases in case the Seawolves beat the Gopher either one or both games this weekend. The Seawolves are hard to sweep in their own barn and the Gophers are a young team. 

"It is obviously a beautiful place, but we don’t have time to go on sightseeing trips," said Lucia, who was the Alaska Fairbanks head coach from 1987-93. "I enjoyed my week [vacation there] this summer fishing and getting around the state in July. I had a great time. But we get in Thursday afternoon, we play Friday and Saturday nights and come back Sunday morning. It is a quick trip,"

Lucia said the biggest problem playing games in Alaska is the three-hour time change. "You have the [six-hour] flight, but even that it is a direct flight for us. So it is not a big deal. The hard part for us is just the time change. ... The games are starting at 10 [p.m. CDT] and then you get up and your clock is a little bit off."


"Anchorage is a much better team" than in years past, Lucia said. "They had a great end of the year last year. Their program has been getting better every year. They have a very veteran team right now."

In the first round of the WCHA playoffs last March, the Seawolves beat the Gophers 4-3 and 2-0 and blocked 50 shots, four out of 10, over the weekend.

"You have to keep shooting [against them], that is No. 1," Lucia said. "We didn’t see anything different watching their video against [Nebraska] Omaha. They are going to lay down and block shots. That is just part of their identity, and so it is difficult to get pucks through."
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Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Fairbanks and Anchorage belong in same league

Alaska Nanooks men's ice hockeyImage via Wikipedia
Here is another argument by Dermot Cole of the Fairbanks Daily Newsminer for UAA and UAF being in the same conference (the WCHA). What also caught my eye in this article was that this was another argument for the glass being half full instead of being half empty.

With these possible changes the Nanooks and Seawolves could now fight for an at-large NCAA tourney bid much easier and they wouldn’t have to compete with the bigger schools to get into the NCAA tourney (Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Michigan State, UND, DU). This has been an emerging opinion that has countered the argument that re-alignment is going to kill college hockey. Of course the flip side of this argument is that there are no guarantees that the bigger aforementioned schools are ever going to want to travel to Alaska to play either of the Alaska schools. Also, another argument is having two Alaska School in the same conference could raise travel costs for the WCHA and cut into the time the athletes spent in the classroom because the extra travel could take them away from the classroom. In the past the Alaska schools have paid the travel costs of the teams that travel to Alaska, there is no guarantee that the agreement to pay the travel costs would continue if both schools were in the same conference. It would be interesting to see if this agreement continued.
FAIRBANKS — With all the turmoil that has hit the college hockey conferences, I hope officials of the university campuses in Fairbanks and Anchorage can somehow find a way to get UAF and UAA in the same league.

It seems to me this would be one way to improve college hockey in Alaska. It could even be a way to save some money on scheduling and travel.

The Nanooks and the Seawolves can’t control the big schools Outside and they will not become members of the Big Ten, but they can do something about this.

Many of the big hockey schools have abandoned the conferences in which UAF and UAA play, and it’s not clear where the Alaska schools will be when it’s all over.

The CCHA, the conference the Nanooks belong to, is losing most of its biggest draws. The decimation of the conference is likely to lower the profile of the UAF hockey program, but the remaining teams could be more competitive among themselves. UAA is facing a similar situation.

One of the challenges for the Alaska schools is whether Outside teams would be willing to seek the necessary approvals to play one weekend in Fairbanks and the next in Anchorage. It does seem there are options for online studies that could reduce the amount of lost classroom time and make that a plausible alternative.

Travel time is an issue, but travel costs for visiting hockey teams have been paid for by UAF for years.

UAF spent more than $928,000 on travel last year for hockey travel. Of that total, $451,000 was for the Nanooks traveling to games and $397,000 was for the teams traveling to Alaska.

In addition, UAF spent $37,000 on recruiting trips, $32,000 for getting officials to Alaska and $10,000 for Nanook coaches going to league meetings and other work-related trips.

A friend of mine who follows college hockey closely suggests it is possible that whatever combination emerges, the absence of the major schools could lead to a more competitive situation for the Fairbanks and Anchorage teams and an improved chance of getting into post-season play.

The CCHA has lost Michigan, Michigan State and Ohio State to the new Big Ten Conference and Miami (Ohio) to the National Collegiate Hockey Conference.

The league alignments are changing for the 2013-14 season.
No one really has a clue what’s going to happen to the college hockey landscape until after the 2013-2014 season when the new league(s) kick off play. The re-alignment process isn’t over by any means there are still other teams moving and we aren’t sure where those teams will end up.

If UAA and UAF were to end up in the same conference would teams playing in Alaska twice get an extra four non-conference instead of two non-conference games added to their schedule for playing four conference games in Alaska? In the past, the carrot for teams traveling to Alaska to play in a tourney or play non-conference or conference games against UAA and UAF was getting the extra games added to your non-conference schedule, which could mean two more home games and extra money. So I would have to say that there is an economic incentive for teams to make the trip to Alaska even if the Alaska schools don’t pay for their travel. An extra two non-conference game could mean 100,000-200,000 extra dollars added to the athletic departments bottom line (that’s just a guesstimate).