Thursday, October 25, 2007

Weekend Preview: Oct. 25-28

Alaska Anchorage
Friday & Saturday – vs. Minnesota State

The undefeated – yes, I said undefeated – Alaska Anchorage Seawolves enjoy one more weekend in Anchorage before taking hitting the road for ten of their next 14 games. On paper, it would appear as though they have the ideal opponent coming to the Sullivan Arena in the form of Minnesota State. The Mavericks have played just two games so far, both losses to Michigan Tech. Sophomores Josh Lunden and Kevin Clark both have eight points, while Winston DayChief is the reigning WCHA Freshman of the Week.

Colorado College
Friday & Saturday – at New Hampshire

In arguably the best series – WCHA-related or not – the Colorado College Tigers head to Durham to take on the New Hampshire Wildcats in what should be a terrific pair of hockey games. Both teams are used to playing on the 200’ x 100’ sheet of ice that the Whittemore Center houses, so the games should be very entertaining if you like end-to-end action. The Tigers, of course, swept the Gophers in Colorado Springs last weekend and are 2-0-0 on the season. UNH has played just one regular season game, and was impressive in topping Boston University by a 4-1 score in the Terriers’ barn.

Friday & Saturday – vs. Minnesota Duluth

The Denver Pioneers will open up WCHA play this weekend after going an impressive 3-1 in a pair of home games against Maine (two wins) and two games in South Bend, Ind. against Notre Dame (1-1). The Pioneers have used a very balanced scoring attack up to this point, as eight players have two points or more. Not surprisingly though, their three leading point getters – Brock Trotter, Tyler Ruegsegger, and Chris Butler – were all players that head coach George Gwozdecky was counting on heading into the season. Senior goalie Peter Mannino has minuscule 1.51 goals against average to compliment his .935 save percentage.

Michigan Tech
Friday & Saturday – vs. North Dakota

After dropping the first game of their season to Northern Michigan, the Huskies have rebounded to win three straight games by a combined score of 13-4. The competition will certainly be much tougher this weekend as they welcome the North Dakota Fighting Sioux to Houghton. One of they keys to the weekend for Tech will be to get great goaltending out of juniors Michael-Lee Teslak and/or Rob Nolan. Both have been very good against not-so-good competition this season, but they will really have to be on top of their game(s) if the Huskies hope to hang with UND.

Thursday & Friday – vs. Ohio State; Saturday vs. U.S. NTDP Under-18 Team

Minnesota will look to rebound in non-conference action this weekend as they take on the Ohio State Buckeyes at Mariucci Arena. The Maroon and Gold was swept at Colorado College last weekend in a pair of tightly contested affairs. Minnesota swept the Buckeyes in Columbus last October, and has not lost to a CCHA foe since Oct. 14 of 2005 (a 4-3 overtime loss to Alaska Fairbanks). Head coach Don Lucia has said that all three of his goalies, including freshman Alex Kangas, will see time this weekend. The Gophers also play the U.S. NTDP Under-18 Team on Saturday night in an exhibition game.

Minnesota Duluth
Friday & Saturday – at Denver

The Bulldogs take to the road this weekend as they look to maintain a piece of first place in the WCHA. Scott Sandelin’s club scored an impressive sweep over St. Cloud State last weekend, and registered a tie and a win in their previous two games against Lake Superior State and Northern Michigan, respectably. Like DU, the ‘Dogs have had many players contributing offensively this season. Eleven players have multiple points, which is something that this UMD team needed having lost their two leading scores off last year’s team (Mason Raymond and Matt Niskanen) to the NHL. Sophomore Alex Stalock will need to stand tall in the team’s first road test of the young season.

Minnesota State
Friday & Saturday – at Alaska Anchorage

The Mavericks were disposed of rather easily last weekend in Houghton at the hands of Michigan Tech, but they will look to bounce back this weekend in Anchorage as they take on the Seawolves. Junior netminder Mike Zacharias played well in both games last weekend; the problem for the Mavs was that on Saturday, he had to come in and relive Dan Tormey, who gave up four goals on 11 shots to the Huskies. The Seawolves have started strong this season, so Minnesota State will need to play well if they hope to leave the Last Frontier with some points.

North Dakota
Friday & Saturday – at Michigan Tech

In addition to hoping for a pair of victories this weekend, the Fighting Sioux are just hoping for the John McInnes Student Ice Arena to have power for both games. North Dakota, of course, skated to a 0-0 tie with Boston College last weekend, but the game was called after two periods because of fog and poor ice conditions due to power failure in the arena. That didn’t phase senior goalie Jean-Philippe Lamoureux, who has played nearly 160 minutes this season without allowing a goal. Junior defensemen Taylor Chorney leads the way for UND with three points. These two contests will be the first WCHA games for the league’s pre-season favorite and current No. 1 team in the country.

St. Cloud State
Friday and Saturday – vs. Bemidji State; Sunday vs. U.S. NTDP Under-18 Team

The Huskies return home to the National Hockey Center this weekend after suffering a tough two-game sweep in Duluth. And though they are taking on a non-conference opponent, WCHA fans have learned not to treat the Bemidji State Beavers lightly. BSU went an impressive 6-5-0 against WCHA teams a year ago and certainly won’t be intimidated heading into St. Cloud. These will be the first road games of the season for Bemidji State, as they are coming off a pair of home losses to Merrimack after winning two versus Army. The Huskies also play the U.S. NTDP Under-18 Team on Sunday night in an exhibition game.


The Badgers are off this weekend as they rest up before taking on Michigan Tech and North Dakota in back-to-back home series in Madison.

Other Noteable Games

Boston University at Michigan

Along with the CC/UNH matchup, this is the other key non-conference series on the weekend. Boston University is off to a rough start, as they possess a 0-1-2 record heading into Yost to take on the Wolverines, who are coming off a road sweep of Northern Michigan. Red Berenson’s team is 3-0-1 on the season and has yet to play a home game.