Friday, November 2, 2007

Weekend Preview: Nov. 2-3

Alaska Anchorage at St. Cloud State
Friday – 7 p.m. CST
Saturday – 7 p.m. CST

For the first time this season, the Alaska Anchorage Seawolves will leave their home state and take to the road for a pair of games. Their opponent, St. Cloud State, is coming off a home sweep of the Bemidji State Beavers, while the Seawolves took just one of a possible four points versus Minnesota State last weekend in Anchorage. SCSU has won four of its six games this season, but those four wins all came at home against “not so stiff” competition in the form of Canisius and Bemidji State. Their two losses, however, were both on the road against a solid team in Minnesota Duluth, so it will be interesting to see how the Huskies play against another WCHA team that appears to be on the upswing.

Colorado College at North Dakota
Friday – 7:30 p.m. CST
Saturday – 7 p.m. CST

The Colorado College Tigers hit the road against this weekend as they take on North Dakota in Grand Forks. The Tigers, who are 2-0-0 in WCHA play this season after sweeping Minnesota two weeks ago in Colorado Springs, are coming off a pair of defeats at New Hampshire last weekend. The Tigers were in both games and certainly played the Wildcats tough, but the bar gets raised a little bit more this weekend against the Fighting Sioux. UND split with Michigan Tech in Houghton last weekend, and will be playing its first home games in nearly three weeks. Expect lots of end-to-end action in this two-game set. One of the key areas in this series is CC’s goaltending. Jean-Philippe Lamoureux has been fantastic this year for UND, so the combination of Drew O’Connell / Richard Bachman will need to be on its game for the Tigers if they hope to leave Grand Forks with any points.

Denver at Minnesota
Friday – 7 p.m. CST (Live on FSN North and FCS Central)
Sunday – 2 p.m. CST (Live on FSN North, FSN Rocky Mountain and FCS Central)

The Minnesota Golden Gophers play their first WCHA home games this weekend as they play host to the Denver Pioneers, who are coming off a home split against Minnesota Duluth. DU has played very well so far this year, having swept the Maine Black Bears at home to open the year, and then gaining a split at Notre Dame. Senior Peter Mannino, who was thought to have needed to play strong if the young Pioneers were going to contend this year, has done just that: he has a .922 save percentage and a 1.69 goals against average. Meanwhile, the Gophers have also received strong play from the combination of Jeff Frazee and Alex Kangas. Minnesota has not allowed more than three goals in any game this year, and held Ohio State to two goals last weekend. The Gopher forwards will need to start increasing their production as Minnesota gets back into WCHA play.

Michigan Tech at Wisconsin
Friday – 7 p.m. CST
Saturday – 7 p.m. CST

After winning three of their first four games before taking last weekend off, the Wisconsin Badgers return to action this weekend as they play host to Michigan Tech. The Huskies split with UND last weekend, and these two games will be their first road games on the season. Because of their strong defense and solid goaltending, it would appear as though the Huskies are built to play well on the road. MTU will be looking to avenge their 4-0 loss to the Badgers in the WCHA Final Five last season. The Badgers, meanwhile, ripped Robert Morris by scores of 7-2 and 8-2 two weeks ago. UW certainly has a fair amount of talent on the ice, but it will be interesting to see if they can keep things going offensively as they get into the WCHA schedule.

Minnesota State at Alabama-Huntsville
Friday – 7 p.m. CST
Saturday – 7 p.m. CST

After playing very poorly in their first two WCHA games, which resulted in a pair of losses at Michigan Tech, rebounded nicely by taking three of four points from Alaska Anchorage last weekend. Junior goalie Mike Zacharias allowed just two goals versus the Seawolves, and will need to continue his strong play for the Mavs to keep winning. Sophomore Trevor Bruess leads the team with three points in four games. Alabama-Huntsville will be playing their first home games of the season this weekend. They opened up the year by topping Canisius by a 4-3 score, but have since dropped three straight to Nebraska-Omaha and UMass Lowell. Look for the Mavericks to get a couple of wins this weekend before taking on Minnesota next weekend.

Minnesota Duluth – No games this week

The Bulldogs, who got two points out of Denver last weekend, are off this weekend. They return to WCHA play next Friday and Saturday as they head back to Colorado to take on the CC Tigers.

Other Noteable Games

Maine at Boston College
Friday – 6 p.m. CST

Assuming Boston College has their arena’s electrical system figured out, this should be a very good game. Maine certainly has the edge in net with junior Ben Bishop, but BC is very deep up front, despite the loss of Brock Bradford until January or February. The Eagles should have the edge at home, and took all three meetings with the Black Bears last season.

Michigan at Nebraska-Omaha
Friday – 7 p.m. CST (Live on CSTV)

Not really a big series, but it’s the only college hockey on national television this weekend aside from the Gophers, and it features two traditionally high-scoring teams, so it could be a fun watch.