Forget the 32-0 record the women's hockey team at the U has. They go into each game with an advantage up front, on the blue line and in goal.
The men's team has as much talent or more than any team they play, i.e. remember that 8-1 walloping of Boston College. Yet somehow Don Lucia's troops have managed to sweep just one WCHA series this season. That would be last place Alaska Anchorage, at home. And that shouldn't even count. UAA has two conference wins all season.
And yet, the Gophers are in the thick of the WCHA race, and could even win it without sweeping another conference team. The maroon and gold have three conference series left -- vs. UMD and Denver at home and at Bemidji State.
Say they get three points each weekend -- like they have four times in the WCHA already -- they would finish with 37 points. And if first-place St. Cloud State goes 3-3, the Huskies would also have 37 points and the two might be co-champions. That would be truly remarkable.
Other WCHA teams have not had problems sweeping. Here is the breakdown of the 29 sweeps this season:
Minnesota State: Nov. 23-24 @ Wisconsin (4-2, 4-2); Nov. 30-Dec. 1 vs Bemidji St. (3-0, 6-1); Dec. 7-8 vs Alaska Anchorage (3-1, 3-0); Feb. 8-9 @ Minnesota Duluth (4-2, 5-1); Feb. 15-16 vs MTU (4-2, 6-1).
Nebraska Omaha: Nov. 2-3 @ Michigan Tech (2-1, W 5-3); Nov. 10-11 vs Minnesota Duluth (3-2, 6-3); Jan. 4-5 vs Colorado College (8-4, 3-1); Jan. 25-26 @ Bemidji State (5-3, 2-1); Feb. 15-16 @ UAA (3-0, 6-5 OT).
Denver: Oct. 26-27 vs Michigan Tech (5-1, 5-2); Nov. 9-10 @ Minnesota State (4-3, 3-2); Nov. 16 @ Colorado College (6-5), Nov. 17 vs Colorado College (6-2); Feb. 1-2 @ Minnesota Duluth (3-0, 4-3).
St. Cloud State: Oct. 26-27 vs Minnesota State (5-1, 5-1); Dec. 14-15 vs Colorado College (5-3, 3-1); Jan. 18-19 vs Denver (5-2, 5-1); Feb. 1-2 @ Bemidji State (4-0, 4-1).
Wisconsin: Jan. 4-5 @ Alaska Anchorage (5-3, 1-0); Jan. 11-12 @ Minnesota State (4-3 OT, 2-1 OT); Jan. 25-26 vs Alaska Anchorage (5-2, 2-1).
Colorado College: Nov. 2-3 @ Wisconsin (5-4, 3-0); Nov. 9-10 vs Bemidji State (3-2, 6-3).
Minnesota Duluth: Dec. 14-15 @ Alaska Anchorage (5-1, 2-1); Jan. 11-12 vs Michigan Tech (1-0, 5-4).
North Dakota: Dec. 14-15 @ Michigan Tech (6-1, 4-1); Feb. 8-9 @ Nebraska Omaha (W 2-1, W 5-2).
Gophers: Jan. 11-12 vs Alaska Anchorage (4-3, 7-1).
Michigan Tech: Nov. 16-17 @ Bemidji State (5-4 OT, 2-1 OT).
Comments: Alaska Anchorage has been swept six times. ...Teams have swept on the road 14 times, at home 11 times and there was one home-and-home series sweep by the Pioneers over Colorado College.
* Last season the Gophers were 20-8-0 for 40 points en route to the WCHA regular-season title. Now they are 12-6-4 -- for 28 points -- meaning the most victories they could have would be 18 this season with a 6-0 finish.
* The Seawolves are assured of finishing in last place. Bemidji State and Michigan Tech, tied for 10th place, are assured of starting the first round of the WCHA playoffs on the road like UAA.
* Coach Don Lucia said his team has to get two wins on the same weekend before the season ends to win the WCHA title. He is probably right there. SCSU is too hot -- 9-1-1 in last 11 conference games -- to catch with three-point weekends or splits the rest of the way.
The Huskies finish the season at Colorado College, an offensively talented team, play Michigan Tech at home -- good sweep chance -- and at Wisconsin, Badgers are tough defensively indoors or outdoors, ask any Gopher.