WCHA picks: Looks like top teams -- and bottom -- paired this week

  • Blog Post by: $author
  • December 7, 2012 - 1:43 PM

A look at this week's six WCHA series:

Gophers (10-3-2, 5-3-2 WCHA) at Colorado College (8-7-1, 5-3-0)

The Tigers, tied for fifth in the WCHA, will play a nationally ranked team for the fourth weekend in a row. They have not done so well so far against the big boys. They are in a 1-4-1 tailspin although showing signs of getting out of it. Last weekend they beat North Dakota 5-3 on Friday and had a 2-1 lead into the last minute of Saturday's game, but the team formerly known as the Fighting Sioux scored with seconds left then won 3-2 in overtime. CC can score, they lead the WCHA with 59 goals but have given up almost as many, 55. They have scored four or more goals eight times. The last time the Gophers played at Colorado Springs World Arena, they won 4-1, 9-4 in Oct. 2010.

CC is averaging 3.69 goals per game -- fifth in the country. Tigers captain William Rapuzzi has at least one point in seven games. He is one of seven players with 12 points or more. The Tigers have played three overtime games in the last four games and are 0-2-1 in them. Opponents are averaging 46 shots on net those last four games.

The Gophers have played five WCHA series and earned either two or three points in each. They have not swept anyone yet. "We will try to win 3-2," U coach Don Lucia said on his Monday weekly radio show. "I don't think we are in a position to outscore them."

The U has the top defense in the WCHA; it is giving up only 1.87 goals per game, and the second best power play, clicking at 22.2 percent. Pick: Split 

Denver (9-4-1, 5-2-1) at North Dakota (7-5-2, 4-2-2)

 The Pioneers are coming off a one-point weekend. They tied Wisconsin 1-1 and lost 3-1 to the Badgers. Nick Shore leads the team in points (6-12-18), Chris Knowlton leads in goals (eight). DU is averaging 3.71 goals per game, tied for third nationally and giving up only 2.43 goals. ... The team formerly known as the Fighting Sioux has won six of the last eight games with DU, including a 4-0 win in the championship game of the Final Five last season. UND's penalty kill is at 87.5 percent, second best in the conference. Pick: UND sweeps

Nebraska Omaha (9-4-1, 5-2-1) at St. Cloud State (8-6-0, 6-4-0)

UNO had a seven-game win streak snapped by a 3-2 loss to the Gopher on Saturday. Junior forward Ryan Walters (6-14-20) leads the WCHA in scoring. The Mavericks are 3-1-0 on the road this season. Their junior class leads the nation in points with 79 and goals with 29. UNO was 1-2-1 vs. St. Cloud State last season ... This series starts a 10-game homestand for the Huskies. SCSU is coming off a split in Alaska-Anchorage. Trailing 3-0 at one point, the Huskies won the first game 4-3 in overtime but lost the second 3-1 when they fell behind 3-0 again. Drew LeBlanc (5-13-18) leads the team in scoring. Pick: Huskies sweep

Alaska Anchorage (3-5-4, 1-4-3) at Minnesota State (7-5-2, 5-5-0)

The Mavericks have won four WCHA games in a row, sweeping Wisconsin in Madison and Bemidji State at home. This is the first time they have won four in a row since 2007-08. They were 2-1-1 vs. UAA last season. Sophomore forward Matt Leitner has an eight-game scoring streak (3-9-12), senior foraward Eriah Hayes a six-game streak (6-2-8). MSU Mankato's opponents have only two power play goals in the past six games. UAA should come into this series more fired up than usually after beating St. Cloud State 3-1 last Saturday, breaking a seven-game winless streak in the conference.  Pick: Mavs sweep

Michigan Tech (4-7-1, 3-6-1) at Wisconsin (2-7-3, 2-5-3)

After playing twice in 26 days, the Huskies will play their fourth and fifth games in nine days on Friday and Saturday in Madison. Michigan Tech lost 2-1 to Northern Michigan on Tuesday in a game with four video reviews. The Huskies are 0-7-1 when their opponent scores first, 4-1-0 if they get the first goal. Freshman Alex Petan (4-9-12) leads Tech in scoring. Sophomore Blake Pietila has eight goals. ... The Badgers have won seven in a row at home against Tech, but were swept in Houghton, Mich., last season, losing twice in overtime. Wisconsin is coming off a three-point weekend in Denver. Freshman Nic Kerdiles joined the team for that series after sitting out 10 games because of an NCAA rules violation. Pick: Split                                       

Bemidji State (3-7-2, 2-6-2) at Minnesota Duluth (4-7-3, 2-5-3)

BSU coach Tom Serratore remains two victories shy of 200 wins after his Beavers were swept 3-0, 6-1 last weekend by Minnesota State Mankato. Senior forward Jordan George (3-6-9) leads the low-scoring Beavers in scoring and has fared especially well against UMD with three goals and three assists in seven games. BSU is 0-4-2 on Fridays, 3-5-0 on Saturdays. ... UMD coach Scott Sandelin will coach his 500th game at the school on Friday. He is in his 13th season there. Senior forward Mike Seidel (10-7-17) leads the team in scoring and the nation in power-play goals with six. UMD's power play is at a potent 25.4 percent. Pick: Bulldogs sweep





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