Augustoviz: Omaha, St. Cloud have best shots at WCHA title
- Blog Post by: Roman Augustoviz
- January 27, 2013 - 10:21 PM
1. St. Cloud State, 12-5-1, 25 points, alone in first place with a one-point lead.
Lowdown: The Huskies have four games left at home, six on the road. They play three of the four teams with under .500 records. ... Combined records of teams they play is 33-39-18, which is a .467 winning percentage.
Schedule: at Bemidji State, vs. Gophers, at Colorado College, vs. Michigan Tech, at Wisconsin.
2. Gophers, tied for second at 10-4-4, 24 points
Lowdown: The Gophers have four games at home, five on the road, one at a neutral site (Soldier Field with Badgers). They play first-place St. Cloud State and three other teams in the conference race and one under .500 team, Bemidji State on the last weekend of the regular season. ... Combined records of the teams they play is 40-33-17, a .539 winning percentage.
Schedule: at St. Cloud State, at Wisconsin, vs. UMD, vs. Denver, at Bemidji State
2. Nebraska Omaha, 11-5-2, tied for second at 11-5-2, 24 points ... have tiebreaker edge over U because of more conference wins, so would be second seed if season ended now
Lowdown: The Mavericks have six games at home (one outdoors), four on the road. They don't play SCSU or the Gophers and do play last-place Alaska Anchorage. ... Combined records of the teams they play is 29-42-21, a .429 winning percentage.
Schedule: vs. Michigan Tech, vs. North Dakota (one game outdoors), at Alaska Anchorage, vs. Wisconsin, at UMD
4. North Dakota, tied for fourth at 8-5-5, 21 points
Lowdown: UND plays four games at home, six on the road against teams all in the WCHA race. The combined record of the teams they play is 41-35-16, a .533 winning percentage.
Schedule: vs. Wisconsin, at Nebraska Omaha, at Denver, vs. Bemidji State, at Minnesota State
4. Wisconsin, tied for fourth at 8-5-5, 21 points
Lowdown:The Badgers could win the WCHA or be the spoilers for somebody. They are the only team that plays the top three teams in the standings. UW has five home games left and one outdoors in Chicago against the Gophers, and four on the road. ... Combined record of the teams the Badgers play is 45-29-16, a .589 winning percentage for the toughest schedule of any of the title contenders.
Schedule: at North Dakota, vs. Bemidji State, vs. Gophers (one game at Soldier Field), at Nebraska Omaha, vs. St. Cloud State. ... Badgers also have nonconference series with Penn State on Feb. 24-25 at home.
4. Minnesota State, tied for fourth at 10-9-1, 21 points ... Mavericks have played two more games than everybody else except Alaska Anchorage
Lowdown: Mavericks have to jump over three teams ahead of them in points and have two games fewer than those teams. It will be tough if not impossible, but MSU has won 11 of 12 this season so Mavericks can get hot. ... Combined record of teams they play is 27-32-13, a .465 winning percentage.
Schedule: at UMD, vs. Michigan Tech, at Colorado College, vs. North Dakota.
7. Denver, alone in seventh at 8-6-4, 20 points
Lowdown:The Pioneers play six at home, four on the road, including one series at Mariucci. The end the regular-season with Alaska Anchorage at home on a Sunday -- the day after most conference teams finish. Will seeding be waiting on DU score? .... The teams the Pioneers play have a cominbed record of 34-41-17, a .462 winning percentage.
Schedule: at UMD, vs. Colorado College, vs. North Dakota, at Gophers, vs. Alaska Anchorage
8. Minnesota Duluth, alone in eight at 8-7-3, 19 points
Lowdown: The Bulldogs were the 2011 NCAA champions. Chances of them jumping over seven teams to win the MacNaughton Cup are pretty slim. One or two of those teams, at least, will get hot. ... Bulldogs play six at home, four on the road. ... The teams the Bulldogs play have a combined record of 43-34-15, a .549 winning percentage. ... Also play Alabama Huntsville in a nonconference series.
Schedule: vs. Denver, vs. Minnesota State, at Bemidji State, at Gophers, vs. Nebraska Omaha.
So, to repeat, here are the winning percentages of the opponents that the teams in MacNaughton Cup contention still have to play:
Minnesota Duluth, .549
North Dakota, .533
St. Cloud State, .467
Minnesota State, .465
Nebraska Omaha, .429
UNO looks like it is in the best position to win the MacNaughton Cup. The Mavericks are 4-1-1 in their last six games and have already swept two of the teams they still have to play: Michigan Tech and UMD. They do have potentially tough series with North Dakota and Wisconsin, but both are at home.
Their goaltending is a little suspect with John Faulkner and question marks after him, but the Mavericks put a lot of shots on net and can score goals. They could finish 8-2, 7-3 and see if anyone can keep up.
The Gophers? They are in surprisingly good position, considering they have one WCHA sweep all season, beating Alaska Anchorage. They need to string some conference wins together and haven't showed they can. Although they were 8-0-2 until losing to Minnesota State on Friday.
First-place St. Cloud State looks dangerous, too. Since losing to Northern Michigan 6-2, 2-1 on the first weekend of 2013, the Huskies have swept Denver and taken three of a possible four points from North Dakota on the road. That's a nice little 3-0-1 roll.
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