Roman Augustoviz spends Minnesota's winters covering college hockey, specifically the Gophers, and other University of Minnesota sports. During the summer, he writes about the WNBA's Minnesota Lynx, with a dose of U sports sprinkled in. Follow him on Twitter @RomanStrib.

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North Dakota should sweep struggling Badgers at Kohl

Posted by: Roman Augustoviz under WCHA news Updated: October 20, 2011 - 11:12 PM

Usually I don't do this, but I am splitting up my picks this week. This post takes a look at the four WCHA series this weekend. Another post on Friday morning will analyze the three nonconference series involving WCHA teams this weekend: Vermont at the Gophers, UMD at Providence and New Hampshire. Colorado College, the 12th WCHA team, is idle this weekend.

I was 4-2 picking WCHA games the first weekend of conference play. Something to build on perhaps.

Here are the WCHA matchups:

North Dakota (2-1-1, 0-0-0) at Wisconsin (1-3-0, 0-2-0): The No. 5/6-ranked Fighting SIoux swept the Badgers 1-0 and 4-2 last November in Madison and are 6-3 in their last nine games at the Kohl Center. North Dakota also has  been a good road team recently, going 14-2-1 in its last 17 conference games away. The SIoux are coming off a 3-1 win and a 3-3 tie with visiting Maine. Junior center Corban Knight (3-3--6) is on a four-game points streak for UND. ... WIsconsin has three losses already, all in overtime. Last weekend the Badgers lost at Michigan Tech 2-1 and 3-2. Opponents have scored the first goal in every game. Sophomore Tyler Barnes has a goal in each of the past three games. Freshmen Landon Peterson and Joel Rumpel split games in the net at Houghton. This weekend Sioux will SWEEP 

Alaska Anchorage (3-0-1, 0-0-0) at Nebraska Omaha (1-3-0): UAA beat UNO 3-0 on Oct. 14 in a preseason tournament in Fairbanks. It was a notable game because neither team was called for a penalty. Sophomore Rob Gunderson got the shutout and an assist. Alaska Anchorage has a 2-1-1 all-time edge over the Mavericks. The Seawolves are averaging 38 shots per game and staying out of the penalty box. ... After losing to UAA with goalie John Faulkner making a school record 43rd consecutive start, the Mavericks lost to Alaska Fairbanks 4-1 the next night with freshman Ryan Massa in the nets. Terry Broadhurst had the only goal for UNO in those two games. The Mavericks were 10-3-1 in WCHA home games last season.  This weekend the two teams SPLIT.

P.S. The Gopher travel to UAA next weekend, so the Seawolves are a team to watch.

Michigan Tech (4-0-0, 2-0-0) at Bemidji State (1-3-0, 0-2-0): The Beavers started the season at then-No. 1 ranked Miami and at Colorado College, one of the conference favorites. Last weekend they lost to CC 3-1 and 6-4 despite scoring three power play goals the second night. Now they face surprising Tech, under new coach Mel Pearson. The Huskies beat Wisconsin 2-1 and 3-2 last weekend in two overtime games to equal their conference win total in 2010-11. One reason for Tech's fast start is goalie Jordan George; he is 3-0 with a 1.31 goals-against average. Last season Bemidji State traveled to Houghton and tied the Huskies 2-2 in one game and one the other 1-0 on Jordan George's goal with 1:33 left.  Expect another low-scoring series and a SPLIT

 Minnesota State Mankato (1-3-0, 0-0-0) at Denver (1-1-0, 0-0-0): The Pioneers went out East and beat then-No. 1 Boston College 4-2, but lost to then-No. 8 Boston University 4-3. Adam Murray was in nets both games for DU because Sam Brittain is out the first half of the season after knee surgery while freshman Juho Olkinuora was serving a three-game suspension which is over Saturday. Freshman forward Matt Tabrum is back after a four-game suspension which included two exhibition games.  DU is 10-0-2 against the Mavericks in their last 12 meetings. But the Pios' pp needs work it was 0 for 10 in two games in Boston and BU scored two short-handed goals. ... MSU opened the season with a split against RPI, winning 1-4, losing 4-1, then was swept by Mass-Lowell 4-1, 4-2. Mavericks have scored only five goals in four games and their pp is 0 for 17. ... So what will happen? Coach George Gwozdecky has 10 NHL draft picks on his roster and needs one win for 400 at DU. The No. 3-rated Pios will SWEEP.

P.S. Saturday's game can be seen free on Pioneers' facebook page.

EARLY DEPARTUES AT DU

A total of 14 student-athletes have left DU early to pursue their professional careers since head
coach George Gwozdecky’s arrival in 1994-95:

Matt Pettinger .................................1999
Mark Rycroft ....................................2000
Brett Skinner ...................................2005
Matt Carle.........................................2006
Paul Stastny.....................................2006
Ryan Dingle .....................................2007
Geoff Paukovich...............................2007
Brock Trotter ....................................2008
Chris Butler ......................................2008
Tyler Bozak........................................2009
Marc Cheverie ..................................2010
Joe Colborne ....................................2010
Patrick Wiercioch ..............................2010
Matt Donovan.....................................2011

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