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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WCHA very predictable so far -- how long can that trend continue?

Posted by: Roman Augustoviz under College hockey, WCHA news Updated: October 28, 2011 - 11:59 AM

Home sweet home.

If somebody who knows nothing about hockey were picking WCHA games this season and he or she just went with home teams, his or her record would be 12-2.

That's right. In seven conference series, the home team has swept six of them. The one exception was two weeks ago when the Gophers went to Duluth and swept the UMD Bulldogs 5-4 in overtime and 5-4 in regulation.

UMD easily could have won both games. The Gophers scored in the last minute of the third period (Erik Haula) and the last minute of overtime (Nate Condon) to tie Friday night's game that weekend and then win it. In the second game on Saturday, the Gophers were outshot 3-1 but UMD goalie Ken Reiter went to sleep a couple of times and the U won anyway.

So will this trend of home dominance and nothing but sweeps continue? Doesn't seem possible.

Here is a look at this week's games:

WCHA

Gophers at Alaska Anchorage: Don Lucia's boys are 13-3-2 in their nine visits to the 49th state. Impressive. But UAA has won four of last five meetings. Impressive. The Seawolves have sophomore goalie Chris Kamal, the Gopher killer. He was 3-0 against the U last season and shut them out twice. Coach Dave Shyiak has been rotating his sophomore netminders, Rob Gunderson and Kamal, but it's hard to imagine he is not tempted to start Kamal the first night.

The Gophers are the highest scoring team in the land, almost six goals per game, have the best power play, almost 40 percent, and have one of the best freshmen in the league in Kyle Rau. But they need to figure out how to get shots on net. Last series -- and nobody wants to remember that -- the Seawolves blocked 25 shots in each game as they swept the Gophers 5-3 and 2-0 at Mariucci. How about faking a shot once and going around a D? The Gophers never did that, making it east for UAA players to go down and clog the lanes.

The U has their only solid goalie in Kent Patterson. Both teams are coming off losses, in UAA's case, two losses. Gophers are riled up for this series, but Anchorage is tough place to play ... so this weekend these teams will SPLIT.

Bemidji State at Minnesota Duluth: The Beavers are coming off a sweep of Michigan Tech. UMD beat and tied Providence on road last weekend and so far have been so-so at Amsoil Arena, the new home they moved into in late December. ... SPLIT

St. Cloud State at North Dakota: In two years, these teams will be conference rivals in The National, the shortened name of the new conference they are joining. But they have a strong rivalry in the WCHA  these days. Fighting Sioux are a bit down from being swept at Wisconsin 5-3 and 5-4. Huskies beat and tied New Hampshire last week. ... SPLIT

Nebraska Omaha at Wisconsin: The Mavs swept Alaska Anchorage last weekend, the Badgers took two from North Dakota. UNO was picked to finish in upper half of WCHA, UW in bottom half. ... SPLIT

Denver at Michigan Tech: The Huskies are an improved team and one of their two WCHA wins last season was over the Pioneers. DU should remember that and not take Tech lightly... DU SWEEPS

NONCONFERENCE

Colorado College at RPI: Both were NCAA tournaments teams last season. But CC has a handful of top end players, the Engineers don't. ... CC SWEEPS

 

 

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