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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Hot races abound in WCHA for best spots; Gophers will split

Posted by: Roman Augustoviz under Gophers, Men's hockey Updated: February 17, 2012 - 3:21 PM

There will be some scoreboard watching around the WCHA this weekend. The standings are so close everywhere except for 12th place. Alaska Anchorage looks to have a lock on the cellar with nine points -- seven behind Wisconsin.

Here are the battles:

At the top/ Three teams are within two points. The Gophers are in first place, where they have been all season long after a 6-0-0 start. UMD, which has been tied for first at times, is lurking one point back. And Denver is two points back. Those three could all be scrambled up by the end of the weekend.

The Gophers have the toughest draw, but are at home.

Bemidji State (15-12-3, 9-10-3) at Gophers (19-11-1, 15-7-0). The Beavers took the Gophers to overtime twice in Bemidji at the end of last season. The first game ended in a 2-2 tie, the Gophers won the second game 3-2 in overtime on Nick Bjugstad's goal. He had three goals in the series. Bemidji State has been much better at home, 11-4-1, than on the road, 4-8-2. But up and down Gophers will put themselves closer to being an NCAA bubble team with a ... SPLIT

Have to admit I'm a little down on U-men after I predicted they would sweep Denver last weekend and instead they got swept.

UMD (19-7-4, 13-6-3) at Minnesota State (12-19-1, 8-15-1). J.T. Brown, one of Bulldogs' best forwards is out. UMD is 10-1-1 in its last 12 games against Mavs. Minnesota State is 7-4-0 in its last 11 games after sweeping Alaska Anchorage 3-2 and 2-1 last weekend with junior goalie Phil Cook in the nest both games. ... UMD WINS, TIES

Denver (17-9-4, 12-6-4) at Wisconsin (12-14-2, 7-13-2). Remember being mocked and ridiculed for picking the Badgers to finish 10th in my preseason ratings. They are 11th and on a four-game losing streak after being swept on the road at North Dakota and at home by St. Cloud State. DU is an amazing 15-3-3 against the Badgers at the Kohl Center. ... SPLIT

In the middle/ Six teams are separated by four points. Colorado College and Nebraska Omaha are tied for fourth with 25 points. North Dakota is one point behind them, Michigan Tech two points and Bemidji State and St. Cloud State, tied for eighth, are four points.

The top six teams get home ice for the first round of the WCHA playoffs.

Michigan Tech (13-14-3, 10-9-3) at North Dakota (16-11-2. 12-10-0). Tech is trying to get home ice for the first time since 1992-93. The Huskies have stayed near .500 this season by going 3-0-3 in overtime games, including a win in OT against the Gophers. Their power play is at 92.3 percent in 2012. Sophomore Milos Gordic, a 6-5, 210 forward, is expected back this weekend after missing four games with an upper body injury. ... The Sioux have won their last 11 games against Tech. North Dakota is coming off a split at UMD; junior Carter Rowney had four goals and an assist in those games. ... SIOUX WIN, TIE

Nebraska Omaha (13-11-6, 10-7-5) at Colorado College (15-11-2, 12-9-1). These teams are tied for fourth place. Matt White has 36 points and Terry Broadhurst 34 points to lead UNO. The Mavs split with CC in early November in Omaha. UNO won the first game 7-5, CC the second 5-2. ... CC had as many as seven regulars out last weekend when they were swept on the road at Bemidji State. Junor ceter Rylan Schwartz needs two points for 100. His brother Jaden has points in 20 of the 22 games he has played in. ... SPLIT

Alaska Anchorage (7-19-2, 4-19-1) at St. Cloud State. UAA has only won twice on the road in conference play this season and the Seawolves last win at St. Cloud was in 1987. SCSU is 6-3-1 against Alaska Anchorage in their last 10 meetings. ... The Huskies are coming off a bye week. Junior Ben Hanowski leads SCSU with 17 goals and 33 points. ... HUSKIES SWEEP

At the bottom/ Minnesota State and Wisconsin are battling for 10th place. The Mavs, who have only four conference games left, have 17 points, the Badgers 16.

 

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