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 co-leaders DU and SCSU meet this weekend

Posted by: Roman Augustoviz under WCHA news Updated: November 1, 2012 - 5:21 AM

The biggest series of the weekend in the WCHA is in Denver. There the St. Cloud Huskies, 4-2-0, play the Pioneers, 4-0-0, for first place if either team can sweep. Both are 2-0-0 in the WCHA, tied at the top with four points.

Both teams also have won four games in a row.

This is the first time DU has started 4-0-0 since 2008. The Pioneers also have scored five goals in every win. They have not scored that many goals -- five or more --  in each of their first five games since 1987.

DU, which has seven NHL draft picks on its roster, is ranked No. 3 nationally behind Boston College and the Gophers in both major polls. The Pioneers, picked to finish third in preseason conference polls, returned 18 lettermen. Their strength was expected to be defense and so it has been.

Three of DU's top scorers play on the blue line. Sophomore Joey LaLeggia (3-3-6), junior David Makowski (2-3-5) and freshman Nolan Zajac (1-4-5) are all off to good starts. Except for the first period of the season, the Pioneers have scored at least one goal in every period.

Junior goalie Sam Britain has a 1.00 goals-against average and a .970 save percentage in two victories.

Special teams are another DU strength. The Pioneers' power play is six of 16, 37.5 percent. The penalty kill is 17 of 19, or 89.5 percent.

DU is 39-33-4 vs. St. Cloud State all-time.

SCSU is ranked No. 18 in the latest USCHO.com poll. The Huskies were picked to finish fourth in the WCHA in the preseason coaches' poll, sixth in the media poll.

Nic Dowd (4-6-10) and Drew LeBlanc (3-7-10) are the Huskies' top scorers. SCSU beat Minnesota State Mankato twice last weekend by 5-1 scores. Will the winner this weekend be the first team to five goals?

Sophomore Ryan Faragher is playing well in the Huskies' nets.  He has a 2.23 goals-against average and a .925 save percentage.

SCSU is averaging 4.5 goals per game, fifth in the nation. DU at 5.0 goals per game is tied for first.

Huskies captain Ben Hanowski is doubtful for the Denver series because of an upper body injury suffered last Friday against the Mavericks. Freshman center Dave Morley is day-to-day wtih a lower body injury.

Sophomore forward Joey Holka is expected to practice several days before the DU series and might play. And freshman forwatd Joey Benik, who broke his leg at SCSU's first practice, should get his cast off next week.

Huskies coach Bob Motzko is 9-9-0 against Denver.

FOLLOW DU

The Pioneers are actively trying to get more followers on Twitter. Here is how to follow coach George Gwozdecky and 17 players:

@CoachGwoz
Garrett Allen (@G_A_17)
Josiah Didier (@jdidier4)
Daniel Doremus (@DWD19)
Zack Hope (@zhope30)
Larkin Jacobson (@LJBigMoney14)
Joey LaLeggia (@JLeggy21)
Zac Larraza (@zaclarraza16)
Gabe Levin (@GLev61)
Ty Loney (@LoneyToon12)
Scott Mayfield (@scottmayfield2)
Dakota Mermis (@dmermis06)
Juho Olkinuora (@dojussime)
Shawn Ostrow (@sostrow26)
Nick Shore (@nshore23)
Quentin Shore (@qshore27)
Matt Tabrum (@HewTabrum14)
Nolan Zajac (@nzajer11)

 

 

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