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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Staying on top in WCHA will be a challenge this season

Posted by: Roman Augustoviz under Gophers, Men's hockey Updated: January 8, 2013 - 5:32 AM

This is shaping up as a crazy final season in the WCHA before the conference is massively re-configured.

Nebraska Omaha moved into first place in the conference by one point after Saturday's conference games. The top six teams are a mere four points apart. UNO has 19 points while the Gophers, ranked No. 1 in the nation, are way down in sixth with 15 points but have two games in hand over four of the five teams ahead of them.

The top six:

1. Nebraska Omaha   9-4-1    19 pts.

Comments: Red Mavericks swept Colorado College last weekend to move into first place in WCHA. Done with Gophers

2. St. Cloud State       9-5-0     18 pts.

Comments: Got swept by Northern Michigan, a team tied for 10th in the CCHA, at National Hockey Center last weekend in nonconference series. Host Gophers Feb. 8-9.

3. (tie) North Dakota  7-2-3      17 pts. (only 12 games, so two in hand against most of the top teams)

Comments: The team formerly known as the Fighting Sioux is 6-0-1 in its last seven games -- that's the third longest current unbeaten streak in the nation. UND plays at Minnesota on Feb. 18-19.

4. (tie) Denver             7-4-3      17 pts.

Comments: After an eight-game winless streak (0-5-3), the  Pioneers have won three in a row. They come to Mariucci on March 1-2.

5. Minnesota State Mankato   8-6-0   16 pts.

Comments: Mavericks are 11-1-0 in last 12 games. Nobody is hotter in the WCHA. Home and home with Gophers on Jan. 25-26.

6. Gophers                 6-3-3       15 pts.

Comments: Gophers have not swept a conference series yet. Have either a loss or tie in all six. So they are averaging 1.25 points per conference game, and are on pace to finish with 35 points. Can'r repeat as MacNaughton Cup champs with that total.

 WHO'S IN FIRST

The first-place team at the end of the night on these WCHA game nights:

Oct. 19 -- Michigan Tech

Oct. 20 -- Michigan Tech and Gophers

Oct.. 26 -- Michigan Tech, Gophers, Denver, Minnesota Duluth, North Dakota, St. Cloud State

 Oct. 27 -- Denver, St. Cloud State

Nov. 2 -- St. Cloud State

Nov. 3 -- Denver and St. Cloud State

Nov. 9 -- Denver

Nov. 10 -- Denver

Nov. 16 -- Denver

Nov. 17 -- Denver

Nov. 23 -- Denver

Nov. 24 -- Denver

Nov. 30 -- Denver

Dec. 1 -- Denver

Dec. 7 -- Denver

Dec. 8 -- Denver

Dec. 14 -- Denver

Dec. 15 -- St. Cloud State

Jan. 4 -- St. Cloud State

Jan. 5 --- Nebraska Omaha

Denver had been in first place or tied for first almost every day since the second weekend of the season.

But St. Cloud State passed the Pioneers in mid-December, and after a short stay in first, has been passed by UNO.  The first place carousel could continue to turn like that the rest of the season.

GOPHERS' RUNAWAY

That's a far cry from a year ago.

During the 2011-12 season, the Gophers' either were in first place in the WCHA or tied for the lead every day of the season except one 24-hour period. A 6-0-0 league start obviously helped.

Remember which team led the league for one night and one day? Minnesota Duluth. On Jan. 13, the Bulldogs beat Nebraska Omaha 6-2 for 24 points in the league standings while the Gophers lost to North Dakota 2-1 and stayed at 22 points. The next day, the Gophers won and UMD lost and it was a tie at the top again.

The Gophers broke the tie on Jan.21 and led the rest of the season.

A look at the Gophers' run to the MacNaughton Cup in 2011-12:

Oct. 14, first day of season

Gophers beat UMD 5-4 for share of first place with Colorado College and Michigan Tech ... all have two points

Oct. 15, second day of season

Gophers win again, but so do CC and Michigan Tech ... all have  four points

Oct. 21, Gophers, CC and Michigan Tech, none play a WCHA series ... all have four points

Oct. 22, Gophers, CC and Michigan Tech joined at top of standings by  Bemidji State, Denver and Nebraska Omaha and Wisconsin, who all sweep series ... seven teams all have four points

Oct. 28 ... Gophers beat Alaska Anchorage for third WCHA win ...  Gophers, Michigan Tech and Nebraska Omaha share lead with six points

Oct. 29 ...  Gophers beat Alaska Anchorage again ... alone in first, have eight points

Dec. 9 ... UMD ties Gophers for first, both have 20 points ... two teams remain tied through Jan. 12

Jan. 13 ... UMD beats Nebraska Omaha 6-2, Gophers lose to North Dakota 2-1 ... Bulldogs take first with 24 points to the Gophers' 22

Jan. 14 ... Two are tied again and remain tied through Jan. 20

Jan. 21 ... Gophers retake sole possession of first place in the WCHA with 26 points to UMD's 24 and remain alone in first the rest of the season

 

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Buffalo 12/28/14 12:00 PM
New England
Cleveland 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore
Dallas 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Washington
Indianapolis 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
Jacksonville 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Houston
San Diego 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
NY Jets 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Miami
Chicago 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Minnesota
Philadelphia 12/28/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
New Orleans 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Carolina 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Atlanta
Detroit 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Green Bay
Oakland 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Denver
Arizona 12/28/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
St. Louis 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Seattle
Cincinnati 12/28/14 7:30 PM
Pittsburgh
Brooklyn 109 FINAL
Boston 107
Cleveland 98 FINAL
Orlando 89
Indiana 109 FINAL
Detroit 119
Milwaukee 107 FINAL
Atlanta 77
Houston 117 FINAL
Memphis 111
San Antonio 90 FINAL
New Orleans 97
Charlotte 75 FINAL
Oklahoma City 98
LA Lakers 98 FINAL
Dallas 102
Minnesota 102 FINAL
Denver 106
Philadelphia 93 FINAL
Portland 114
Phoenix 115 FINAL
Sacramento 106
Illinois 18 FINAL
Louisiana Tech 35
Rutgers 40 FINAL
North Carolina 21
NC State 34 FINAL
UCF 27
Cincinnati 12:00 PM
Virginia Tech
(15) Arizona State 1:10 PM
Duke
Miami-Florida 2:30 PM
So Carolina
Boston College 3:30 PM
Penn State
(25) Nebraska 7:00 PM
(24) USC
Texas A&M 12/29/14 1:00 PM
West Virginia
Oklahoma 12/29/14 4:30 PM
(18) Clemson
Arkansas 12/29/14 8:00 PM
Texas
Notre Dame 12/30/14 2:00 PM
(22) LSU
(13) Georgia 12/30/14 5:45 PM
(20) Louisville
Maryland 12/30/14 9:00 PM
Stanford
(9) Ole Miss 12/31/14 11:30 AM
(6) TCU
(21) Boise State 12/31/14 3:00 PM
(12) Arizona
(8) Miss State 12/31/14 7:00 PM
(10) Georgia Tech
(19) Auburn 1/1/15 11:00 AM
(17) Wisconsin
(7) Michigan State 1/1/15 11:30 AM
(4) Baylor
(16) Missouri 1/1/15 12:00 PM
Minnesota
(2) Florida State 1/1/15 4:00 PM
(3) Oregon
(5) Ohio State 1/1/15 7:30 PM
(1) Alabama
Houston 1/2/15 11:00 AM
Pittsburgh
Iowa 1/2/15 2:20 PM
Tennessee
(11) Kansas State 1/2/15 5:45 PM
(14) UCLA
Washington 1/2/15 9:15 PM
Oklahoma State
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<
Gophers Football Time W L Score
2014 season     
Aug 28 - vs. E. Illinois 6 pmX42-20
Sep 6 - vs. M. Tennessee St. 2:30 pmX35-24
Sep 13 - at TCU 3 pmX30-7
Sep 20 - vs. San Jose St. 3 p.m.X24-7
Sep 27 - at Michigan 2:30 pmX30-14
Oct 11 - vs. Northwestern 11 amX24-17
Oct 18 - vs. Purdue 11 amX39-38
Oct 25 - at Illinois 11 amX28-24
Nov 8 - vs. Iowa 11 amX51-14
Nov 15 - vs. Ohio State 11 amX31-24
Nov 22 - at Nebraska 11 amX28-24
Nov 29 - at Wisconsin 2:30 pmX34-24
Jan 1 - vs. Missouri noon

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