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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Gophers would be happy with split -- there's no doubt

Posted by: Roman Augustoviz under North Dakota, WCHA news Updated: January 11, 2011 - 7:01 PM

This week is all about Gophers at North Dakota hockey. Both games are sellouts at the Ralph and "whiteouts" are planned both nights. That means everybody wears white. And Sioux fans are very good about complying.

So here is an early series  forecast -- will provide a more in-depth look at the series later.

Gophers at North Dakota

The No. 2-rated Sioux are on an nine-game unbeaten streak (8-0-1) and twice last season completely manhandled the Gophers in the first game of a series in Grand Forks. But this is a desperate U of M team, one that was up and down the first half of the season. One with only one proven college goalie that's healthy.

After 4-0 and 6-0 drubbings last season, the Gophers tied and won the next game. So give the opener to the Sioux, and the maroon and gold win on Saturday. That would make for a happy bus ride home. Gophers coach Don Lucia said his team needs points from the trip to Grand Forks.  So to sum up, at the Ralph these teams will  ... Split

RATINGS TALK

Yale remains the No. 1 team in both major polls this week. The Elis are 14-1-0.

But six WCHA teams also make the uscho.poll: No. 2 North Dakota, 16-5-2, No. 5. UMD, No. 6 Denver, No. 9 Wisconsin, No. 11 Nebraska Omaha, No. 17 Colorado College.

The USA Today poll, has Yale at the top and UND, UMD and DU in the same spots, but flops Wisconsin and UNO -- so the Mavericks are No. 10, the Badgers No. 11 -- and stops at the top 15. 

A CHEST POUNDING WEEK ...

How easy was forecasting last week? Eye, short for eyeonupuk my twitter account, was a scintillating 9-1 picking college hockey games with WCHA teams. 

THE SIOUX

* North Dakota uprooted Robert Morris 8-0, 2-1. Senior winger Matt Frattin of the Sioux continued to put up  out-of-this-world numbers with goals in each game. He has a goal in eight games in a row and 20 altogether, which leads all NCAA players.

The school record for consecutive games is 12, shared by Ben Cherski and Ginny Christian. Third on that list is Chris Jensen with goals in nine games in a row. Then is Frattin of Edmonton.

Frattin broke a scoreless tie in the second game of this series. he scored with four minutes to play.

Sophomore Aaron Dell was the winning goalie in both games. He had 32 saves the first night, 30 the second when the Colonials outshot the Sioux 17-5 in the third period. Dell stopped the first 16 shots before Nathan Lonpre scored with 20 seconds left.

North Dakota started the season 5-4-1, but have gone 11-1-1 since then.

Frattin and senior defenseman Chay Genoway both have points in nine consecutive games, both career bests.  Genoway has four goals and 17 assists for 21 points. He leads the Sioux in assists and is third in points.

Genoway also a team-high 11 points (two goals, nine assists) on power plays.

THE HUSKIES OF ST. CLOUD

St. Cloud State upstaged Michigan Tech 3-0, 5-1. The Houghton Huskies have lost 16 games in a row. Ouch. The other Huskies have won four consecutive games.

Jared Festler had the game-winning goals in both games. On Saturday, his eight goal of the season was particularly impressive. He deflected a shot, which went on top of the Michigan Tech net, then hit the back of goalie Josh Robinson and went into the net. Crazy.

SCSU had 43 shots the first game, a season high, while Mike Lee, their goalie, made 28 saves for the shutout.  Senior Garrett Roe got two assists in the game to put his career total at 101, or within three of tying Ryan Lasch's all-time career record of 104. 

The home team outshot MTch 38-24 in the second game.

Three WCHA teams swept Atlantic Hockey Association opponents:

THE BADGERS

* Wisconsin upended Canisius 3-0 and 6-5 in OT. ... The overtimer win was the Badgers' first since March 17, 2007 when they beat St. Cloud State 4-3 in the Final Five third-place game.

D-man Justin Schultz scored the game-winner with 8 seconds left in OT. It was his 13th goal of the season. (The D-men on the Gophers have six total.) Schultz also had assists to push his total to 17, so he already has 30 points.

But Schultz was not the story of the game. Junior defenseman Jake Gardiner was. He set up Schultz's OT goal. Gardiner had a goal and two assists on 14 shots on goal. Gardiner, of Minnetonka and the older brother of Gophers forward Max, has five goals and 19 assists for 24 points. 

(Cade Fairchild is the Gophers' highest scoring defenseman with three goals and eight assists for 11 points.)

Forward Craig Smith had two goals and two assists for UW.

The Badgers, led by Gardiner's efforts, outshot Canisius 53-24.   

In the first game of the series, Scott Gudmandson made 18 saves in his fourth shutout of the season. (Somebody cool him off.)

THE MANKATO MAVS

* Minnesota State upturned American International 1-0, 5-2. ... The Mavericks are 8-2-0 in their last 10 games. ... In the first game, Rylan Galiardi scored the game's only goal late in the first period; Phil Cook made 17 saves for the shutout. 

THE BEAVERS

And then there was Bemidji State, fresh off winning the Mariucci Classic. The Beavers split with independent Alabama-Birmingham 3-1, 3-4 (that second game was the one the Eye missed on).   

In the first game, Matt Read of BSU scored two goals for the second game in a row. The win extended the Beavers' unbeaten string against the Chargers to 13 games (12-0-1). But in the next game, the hosts were three-for-five on the power play and broke that streak. 

 

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