This week in the WCHA ...
Colorado College (14-9-1, 11-7-0) vs. Denver (15-8-3, 10-5-3) at Magness Arena (6,025) first night, at Colorado Springs World Arena (7,380) second night.
.Both teams won at home earlier, DU 5-4 win on Nov. 12, CC 4-3 (ot) on Dec. 2. Denver has a five-game winning streak. The Tigers need a win and a tie in their home and home series with Denver this weekend to wrest the Gold Pan away. The Pioneers have held the trophy the last two seasons.
CC coach Scott Owens needs five victories for 300. ... The Tigers have scored only 17 goals in their last eight games; they split with the Gophers two weekends ago; each team won a 2-1 game. ... Sophomore goalie Josh Thorimbert is first in the league with a .928 save percentage and third with a 2.36 goals-against average.
Denver is third in the WCHA with 23 points and 14th in the latest PairWise Rankings. Could close within three points of first-place Gophers with sweep and set up battle for first in Mile High City on Feb. 10-11. ... Goaltender Sam Brittain and defenseman John Ryder returned to the DU lineup last weekend after being out with injuries. ... Defenseman Joey LaLeggia leads NCAA rookies with 28 points (10g, 18a), which is one more than Gophers freshman forward Kyle Rau. ... SPLIT
Minnesota Duluth (17-5-4, 11-4-3) at Alaska Anchorage (6-16-2, 3-16-1) at Sullivan Arena.
The Bulldogs swept the Seawolves 5-0, 3-1 at home on Nov. 11-12.... But UMD is coming off a rough weekend, they tied Michigan Tech 4-4 and lost 5-0 at home. ... UAA has lost seven games in a row. Last weekend Denver swept the Seawolves 4-2, 6-3 and never trailed in the series.
UMD is in an 0-for-21 slump on the power play, but is averaging an NCAA-high 35.6 shots per game. ... BULLDOGS SWEEP
* Bulldogs senior captain Jack Connolly is the leading active scorer in the NCAA, his older brother Chris, who is two years older, is eight. The chart:
ACTIVE NCAA CAREER SCORING LEADERS
Player (Yr, School) GP G A TP
1. Jack Connolly (Sr., UMD) 151 61 116 177
2. Brian Flynn (Sr., Maine) 137 64 80 144
2. Austin Smith (Sr., Colgate) 140 69 75 144
4. Brian O’ Neill (Sr., Yale) 124 61 81 142
5. Cameron Burt (Sr., RIT) 134 41 87 128
6. Spencer Abbott (Sr., Maine) 135 45 77 122
7. Kelly Zajac (Sr., Union) 145 35 82 117
8. Chris Connolly (Sr., Boston U.) 138 32 80 112
9. David Vollaroni (Sr., Lowell) 134 39 68 107
Justin Schultz (Jr., Wisconsin) 110 36 71 107
* Both games in Alaska can be heard on Bulldog Radio Network at www.fan1490.com. They also will be video streammed -- and can be accessed for a fee -- at www.goseawolves.com
* The four teams whose defensemen have scored the most points: Michigan 77, Gophers 76, Wisconsin 72 and UMD 69
Bemidji State (12-12-2, 6-10-2) vs. Nebraska Omaha (15-10-2, 11-9-0) at CenturyLink Center (15,959)
Mavericks tied (3-3 ot) and won (5-1) at Sanford Center in Bemidji on Nov. 11-12. ... BSU is coming off a split with Minnesota State, won first game 2-1, lost second 5-2. ... Jordan George got his 13th career game-winner last Friday. ... BSU has had only 75 power plays this season, only Dartmouth with 66 has had fewer. ... Beavers 5-1-2 vs. UNO in last 8 games ... UNO has given up 40 or more shots in last four games after not permitting more than 35 in first 22 games of season. ... SPLIT
Michigan Tech (12-12-2, 9-7-2) at Minnesota State (9-18-1, 5-14-1) at Verizon Wireless Center (4,832)
Split Nov. 4-5 in Houghton. Huskies won 1-0, Mavs won second night 6-3. ... Michigan Tech is 3-1-1 in 2012 and coming off a big three-point weekend at UMD. ... Freshman David Johnstone of Tech has four power-play goals in the last three games. ... Huskies penalty kill has held opponents to one goal on the last 23 power plays. ... Senior Michael Dorr, the ex-Gopher forward, had two goals and an assist last Saturday as Mavs beat Bemidji State 5-2 for a split of their series. ... SPLIT
St. Cloud State (10-14-4, 7-10-3) at Wisconsin (12-12-2, 7-11-2) at Kohl Center (15,325)
Huskies have one-point lead over Badgers in standings. ... Huskies beat Badgers 7-2 and tied them 3-3 on Nov. 4-5 at the National Hockey Center. In that series, tri-captain Drew Leblanc suffered a broken leg and has not played since. .... SCSU has only 11 healthy forwards; can't afford any more injuries up front. But its goalies are playing well. Mike Lee, in his first game back from hip surgery, had 24 saves last Friday in the Huskies' 2-1 loss to the Gophers at Mariucci Arena. The next night freshman Ryan Faragher made 43 saves as the Huskies lost 3-2 to the 'U' in St. Cloud. ... BADGERS SWEEP
* Idle: Gophers (19-9-1, 15-5-0) and North Dakota (15-10-2, 11-9-0)
The Gophers are 7-1-0 against other Minnesota Division I teams. ... The last time they won the MacNaughton Cup was in 2006-07 --- five years ago before any of present players were on the team. They were 18-7-3 in the WCHA that season, giving them 39 points. That was the last time a Gophers team had 15 wins in the conference until this season.
The three goal-scorers for the Gophers in their last game all broke lengthy goal-less streak. Freshman winger Sam Warning, who scored the game-winner, had not scored in 18 games, defenseman Ben Marshall in 12 and forward Erik Haula in seven. ... The Gophers have won three games in a row.
LAST WEEK RECAP
I predicted WCHA games with Brian Halverson, a columnist for USCHO.com last week. He edged me out. His record was 7.5-2.5, mine was 7-3. Brian hit on Minnesota State split with Bemidji State and Denver sweep; I made hay on North Dakota sweep but stumble elsewhere.