This is a light week in the WCHA. Only six of the 12 teams play, seven if you count North Dakota which has an exhibition game against the Russian Red Stars on Saturday.

Closest WCHA game to metro area is Denver at St. Cloud State. And both games can be seen in Twin Cities area on Comcast (Ch.13 in Minneapolis, Ch. 23 in St. Paul). DU can possibly climb into a tie for third with a sweep or, for sure, no worse than a tie for fourth.

Here are the WCHA standings;

1. Gophers         11-3-0   22

    UMD               10-2-2   22

3. Neb. Omaha   7-4-3    17

4. CC                  7-5-0    14

    North Dakota  7-7-0    14

6. DU                 4-5-3     13

    Mich Tech      6-7-1    13

7. SCSU            4-5-3     11

12. MN. State     2-9-1      5

 

The picks:

Denver at St. Cloud State: Both teams are coming off tough weekends against Bemidji State. How can that be, you wonder? DU split at the Beavers' dam last weekend, winning the first game 3-2, the losing to BSU for the first time ever 2-1. SCSU was idle last weekend, but two weekend ago tied the Beavers 6-6 at the National Hockey Center, then lost 3-1. ... St. Cloud State's Ben Hanowski had 12 goals and a career-high tying 20 points. ... SCSU is 3-1-3 at home.

DU will be without leading scorer Jason Zucker (10-12--23), the media's preseason choice for WCHA player of the year. He is with the U.S. team at a tryout camp for the upcoming World Junior Championships. He has either scored or assisted on six of the past seven Pios goals. ... DU is 3-3-0 in last six games with St. Cloud State. Pios are 12th in league on the power play at 16.9 percent. ... SPLIT

Colorado College at Minnesota State: The Tigers are averaging 4.21 goals per game -- most in nation -- but will be without two key forwards. Jaden Schwartz (5-13--18) is with Canada's national team and Scott Winkler (4-12--16) with Norway's in preparation for the World Juniors. CC is 12th on the penalty kill in the WCHA at 73.1 percent. ... The Mavericks are coming off a 4-2 and 9-1 sweep of Alabama Huntsville. Freshman Jean-Paul Lafontaine (9-6--15) leads MSU in scoring. ... SPLIT

Michigan Tech at Northern Michigan, one game on Friday: The Tech Huskies are coming off a split at Mariucci. They beat the Gophers 3-2 in overtime in the first game and tied the score 2-2 early in the third period of the second game before the Gophers scored the last four goals. ... The Wildcats are 6-1-3 at home and 3-1 vs. WCHA teams this season. They were 1-1-1 vs. Tech last season. ...  WILDCATS WIN

Alabama-Huntsville at Bemidji State: Beavers split at home with Denver last weekend while UAH was swept at Minnesota State. BSU had a 13-game unbeaten streak vs. the Chargers until losing to them 4-3 in the second game of a series on Jan. 7-8, 2011. ... BEAVERS SWEEP

Russia Red Stars at North Dakota, one game on Saturday: This exhibition is the start of an eight-game tour in the U.S. for the Red Stars, a team of players ages 19 to 21 who play in a junior hockey league. After two games against NAHL teams, including the Alexandria [MN.] Blizzards on Monday, the Reds Stars will play single games against Vermont, Yale, Northern Michigan, Notre Dame and UMass Lowell.

WEEKLY RADIO SHOWS

Gophers: Coach Don Lucia, 6-6:30 p.m. Mondays on 1500ESPN, an AM station.

Michigan Tech: Coach Mel Pearson, 8:45 a.m. Mondays on Mix 93.5-FM (rebroadcast 5:30 p.m. Mondays on WMPL 920-AM).

Minnesota State: Coach Troy Jutting, 6:30-7 p.m. Wednesdays on KTOE, 1420-AM.  

St. Cloud State: Coach Bob Motzko on from 6-7 p.m. Mondays on KNSI, 1450-AM.

CHARTING MY PICKS

Here is how I have done picking WCHA games in other weeks.

Week 1   Did not pick games; still covering Lynx run to WNBA title.

Week 2   9 - 7-1/2 - 1/2

Week 3    8 - 3-1/2 - 1/2                                                                                                                                                                

Week 4   7 - 3-1/2 - 1-1/2

Week 5   8 - 3 - 1

Week 6   7 - 1 - 1

Week 7    9 - 2  - 1

Week 8    8  -  5 -  1

Week 9     Shane     6 -  4  -  1

                  Roman   8  -  3  -  0

Comments: Shane Frederick covers Minnesota State for the Mankato Free Press. Picked up a game on him in Gophers series. He picked a split, I predicted a U sweep.

Week 10   Dane      6 - 3-1/2  - 1/2      

                  Roman   6 - 3-1/2  - 1/2       7 -  4 - 1

Comments: Technically, I beat Dane Mitzutani of Minnesota Daily because I picked Minnesota State Mankato's nonconference series with Albama Huntsville and he didn't know that was part of his pick 'em challenge. So this tainted win -- ala pro wrestling -- sets up our rematch later in the season perfectly.

My record this season:    71 - 32-1/2 - 7-1/2  for winning percentage of 67.3. percent.