What would be an ideal weekend for most Gophers hockey fans? A Gophers sweep and North Dakota being swept. It could happen. Actually, I am predicting it will. ...

Gophers at Alaska Anchorage: Who is staying up to watch these 10 p.m. games? Oh, they are not on TV. Shucks. I remember four seasons ago, FSN tried to pull a scam on everyone. They got a video feed from Anchorage and had their announcers call the game from the studio here -- and didn't reveal what they were doing.

Frank Mazzocco, then employed by FSN, said at a Blue Line luncheon that the TV station just wanted to see if anyone would notice. I didn't, they fooled me. How about you?

This week all we have is radio, unless www.gophersports.com does a live chat from Anchorage. This is an opponent the Gophers should sweep -- like Minnesota State Mankato last weekend -- but who knows? U is not clicking yet. Starting slow. But players should be fully alert for these late games.

UAA had a bye last weekend, so coach Dave Shyiak has had plenty of time to prepare his Seawolves. They can be pesky. Got a 3-3 tie at UND in last game. Pick: Gophers sweep.

North Dakota at St. Cloud: Anybody who knows the history of this series at the National Hockey Center would have to pick a sweep. In the last 10 years, North Dakota is 0-6-4 on Fridays in St. Cloud, 10-0-0 on Saturdays. Huh? Coach Dave Hakstol's teams traditionally start slow and then start beating everyone around the holiday season. Last weekend UND split at home with Boston University. ... SCSU captain Ben Hanowski, injured Oct. 26 vs. Minnesota State Mankato, has not played since and won't in this series. ... Hakstol said he named the Huskies one of the top two teams in the WCHA coaches' preseason poll. Pick: Huskies sweep ... Got to be bold sometimes

Minnesota Duluth at Nebraska Omaha: I liked my trip to Omaha last season. Saw some barns and nice rest stops in Iowa. Wonder how Bulldogs will like theirs? They leave on a bus Thursday and will split their eight-hour journey into two days. They stop in Mason City, Iowa, to sleep, the continue on. This series is Sat. night, Sun. afternoon because the Creighton basketball team is playing in the CenturyLink Center on Fri. night.

Won't be such conflicts when UNO gets its on-campus barn, ah rink. Preliminary steps have been taken. UNO shoots the puck a lot, and gives up few shots. Swept Michigan Tech last weekend. UMD is coming off a bye week after getting only one point the weekend before at home against struggling Wisconsin. Badgers won 2-0 and tied 2-2. Pick: Mavericks sweep

Denver at Minnesota State Mankato: The Pioneers are one of the highest scoring teams in the country and much of their offense is coming from the blue liners. DU also has the deepest goalie rotation around. Three netminders have won games already this season. Pios are first in offense and defense in WCHA, scoring 4.33 goals per game and giving up only 1.67. The Mavericks are coming off a feel-good win over the Gophers. They have some scoring punch. Pick: Pioneers sweep

Bemidji State at Colorado College:  The Tigers went to the Kohl Center last weekend and won twice over Wisconsin. Now they play nine of their next 10 games at World Arena. They are 5-1 against Bemidji State on their own ice. But last February, CC went to BSU and got swept 4-2, 4-1, so they should not be looking past the Beavers. ... BSU coach Tom Serratore needs three more wins for 200. Pick: Split

Off this weekend are Wisconsin, which lost an assistant coach and its leading scorer last weekend, so the Badgers could really use the break, and Michigan Tech.


Last week I picked WCHA games for the first time. Not really happy with a 6-4-0 record. Correctly predicted SCSU-DU spit and UNO sweep over Michigan Tech. Thought Gophers would sweep MSU Mankato and North Dakota would sweep Boston University. Those were splits.

Had the most trouble with Wisconsin. Expected Badgers to sweep Colorado College, instead CC got the broom out.

If you want to pick against me this week, shoot me an e-mail at raugustoviz@startribune.com. First person I hear from will get the chance. I'll reply back as promptly as I can, and tell you that you are the guest picker. What an honor, right? And you can turn your picks in by say, 11 a.m. Friday at the latest, OK.


* Defenseman Nate Schmidt of the Gophers is an outdoorsman. Schmidt, of St. Cloud, shot a 2-year-old doe last Sunday, according to a story on ESPN1500's web site.