On Tap This Week:
Minnesota at Michigan Tech
The Gophers have been practicing on the small rink at Ridder this week and leave Thursday by bus for Houghton. Danny Irmen and Kris Chucko will be out this weekend and probably will not be ready for the Denver series.
The lines for this weekend: Mike Howe, Ryan Stoa and Ryan Potulny; Justin Bostrom, Gino Guyer and Andy Sertich; Evan Koffman, Tom Pohl and Peter Kennedy and the top line of Phil Kessel, Blake Wheeler and Ben Gordon.
The Tech rink is set up nice for a player like Chucko so his presence will be missed, as will the physical presence of Irmen. It will be a physical series but I think the Gophers just have too much talent for the Huskies to handle. It is the Winter Carnival so that will add to the atmosphere and it’s a festive time in Houghton. The games are Friday night and then Saturday afternoon at 5. TV will cover the Friday game and not the Saturday game. With these different factors, game times, long bus ride, Winter Carnival, etc. the outside stimulus may be a factor. The top guy for Tech is Chris Conner who has been one of the stars of the WCHA over the past few years and this year has 15 goals and 25 points. Tech doesn’t have a lot of depth at D or a lot of scoring punch so I think Minnesota should be able to handle them.
THE CALL: Minnesota sweep
Colorado College at St. Cloud State
You would think CC has too much offense for St. Cloud but with Bobby Goepfert in goal (1.97/.929) he can be the equalizer. These are two teams on the opposite ends of the emotional spectrum as St. Cloud has sort of snuck into fourth place while CC has won just once in their last six games. Should either team sweep this weekend it would really add to their changes of securing home ice in the playoffs so there is a lot on the line this weekend up in St. Cloud.
The Huskies may be better on team defense, so look for a classic clash of offense versus defense. Last week we talked about Goepfert possible being Rookie of the Year but since he played at another college, he is not eligible for that post season award.
THE CALL: Split
Minnesota State at Denver
Denver has the toughest schedule of the teams competing for the title as they will meet up against CC, North Dakota and Minnesota before the end of the season. The Mavericks are playing well, scoring some goals and getting contributions from their third and fourth lines. Ryan Carter has been hot for the Mavericks with 15 goals.
THE CALL: Split
Will the BADger swoon continue? Let's hope so.
Bucky takes another hit to the line up. Senior captain Adam Burish left practice Wednesday in what was reported as a knee injury. He left under his own power and limped to the training room according to the Wisconsin State Journal. Bucky goes to LAME-O Field for the Frozen Tundra Hockey game. The are pitted against that powerhouse tOHIOState.
This may not be the best time for a publicity stunt Bucky. Don't you need to concentrate on the stretch run in the WCHA? Or is that also in the bag? Like the regular season title, Final 5 title and the National Championship that WAS all but wrapped up?
15 Years and counting.................