Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Around the WCHA: Conference Play Begins

Last week’s results:

St. Cloud was swept by Miami (OH): 2-3 (OT), 0-2
North Dakota swept Merrimack: 5-2, 3-2
CC split w/ Northeastern: 4-2, 3-4
Denver split w/ Vermont: 5-4, 4-6
Mankato swept Bowling Green: 3-2, 4-1
UAA beat Mercyhurst, 5-3, & lost to Michigan 1-6
Duluth beat Lake State, 4-3, & lost to N. Michigan 1-4
Michigan Tech beat N. Michigan, 5-3, & lost to Lake State, 1-3

Overall the WCHA went 4-2 against Hockey East, 1-0 against Atlantic Hockey, but only 4-5 against the CCHA. That is a pretty good start, but the WCHA needs to keep winning non-conference games. Last season, a stronger non-conference record by the WCHA might have put UW and minnesota into the NCAA tourney instead of Ohio State and Miami (OH).

I watched the Denver/Vermont game on Friday night, and Denver’s defense is definitely shaky. Too many young defenseman who are all offensively talented, but overall the team struggled on D. I’m sure that Gwoz will clean that up, because otherwise DU had no shortage of offense. Based on the box score, North Dakota had a lot of different players notching points last weekend; very balanced attack.

WCHA Top Performers from last weekend (something new):

F Brett Olson (Michigan Tech): Hat Trick on Friday and added two assists on Tech’s other two goals (apparently Tech will have “some” offense)
F Justin Fontaine & F Jack Connolly (Duluth): each had two goals and two assists on the weekend
F Joe Colbourne (Denver): two 3rd period goals to win the game on Friday night
G Kevin Murdock (Mankato): only allowed one goal while making 22 saves in his first win

This weekend conference play begins w/ three matchups. Three other teams continue non-conference play while Tech has the weekend off.

Denver @ Ohio State (Thurs/Fri) – DU sweep
Rensselaer & Robert Morris @ UAA (Brice Alaska Goal Rush) – UAA splits, beating RMU
CC @ UW – UW is rusty on Friday, but crush the Tigers on saturday
Mankato @ Duluth – 3 pts for Duluth
Union @ St Cloud – St Cloud sweeps
minnesota @ North Dakota – The Sioux take 3 pts at home, but will there be a handshake line square dance w/ a new Joe Finley and Blake Wheeler?

Turning an eye to the Women’s side of the WCHA, here are last weekend’s results:

Mankato swept Maine: 5-2, 2-1
minnesota swept Ohio State: 6-5, 6-1
Wisconsin split w/ Bemidji: 0-1, 3-1
Duluth Foreign Legion swept St Cloud: 5-3, 2-0
Team USA destroyed North Dakota: 11-1

It’s too early in the season to worry about the standings, but here is this week’s schedule:

DFL @ minnesota
Ohio State @ Bemidji State
Mankato @ North Dakota

The Badgers are off, which is probably a good thing. I think its way too early to panic, but the team needs to score some goals and a weekend off before a nice long 4 weekend home stand will hopefully help. Anyone dismissing the season after four games and blaming Tracey Dekeyser are fools.