Originally written on Goon's World  |  Last updated 2/28/13
Western Collegiate Hockey Association logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia) The end is near, we have this weekend and next and then the WCHA regular season comes to an end.  This friday starts a new month, March, or for some teams the playoff run month.  WCHA STANDINGS 2012-2013 Team………………………W-L-T………Points 1. St. Cloud St……………16-7-1.……….33 2. Minnesota……………...13-6-2……..…31 3. North Dakota.………….12-6-6………..30 3. Nebraska-Omaha…......14-8-2…....…..30 5. Minnesota State……….14-9-1.…...….29 6. Denver…………..……..11-8-5..….......27 6. Wisconsin…....………..10-7-7………...27 8. Colorado College ……..9-11-4..…..….22 9. Minnesota-Duluth….…..8-13-5……….21 10. Michigan Tech………..6-14-4…..……16 11. Bemidji State……..…..5-13-6......……16 12. Alaska-Anchorage…....2-18-6.....……10 The # numbers below are now the PAIRWISE rankings. (I was using the USCHO poll previously) WCHA Games #7 Minnesota State @ #30 Colorado College Last weekend the Mavericks were resting up for the playoffs coming up and the Tigers split with the SCSU Huskies (4-3W, 5-2L) in Colorado Springs. The Mavericks could almost lock up home ice with a pair of wins this weekend against the Tigers.  But, the Tigers still have a chance, however slim, of getting into the top half and host the first round.  Realistically the Tigers are going to end up in eighth place.  The Tigers will need to pounce on the Mavericks early and capitalize on MSUM’s rust, from a week off, if there is any rust.  The big number that sticks out to me in these teams stats is goals for and against.  CC has scored 78 goals in WCHA action this year and MSUM has scored 77, but their againsts are much different, MSUM has allowed 57 and CC has allowed 85.  I’m going to give each team the nod in offense department, but defense goes to the Mavericks.  MAVERICKS 3-pts Michigan Tech @ #10 St. Could St.  Last weekend the MTU Huskies were resting up for the playoffs coming up and the SCSU Huskies split with the Tigers (4-3L, 5-2W) in Colorado Springs. It’s the battle of the Huskies this weekend in Saint Cloud.  SCSU can put a strangle hold on the McNaughton Cup with a sweep of their doppelgänger’s from Houghton.  MTU is relegated to the bottom half and now are in a familiar role, spoiler.  If a little rust doesn’t affect SCSU or the pressure of winning the WCHA title doesn’t weigh them down, they should get a couple of wins this weekend.  But don’t count MTU out just yet, they are 3-4-0 in their last seven games.  So, the Houghton Huskies are starting to play better as of late.  In the end, I see the SCSU getting the points this weekend.  SCSU SWEEP #12 Denver @ #2 Minnesota Last weekend the Pioneers split with NoDak (5-4W, 6-1L) in Denver and the Gophers took 3-pts from the UMD Bulldogs (5-3, 2-2ot) in Minneapolis. Both teams are fighting for position late in the season, DU for securing home ice in the first round, UM hopes for the top spot.  These teams haven’t played each other since February 10-11, 2012 in Denver, with Pioneers getting the sweep (5-3, 4-3ot).  The Gophers are 3-2-1 in their last six games and the Pioneers are also 3-2-1.  The numbers point to the Gophers winning the series, but DU seems to have had the Gophers number that last few years.  Couple that with DU fighting for the home ice and I don’t see DU getting swept.  SPLIT Bemidji St. @ #6 North Dakota Last weekend the Beavers were resting up for the playoffs coming up and NoDak with the Pioneers in Denver. The last time the Beavers visited Grand Forks was March 8-9, 2012 for the first round of the WCHA playoffs, in which they were swept 4-1, 4-3.  BSU has only one win in 2013 and it might be their only one until next fall, the Beavers host the Gophers next weekend.  I think NoDak will be looking at this series as a must have sweep, and to lock up home ice for the first round.  The Beavers are tied for last place with UAA for the fewest goals scored in WCHA play, at 50.  Needless to say, if BSU wants any chance at getting a point or two this weekend they will need to limit UND to two or less goals per game.  NoDak appears to have heated up during the month of February and will look to keep heating up in March at the expensive of BSU.  NODAK SWEEP #28 Wisconsin @ #21 Nebraska-Omaha Last weekend the Badgers split with the PSU Lions (5-0W, 3-2otL) in Madison and the Mavericks beat the US U-18 team in Omaha. These teams are in a very similar boat, both need points to try and secure home ice in the first round of the playoffs.  And they both need wins to try and move up the rankings and have a shot at the NCAA tournament.  Of course, either could win the WCHA playoffs and receive an auto-bid.  These games will come down to how well the Badgers play their defensive game against the high scoring Mavericks.  If UW can control the tempo and avoid falling behind, they could get a win or two.  However, if UNO scores first and dictates the pace, UW could return home pointless.  SPLIT NON-Conference Games #17 Alaska (14-14-4) vs Alaska-Anchorage (4-19-7) Last weekend the Seawolves were resting up and the Nanooks split with the Michigan State Spartans (1-0L, 4-2W) in Fairbanks. Last season the teams split the Governor’s Cup series, with each home team winning.  The Seawolves have been playing better hockey of late, but I don’t know if that will translate into a win or two this weekend.  Being the big rivalry in the last frontier state, you can throw the records and any other numbers out the window.  SPLIT Alabama-Huntsville (3-19-1) @ Minnesota-Duluth (10-17-5) Last weekend the Bulldogs got a point from the Gophers (5-3L, 2-2ot) in Minneapolis and the Chargers where off last weekend.  (These are UAH's last games of the year.) The Bulldogs slide continued last weekend, bringing their winless stretch to nine games, their last win came on Jan-18 versus CC.  The Chargers are a woeful 1-15-0 in away games this year, which is most of their schedule, they are 2-2-1 at home, and are 0-2-0 at neutral locales.  The Bulldogs need some wins this weekend to up their confidence and boost moral heading into the home stretch of the season.  BULLDOGS SWEEP Related articles WCHA Power Rankings: Week 20 (insidehockey.com) WCHA Tiebreaker Scenarios - February 25 (thehockeywriters.com)
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