Weather was the most powerful opponent this past weekend in the WCHA. Both Minnesota and Minnesota State delayed their Saturday home games in deference to the storm, and played on Sunday instead. St. Cloud probably could have too, but apparently they were anxious to get their nightmare of a season over faster and played on Saturday anyway.
St. Cloud has pretty much cemented their status as this year's version of last year's Notre Dame team; a team expected to do big things that ends up being just a complete failure. I thought the Huskies had hit rock bottom heading into this weekend and would finally start to pulling things together. Apparently that wasn't the case, as they were swept pretty convincingly by Colorado College at home. There will be plenty of theories as to what went wrong as people sift through the wreckage of this season for the Huskies. My personal theory is that the Huskies miss Garrett Raboin and Ryan Lasch a lot more than anyone could have ever expected. Leadership gets mentioned, often times as just sort of a throwaway thing, when times are good. But it's times like this that can really show just how important having a strong senior leader can be. It reminds me of two years ago when people were picking Minnesota State for a top five finish because they "only" lost captains R.J. Linder and Joel Hanson off of their fourth place team. Key players like that often make more of a difference than people think, especially when their contributions don't necessarily show up on the score sheet.
Minnesota took a surprising three points from a UMD team ranked number one or two in the country, depending on who you ask. With UMD's amazing power play, and Minnesota's amazing in a completely different sort of way penalty kill, one would have expected the 'Dogs to roll on the weekend, but I suppose you have to account for the lesser program playing up against their more successful intra-state rival.
North Dakota closed out what is essentially the first half of their schedule with an impressive road sweep against a recently hot Minnesota State team. The Sioux went down early in both games, and even though they maybe didn't play their best hockey, still found a way to get all four points on the road, which is pretty impressive. This is the first time in years that UND has played up to their potential in the first half of the season. It will be interesting to see how that affects their play in the second half.
The rest of the weekend's less snowy games are after the jump.
Northern Michigan freshman goalie Jared Coreau got back into the nets at Notre Dame on Friday after Reid Ellingson had played brilliantly over the last month or so for Northern Michigan, and he responded by making 51 saves on 53 shots to help Northern Michigan beat Notre Dame. The Irish rebounded on Saturday with a 5-2 win.
Alaska and Ferris State also split on the weekend, creating a three-way for fourth place in the CCHA. Both fourth and fifth place get a first round bye in the CCHA playoffs this year, but whoever wins that race and finishes fourth gets the advantage of playing at home in the second round of the playoffs. That should be an interesting race to watch in the second half of the season.
Western Michigan split a series with Lake Superior. The Broncos have taken a huge jump up to respectability this season, but still need that next step to reach the upper echelon of the CCHA.
Ohio State won their third OT game of the season on Friday, and were able to sweep Bowling Green on the weekend.
Denver traveled to Anchorage to take on the Seawolves. DU's Adam Murray got the start in goal in his hometown. He wasn't spectacular, but he was better than he was last year as a freshman, and played well enough to earn a win. The Seawolves avoided a sweep, as they always seem to do at home, by earning a 2-2 tie on Saturday night.
Wisconsin got back on track in WCHA play by sweeping Bemidji State in Madison.
Michigan Tech's losing streak ran to 10 in a row after being swept by Nebraska-Omaha.