St. Cloud, Duluth face

Tim Nichols

It isn’t exactly two major powerhouses going at it, but the emotion will be there.
St. Cloud State (10-11-1, 6-10-0 WCHA) will travel to Duluth to take on last place Minnesota-Duluth (6-12-2, 3-11-2 WCHA) for an intrastate battle this weekend.
The series might be a little tougher this weekend for the Huskies, who lost top scorer Jason Goulet for at least six weeks with a torn medial collateral ligament he suffered in last weekend’s series against Michigan Tech.
“He got checked along the weak side, by the blue line,” St. Cloud State coach Craig Dahl said. “He’s the sixth player we’ve lost for the year, so far.”
For all their bad luck, these two teams aren’t as far back as expected. Eight points separate the second- and eighth-place teams in the conference.
But Bulldogs coach Mike Sertich says being disappointed or satisfied with his team’s performance is all a matter of perspective.
“Lots of people have excuses to say that we’re disappointing,” Sertich said. “But it’s all just a state of mind. I choose not to be disappointed with this team.”
Regardless of Sertich’s zen-like way of handling this season, the fact remains that the Bulldogs are in the midst of one of their worst seasons in history.
But that doesn’t make this rivalry any less meaningful.
“It’s fun,” Dahl said. “A lot of the kids from both teams know each other. We have always had pretty emotional, but clean games. It’s the way sports should be.”
It’s a very positive and upbeat spin on an otherwise negative and downcast year for both teams. But can any amount of spin-doctoring put these two otherwise dismal years into a positive?
Probably not, but whenever Sertich is involved, there is always an interesting opinion.
“It’s a big interstate rival, it should be fun,” Sertich said. “These are two blue-collar teams looking for their niche; two programs who don’t get all the press and all the key players that the big school gets.”
Tech’s Nelson lauded
Here are two phrases that people don’t often find in the same sentence: Michigan Tech player and WCHA offensive players of the week.
But Huskies junior Riley Nelson indeed won the weekly award with a one goal, four assist performance in Michigan Tech’s 4-2, 4-2 sweep of St. Cloud State.
The sweep was Michigan Tech’s second over St. Cloud State and it leap frogs them into sixth place in the conference.
North Dakota sophomore defenseman Trevor Hammer took defensive honors.
Who’s up, who’s down
Who’s up? Alaska-Anchorage.
The Seawolves are coming off an impressive sweep of Wisconsin. Best known for the defensive style of hockey, Alaska-Anchorage is starting to put the puck in the net, sweeping the Badgers 3-1, and 2-1.
The Seawolves are 8-1-1 since Thanksgiving and are two points behind second place Colorado College.
Who’s down? Any WCHA college from Minnesota. The three Minnesota universities are currently seventh, eighth, and ninth in the conference. If the playoffs were today, the bottom four seeds would all be Minnesota schools. Minnesota State, which will enter the league next season, is already in as the 10th seed in the WCHA playoffs.