Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Tigers Aim for Home Ice

What's left of the Gazette takes a look at the Tigers and the jam of teams battling in the middle of the WCHA standings.

CC hockey team part of logjam in WCHA
Seven points separate first and eighth in Western Collegiate Hockey Association

After a weekend off, Colorado College finds itself in the middle of a bunched-up Western Collegiate Hockey Association.

Only seven points separate first and eighth place. Minnesota-Duluth, Alaska-Anchorage and St. Cloud State split their respective series last weekend and Minnesota State-Mankato swept its series.

All four of those teams were behind CC in the standings. That means the top teams didn't separate themselves too much from the Tigers, who are five points behind front-running Denver. But it also puts more pressure on CC to maintain home-ice advantage in the WCHA playoffs.

CC is tied for fifth with Minnesota-Duluth and is only two points ahead of eighth-place St. Cloud State. The top five teams in the WCHA host the first round of the league's playoffs in March.

"I think what we're shooting for is home ice," coach Scott Owens said. "That's our goal."

The Tigers' status in Monday's USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine poll didn't change. CC didn't rank among the top 15 but is tops among others receiving votes. Air Force, which had a tie and loss last weekend at Mercyhurst, dropped out of the list of teams that received votes.

CC remained 20th in the U.S. College Hockey Online PairWise rankings, which mimics the NCAA Tournament selection committee's rankings.

The Tigers have a road series this weekend against last-place Michigan Tech, which is 1-14-5 in the WCHA. The Tigers could have center Nick Dineen, who suffered an upper body injury Jan. 24, back in the lineup.

Few DU tickets remain

Only 300 tickets remain for CC's Feb. 13 game against Denver at World Arena. CC is expecting a sellout. Tickets, which are $18, can be purchased at Ticketmaster, the World Arena box office or by calling 576-2626.