With the other area college hockey teams set to play important series this weekend, the third-ranked Minnesota State men (26-4-2, 20-3-1 in WCHA) are idle this weekend and will host Alabama Huntsville Feb. 21-22 in their last regular-season games at home.

After closing out the season a week later at Bemidji State, the Mavericks will return to Mankato to host a first-round series in the WCHA tournament.

The Mavericks, who have an 11-point lead atop the WCHA standings might be doing some scoreboard watching this weekend, as the two teams directly behind them, Bemidji State and Northern Michigan, play each other in Marquette, Michigan. A Wildcats sweep would put the Mavericks within two points of clinching the MacNaughton Cup outright next weekend.

In other WCHA play, Bowling Green goes to Alaska, Michigan Tech plays at Ferris State and Alabama Huntsville travels to Lake Superior State, with Saturday’s game taking place across the border in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. Alaska Anchorage plays a nonconference series at Arizona State.

Around the rinks

Minnesota State women: The Mavericks (11-15-5, 4-13-3 in WCHA) will play their final home games of the season, hosting No. 8 Minnesota Duluth (15-9-4, 10-7-3) at 7:07 p.m. today and 3:07 p.m. Saturday at the Mayo Clinic Health System Event Center. Minnesota State is coming off an upset of No. 1 Wisconsin, while UMD has won three in a row and is unbeaten in its last 10, including a 2-2 tie with the Mavericks on Jan. 4 in Duluth. On Oct. 11-12 in Duluth, the Bulldogs swept the Mavericks 3-2 in overtime and 4-1. These will be the last home games for Minnesota State seniors Emily Antony, McKenzie Sederberg, Sofia Poinar, Jordan Jackson and Chloe Crosby.

Gustavus men: The Gusties (10-8-3, 6-4-2 in MIAC) host St. John’s at 7:05 p.m. today and play the Johnnies (8-8-5, 5-3-4) at 7 p.m. Saturday at St. Cloud. With four games left in the regular season, the MIAC standings are tight with eight points separating first through seventh place. The top five teams make the conference playoffs, and no team has clinched a postseason berth yet. Gustavus is currently in third place, one point out of second but also one point ahead St. John’s, which is fourth. Gusties junior forward Caleb Anderson (15-14—29) is the top scorer in the MIAC.

Gustavus women: The No. 5 Gusties (15-3-2, 11-1-2 in MIAC) play St. Benedict (10-9-1, 5-9-0) at 7 p.m. today at St. Cloud and 2 p.m. Saturday at St. Peter. With four conference games (along with a nonconference game) remaining in the regular season, Gustavus is tied with Hamline for first place in the MIAC, two points ahead of Augsburg and St. Thomas, who are tied for third. The top four teams have qualified for the league playoffs already. St. Benedict is tied for sixth, two points out of playoff position. Gusties sophomore forward Kristina Press (10-14—24) ranks fourth in the MIAC in scoring.

Follow Shane Frederick on Twitter @puckato

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