Next for Minnesota Duluth: Alabama-Huntsville

Alabama-Huntsville, one of two independent teams in Division I, comes to Amsoil Arena on Friday and Saturday (7:07 p.m.) for a series with Minnesota Duluth. The games are the last outside the WCHA for the Bulldogs, and the last of the season for the Chargers (3-19-1).

Huntsville joins the reconfigured WCHA for 2013-14, putting the league at 10 teams. That announcement was made in January. A release from Alabama-Huntsville is here.

Huntsville is 0-7-1 vs. the WCHA season (including a 2-2 tie at home with No. 7-ranked Minnesota State-Mankato). In Duluth last January, UMD won two one-goal games, 2-1 and 4-3, while outshooting Huntsville 101-43. Huntsville goalie Clarke Saunders transferred after last season, when it appeared the program may fold, and is now 11-6-4 as a junior with No. 6 North Dakota.

Huntsville ranks last among 59 Division I teams in scoring (1.48 goals a game) and is second-to-last on defense (4.13).

Division I’s other independent, first-year varsity program Penn State, pulled off the season’s shocker to this point in a 3-2 overtime win at Wisconsin on Monday night. The Badgers had won 5-0 Sunday. The loss dropped Wisconsin all the way to No. 28 in the PairWise Rankings, virtually eliminating its chances for an NCAA tournament at-large berth. Recaps from the Wisconsin State Journal here and from the Penn State sports information office here.

It was the final game of the first varsity season for Penn State and coach Guy Gadowsky. A Wisconsin-Penn State summary is here.

Jeff Cox of SB Nation takes a close look at the WCHA race with two weeks remaining in a post here. All teams, but UMD and Alaska Anchorage, have four league games remaining.

Updated ticket information for UMD sports events, including men’s and women’s hockey, now on Twitter at @UMDTix.