Winger Scott Allen, who led UAA in goals and points before an upper-body injury shelved him four games ago, will not return to the lineup until next month, coach Matt Thomas said Wednesday.
Thomas said Allen will sit out this weekend's Western Collegiate Hockey Association home series against Northern Michigan. With a bye weekend following that set, the junior should be good to go for a series at Lake Superior State (Mich.), Feb. 7-8.
"With a bye next week, he comes back 100 percent instead of coming back 90 percent and re-aggravating it, and being out even longer,'' Thomas said. "We're going to play it smart and slow. It's not like we need to rush the situation.''
Meanwhile, freshman winger Hudson Friesen, who has missed the last seven games with a lower-body injury, is cleared to play, Thomas said. Thomas said Wednesday he had not yet decided whether to tinker with his lineup. The Seawolves (12-9-3 overall, 8-7-3 WCHA, fourth place) have gone 5-1-1 in their last seven games and 3-0-1 in their last four WCHA games.
"We're playing well,'' Thomas said. "Everyone's contributing. The question is, 'Do you need to change the lineup?' With Friesen, the question is, 'Can he get back up to game speed?' (Thursday's) practice will probably tell us where he's at.''
UAA, which has another bye weekend as February turns to March, faces a tough schedule down the home stretch of the regular season. Of its 10 remaining games, six are on the road.
While Northern Michigan (9-11-2, 7-6-1 WCHA) sits sixth in the 10-team league, the Wildcats have played the fewest conference games on the circuit and have four league games in hand on UAA. UAA's other remaining opponent at home is third-place Bowling Green (9-6-3 WCHA). The Seawolves close the regular season with road series against current league leader Ferris State (Mich.) and rival UAF (6-10-2), which sits in a three-way tie for seventh with Michigan Tech and Lake Superior State, both of which have two league games in hand on the Nanooks.
Given that UAA's four remaining home games are against teams above .500 in league and that its three remaining road trips include two long journeys, the four points at stake in this weekend's series against Northern Michigan appear pivotal.
"Huge, huge weekend for us,'' Thomas said.
Find Doyle Woody's blog at adn.com/hockeyblog or call him at 257-4335.