The splits continued last week, without a single sweep in the bunch. Somehow, I managed to look pretty good at the end of it.
Last week: 7-2-1 (.750)
Season to date: 36-18-10 (.641)
Once again, my gratitude to the three series that split the way I said they would. I fear that the hockey pick gods will not be as kind to me this week.
Everyone plays this week. There are five conference series and Notre Dame travels to Boston College for a single game Friday night at 7:00 p.m. All series are Friday-Saturday. Three Friday games — Northern Michigan at Miami, Ferris State at Lake Superior and Michigan State at Michigan — begin at 7:35 p.m. All other games, Friday and Saturday, begin at 7:05 p.m.
Alaska at Ohio State. The Nanooks split at home last week with Lake Superior State, scoring two third-period goals in the 2-1 Friday win; the 4-2 Saturday loss snapped Alaska’s four-game home win streak. In their last four games, the Nanooks are averaging more than 39 shots on goal per contest. The Buckeyes were off last week, having last taken four points from Bowling Green with a win and tie Oct. 26-27. This is the home opener for the Buckeyes. Alaska is 5-2-3 in its last 10 games versus OSU. Last season, the Buckeyes took five points at home from the Nanooks, including three in a 6-0 shutout. OSU 3-2, UA 3-1
Bowling Green vs. No. 10 Western Michigan. This is a home-and-home series, with the Broncos hosting Friday. The Falcons ended an eight-game winless streak versus Michigan State last Friday with a 1-0 road win before losing 6-1 the following night. The Broncos also split, beating Notre Dame 3-2 in South Bend Friday before losing 4-0 Sunday, a loss in which WMU had just 14 shots on goal. Western is 5-2-3 in its last 10 games versus Bowling Green, including a 2-1-1 record last season. If this series splits — and I don’t think it will — I’d take the Falcons on Friday night. WMU 3-1, 4-2
No. 18 Ferris State at Lake Superior State. Last weekend, the Bulldogs split at home with Miami, shutting out the RedHawks, 3-0, Friday before losing 4-2 Saturday. Sophomore forward Justin Buzzeo — who has my current favorite CCHA surname — had a goal in each game last weekend; he had one goal in 12 games last season. The Lakers split on the road in Alaska with Friday’s 2-1 loss and Saturday’s 4-2 win. Junior goaltender Kevin Murdock stopped 48-of-50 shots in the loss and is this week’s CCHA Goaltender of the Week. The Lakers shut out the Bulldogs back-to-back the last time FSU traveled to Sault Ste. Marie (Nov. 12-13, 2010). Last season, FSU defeated and tied LSSU in Big Rapids. LSSU 3-2, FSU 4-2
Michigan State vs. No. 12 Michigan. This is a home-and-home series, with Michigan hosting Friday. The Spartans were shut out at home last Friday, 1-0, by Bowling Green before routing the Falcons, 6-1, the following night. MSU’s power play is clicking along at 25.7 percent, 10th best in the nation; four of the Spartans’ six goals last Saturday were scored with the man advantage. The Wolverines came away from their road series against the Wildcats with two little points, earned in Friday’s tie (with shootout point) — and something for which they can thank senior forward A.J. Treais, who scored with .6 seconds remaining in regulation to send Friday’s game to OT. Michigan is 141-124-19 against Michigan State all-time, if you get those stats from the Wolverines; according to the Spartans, it’s 142-125-19, a discrepancy that has something to do with counting or not counting specific games from the distant past. Last season, the Wolverines were 3-1-1 versus. the Spartans, including an overtime win in the Great Lakes Invitational tournament; three of those five games went to OT. I’m heading to both games this weekend, so that’s a sure bet that fans will be treated to bonus hockey each night. UM 3-2, MSU 3-2
No. 16 Northern Michigan at No. 5 Miami. The Wildcats took four points from the visiting Wolverines last weekend with that heartbreaking 4-4, last-second tie Friday night and an outright win, 4-3, Saturday. Senior forward Matt Thurber had five assists in the series. The RedHawks were shut out by the Bulldogs, 3-0, before winning 4-2 in Big Rapids. Sophomore forward Austin Czarnik had two goals in the win, including the third-period game winner. NMU leads this series all-time, 35-20-3, and the Wildcats swept the RedHawks in two games in Marquette last season. NMU 4-2, Miami 4-2
No. 7 Notre Dame at No. 1 Boston College. This will be the 32nd meeting between these two Catholic schools whose football teams meet Saturday. Last weekend, the Irish split a Friday-Sunday home series with Western Michigan, losing 3-2 and winning 4-0. The Eagles beat Maine on the road Friday, 4-2, before defeating Massachusetts at home, 3-2, on Sunday. BC leads this all-time series 16-13-2, but the series is tied 7-7-1 at Chestnut Hill. The Irish have a 6-2-0 advantage in the last eight contests. Last season during the game dubbed the “Dedication Game” of the Compton Family Ice Arena, the Irish beat the Eagles 3-2 with junior Bryan Rust’s game-winning goal with 1.1 seconds left in overtime. I rarely call against the Irish in this game, no matter what I feel may happen in my heart of hearts. ND 3-2
Editorial update at 7:11 p.m., 20 minutes before the first game: I fixed my picks for the MSU-UM series. I originally had them winning in each other’s arenas — not at all what I intended. Now if each wins on the road, I’ll feel even more foolish than I do at this moment.