I’m already starting out in the hole this week since I picked Michigan to win last night. This is how I’m doing so far this season, without that pick:
Last week: 6-2-3 (.682)
Season to date: 42-20-13 (.647)
Two splits did so the right way — or, at least, the way I called them — and that has bolstered my picks percentage for the third straight week. I do not expect this to last.
Everyone plays this week. I’ve already given you my picks for the Notre Dame-Michigan series, so here’s the rest of this week’s story.
It’s all CCHA except for the Lakers, who host Alabama-Huntsville. The remaining ND-UM game is tonight; all other series are Friday-Saturday. Times are local.
No. 20 Ferris State at Bowling Green. The Bulldogs split a pair on the road with Lake Superior State last weekend, losing 4-1 and winning 2-1. Sophomore C.J. Motte had 43 saves in that win. The Falcons earned one point against Western Michigan in Kalamazoo with Saturday’s tie. BGSU’s scoring is very sluggish in the early going this season, averaging just 1.73 goals per game. We know how things went the last time these two teams met, though. The Falcons took the Bulldogs to three games in the second round of the CCHA playoffs and Dan DeSalvo’s overtime goal in the third game of that series sent the Falcons to Detroit. Look at BGSU’s record over the last eight games: win, loss, loss, tie, win, loss, loss, tie. I am not calling against that kind of mojo, even if it does mean I may eat some picks. Games begin at 7:05 p.m. each night. BGSU 2-1, FSU 4-1
Michigan State at No. 4 Miami. The Spartans are coming off an emotional high, a 7-2 home win over Michigan after they’d lost to the Wolverines, 5-2, the night before. How a young team reacts to such a thing can be tricky. Speaking of tricks, sophomore Matt Berry registered his first collegiate hat trick in the win, including the goal 34 seconds into the game that set the pace for a dynamic first period. The RedHawks took five points at home from Northern Michigan with Friday’s 5-2 win followed by a 2-2 tie with the shootout point. As a result, Miami sat alone in first place in the CCHA standings until Notre Dame won last night. Miami is 5-0-0 versus MSU in the last five. Friday’s game begins at 7:35 p.m., Saturday’s at 7:05 p.m. Miami 4-2, 3-2
No. 19 Northern Michigan at Ohio State. I’m not getting angry email from Northern Michigan fans — surprising, because NMU fans tend to send me “fan” mail throughout the season that has nothing to do with the performance of their team — but I can’t imagine that a Northern team at the bottom of the CCHA standings is sitting well with the Wildcat faithful, no matter how early in the season it is. The Wildcats have five conference points coming into this weekend. The good news is that they’re playing the Buckeyes — a team whose fans have been sending me angry (or at least concerned) email. Each of these teams has just one CCHA win and the difference between the two is the shootout point that the Buckeyes earned last Friday night following their 1-1 tie against Alaska. OSU followed that up with a 3-1 loss the next night and the Buckeyes are now averaging 1.62 goals per game, worst in the league and 56th-best in the nation. These teams are 3-3-0 in the last six meetings. I’m calling a split for that reason, but I think that the Wildcats can sweep. Games begin at 7:05 p.m. each night. OSU 2-1, NMU 3-1
No. 9 Western Michigan at Alaska. I admit it: I didn’t expect the Nanooks to be this competitive this season. With a trio of competent goaltenders, the Nanooks have the ninth-best penalty kill in the country (88.6%) and the 21st-best defense nationally. Alaska is also averaging more than 35 shots on goal per conference game this season, and sooner or later that offense may click as well. Last week, UA took four points from OSU on the road. The Broncos took five points from visiting Bowling Green, giving sophomore Frank Slubowski a 5-0 career shootout record. The Broncos are 4-3-3 in their last 10 games against the Nanooks, but the series is tied 3-3-2 in the last eight in Fairbanks. The Broncos were 2-1-1 against the Nanooks last season. Games begin at 7:35 p.m. each night. WMU 3-2, UA 3-2
Alabama-Huntsville at Lake Superior State. The Chargers are still looking for their first win of the season. UAH lost twice on the road last weekend to Northeastern, 3-0 and 3-1, and the Chargers’ offense is the lowest-scoring in the nation, averaging 1.20 goals per game. Four Chargers have netted two goals each with eight players total scoring through 10 games this season. Sophomore defenseman Graeme Strukoff leads UAH in total points (1-4–5). Three Chargers have seen time in net, but senior John Griggs (4.39 GAA, .895 SV%) has seen the most of it, including the Saturday loss versus Northeastern. Last weekend, the Lakers split a home pair with Ferris State, scoring two goals within 13 seconds in the last minute of the second period in Friday’s 4-1 win. At the beginning of last season, the Lakers swept the Chargers in Huntsville. Friday’s game begins at 7:35 p.m., Saturday’s at 7:05 p.m. LSSU 3-1, 3-1
I covered the ND-UM game last night and won’t be near a rink for the rest of the weekend, but I will try to hit Twitter (@paulacweston) during the televised ND-UM rematch.
Anyone handy with a paint brush? Got a strong back for moving boxes of books — many boxes of books?