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College Hockey:
NCHA picks: Feb. 8

The regular season winds down this weekend with a few teams still jockeying for playoff positioning in the NCHA. Here’s what we do know: Wisconsin-Eau Claire and St. Norbert are already set for the start of the conference playoffs, earning the No. 1 and 2 seeds, respectively.

Last weekend, St. Scholastica pulled itself out of the NCHA cellar with upsets over St. Norbert and Wisconsin-Stevens Point. That means the Saints won’t have to face the Green Knights in the opening round of the Peters Cup tournament, which begins Feb. 15.
With the postseason fate of some teams still undetermined, it should be a fun weekend in the NCHA.

Friday, Feb. 8

St. Scholastica at Wis.-Eau Claire
The Saints have been a team reborn in the past few weeks, while the Blugolds are preparing for a long playoff run. While Wis.-Eau Claire holds a 2-0 edge over St. Scholastica this season, the Blugolds could be looking past the Saints. St. Scholastica earned its biggest win of the season last Friday, knocking off St. Norbert on the road. The Blugolds, meanwhile, survived two one-goal battles with Wisconsin-Stout and Wisconsin-River Falls. I could be crazy, but I see St. Scholastica pulling off another upset this weekend. St. Scholastica 4-3

Saturday, Feb. 9

St. Norbert at Wis.-Stevens Point
The Pointers, 7-8-1 in the NCHA, won’t catch St. Norbert in the standings, but an upset over the Green Knights, combined with a victory at Wis.-Stout on Thursday, could give them a winning record in the conference. Also, the Green Knights have lost some of their shine lately, dropping three games in the past three weekends. Similar to Wis.-Eau Claire, St. Norbert’s spot in the Peters Cup playoffs is secure, so Saturday’s game isn’t a must-win. However, if the Green Knights want to get back on track and build momentum heading into the playoffs, winning at Stevens Point is crucial. Despite the recent hiccups, I believe another long postseason run is in the stars for St. Norbert. I think they begin to rebuild their confidence by outlasting the scrappy Pointers. St. Norbert 5-4 (OT)

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