It is the most wonderful time of the year, playoff hockey time! Midwest Collegiate Hockey Association quarterfinals start this weekend with two exciting match-ups. Lawrence will be hosting Northland in a tight defensive battle, while Lake Forest is traveling to its rival, the Milwaukee School of Engineering Raiders. The winners this weekend will face either Marian or Adrian in the Harris Cup Four at the Arrington Ice Arena in Adrian, Mich.
Last week, I was 5-2-1 (.625) on my picks, which is definitely improving! My total picks on the season are 58-42-4 (.558). I’m excited for the games this weekend; unfortunately, I won’t be able to go with my usual “split” picks. It’ll be tough deciding which two teams out of this bunch make it to the Harris Cup Four.
Friday-Saturday, Feb. 22-23
Northland at Lawrence
In the four times these two teams have met this season, Lawrence has come away with three wins. The lone win for the Lumberjacks came in the last game of series playing in the Vikings’ rink. Last weekend, Northland split a series with MSOE. The Lumberjacks defeated the Raiders, 5-4, before a 10-3 loss the next night. Lawrence beat Lake Forest last weekend by a score of 2-1. The win was followed by a hard-fought 2-2 overtime tie, with Matt Moore netting both Vikings goals. I have a hard time picking either team to advance. Northland has had the better second half, but Lawrence has found a way to beat Northland three times this season. Can they do it twice more? Lawrence 3-2, 2-1
Saturday-Sunday, Feb. 23-24
Lake Forest at MSOE
The history between these two teams this season alone is great. In the first series this season, the teams fought to a 1-1 tie before the Raiders took the second game with a 2-1 win. On Feb. 8, the teams again battled to a 2-2 tie before skating to a 5-4 overtime decision, with the win going to the Raiders again. Lake Forest hasn’t been able to get past MSOE in the quarterfinal round for the past three years, most recently beating them in 2009-10. It will be a defensively-sound series, with the winner capitalizing on their opponent’s mistakes. Lake Forest 2-1, 3-2