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College Hockey:
NCHC picks: March 7

Last week, thanks to the Nebraska-Omaha sweep of Colorado College, Matthew and I both went 4-4 (.500), as we got the split dates wrong for Denver and Western Michigan. Overall on the year, I am 87-63-22, while Matthew is 84-66-22. Looks like I will win our picks contest, unless we decide to keep it going through the Penrose Cup, which is TBD.

Friday-Saturday, March 7-8

No. 4 St. Cloud State at Colorado College
Candace: All of CC’s wins have come at home, but the wide sheet and altitude won’t be enough for them to overcome a St. Cloud team battling for the Penrose Cup. I expect the games to be tight. St. Cloud 3-1, 2-1
Matthew: I loved the level of CC’s competitiveness and commitment last Saturday in its 2-1 overtime loss at Nebraska-Omaha, and apart from having lost 6-0 the previous night, the Tigers have really battled lately despite knowing they’ll be on the road in the first round of the league playoffs. I think it’s very possible they could get rewarded for that this weekend, but SCSU knows what’s on the line this weekend, and I don’t see the Huskies faltering here. St. Cloud State 3-2, 3-1

Miami at Denver
Candace: These two split in Oxford back in December. The Pioneers haven’t swept a series since November against Western Michigan, and they probably won’t here either, but which night will they win on? Denver 2-1, Miami 3-2
Matthew: Miami’s doomed to finish last in the league but hasn’t given up, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see the RedHawks come away with a split this weekend. Part of that is because DU has relied too much at times on Sam Brittain, and I’m going to stick my neck out here a bit and call a split. It’s good news for a team that I’m not sure I’d want to play in the first round of the playoffs. Miami 2-1. Denver 2-0

Nebraska-Omaha at No. 19 Minnesota-Duluth
Candace: Minnesota-Duluth could pass Nebraska-Omaha in the standings with a sweep, but I don’t see it happening. The Bulldogs have only gotten three sweeps all year; admittedly one happened against these same Mavericks back in January in Omaha, but I don’t they pull it off this go round. Nebraska-Omaha 3-1, Minnesota-Duluth 3-2
Matthew: UMD has won each of its last four games against UNO and pounded the Mavericks 6-0 the last time these two teams played in Duluth, which just so happened to be at the end of the 2012-13 regular season. UNO will remember that all too well, and although I don’t think the Mavericks will do their slim chance of winning the league too many favors, one win this weekend would wrap up home ice, and that in itself is a fairly big achievement in this league. Nebraska-Omaha 4-1, Minnesota-Duluth 3-2

Western Michigan at No. 9 North Dakota
Candace: This game is in Grand Forks, the Penrose Cup is on the line, and North Dakota has been virtually unbeatable over the last three months. I’ll go with a UND sweep. North Dakota 2-1, 4-1
Matthew: I’ve at times been pleasantly surprised by Western this season, and I’d feel for the Broncos if they don’t wrap up home ice this weekend. Unfortunately for WMU, I don’t see them getting the job done against a North Dakota team that knows it will win the Penrose Cup if it sweeps. North Dakota 3-2, 3-1

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