No. 1 Minnesota-Duluth (11-3-2, 9-2-1 WCHA) at Wisconsin (7-8-1, 4-7-1 WCHA)
Tyler: The Bulldogs can cash in on the power play, facing one of the nation’s worst penalty kills (73.5 percent) but the Badgers have played well in their own building this season with a 7-3 home record. Wisconsin is rested and desperate for a WCHA win; their last league win was Nov. 11 at home against Minnesota. Split
Brian: The memory of last season’s controversial dual-overtime UMD sweep is fresh in the minds of the Badgers and their fans and should provide plenty of motivation if facing the nation’s top-ranked team isn’t enough. It’s nearly impossible to pick against the country’s hottest team (10-0-2 in last dozen games) and I didn’t last week. This week, however, I will. Kenny Reiter’s due for a stumble so I’ll say Wisconsin coach Mike Eaves gets his 200th win this weekend but 201 will have to wait. Split
Nebraska-Omaha (8-7-3, 6-3-3 WCHA) at No. 19 North Dakota (8-7-1, 6-6-0 WCHA)
Tyler: North Dakota’s top line is on fire right now and the Sioux haven’t scored less than four goals per game since it was shutout by Bemidji State Nov. 20. The Sioux brings a lot of offense into the weekend against a Mavericks team that lacked the firepower to beat UAH last weekend. It’ll be interesting to see which UNO goaltender — John Faulkner, Ryan Massa or Dayn Belfour — stays home this weekend. UND sweep
Brian: UND is hot of late and has been putting pucks in the net with regularity in recent weeks. The inconsistent Mavericks (2-2-2 in their last six games), on the other hand are coming off a split with Alabama-Huntsville which included a Friday loss that coach Dean Blais called “embarrassing.” While UNO might be due for a rebound, I’m going with the hot hand at home. UND sweep.
Michigan Tech (8-7-1, 5-6-1 WCHA) at No. 2 Minnesota (13-4-1, 10-2-0 WCHA)
Tyler: The Huskies are entering the toughest stretch on its schedule this weekend and they would easily accept a split, but Mariucci Arena has been a house of doom for opponents, rocking as the Gophers play its best hockey since this senior class has been at Minnesota. I’ll take a Minnesota sweep at home.
Brian: Tech was swept at home by UMD last week. Taking on the Gophers on Mariucci Arena’s big sheet won’t be any easier. Minnesota sweep.
No. 13 Denver (6-5-3, 4-3-3 WCHA) at Bemidji State (6-8-2, 4-6-2 WCHA)
Tyler: I liked the way the Beavers fought back in the third period to get a tie last Friday in St. Cloud and then protected their third-period lead Saturday. BSU has had trouble scoring in third periods all year with a WCHA-low 11 goals, but that seemed to turn around at SCSU. Split
Brian: It seems like, for me, Denver has been the toughest team to pick other than their loss at Michigan Tech. Maybe it’s because I’ve gone against the grain a bit with the Pioneers. Who knows? Who cares? Bemidji State is winless (0-8-0) all time against DU but I bet against them busting a losing streak to North Dakota a couple of weeks ago. That said, the Beavers win drought vs. Denver ends in a split.
Alabama-Huntsville (1-15-1) at Minnesota State (3-12-1, 2-9-1 WCHA)
Tyler: It’s probably the first time all season Minnesota State has gone into the weekend as the favorite. In a rough season loaded with injuries for the Mavericks, they can look to the future in a freshman class that has some upside. That group will show signs of what’s to come this weekend. MSU sweep
Brian: Minnesota State is coming off an emotional weekend having been swept at Minnesota in a series the Mavericks believe could have easily gone the other way. UAH’s entire week has been an emotional one after beating Nebraska-Omaha last Friday and then learning their season may have been removed from lame-duck status with the news that the program appears to have been saved from the scrapheap. The Chargers may receive a boost from that but the Mavericks will find a way to win one as well. Split.
Alaska Anchorage (5-9-2, 2-9-1 WCHA) at No. 6 Colorado College (8-4-0, 6-4-0 WCHA)
Tyler: Rylan Schwartz’s return will give the Tigers every bit of offense it needs to sweep the Seawolves at home, despite brother Jaden gone to World Juniors. CC sweep
Brian: Yes Jaden Schwartz will only play Friday’s game but brother Rylan returns from injury and the Tigers will still be able to put up points at home against UAA. The Seawolves will not be able to keep up as CC goes to 7-0-0 at home with a sweep.