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College Hockey:
WCHA Picks: Feb. 3-4

Bemidji State (12-12-2, 6-10-2 WCHA) at Nebraska-Omaha (15-10-2, 11-9-0 WCHA)


Tyler: UNO’s goaltending is highly questionable with Ryan Massa questionable after he suffered a concussion against Minnesota State, Jan. 21. He’s been the one guy to emerge from UNO’s goaltending situation with stability. He allowed three goals on 110 shots in his last three games but without him, there’s a shaky John Faulkner and you don’t know what to expect from Dayn Belfour. The thing is, BSU doesn’t have the firepower to take advantage in a series like this and UNO is good at home with a 7-3-2 home record. UNO sweep


Brian: The Mavericks hold a slim 5-4-1 edge over the Beavers all time at home but BSU has only lost once in the series’ last eight matchups (5-1-2) including four straight wins in Omaha. Nebraska-Omaha tied (3-3) and beat (5-1) BSU in a November series at Sanford Center and UNO’s win snapped a seven-game winless streak against Bemidji State. The Mavs are clinging to the sixth and final home playoff spot and will improve their position this week with a sweep while North Dakota sits idle.


No. 11 Colorado College (14-9-1, 11-7-0 WCHA) at/vs. No. 13 Denver (15-8-3, 10-5-3 WCHA) – Home-and-home


TylerFirst place is more than likely out of the question at this point of the season for both teams but these rivals are going to duke it out for playoff positioning near the top of the league. Denver is a point ahead of CC for third place in the WCHA standings. This series has been played so tight with 10 games decided by a goal or less since the 2008-09 season, when this year’s seniors were freshmen. Four of those games went into overtime and three of them ended in a tie. Sam Brittain’s return to the Denver lineup gives the Pioneers a boost but it takes a lot for either team to really grab an edge in this series. Split


Brian: This is by far the WCHA’s biggest series of the weekend as the conference’s third and fourth place teams, and Colorado rivals, complete their annual season battle for the Gold Pan Trophy. CC has won 11 of the last 23 in the series (11-6-6) but each team has won its last three home games against the other including a pair of one-goal games earlier in the year. I see a split in a couple of hard-fought contests.


No. 1 Minnesota-Duluth (17-5-4, 11-4-3 WCHA) at Alaska-Anchorage (6-16-2, 3-16-1 WCHA)


Tyler: UMD has managed to stay No. 1 after sweating out two one-goal games against Alabama-Huntsville and taking just one point at home against Michigan Tech, but this is it. By now, UMD should have it figured out. JT Brown needs to pick it up for UMD. He has only two points in the past four games. These games are huge for the Bulldogs to make up the five-point difference between them and Minnesota with the Gophers off this weekend. UMD sweep


Brian: The Bulldogs are poised to return to form after going 2-2-1 in their last five games since the end of their 17-game unbeaten streak. Speaking of streaks, the Seawolves have lost their last seven games coming into the series. The teams split their last series in Anchorage nearly two years ago and the overall series is even in the last 12 games (5-5-2). But UMD gets back on track with a sweep.


Michigan Tech (12-12-2, 9-7-2 WCHA) at Minnesota State (9-18-1, 5-14-1 WCHA)


Tyler: MSU is playing good hockey lately and winning games, not just because of Phil Cook’s improved play but also because the Mavericks are scoring big third-period goals lately in tight spots to give themselves a chance to win or send it to overtime. MSU has lost just one game by more than one goal since Christmas (4-0 against Wisconsin) with a couple of heartbreakers in there, too. Tech is a very beatable team for the Mavericks but we all saw what the Huskies did last week when they proved they can win in whatever city they play in. Split


BrianThe Mavericks are playing their best hockey of the season thanks in no small part to the re-emergence of goaltender Phil Cook who is 4-2-0 with a .945 save percentage and a 1.82 goals against average in his last six starts. This series will be a huge test for Michigan Tech as to how well it can follow up its emotionally-charged series in Duluth last weekend. I think the games will be played close to the vest but I’m going to say MTU takes two.


St. Cloud State (10-14-4, 7-10-3 WCHA) at Wisconsin (12-12-2, 7-11-2 WCHA)


Tyler: It seems like Wisconsin can only win at home this season and they’ve done it against weak teams or teams that were struggling at the time. Injuries have been more than just a bug this season for the Huskies. Though they got goaltender Mike Lee back for the Minnesota series, they lost two centers to injury. Jordy Christian suffered a career-ending knee injury against North Dakota and winger Travis Novak is out for a few weeks with an ankle he injured against Minnesota. The Badgers will take advantage of a limping SCSU team in the Kohl Center, the building they’ve had success in this season. WISC sweep


Brian: The Huskies are being held together up front with duct tape and paper clips leaving Ben Hanowski to carry a heavy load recently. Mike Lee’s return was a boost last weekend and Ryan Faragher has been outstanding. But you can only ask so much of your goalies for so long. The Badgers earned one of their three road points earlier this season in St. Cloud with a 3-3 tie a night after SCSU blew them out 7-2. But Wisconsin is a much different team at home (11-4-1) while St. Cloud State has struggled on the road this year (3-9-1) and has won just one of its last 14 games (1-9-4) at the Kohl Center. SCSU’s brutal second-half schedule deals another blow as the Badgers sweep at home.

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  • Anonymous

    I would have to agree with the BSU-UNO pic – especially Tyler’s comments - unfortunately.  BSU cannot seem to find offensive chemistry this year.  Defensively they’re pretty solid – the defense and PK has kept them in many games thus far.  What’s killing them is not being aggressive enough in the offensive zone and lack of PP opportunities (aren’t they like next to worst nationally in PP minutes?).  Those two go hand in hand - if you’re not aggressive in the offensive zone you’re not going to draw those “clutch and grab”  type interference penalties, etc. 

    • guest

      They’ve got one guy who can score consistently in George and nothing else.

      • Nate

        And they have another in Brad Hunt who create’s the goals!

        • WCHAFAN

          Not for a second would I say that Bemidji has a deeper team than UNO, but they do play with more fire.  Why can no one remember that BSU has UNO’s number for some reason?  3 points this weekend out of their building and undefeated in the same building the last six games.  By the way “guest” – six goals from BSU on Saturday night, all from different skaters.

          How about that Wisconsin sweep??? :)

    • Nate

      Bemidji Actually is 18 on the Power Play and 17 on Penalty Kill not even close to worst , they do however have second to worst in Penalty Minutes

    • K-Dub

      But, the problem with your picks is….you didn’t mention the Bakala factor.  Thus, your picks were wrong.

      Go Beavers!!!!!

  • Ridingtimes

    The DU vs CC series is always awesome games. If Howe does not start in goal this weekend i see CC in a sweep. Look at the games this year and who was the goaltenders….

    • Timmay

      With that grammar you must be a cc grad.

      • Ridingtimes

        Wow i guess sinces Owens has coached CC and George boy has been at DU..I guess the only thing u have to go on is my grammar..For your information little one i was defending this country so little boys like you can type on here. Oh Yea CC 2 DU 0..LMAO

        • Timmay

          sinces?

  • Jimmy3434

    Wow I can’t wait to see your picks next week.  Collectively you guys were 6-14 ! What a pair ! For the love of God please give up on the picks!!!!!!! 

  • Emr9008

    What are the odds Kevin Sneddon gets axed as UVM coach after the season? 60%?

    • bronxbomberz41

      man he’s had a rough go of it these last couple years, ever since they lost the elder stahlberg.  i think theres a good change he gets fired, but if he doesn’t and turns in another season like this he’s gone.

    • VermontfaninNY

      Not high enough.

  • Jonidman

    “desimiation?”  Does this mean to become un-apemanlike?

  • Irish Spectre

    Having won a paltry 3 out of 23 games in the conference going into the weekend, Vermont was a made-to-order opponent for the character challenged Terriers after the week they had.  Frankly, the other way to look at it would be to suggest that BU needing OT on Sat. to beat an anemic UVM means that they ARE in fact showing the effects of their unhappy extracurriculars.

    Save the hat-tipping until first seeing how BU fares this final, upcoming weekend vs. Northeastern, which has a habit of rising to BU games to begin with, and is fighting for its playoff life to boot!

    • BG

      Or you could look at the fact that they pulled the goalie, scored to tie the game, and win in OT was a character defining moment.

      UVM has beaten 3 top-10 teams this year, a W is not a given.  BU beat UVM 5-0 the night before if you were looking for a beatdown.

  • SDS

    If Northeastern does not make the HE playoffs, they will do so despite beating Michigan in Ann Arbor, Minnesota in Minneapolis (NU winning the Mariucci Classic), and sweeping a pair from Notre Dame in South Bend, when UND was ranked #2. Ouch.