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College Hockey:
WCHA picks: Feb. 17-18

Nebraska-Omaha (13-11-6, 10-7-5 WCHA) at No. 15 Colorado College (15-11-2, 12-9-1 WCHA)

Tyler:  UNO is probably the most inconsistent and unpredictable team in the WCHA, not only wins and losses, scoring and goaltending as well. If Josh Thorimbert returns this weekend, which CC coach Scott Owens is optimistic about, CC is going to shut the Mavericks down. Though Ryan Massa has been solid in goal lately for UNO, the Tigers have the edge in depth. CC sweep

Brian:  Two teams which split an early November series meet three months later deadlocked in fourth place in the WCHA with 25 points. Neither UNO (4-3-3) nor CC (3-5-2) has exactly set the world on fire in its last 10 games but the Mavs are a .500 road team this season. Looking like a split in Colorado Springs.

 

Bemidji State (15-12-3, 9-10-3 WCHA) at No. 7 Minnesota (19-11-1, 15-7-0 WCHA) 

Tyler:  Right now, clinging to the lead in the WCHA standings is probably on the Gophers’ backburner because they know a loss this weekend could nudge them outside the top 15 in the PairWise Rankings. This is a must-sweep for Minnesota but the Gophers will be ready to go in their first weekend back in front of the home crowd since Jan. 27. Minny sweep

Brian:  After a blistering 9-1-0 start, Minnesota is a mediocre 10-10-1 in its last 21 while the Beavers are 11-7-3 over the same stretch including 4-0-1 in their last 5. BSU is undoubtedly the hotter team but desperation has to be setting in for Minnesota after suffering its first sweep of the season last week resulting in a PairWise freefall to No. 14. Despite the Gophers’ 8-1-1 all-time record against the Beavers at Mariucci Arena I think the hot hand of Dan Bakala earns BSU a split.

 

No. 4 Minnesota-Duluth (19-7-4, 13-6-3 WCHA) at Minnesota State (12-19-1, 8-15-1 WCHA) 

Tyler:  The Mavericks are playing their best hockey of the season the last few weeks because they’re finally getting timely goals and decent goaltending from Phil Cook, minus his major hiccup against Michigan Tech. If Cook has a dependable weekend in net, MSU is playing spirited enough hockey to have a chance to win a game this weekend against a UMD team that’s without one of its top offensive threats, JT Brown. Split

Brian: Five weeks ago this pair could not have been further apart in the league standings yet the Mavericks are 6-4 in that stretch while UMD is 5-4-1. Already a tough team to get a read on lately, UMD will be without the services of sniper J.T. Brown due to an upper body injury suffered against North Dakota last weekend. If the Bulldogs can lose in Anchorage with Brown, they can certainly lose in Mankato without him. Split

 

Michigan Tech (13-14-3, 10-9-3 WCHA) at No. 14 North Dakota (16-11-2, 12-10-0 WCHA) 

Tyler:  The Huskies can really help themselves this weekend by taking advantage of North Dakota’s struggling penalty kill although its own power play went dormant at home against Nebraska-Omaha last week. While both teams are jockeying for position near the middle of the WCHA standings, UND is teetering on the NCAA Tournament bubble and needs to recognize it has a lot more to play for this weekend. I like UND to sweep because they’re back in the confines of the Ralph, where it’s 10-4-2 this season.

BrianA much-improved Michigan Tech team continues its quest for its first finish above .500 since 1992-93 in Grand Forks. But the Huskies remain a team struggling to find the consistency to string wins together, something they’ve done just once since mid-October. That will be tough against a surging UND team (12-4-1 in its last 17 games) which is 22-5-1 against MTU in the Dave Hakstol era and annually plays its best hockey at this time of year. With apologies to @goon48, I’m picking a Fighting Sioux sweep. #kissofdeath

 

Alaska-Anchorage (7-19-2, 4-19-1 WCHA) at St. Cloud State (12-14-4, 9-10-3 WCHA)

Tyler:  There’s no team in the WCHA that hates one building as much as Alaska-Anchorage hates the National Hockey Center. Opened in 1989, it’s one of the oldest arenas in the league and the Seawolves are still looking for their first win in the building. Don’t expect a change in fortune this weekend, though. UAA has no punch on offense and the Huskies are rolling. SCSU sweep

Brian: The Huskies are coming off of a well-timed bye week to heal and recharge and the Seawolves are making their last trip outside of Alaska until the postseason following a 1-5-0 homestand. The Huskies are tough at home and with the goaltending at Bob Motzko’s disposal I think SCSU sweeps this weekend.

 

No. 10 Denver (17-9-4, 12-6-4 WCHA) at Wisconsin (12-14-2, 7-13-2 WCHA)

Tyler:  Denver’s weekly press release didn’t include Jason Zucker on its injury report and Sam Brittain has a .924 save percentage since he rejoined the team after he recovered from knee surgery so the Pioneers look pretty good this weekend against a Wisconsin team that has had a lot of difficulty scoring recently. DU sweep

Brian: Wisconsin has played very well at home this season, although you wouldn’t know it by the way St. Cloud State left town with four points two weeks ago. The Pioneers are 7-2-1 in their last 10 and sit two points out of first place after sweeping Minnesota last week. The Badgers might get a spark on Friday from the pre-game ceremony honoring former goalie Kirk Daubenspeck, but it will be tough to overcome the lack of depth at center with Derek Lee and Jefferson Dahl each out due to concussion symptoms. DU stays on a roll and wins twice.

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  • Alex

    Hmmm…. Ferris State 6-0-0… combined record of the 3 opponents they have played? 3-12-0.

    Maybe we should pump the brakes on them huh?

    • Upfan

      Except that Ferris is responsible for 6 of those losses, making the opponents remaining record 3-6.  Not stellar by any means, but a slightly different picture.

  • RYAN HOFFMAN14

    Paula what is the deal with the officals in the ccha? Wilkins needs more practice and quite frankly might not even be able to handle the college level, go back to juniors.

  • Confucius

    Confucius say, beware of the Beavers… dooby dooby do !

  • Anonymous

    CC has been swamped with injuries to multiple players and has lost the net besides. I don’t see them sweeping UNO. I don’t think its impossible its not the other way around. Some of those guys are coming back after being out this weekend are going to make a go of it at less than 100%. Just need to keep the Schwartz’s away form the net. That said, UNO’s biggest weakness this year on a very young team has been on defense. We’ll see.

  • wchaHockey

    “Five weeks ago this pair could not have been further apart in the league standings yet the Mavericks are 6-4 in that stretch while UMD is 5-4-1. ”Brian, this statement confuses me. So the Mavs are now one point closer to the Dogs in the standings? I’m sure you were trying to show that the Mavs were playing a little better then they had been and the Dogs are finally losing some games… but really… how long did you have to write this? You couldn’t come up with something better?

    • Journalists?

      Don’t you know that Brian and Tyler only care about the Gophers?  My question is why do we need both of them?  They seem to write identical “expert” opinions every week, which basically recite box scores and stats that all of us already have access to.  Also, why does the WCHA, the premier league in college hockey (for the time being), get the two USCHO writers who seem to have the least knowledge/interest in the league and college hockey?  Maybe comparing them to Paula from the CCHA isn’t fair.  What do you all think?

      • GeauxSioux

        I think if you hate their writing so much, you should apply for their job citing your superior ability to extrapolate info from games. Its college hockey man, not college football. Be happy a strictly college hockey website exists. However, I do, sometimes, give a B- for editorial effort.

  • HUGE HOCKEY FAN

    Hopes everyone has a great weekend of hockey.  With the exception of Michigan Tech of course. 

    Go Sioux!!!  (I can still say that right?)

  • Scott Reed

    12-4-1 in the last 17 for the Sioux how are we not number one in the country???  Everybody else has had a chance up there… especially with the obvious bias towards the Sioux from everybody in the country.  Its an outrage!!! Who are these clowns that do the voting.

    • Duluth06ChE

      ummm….because UND isn’t that good and can’t score goals?

      • Scott Reed

        sarcasm is lost on the weak minded… don’t feel bad… I never use to pick up on it either

      • Fan Man

         Outscored you last weekend!  Boom take that lol…

    • WCHAFAN

      How about because they are in fifth place in their own conference…  How is the fifth place WCHA team the best in the nation?  This is exactly the kind of ignorant comment that promotes the other fans in the league to pick on Sue fans…  UND may be playing better than they did in October, but the season has still been medicore at best.  They will not deserve a number one ranking unless they slide into the NCAA’s and find a way to win it all.  While anything is possible, (See Bowling Green 1984) I think you should forget about any #1′s this season and come back down to the real world the rest of us live in. 

      Way to go future WCHAers Ferris State!

      • nogofer

        See Scott Reed’s comment above…

      • Scott Reed

        wow, I literally had to pick myself up off the floor, I fell out of my chair laughing so hard, I can just picture the outrage and you slamming on your keyboard as you type, throwing out explictives. Sarcasm…Have you heard of it? You might do your blood preasure a favor by learing to recognize it.  Look at my reply to Duluth06Che, which was before you wrote your post.

  • Eddy

    I wonder how many times Woog will say the Beavers basically suck in tonight’s pregame show.