No. 1 Minnesota (2-0) at Michigan Tech (1-1)
Joe: The Huskies will not score eight goals at home like they did against Lake Superior State on Saturday. That is too bad because they might need to against a powerful UM offense. Gophers sweep despite a more challenging series.
Tyler: The big Olympic sheet played into Minnesota’s style in last week’s lopsided sweep of Michigan State and the Gophers won’t get beat on the small rink in Houghton, either. Minnesota will be too explosive offensively and too stingy on defense for Tech. Gophers sweep
Lake Superior State (1-1) at Bemidji State (0-0)
Joe: Swedish freshman goalie Fabian Sivnert turned aside all 15 shots he faced in the third period against USA U-18 in last Saturday’s exhibition game, suggesting the Beavers may have found a replacement for underrated graduate Dan Bakala. If that need is filled, BSU should get a split in its opening weekend.
Tyler: At this point, it’s really hard to tell where Bemidji State’s at. The Beavers can score on a weak defense like LSSU, but how much firepower does BSU have to give the Lakers? LSSU should sweep with the extra week of play under its legs but I’ll pick the Beavers to win one game at home. Split.
Rensselaer (1-0-1) at Minnesota State (1-0-1)
Joe: RPI’s Scott Diebold, the ECAC Goalie of the Week, started off well, going 1-0-1, against No. 16 Ferris State. The Engineers are certainly a tougher opponent than Alabama-Huntsville but MSU looks improved and should be even better at home. I predict a split.
Tyler: I have a lot of optimism in this MSU offense but it was supposed to go off last weekend at Alabama-Huntsville and it didn’t. Yes, the Mavericks finished the weekend with 94 shots on goal but they need to come away with more than six goals. Diebold looks solid so far for RPI, so I’m taking a split.
Alabama-Huntsville (0-1-1) at St. Cloud State (0-2)
Joe: It took 51 saves by UAH goalie John Griggs to salvage a home tie for the Chargers against Minnesota State. It won’t happen two weekends in a row against an SCSU squad that must be anxious after losing twice on the road. Huskies sweep.
Tyler: It’s arguable SCSU needs a win more than anyone this weekend and you figure UAH is the opponent that will give the Huskies good odds. Carrying a lot of hope and expectation going into the season, SCSU fell flat at New Hampshire. The Huskies need a win and they’ll get two this weekend.
No. 17 Northern Michigan (2-0) at Nebraska Omaha (1-1)
Joe: Okay, I was one of those folks who thought Wisconsin could challenge for the WCHA title. It is early, but it certainly looks like the Badgers were overrated, which makes NMU’s sweep less impressive. The Mavs battled No. 9 Notre Dame last weekend and lost 3-2. Since UNO is at home, it should get a split.
Tyler: Don’t sleep on this NMU defense, equipped with a good goalie and a solid, experienced ‘D’ corps. I don’t expect high scoring in this one nor do I think NMU has what it takes to hit the road and return with two sweeps. Split
No. 19 Colorado College at Air Force (0-0-2), Friday; No. 10 UMass-Lowell at No. 7 Denver, Friday; No. 10 Mass-Lowell at No. 19 CC, Saturday; Air Force at No. 7 Denver, Saturday
Joe: The aggressive AFA forecheck should cause some problems for Colorado College in its first game on an NHL sheet. CC goalie Josh Thorimbert will bounce back from a sub .900 saves performance. UMass-Lowell, picked to place second in Hockey East, will be a tough challenge for Denver in its opening game and the Tigers the next night. Both CC and DU should beat Air Force, which had to rally to tie Alaska-Anchorage and Alaska-Fairbanks last weekend. The Tigers will get three points. The Pioneers will go 1-1.
Tyler: Doug Carr might be one of the best goalies in the country and both teams need to find a way to get the puck past him. I don’t think Air Force gives either CC or Denver much of a threat. CC beats AF, loses to UML. Denver wins twice.
No. 2 North Dakota (0-0) vs. Alaska Anchorage (1-0-1), Friday; Merrimack (1-1) vs. Alaska Anchorage (1-0-1), Saturday; No. 2 North Dakota at Alaska (0-1-1), Saturday (Brice Alaska Gold Rush, Fairbanks)
Joe: Even shorthanded, North Dakota has too much talent for the Nanooks and Seawolves. UAA goes 0-2; UND wins two.
Tyler: A depleted lineup and a long travel when the other opponents have already played twice don’t really add up to wins for UND, but it even’s the playing surface for a much less-talented Seawolves squad. I’m taking UAA in a big upset. UND rebounds against Alaska for its first win and UAA stays unbeaten with a win against Merrimack Saturday.
Wisconsin (0-2), idle