Bemidji State vs. Massachusetts, Ledyard Bank Classic, Sunday
Joe: Bemidji State, 2-1-1 in its last four games, takes on UMass (5-9-2) which is 1-4 in its last five games and has only four players in double figures in points, led by junior Braden Gracel with 13 (seven goals).
The other semifinal pits host No. 2 New Hampshire (11-2-2) and No. 10 Dartmouth (7-2-2) with the third-place and championship games on Dec. 31. BSU (5-8-3) will be outgunned on New Year’s Eve, but will pull off the win against UMass which should struggle against the Beavers’ defensive style of play. I expect senior Jordan George (11 points, six assists) to have a better second half starting on Dec. 30.
Tyler: Defense and goaltending is what Bemidji State used to sweep Denver in its last weekend before the break. Andrew Walsh has allowed three goals in the past three games with 90 saves in the three games going into this weekend. The Beavers’ offense is going to open up against UMass, which allows the 10th-most goals per game (3.12) in the nation.
Minnesota State vs. UConn
Joe: Beating the hosts will be tough, but the purple Mavericks are playing too well to let down in the championship game. MSU wins.
Tyler: Stephon Williams is on a hot streak and that’s good news for the Mavericks because the Huskies average just two goals per game. MSU wins the tournament.
Michigan Tech vs. Western Michigan
Joe: Western Michigan goalie Frank Slubowski and his seven career shootout wins gives the Broncos the defensive anchor it needs to prevail. The WMU offense should pick up its production and it is too much to ask of Huskies freshman Pheonix Copley to make another 38 saves and win. Broncos win a close one.
Tyler: The Broncos beat Michigan with a great offensive performance and Copley’s first game all season in which he allowed less than three goals. Western Michigan is playing a lot better than the Wolverines are and post a tougher challenge for the Huskies. Broncos take the GLI title.