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College Hockey:
WCHA picks: Jan. 25-26

Alaska-Anchorage at No. 20 Wisconsin
Joe: The league’s No. 2 defense should be enough for the Badgers to get three points against the struggling Seawolves, who average only 1.91 goals (last in the WCHA), but usually manage one good game a weekend.

Tyler: The Badgers defense held the Seawolves to 12 shots in a game during the Jan. 4-5 series in Anchorage because Wisconsin had the puck for most of the game. Puck control, a solid defensive corps and goaltending are going to be too much for UAA. The Badgers have had trouble on the power play but they go against the Seawolves, who allow a power play goal once every four penalty kills. Wisconsin sweep

No. 15 St. Cloud State at No. 5 North Dakota
Joe: North Dakota played well enough to move up in the polls despite getting only one road point against Minnesota. That may say more about the high level the Gophers are playing right now than UND, which picked up its level of play. In Grand Forks, that should be enough for a sweep against the inconsistent Huskies in two tight games.

Tyler: I have to think UND will come out firing against St. Cloud State at home after a one-point weekend at Minnesota. Ryan Fargher has held his ground against UND in his career, allowing 12 goals in six games for a .942 save percentage and he’ll need to be a factor for the Huskies to get some points this weekend. This is going to be another entertaining series between two teams going for the WCHA title. Split

No. 14 Minnesota State vs. No. 1 Minnesota (H&H)
Joe:  The Gophers will win at home while the Mavericks can take advantage of better line matchups at home and its strong team defense (2.31 goals) to generate a tie.

Tyler: Minnesota came out flat against Alaska-Anchorage Jan. 11 and needed two late power play goals to overcome a one-goal deficit. That was the first game after back-to-back games against the Nos. 1 and 2 teams in the nation with rival UND coming the next week and the Gophers barely passed the trap game twice. Not sure if there’s any direct correlation, but Minnesota is 1-4 in its last five games following a regular season series with UND. The Gophers have the depth, goaltending and talent to get at least a split against any team, but have they come down from the high of grabbing three points in an emotional series? The Mavericks were competitive in a loss at Mariucci earlier this season and salvaged a split. These teams will split again.

No. 13 Nebraska-Omaha at Bemidji State
Joe:  The Mavericks have a lot of offensive firepower which suggest they may win one game easily but have a tough time in one game. UNO will get out of Bemidji with three points.

Tyler: UNO’s offense can be quite a handful, but if the Beavers can hunker down and hold the Mavericks to two or less goals, BSU can put a few past a shaky UNO defense. The Beavers have had little trouble with the Mavericks since the teams entered the league playing similar styles no matter where the teams were positioned in the standings. BSU is 7-1-4 against UNO since 2010-11.

 

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