No. 7 North Dakota at No. 14 Nebraska-Omaha
Joe: A lot has been made of the outdoor game but this series will be decided by North Dakota offense, which must attack the net against UNO’s defense, which is seventh overall in the WCHA. UND will, but expect UNO senior John Faulkner to steal one win. Split.
Tyler: I don’t think the outdoor aspect of Saturday’s game really points to either team as a favorite, but which team reacts to whatever elements they face, will win. Clarke Saunders has been shaky since Christmas and though Zane Gothberg had a great weekend against Wisconsin, UNO is a grade above offensively. Split
No. 1 Minnesota at No. 8 St. Cloud State
Joe: On paper, there is no clear advantage. SCSU matches up well with the Gophers, who remain a loaded team with a good-enough defense. At home, the Huskies get the split and keep the WCHA race as muddled as ever.
Tyler: In the best matchup of the weekend, I don’t see this series going one way. Both have a ton to play for and both teams are playing good hockey. The Gophers got last week off to rest up while the Huskies continued to roll into this series with a 5-0-1 record the last three weeks. Minnesota won 4-1 in a hostile environment two weeks ago in Mankato but the NHEC will be louder and the opponent is more skilled. Split
Colorado College versus No. 9 Denver
Joe: CC is scrambling for points. But that struggling Tigers defense means CC’s best offensive output may only be enough to garner a split against a solid Pioneers squad. Rivalry games in a home-and-home series are hard to pick, but a split is most likely.
Tyler: Colorado College hasn’t shown anything defensively all season and with a Denver squad that’s healthy and starting to click, I’ll take the Pioneers to sweep the rivalry series. This weekend will be physical, per usual between these teams, and if the Tigers can catch Denver in a shootout, they have a chance to pull one out. The odds of that happening are slim if Juho Olkinuora is on his game. DU sweep
No. 11 Minnesota State at Minnesota-Duluth
Joe: Expect the Bulldogs to rebound from last Saturday’s third-period collapse against Denver, but UMD is quite simply, not that good. Because the Bulldogs are at home, they get the split.
Tyler: The key to this one is going to be special teams. Both squads have top-10 power plays but UMD relies a little too much on it. Of all of the Bulldogs’ goals, 37.5 percent are scored on the power play while 30.1 percent of MSU’s goals are on the power play. Goaltending will also be important and MSU’s Stephon Williams has the edge. MSU Sweep
Bemidji State at No. 19 Wisconsin
Joe: Wisconsin may be offensively-challenged, but BSU is winless since mid-December (0-8-2). The Beavers are better than that but cannot overcome costly turnovers. Wisconsin, with its edge between the pipes, should get three points at home.
Tyler: The key to beating Wisconsin is to jump on the Badgers right away and force them to overcome a multi-goal deficit. That’s what UND did last weekend but Bemidji State doesn’t have the firepower. Wisconsin sweep.
Alaska-Anchorage at Michigan Tech
Joe: It is Winter Carnival time and the Huskies showed enough last weekend with that road win at Nebraska-Omaha to suggest they are playing better. MTU gets three points because UAA will get another tie.
Tyler: Pheonix Copley will have an easy weekend in net for Michigan Tech and the Seawolves are winless on the road this season. Michigan Tech sweep