Matt: I was robbed of perfection a week ago by Lake Superior State’s tie with Wisconsin on Friday, plus the Bemidji State’s win over Minnesota State that night as well. Don’t expect a repeat this week, let alone the rest of the season.
Shane: Well done, Matt. Let’s go to Vegas! I think if last week’s results proved anything it’s that there won’t be any easy picks going forward in this league. While the opponents are often unfamiliar to fans throughout this revamped league, the hockey’s still good, certainly competitive.
Here’s this week’s picks with the Lakers finally getting into WCHA play.
Bemidji State at Ferris State
Matt: Maybe the one media member who cast a first-place vote in the preseason poll for the Beavers knew something the rest of us didn’t. BSU has another tough test this week traveling to the team picked to finish second. Unlike Minnesota State, the Bulldogs have lived up to their billing thus far. Just so I don’t jinx the Beavers, I’ll take Ferris in a sweep. Bulldogs 4-3, 3-2.
Shane: After watching the Beavers last weekend, they’re not going to make life easy on anyone this season. They have a nice combination of goaltending; a disciplined, defensive system; and veteran players. The Bulldogs have been good, but the schedule’s been soft to start. I see a split. Beavers 3-2, Bulldogs 4-2
Alaska at Lake Superior State
Matt: The Lakers begin life in the WCHA against a familiar foe, while Alaska meets another former CCHA rival from the U.P. Both teams may have been underrated in the preseason. This should a good series in Sault Ste. Marie and could rival the one in Mankato. Lakers 3-2, Nanooks 2-1.
Shane: This should be a good series. It’s the Nanooks’ first trip out of Alaska this season, and it’s a chance to see what the Lakers are made of after getting knocked back to Earth last weekend at Wisconsin. It’s been awhile since Alaska has won in the Sault, but I think it gets one this time around. Lakers 4-1, Nanooks 5-4
Bowling Green at Minnesota State
Matt: I’m jealous Shane gets to watch this series in person while I watch online. It’s the first of two meetings between the Falcons and Mavericks this month, who play each other again two weeks from now in Ohio. Two losses by the Mavericks would be devastating, but I don’t see that happening. Falcons 5-3, Mavericks 4-2.
Shane: This is the conference’s marquee matchup this weekend, and, yes, I’m looking forward to watching these two games. The Falcons have their offense going, even without Ryan Carpenter in the lineup, while the Mavericks have yet to get their forwards on the board consistently this season. Until that happens, I can’t call an MSU sweep. Falcons 2-1, Mavericks 4-2
Alabama-Huntsville at Alaska-Anchorage
Matt: The way the Seawolves battled BGSU on Saturday in Ohio was impressive, even though they lost. I expect that to carry over back home for a pair of wins. Seawolves 2-0, 3-0.
Shane: This is the beginning of a very tough five-week stretch of games for the Chargers, who are still searching for that first win. They had Ferris State on the ropes last weekend at home, but if the Seawolves are the improved team we think they are now, I think they’ll sweep. Seawolves 3-1, 2-1
Michigan State at Michigan Tech
Matt: The Spartans haven’t been to Houghton since 1984, while the Huskies may be feeling just as unfamiliar with John MacInnes Student Ice Arena after playing seven of their first eight games on the road. The fans haven’t forgotten about the Huskies hopefully, or the fact that State has snubbed a trip to the Keweenaw the past 28 seasons. I expect Sparty to be skating into a hornet’s nest. Huskies 4-1, 3-0.
Shane: Should be a fun couple of nights in Houghton. The Huskies certainly are battle-tested with that early season schedule, and they’ve been in just about every game against some very good teams on the road. They win Friday, but I’ll say State rebounds on Saturday. Huskies 3-2, Spartans 2-1
Northern Michigan at Western Michigan
Matt: Kalamazoo has been as giving to the Wildcats as a certain former NMU and WMU president was to both universities’ athletic departments. Northern has lost its last six games at Lawson Ice Arena to what is now a former CCHA rival. Having just gotten back from a grueling trip to Fairbanks, Alaska, I fear that skid will continue. Broncos 2-0, 3-1.
Shane: You certainly know Northern a lot better than I do, but I think it finds a way to pull one out against its former conference foe. Broncos 3-1, Wildcats 3-1
Last week: Matt 10-1-1, Shane: 7-4-0. Overall: Matt 32-18-6, Shane 30-20-6.