Shane continues to be the hot hand when it comes to picking games in the WCHA, while I barely finish above .500. We have all 10 teams in league play this weekend, which shouldn’t be an oddity, but it somehow is.
Here’s our best guesses. All games are Friday and Saturday.
Alabama-Huntsville at Bowling Green
Matt: The Falcons struggled in November, but most of those troubles came on the road. BSGU is 5-1-1 at home this year and 4-0-1 all time at home against the Chargers, who are still winless on the year. Falcons 2-0, 3-1
Shane: Talk about curing what ails you. Bowling Green’s playing at home and against Huntsville. The Chargers are going to steal a win sometime, but I’m not bold enough to predict when. Falcons 5-1, 2-1
Bemidji State at Michigan Tech
Matt: Shane likes to call Ferris State goaltender C.J. Motte, “my guy” and in a way, he has been early on. I picked him as my preseason All-WCHA goaltender and he’s making me look real good right now. However, if I had to fill out a midseason All-WCHA ballot (not a bad idea), it would be hard to keep Tech’s Pheonix Copley off the ballot. Last week I picked the Huskies to get swept in Alaska. This week I sat they sweep at home, hoping for a better result on my end. Huskies 2-1, 3-2.
Shane: These two teams have played the toughest schedules of anyone in the league – maybe even the country. All but one of their seven combined nonconference opponents are currently ranked. Bemidji’s also played Ferris and Lake Superior, while Tech played LSSU and went on that long Alaska trip. This will be a battle. Beavers 3-2, Huskies 2-1.
Ferris State at Lake Superior State
Matt: Alright Bulldogs fans, I guess I’ll hop on your so-called bandwagon, but don’t blame me for jinxing your team with this pick. The Bulldogs eventually will lose, but until they or Motte do, I’m picking sweeps. Bulldogs 4-1, 2-1
Shane: Even when we haven’t picked Ferris State we’ve been on their bandwagon. Ferris State is getting plenty of praise from the Wellens-Frederick Media Machine. But the question isn’t: Is FSU the best team in the league? It’s: Are these teams the best two teams in the league? Lakers 2-1, Bulldogs 4-2
Northern Michigan at Minnesota State
Matt: The loss of senior defenseman C.J. Ludwig is devastating for NMU. He was the team’s best defenseman, the quarterback of the penalty power play and a key member of the penalty kill. There is no replacing Ludwig. That said, I think his understudy Brock Maschmeyer is going to surprise people at the blue line. Wildcats 2-1, Mavericks 4-1
Shane: This is the beginning of a tough stretch of road games for Northern Michigan, and it could define its season. Losing Ludwig is indeed a killer. The Mavericks, meanwhile, are healthier, at home and playing closer to their potential than they were a month ago. Mavericks 3-2, 4-2.
Alaska at Alaska-Anchorage
Matt: The first weekend of WCHA play, the league pitted some of the fiercest rivals together with Bemidji State at Alabama-Huntsville and Northern Michigan playing Michigan Tech. Why wasn’t this series part of rivalry weekend? This may be the best of the three. Seawolves 4-3, Nanooks 4-2.
Shane: Both of these teams are desperate for wins right now, and, as if they need any more motivation, this is the first time these rivals are squaring off as WCHA opponents. Hopefully, there will be a good crowd at the Sully this weekend. Seawolves 3-1, Nanooks 4-3