Happy holidays and a welcome back to college hockey after a short break.
Three WCHA teams are in action this weekend with Michigan Tech hosting the Great Lakes Invitational outdoors at Comerica Park in Detroit and Bowling Green participating in the Three Rivers Classic at the CONSOL Energy Center in Pittsburgh. Here are Matt and Shane’s picks, with Matt reliving his CCHA days and adding some bonus out-of-league picks for the GLI.
Great Lakes Invitational
Shane: The folks in Michigan must be excited about this and everything else happening outdoors at Comerica Park. The Huskies are the GLI’s defending champion and have already taken two games from Michigan State. I think they’ll return to the title game, but Michigan will prove too tough.
Huskies 4, Spartans 2 / Wolverines 3, Huskies 1
Matt: The GLI was supposed to be played outdoors a year ago at the home of the Detroit Tigers, however, the NHL lockout pushed it back the entire Hockeytown Winter Festival to this season. Michigan Tech plays its third game of the season Friday against Michigan State having beaten the Spartans twice in Houghton already. Michigan is playing in its fifth and sixth outdoor game since 2001, starting Friday in the nightcap against Western Michigan. The Wolverines are 2-1-1 in outdoor games going into the weekend having won their previous two over MSU in Ann Arbor and last year against Ohio State in Cleveland. I like Tech and Michigan to win Friday with the Wolverines and Spartans prevailing on Saturday.
Huskies 3, Spartans 2 / Wolverines 4, Huskies 3
(BONUS: Wolverines 3, Broncos 0 / Spartans 2, Broncos 1)
Three Rivers Classic
Shane: Another good tournament is taking place in Pittsburgh and the Falcons are hoping to see if they’re back on track after closing out the first half of the season with a three-point weekend in Houghton. They have a tough matchup right away, but will bounce back against either Robert Morris or Penn State.
Eagles 5, Falcons 2 / Falcons 4, PSU or RMU 2
Matt: Junior forward Ryan Carpenter is practicing again for the Falcons, but it doesn’t appear he’s ready to play just yet based on the latest report from Kevin Gordon of the BG Sentinel Tribune. BGSU should get back forwards Adam Berkle and Brett Mohler this weekend, which won’t be enough to beat BC. It will be enough to beat either Penn State or Robert Morris, though.
Eagles 3, Falcons 1 / Falcons 2, PSU or RMU 1
Alabama-Huntsville at Wisconsin
Shane: If there’s ever a time to try to steal a win in Madison it might be the weekend between Christmas and New Year’s when the Kohl Center won’t be rocking and the Badgers’ best player is playing in the World Junior Tournament. Even under those circumstances, I can’t see the Chargers winning. Badgers 6-1, 4-1
Matt: The Badgers have won their last four games, sweeping Penn State and Colorado College. I expect Bucky to extend that winning streak to four this weekend, even without Nic Kerdiles or a packed house. Badgers 3-1, 4-1.
Overall records: Shane: 74-32-16; Matt: 67-39-16