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College Hockey:
WCHA picks: Jan. 17-18

Six WCHA teams are involved in conference play this week while Bemidji State and Lake Superior State play nonconference series. Michigan Tech and Bowling Green both are on the bye. Here are the picks.

Alaska at Northern Michigan

Shane: The fun thing about the WCHA this year is that there’s not just a race for home ice but there’s a race for the final playoff spot(s) and trying to avoid being ninth or 10th. These two teams seem too talented to miss the postseason, so it should be a battle this weekend in Marquette. Nanooks 3-2, Wildcats 4-1

Matt: Fairbanks Daily-News Miner reporter had a few interesting stats at NewsMiner.com this week about the Nanooks’ lack of success in Marquette. Alaska hasn’t won at NMU since Feb. 5, 2005 and have only picked up five points in 12 games at the Berry Events Center. All time, Alaska is just 1-16-7 at NMU. Wildcats 2-1, 3-2

Alaska-Anchorage at Alabama-Huntsville

Shane: The Seawolves are on a roll right now, thanks to the renaissance of goalie Chris Kamal. I don’t have the guts to pick the Chargers’ second win of the season, but I think one of these games, probably Saturday, could be very, very close. Seawolves 3-1, 2-1

Matt: The Seawolves are on a roll, but not on the road, where they are 1-6-1 this year overall and 0-5-1 in WCHA play. Chargers are going to get their second win this season and first at home. Chargers 2-1, Seawolves 3-0

Ferris State at Minnesota State

Shane: When the league schedule came out last summer, this series was the first non-rivalry matchup circled on a lot of calendars. These were the WCHA’s top two teams as picked by the coaches and the media. Ferris State hasn’t lost in league play yet, and Minnesota State is looking to bounce back from a disappointing trip to Alaska. Bulldogs 3-2, Mavericks 3-1

Matt: The Bulldogs are six points up on the Mavericks and have two games still in hand. Three or more points for the Mavericks gets them right back into contention for a WCHA regular season title, while three or more points for Ferris puts the MacNaughton Cup practically in Big Rapids. Until FSU loses in WCHA play, I can’t pick against them, even in Mankato. Bulldogs 3-2, 4-3

Bemidji State vs./at North Dakota

Shane: The Beavers had a huge sweep last weekend at Lake Superior and return home to play a big nonconference series. The Sanford Center should be rocking Friday before the series goes west to Grand Forks. North Dakota is playing better but it’s not the mighty UND we’re used to. Beavers 3-2, UND 4-2

Matt: NoDak may not have been as mighty as some are used to in October and November, but has since shown some life, not counting exhibition games played outside the U.S. against Canadian teams. Beavers hang tough, but get swept. UND 3-2, 4-1

Lake Superior at Notre Dame

Shane: What happened to the Lakers after that great start to the season? They might be in trouble with a tough remaining schedule that includes 10 of their final 14 games on the road. It starts with this nonconference series in South Bend. Irish 4-1, 3-2

Matt: The Lakers, facing former coach Jeff Jackson this weekend, are 4-1-1 in nonconference games this season having swept Robert Morris and Union while losing and tying at Wisconsin. This is the league’s last chance to get a win against Hockey East. So far, the WCHA is 0-10-0. Irish 3-1, 2-0.

Last week: Shane 5-4-1, Matt 6-3-1. Overall: Shane 93-39-18, Matt 86-46-18

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  • Alex

    Ferris played a really weak second half schedule. I see them washing out early in the playoffs.

    • Bigdawg

      Weak as in top-20 teams, Colgate, Ohio State, Notre Dame and Western Michigan in the toughest conference in college hockey…..
      Alex, get your facts straight sport.

      • Darb0114

        To back your point, the CCHA also has the most teams in the current National Bracket.

      • Jason

        I think you forgot the word “second” in front of toughest, easy mistake so no worries. Also, I think you mean top-20 teams who are over-rated, which is another easy mistake so I wouldn’t dwell on it.

  • KAW

    If I were a top-3 team (and I am cheering for the Broncos), I would not want to face any of the first-round winners. I certainly wouldn’t take them lightly. I love this league, especially this year.

  • Michael

    Ferris was also playing without 3 regular forwards with a combined 63 points and had 3 guys in their place who have all dressed in fewer than 20 games this year and have a combined 4 points. Even if Nelson had been in the net, I don’t think Ferris was winning that game Saturday night.

    • Darb0114

      I couldn’t agree more. Replacing a 63 point force with a 4 point force will affect the outcome dramatically. It is best they rest players and prepare for the postseason. 

  • PDT

    Bowling Green upset Northern in the first round last year. Don’t think that series is a lock either way. It’s going to be a battle.

  • Chiefmarquette

    I think NMU needs to take BGSU seriously. But the face that the falcons beat them lost year i think makes it easier for NMU to win they will have revenge on their minds. Should be interesting

  • Swoop12

    Connor Knapp= Goalie of the Year

    • Fox5 2

      Connor Knapp-Goalie of the Year?Shouldn’t goalie of the year,Have more then 20 games played?Come on now.We should put Cal Heeter in the running if that’s the case.

  • ChoochMcGoo

    Ohio State is still a LAUGHABLE hockey program.  They don’t deserve to sniff the NCAA’s this year.
    Good luck in the B1G Hockey league when you replace teams like Northern Michigan and Bowling Green with Wisconsin and Minnessota.  You are staring down the barrell of a 10 win season.

    • Yooper

      Are you suggesting that NMU and BGSU are cupcakes and when OSU joins a league with B10′s they will have a much tougher time?  You’re joking right!
       I know BGSU hasn’t faired well lately, but NMU has always been tough.  OSU did well against NMU this year, but that’s only this year.  I’ll tell you what’s going to happen when the B10 league forms – THERE IS GOING TO BE FEWER of them going to the big dance.  NMU has never been intimidated by any B10 team.  They’ve played MSU four times this year, UM four times, WI twice, OSU twice, as well as Notre Dame, and they have a pretty good record to show for it.
      There are no slouches in the current CCHA or WCHA —-so knock off the elitism.

  • fcc56

    “[T]he Bulldogs’ biggest weakness, offense. Only time and games played will tell how much of a liability that will prove. . .”.

    Can’t imagine that could be much of a liability in a conference tournament or the NCAAs. Well, unless you need to score to win. :)

    I don’t really have an opinion about this team; this just seems like a remarkable statement (not in a good way) regarding a team that is regarded in some quarters as a possible national champion.

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