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College Hockey:
Jan. 24-25 WCHA picks

Eight of the league’s 10 teams are involved in conference play this weekend, meaning the standings are once again due to be shuffled. Meanwhile, Minnesota State participates in the North Star College Cup and Alabama-Huntsville gets a week off.

Here are the picks:

Lake Superior State at Bowling Green

Shane: These two teams are going different directions. The Lakers have dropped five in a row and six of their last seven. The Falcons are unbeaten in seven of eight, including five straight. Bowling Green’s going to keep itself close to Minnesota State and Ferris State in the race for the MacNaughton Cup. Falcons 3-2, 4-2

Matt: The Falcons are finally playing like the team that impressed me early on in the season, and living up to the potential that many thought they had. Goaltender Tommy Burke has been a big reason the Falcons are finding success. Falcons 3-1, 3-2

Ferris State at Michigan Tech

Shane: Now we’ll see what Ferris State is made of. After losing its first two WCHA games of the season, the Bulldogs will find out if they have some rebound in them. They’re fortunate that C.J. Motte wasn’t given a game DQ on Saturday and is available for tonight. Still, I see a split. Big games for the Huskies, too, and they’re at home. Huskies 3-2, Bulldogs 3-1

Matt: Every point at this point in the season is now a crucial one for the Huskies and Bulldogs, who are both in tight — but different — races. Ferris is trying to hold off Minnesota State. Tech is surprisingly trying to make the WCHA playoffs, locked in a three-way tie for seventh with LSSU and Alaska. Bulldogs 3-1, Huskies 2-1

Northern Michigan at Alaska Anchorage

Shane: The Wildcats appear to have reinvented themselves after the new year and are 3-1 in 2014. The Seawolves have that impressive home record, and are 5-1 since the calendar turned. What gives? Probably nothing. Seawolves 2-1, Wildcats 4-2

Matt: The Seawolves dominance at home (9-2-1) has left them competing for home ice in the WCHA playoffs rather than just a spot. Meanwhile, even a split allows Northern to gain ground on the rest of the league having still played the least amount of WCHA games after this weekend. That finally changes after next weekend. Seawolves 4-3, Wildcats 4-3

Bemidji State at Alaska

Shane: The Beavers got one point at home when the Nanooks visited them last month but appear to be playing better hockey now. Alaska salvaged its road trip to Michigan with a win on Saturday and return home where it’s only .500. Beavers 2-1, Nanooks 4-1

Matt: I learned last week the Nanooks have the firepower to keep up with much of the WCHA, but that offense is no good if you can’t stop anyone. The Nanooks did hold the Wildcats to 1 for 8 on the power play, which is a step in the right direction. Nanooks 4-1, Beavers 3-2

Minnesota State in North Star College Cup

Shane: The Mavericks are coming off their best weekend of the season and now play in Minnesota’s version of the Beanpot. They haven’t been great on the road, but these are important games. Mavericks 4, Minnesota Duluth 1; Minnesota 3, Mavericks 2 (Hey, can I hedge my bet and call for an MSU win Saturday if it’s St. Cloud State?)

Matt: I can’t believe I’m saying this, but should the Mavericks be concerned about a letdown in St. Paul after a heated weekend against Ferris State? Seriously, if you are a Maverick, who do you want another crack at the most right now: Minnesota Duluth, St. Cloud State, Minnesota … or the Bulldogs? Mavericks 2, Minnesota Duluth 1; Minnesota/St. Cloud State 4, Mavericks 2 

Last week: Shane 5-3-2, Matt 5-3-2. Overall: Shane 98-42-20. Matt 91-49-20

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