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College Hockey:
March 7-8 WCHA picks, plus predicting the final standings

Unlike the WCHA standings, there’s no question how this regular season pick ‘em battle will end.

First place: Shane Frederick. Last place: Matt Wellens.

Unlike the last place team in the WCHA standings, however, I still get to make the playoffs for redemption.

Here is how Shane and I predict the final weekend of the regular season will pan out. There’s not much of a difference between us this weekend.

Does that mean the weekend will be predictable? Don’t count on it.

Michigan Tech at Minnesota State

Shane: MSU is playing for the MacNaughton Cup, and Tech is playing for home ice. This should be a really good series in Mankato. The Mavericks aren’t just on a seven-game win streak but have won 11 in a row at home. I think they keep things rolling. Mavericks 3-2, 4-1

Matt: I feel like Michigan Tech matches up better with Minnesota State than anyone, but there’s just too much at stake for the Mavericks to drop their first game in Mankato. Mavericks 4-3, 5-3

Lake Superior at Ferris State

Shane: The Bulldogs might be a bit angry after getting swept in Alaska a week ago. How they bounce back from that and the travel will be interesting. The Lakers are hoping to keep their playoff spot, but it could be tough in Big Rapids, where Ferris has been so good. Bulldogs 3-1, 4-2

Matt: It tough to call last week a slip up for Ferris State based on how well the Nanooks are playing. Meanwhile, the Lakers really struggled against Minnesota State at home. There’s too much at stake for Ferris to lose one this weekend. They may say their more concerned with the big picture of winning a WCHA playoff title and returning to the NCAA tournament, but losing the MacNaughton Cup could be a big blow to their confidence. Bulldogs 4-1, 3-1

Alaska Anchorage at Alaska

Shane: As we mentioned in our column Thursday, all eyes will be on Fairbanks late Saturday night. The Nanooks look like the most dangerous team in the league right now, and they close things out with a rivalry series. The Seawolves have been much improved, but I like the home team here. Nanooks 4-2, 3-2

Matt: Late Saturday night? Try early Sunday morning. Even if there were no postseason implications riding on this series, I’d still fight my hardest to stay up to 1:30 a.m. or on Sunday, 2:30 a.m. because of blasted daylight savings time. The Nanooks are the hottest team in the league right now. Besides the No. 9 seed, the biggest loser at the end of the weekend may be the No. 6 seed, which could be headed to Fairbanks. Nanooks 4-3, 3-2

Bemidji State at Bowling Green

Shane: Are the Beavers still stinging after splitting at home with Huntsville? That came a week after a huge home split against Ferris State. So which team will show up against the Falcons, who snapped a five-game winless streak last Saturday. Two desperate teams here. Beavers 3-1, Falcons 3-2

Matt: Despite splitting at Northern Michigan a week ago, the Falcons really only played maybe one solid period all weekend — the first on Saturday — and they rode that effort to a win. Bemidji obviously isn’t playing its best either right now having lost to Huntsville. If BSU misses the playoffs, that loss will haunt them for a long time. Falcons 3-2, Beavers 2-1

Northern Michigan at Alabama Huntsville

Shane: No one wants to admit it, but teams all but put themselves down for four points when they play the Chargers. The Wildcats have a chance to get themselves out of ninth place and into the postseason with a sweep. They’ve been warned by UAH’s win at Bemidji State last week. Wildcats 4-1, 3-2

Matt: One of the Wildcats biggest faults during the second half of the season was playing really good one night, and just awful another. Sometimes that less-than-stellar night came on Friday. Sometimes on Saturday. Minus the first period on Saturday, NMU put together two solid games a week ago. That kind of effort should be enough to sweep UAH. Wildcats 3-0, 3-1

Last week: Shane 6-2-0, Matt 3-5-0. Overall: Shane 127-60-21, Matt 119-68-21.

BONUS

So if by chance either Shane or I nail our picks this week, how would the standings look?

Here is how they’d shake out, with BSU-BGSU being the only series Shane and I disagreeing about. We have both teams getting a win — just one different nights — so our standings look the same.

Predicted WCHA Standings

Seed, Team, Points

1, Minnesota State, 42

2, Ferris State, 42

3, Alaska, 32

4, Michigan Tech, 28

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5, Bowling Green, 28

6, Northern Michigan, 27

7, Alaska Anchorage, 26

8, Bemidji State, 26

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9, Lake Superior State, 24

10, Alabama Huntsville, 5

Predicted WCHA First Round

No. 8 Bemidji State at No. 1 Minnesota State

No. 7. Alaska Anchorage at No. 2 Ferris State

No. 6. Northern Michigan at No. 3 Alaska

No. 5 Bowling Green st No. 4 Michigan Tech

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