And here are the rest of the games.
No. 3 North Dakota at No. 4 Minnesota-Duluth
Theresa: The Sioux get to open their second WCHA building this year, although this time, it’s non-conference. UND spoiled Bemidji’s party, and, given that the team seems to be firing on all cylinders right now, I can’t see why this game would be any different. UND wins.
Tyler: Derek Forbort and Andrew MacWilliam were ill and Carter Rowney was injured when the Sioux hosted UMD back in November. UND is shorthanded again when it travels to Duluth without Forbort and Brock Nelson (playing for the U20 Team at the World Junior Championships) as well as Jason Gregoire and Brett Hextall, who have been injured since the end of the first half.
The Bulldogs also lost players to the WJC, defensemen Dylan Olsen and Justin Faulk, who lead UMD in scoring from the point. I’ll take the Sioux because of their depth and ability to adjust when its lineup takes a hit.
No. 8 Nebraska-Omaha at Quinnipiac
Theresa: The Mavericks have slipped a little this season, but they’re still a strong team. Quinnipiac isn’t dominant this year and definitely have the capability to split this series in Conn., but I think I’m going to go with the WCHA here and call a UNO sweep.
Tyler: UNO has slipped somewhat against some of the league’s mediocre teams it tore through a challenging schedule at the start of the season. It’s not goalie John Faulkner’s fault. The Mavericks have lost three times in their last six games and scored three total goals in those losses. Faulkner will hold his own against a Quinnipiac team that struggles on offense and we’ll see if the UNO offense picks up. Split.
Massachusetts at No. 15 Wisconsin
Theresa: Wisconsin hasn’t been too consistent this year, but the Minutemen have struggled. I’ve gotta go with a UW sweep.
Tyler: The first of four straight home games at the Kohl Center for the Badgers against East Coast teams they should beat. Badgers sweep.
Northern Michigan at No. 7 Denver
Theresa: Even though the Pioneers are missing some players for the World Juniors, I think they’re strong enough to take this series. DU sweep.
Tyler: Drew Shore and Jason Zucker, DU’s top two scorers, are both gone at World Juniors, but this will give guys like Anthony Maiani, Luke Salazar and Kyle Ostrow a chance to get in the scoring column. DU sweep.
No. 19 Minnesota and Bemidji State at the Mariucci Classic (Minneapolis)
Theresa: In a different format for the tournament this year due to the two WCHA squads, both teams will face both Ferris State and Union. Union is arguably the strongest team in this field while the Beavers are arguably the weakest. Still, it’ll be interesting to see how it plays out.
Since I’m forced to pick something, this is what I’ll do: Ferris State over Bemidji and Minnesota over Union; then we’ll go daring and have Bemidji over Union and Minnesota over Ferris State.
Minnesota State at the Shillelagh Tournament (Chicago)
Theresa: The Mavericks have a rough road in one of the tougher tournaments this holiday season, facing off against Notre Dame and then either Brown or Boston University. I think I see MSU falling to Notre Dame and then, depending, either beating Brown or falling to Boston University.
Tyler: MSU will fall to the host and a good team in Notre Dame, ranked 12th in the nation, in Saturday’s opener but the Mavericks should meet Brown Sunday, which would be a better matchup for MSU. Irish beat MSU, MSU beats Brown.
No. 14 Minnesota-Duluth at Clarkson
Theresa: This is a tricky match-up. I first wanted to say that this was a no-brainer, Duluth all the way, but I think the Golden Knights have a shot at a split here. UMD Monday, Clarkson Tuesday.
Tyler: Clarkson’s 6-2 win against then-No. 4 St. Cloud State in the opening weekend of the season doesn’t look much like a quality win anymore and the Golden Knights haven’t beaten a quality opponent since then.
UMD’s big scorers are too much for Clarkson. Bulldogs sweep.