DIII men's picks Jan. 7-8

With the holidays over, it’s time to get all “Hee Haw” and do some pickin’ and grinnin’.
And, what’s there to smile about? While my overall 13-16 prognostication record is barely enough pull my neck upwards from looking down on my Chuck Taylor’s in shame, I am (albeit slowly) approaching the .500 mark. Hey, Division I football programs get invited to bowl games with that type of record.
This weekend dishes up some sumptuous match-ups.
Jan. 7
St. Thomas at Wisconsin-Eau Claire: Due to the holidays, both teams have been on hiatus for three weeks after suffering losses. The Blugolds (8- 5, 4- 4) were cooking before the layoff, winning five-straight before their 3-2 loss to Wisconsin-Stevens Point Dec. 11. As MIAC leader, the Tommies (8- 5,  4- 2) have been nothing if not consistent. The question is: Who will start in goal? Tyrone Simcoe is 3-0 since taking over for freshman Geoff Sadjadi in the second period during the team’s 8-6 victory over Wisconsin-Superior Nov. 27. Sadjadii (5-5, 2.96 goal-against, average, .894-save percentage) was tagged with the loss in the Tommies’ last outing, a 5-4 overtime setback to No. 11 Milwaukee School of Engineering on Dec. 11. Home-ice advantage favors the resurgent Blugolds. Wisconsin-Eau Claire 5, St. Thomas 3
St. Olaf at Gustavus Adolphus: The No. 5 Gusties (9-3-1, 3-2-1) are poised to overtake first-place St. Thomas in the MIAC regular-season standings as they have won five of the last six. The team’s top line of Brian Wieck (2-10-12), Ross Ring-Jarvi (4-7-11), and Dane Erickson (4-5-9) produces consistently, accounting for 42 of the team’s 108 points this season, while goalie Josh Swartout (5-3-1, 2.64 goals-against, .905-save percentage) remains a rock in net. St. Olaf (4-5-3, 0-3-3) has had difficulty sustaining anything resembling a winning streak (The Oles won back-to-back games against Lake Forest Nov. 26-27). In their last game before the break, the Oles held a short-lived 4-3 lead against Hamline on Dec. 4 only to surrender the tying goal a minute later to chalk up a league-leading third draw of the season. Gusties have too much firepower to let this one slip away. Gustavus 5, St. Olaf 2
Adrian at Buffalo State: The No. 9 Bulldogs (9-3, 7-1) continue their eastern swing as they earned a split at the Northfield Bank Tournament, defeating Nichols, 7-3, in the third-place game Jan. 1. Senior goalie Brad Fogal turned away 27 of 30 shots to earn the win after being pulled during the third period in the 6-2 loss to Manhattanville Dec. 31. Offensively, Adrian continues to roll with seniors Brad Houston (7-11-18) and Shawn Skelly (7-11-18) leading a six-pack of Bulldog scorers in double-figures. Meanwhile, the Bengals (6-5-2, 4-2-2) have been on a three-week layoff after a losing their straight in a 3-2 setback on the road to Utica Dec. 11. During the three-game skid, Bengal leading scorer Trevor McKinney  (7-8-15) has been held scoreless. Adrian won’t be buffaloed in the Bengals backyard. Adrian 6, Buffalo State 3.