Rough week last week in terms of the ol’ predictions.
Last week Theresa: 3-6-3
Season Theresa: 89-54-16
Last week Tyler: 5-4-3
Season Tyler: 90-36-12
This week: five conference series, including Dean Blais’ return to Grand Forks and one non-conference tilt.
Friday, January 21 and Saturday, January 22
St. Cloud State (9-11-2, 5-8-1 WCHA) at Bemidji State (9-11-2, 5-9-2 WCHA)
Theresa: Both teams are riding mini hot streaks right now (BSU two games; SCSU four) and both teams really need this weekend in terms of points. If Bemidji sweeps, they’re right back in the thick of things and would be tied with idle Minnesota. The Huskies, well, they’re only a point behind the Beavers so you can do the math. Needless to say, this series is vital for both teams. The question is, who comes out on top? These two teams split last time they met and I think that’s realistically what’ll happen this time, as well. SCSU Friday, BSU Saturday.
Tyler: The Huskies have made Mike Lee their No. 1 goaltender and he’s won four straight games with a goals against average of 1.73 and a .935 save percentage and BSU is near the bottom of the league offensively with only 37 goals in 16 WCHA games. SCSU also has only 16 goals in league play and Lee can’t win on his own. Split.
Alaska-Anchorage (7-10-3, 6-8-2 WCHA) at No. 4 Denver (14-5-5, 10-3-3 WCHA)
Theresa: I get to see the Friday night game in this series and am excited for it. I’m particularly excited to see how Anchorage plays coming off a huge sweep against CC last weekend. As you all hopefully read yesterday, DU is a very resilient team, whether over the course of a season or the duration of a game. However, the Seawolves are a team that, over the past couple years, have become one that you never want to count out. In the last two years, UAA has taken at least two points from the Pioneers during the season (split in ’08-’09; UAA took three of a possible 8 points last year). They’ve got one so far and I don’t call ties, so I’m going to, once again, go with a split - UAA Friday, DU Saturday.
Tyler: The Seawolves have a knack for stealing points from ranked teams this season but most of those wins and ties were in Anchorage. A win in Denver would be a big step for UAA but the Pioneers are unbeatable at home except for a pair of losses to No. 3 Boston College back in October. DU sweep.
No. 5 Minnesota-Duluth (15-5-3, 10-4-2 WCHA) at Michigan Tech (3-16-3, 1-12-1 WCHA)
Theresa: With the way the Huskies have been playing this year, I almost want to adopt a version of my colleague Brian Sullivan’s “Brown rule.” For those who don’t know, the rule came about a couple years ago when Brown could/would not win. It’s invoked when a team is losing so consistently that he can’t pick them to win. So, even though I really want to see MTU’s winless streak come to a halt … Tech rule. UMD sweep.
Tyler: Yes, Tech beat UMD twice last season but that’s the past and besides, the Bulldogs outshot the Huskies badly in both those games. According to the Mining Gazette, Tech may have lost four players to injury last weekend. The Huskies have the second worst defense in the nation, on paper, and they’re going against UMD’s high-powered offense. UMD sweep.
No. 16 Nebraska-Omaha (12-8-2, 9-5-2 WCHA) at No. 2 North Dakota (17-6-2, 12-4-0 WCHA)
Theresa: As we all know, these teams split each other in a fairly crazy series back in mid-November. Since then, UNO’s gone slightly downhill and UND started steamrolling the competition. It’ll be interesting to see what happens this weekend; not only because of Blais’ return to the Forks, but also because, according to the Grand Forks Herald, the last-second goal by the Mavericks in their 1-0 win that weekend has stuck with the Sioux team. So, what do we see? Some semblance of logic in my brain says “split,” but I think I’ll ignore it and give the boys in green the benefit of the doubt. UND sweep.
Tyler: Terry Broadhurst was probably UNO’s most consistent scorer, averaging more than a point per game. The Mavericks have a chance to win this weekend if Broadhurst is back in the lineup. UNO has a lot of trouble scoring and without him, the red-hot Sioux will sweep. I’ll call a UND sweep regardless.
Minnesota State (10-9-5, 4-9-3 WCHA) at No. 9 Wisconsin (15-8-3, 7-7-2 WCHA)
Theresa: This series is tricky for predicting. Both teams have been playing well recently – UW is 8-2 in their last 10 and MSU is 6-3-1 in theirs. The Mavs’ record looks a little worse thanks to last weekend’s hiccup against Denver where they couldn’t hold the lead in two straight games. For the Badgers, their two losses in that streak were at the beginning of the 10 game stretch (to apparent upstarts UAA) and this past weekend, to league force UMD. What I think I’m trying to get at here is both teams are starting to come into their own. The question is, what happens when they face each other this weekend in Madison? I kind of want to call a Badger sweep, but MSU has earned the benefit of the doubt. Therefore, split – MSU Friday, UW Saturday.
Tyler: The Badgers have an impressive record this season at the Kohl Center but most of those wins came against inferior nonconference opponents or the WCHA cellar. MSU is in 10th place but the Mavericks have had third period leads against UND and Denver, only to let them slip away. If MSU converts on its scoring chances it will take a game at UW. Split.
Alabama-Huntsville at Colorado College (12-11-1, 8-8-0 WCHA)
Theresa: The Chargers haven’t had a lot of luck this year, though it’s been tough playing as a D-I independent. Although they split with Bemidji State two weekends ago, I maintain some of that had to do with familiarity. UAH won’t have that advantage this weekend as they face a CC team undoubtedly looking to rebound after it was swept by UAA last weekend. Therefore, UAH, I’m glad you’re still fighting the good fight, but this weekend, the Tigers have you. CC sweep.
Tyler: After it was swept in Anchorage last week, CC gets the perfect rebound team, UAH, this weekend at home. CC sweep.