MCHA, MIAC and NCHA picks for Feb. 4-5

After another weekend of ties, the season prediction record of 25-19-4 remains on the sunny side of .500. Hamline and Augsburg’s 4-4 deadlock coupled with St. Norbert’s 3-3 draw against Wisconsin-Eau Clare put the kibosh on what would have been a perfect prognostication weekend as No. 10 Milwaukee School of Engineering swept Lawrence and the No. 8 Pipers complied by beating the Auggies at home.
As the regular season winds down, conference games take on special significance as teams vie for higher playoff seeds to sweeten their chances at an NCAA tournament invite.
Feb. 4
Wisconsin Superior at St. Norbert: This clash between the NCHA’s first and second place teams might have more penultimate value if the Yellowjackets (12-8-1, 9-5) weren’t coming off a pair of 1-0 losses to Wisconsin-River Falls and Wisconsin-Stout last weekend as the team’s offense inexplicably went into the Witness Protection Program. Until then, the Yellowjackets were averaging 4.66 goals per game in their last six outings (4-2), which included a 3-0 victory over No. 2 St. Norbert Jan. 20. The Green Knights (17-3-1, 11-2-1), which shook off that road loss with a 5-4 win over UW-Superior two days later, are 6-1-1 in the new year. In its last outing, Tim Coghlin’s team surrendered a late goal and settled for a 3-3 draw with pesky Wisconsin-Eau Claire. Leading scorer Johan Ryd (8-14-22) has three-game goal scoring streak. The host Green Knights get the green light to victory. St. Norbert 4-1
Friday and Saturday
Feb. 4-5

Northland at Lawrence: The Vikings were cruising along at a 3-1 clip in the new year until they encountered then No. 8 Adrian and then No. 11 Milwaukee School of Engineering in successive weeks. Four losses later, Lawrence (9-9-1, 7-7) tries to get back on form at home hosting a Northland team that is unbeaten in its last four outings (2-0-2). The Lumberjacks (6-11-2, 5-7-2) possess some offensive heft in junior Colin McIntosh (13 goals, 13 assists, 26 points) and senior Chad Moore (10-12-22), but have a propensity to surrender goals in alarming numbers. (4.79 goals per game). Lawrence is a little less leaky (3.37 GPG) and has show it can eek out games when necessary. At stake for both teams is a chance to make a run for first place in the Northern Division, which would mean a No. 2 seed and a first-round bye in the Harris Cup playoffs. This series has the makings of a split. Lawrence 3-2, Northland, 5-3
Gustavus Adolphus at Concordia (Minn): The host Cobbers (9-8-4, 5-3-4) have strung together a five-game unbeaten run highlighted by four one-goal wins. That newly found vigor has seen Concordia surge into second place in the MIAC. Last weekend, Concordia players showed considerable resolve by erasing two-goal deficits to earn a win and a tie against St. John’s. Gustavus, which was idle last weekend, sits two points back in fourth behind St. Thomas. The Gusties (11-6-2, 5-3-2) are a spotty 2-3-1 in the new year after going 9-3-1 in the first half. The Gusties’ offense went missing in its last outing, a 3-1 loss at St. John’s on Jan. 22, as leading scorer Ross Ring-Jarvi (7-10-17) was held pointless. That short-term goal drought might be hard to shake as the Cobbers have yielded a meager 1.8 goals in its last five outings. Concordia has home ice and momentum. Concordia 3-1, 4-2