MCHA, MIAC and NCHA picks for Feb. 11-12

After a 5-0 week, I’m feeling sassy. However, in reality, the superlative channeling performance was probably due more to a case of even a blind squirrel finding a nut once in awhile. The overall pick’s record is 30-19-4 with only a weekend or two – depending on the league – left to predict.
The clairvoyance chore does not get any easier as numerous teams in the Midwest Collegiate Hockey Association, Northern Collegiate Hockey Association and Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference are jockeying for top seeds, playoff spots and home-ice advantage.
Friday
Feb. 11
Wisconsin-Stevens Point at Wisconsin-Stout: The Pointers (12-11, 8-8) and the Blue Devils (13-10, 8-8) are in a dead heat for third place, which guarantees home ice in the NCHA’s first playoff round. UW-Stout holds the season edge, beating UW-Stevens Point twice, 4-1 and 5-4, in the Pointers’ barn Nov. 19-20. The Blue Devils, who feature leading scorer Branden Gay (12 goals, 13 assists, 25 points), are a pedestrian 5-5 in the new year, having lost to Wisconsin-Rivers Falls, 4-2, Feb. 4. By contrast, the Pointers have been playing inspired hockey by winning seven of their eight during the same span, which included Coach Wil Nichol’s announcing his departure at season’s end Jan. 4. The reinvigorated Pointers knocked off second-place Wisconsin-Superior, 4-3, Feb. 5 with Nick Kenney notching the game-winner with 1:22 left. The Pointers continue their roll. UW-Stevens Point, 5-2
Friday-Saturday
Feb. 11-12
Lawrence vs. Marian: This pivotal home-and-home series pits two evenly matched teams with the Sabres (15-6, 12-4) holding first place – and with it a crucial first-round playoff bye — in the MCHA’s Northern Division. The Vikings (11-9-1, 9-7) are only four points behind in second place, which means a sweep will lock the teams into a tie going into the final weekend Feb. 18-19. A sweep is unlikely, though. Marian has won 10 of its last 11. The 2-1 loss to Finlandia last weekend was an aberration as the Sabres bounced back to beat the Lions, 5-2, the following day. Sophomore Dakota Dubetz (12 goals, 22 assists, 35 points) and senior Brendan Hull (14-19-33) lead an offensive that is both potent (No. 5 nationally 4.33 goals-per game) and three-lines deep. By comparison, Lawrence has been inconsistent this season, stringing together both win and loss streaks with equal frequency. The Vikings come in having swept Northland, 5-0 and 4-2, last weekend, which snapped a four-game losing streak. Marian’s might should see the team tighten its vise-like  grip on first in the Northern Division. Marian 6-2, 4-2
Gustavus Adolphus vs. Hamline: With a win, a loss and two ties in the past two weeks, the No. 13 Pipers (12-4-5, 7-1-4) have hardly looked invincible as the MIAC’s first-place holders. Enter the Gusties (12-7-2, 6-4-2) who are determined to prove they are better than their fourth-place standing suggests. However, Gustavus is a nondescript 3-4-1 in the new year. Both teams could make a statement while also addressing their deficiencies in this home-and-home series. Hamline has to continue its dominance at home where the team is 6-2 overall and 5-1 at Warner Coliseum (The Pipers opened the season at Drake Arena where they beat St. Norbert, 4-3, on Nov. 5 and lost 5-1 to Wisconsin-Stevens Point Nov. 6). If Gustavus wants to secure home-ice in the first playoff round, the team has to come away with at least a split before traveling to Concordia (Minn.) to close the regular season Feb. 18-19. With much at stake for both teams, this series should see a split where home ice is a determining factor. Hamline 4-1, Gustavus 3-2


11 COMMENTS

  1. Anyone believe me yet? It’s too late now, but there is little question that the best player in college hockey will not be winning the Hobey this year.

  2. North Dakota isn’t really an upset. ND actually has a more skilled team, they were just much younger. Wisconsin was overrated all ear and showed why tonight–they had one line and a good goalie. That was it

  3. A 4 over a 1 in the NCAA basketball tournament elicits yawns. Why should it be any different here?
    The only “on paper” team that is sort of the equivalent of a basketball tourney 16 seed in the hockey NCAA’s is whoever the automatic qualifier is out of Atlantic Hockey.
    If RMU wins today, that will make me sit up and take notice, not a North Dakota win over Wisconsin that I sort of expected. The rest of the tourney? Everyone can beat anybody else on a good day.

    • There have been 2-3 of AHA champions (Air Force comes to mind) that would refute that remark. Comparing a 16-seed in NCAA basketball to a 16-seed here is not even close. In any given year, there are 3-4 20-win teams that sit home… And more quality 18-, 19-win teams this year than any year before.

    • As JakeB said, no one in this tourney is at the level of the worst team in the b-ball bracket. If RMU wins, it’s as you said yesterday: it will be MN’s fault. But will it reach the level of the Holy Cross loss?
      I don’t think so b/c that MN team was really dominant. This year is a pretty typical Gopher year; lot’s of wins, too many ties, and too much inconsistency.

      • 6 losses by the Gophers. Check the History books. No year in recent history have they had fewer than 8 losses. As far as record goes, this is one of the best gophers teams ever.

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