Last week Theresa: 7-2-3
Season Theresa: 120-72-23
Last week Tyler: 6-3-3
Season Tyler: 124-51-19
Bemidji and Tech threw us both for a tiny loop last weekend, but hey, I’ll gladly take the prediction loss for that MTU win.
This weekend: MSU gets one last weekend off, UAA plays a late non-conference series and UND/BSU play a Saturday/Sunday series to give us all a nice extra day of hockey.
No. 6 Denver (19-8-5, 15-6-3 WCHA) at No. 12 Nebraska-Omaha (19-11-2, 15-7-2 WCHA)
Theresa: This series is big one in terms of the MacNaughton Cup (if, in fact, you believe that it’s possible for another team to win it) as well as playoff positioning. Both teams are coming off of splits last weekend and are looking to get on the right track as the regular season winds down. This series is undoubtedly going to be an exciting one and one I don’t think it matters what I predict as it’s probably going to be the opposite or off the wall. That being said, let’s go with what I think is the most logical result – a split. UNO Friday, DU Saturday.
Tyler: Denver leads the WCHA in penalty minutes but UNO’s power play has been awful (3-for-43 since Jan. 22). The Pioneers have the best penalty kill in the league and have scored a league-leading five shorthanded goals. This will allow Denver to play extra physical, considering its confidence in the kill. The Mavericks let a team leave Omaha with more than two points just once. That was Bemidji State in January when UNO was injury battered. Split.
No. 7 Minnesota-Duluth (19-7-5, 14-6-4 WCHA) at No. 19 Colorado College (17-15-2, 11-12-1 WCHA)
Theresa: It has been a long time – almost a year! – since these two teams last played (first round WCHA playoffs, for those who don’t know). In terms of what’s at stake, both teams have quite a bit, but I would argue that CC (home ice) has more than UMD (possible MacNaughton; playoff positioning). As the series above (and okay, mostly everyone), the teams are also looking to find their grooves before the playoffs hit. I could see the Bulldogs sweeping (but can’t see the Tigers doing the same despite the fact it sounds like the team’s 98% healthy), but I think ultimately I have to go with a split right now. CC Friday, UMD Saturday.
(Mostly unrelated, but I bet the CC team is glad this series is at home this weekend so they didn’t have to worry about this happening again. Yikes.)
Tyler: CC, or UNO, is perhaps the toughest team to figure out week-to-week. Jaden Schwartz returned last weekend and scored a goal with two assists last weekend at Bemidji State but the Tigers only took one point but he still makes CC a better team. Split.
Bemidji State (12-14-4, 8-12-4 WCHA) at No. 1 North Dakota (22-8-3, 17-6-1 WCHA)
Theresa: The Beavers are coming off a good weekend at home against CC and are currently in a three way tie for ninth (or eleventh, if you want to be that way) in the league. The Sioux, on the other hand, are coming off a moral victory in that they may be able to keep their nickname as well as a good weekend against SCSU. Bemidji doesn’t have a whole lot to play for, but UND I believe could clinch the MacNaughton this weekend. As it seems they’ve found their groove, I think I have to go with the Sioux once again. UND sweep.
Tyler: Now is not the time for the Sioux to be complacent. It’s UND’s MacNaughton Cup to lose and the Sioux are already down two very good players in Chay Genoway and Danny Kristo. UND proved two weekends ago it can roll without those two for now when the Sioux swept Anchorage, a better team than BSU. UND sweep.
No. 13 Wisconsin (19-11-4, 11-10-3 WCHA) at St. Cloud State (12-15-5, 8-12-4 WCHA)
Theresa: In which you have a series where both teams are trying to stop skids (UW four games, SCSU three). After putting together a nice run, it could be possible that the young Badgers are finally running out of gas. As for the Huskies, it’s just been a tough year overall for them. For this series, one could look to the Badgers as they’re not out of the home ice race yet as well as the fact that SCSU is pretty awful at home this season. As much as a tie is probably guaranteed with the way the Huskies have been playing lately, I’ll gamble and say both teams will end their winless streaks and call a split – SCSU Friday, UW Saturday.
Tyler: Both teams are struggling right now. Defense has been Wisconsin’s mainstay all season but the Badgers have given up 16 goals in the past four games, causing Scott Gudmandson to sit Saturday’s game. The Huskies, who have been offensively challenged all season, will earn a split if they can bust out of the slump or if Wisconsin has more trouble in the defensive zone. Split.
Michigan Tech (4-24-4, 2-20-2 WCHA) at No. 20 Minnesota (13-12-5, 10-10-4 WCHA)
Theresa: Tech rule. UM sweep.
And yes, I still call this despite the fact that the streak is over. I’m glad the streak is over, yet the Huskies have been losing too convincingly all season to really justify otherwise. That, and this is an easy weekend for the Gophers to stay in the home ice hunt.
Tyler: In the past two weeks, MTU has shown signs of life and Minnesota has played well against two good teams. Seems like this would be a good weekend for the Gophers to possibly lay an egg but Minnesota won’t be complacent with a home playoff spot at stake. Cade Fairchild and Jacob Cepis are two big reasons the Gophers are playing as well as they are lately. Anything less than a sweep this weekend would be a letdown. Minny sweep.
Alaska-Anchorage (11-16-3, 10-14-2 WCHA) and Alaska home and home in the Governor’s Cup
Theresa: Wee, non-conference series. Even though the Nanooks have had the recent edge in this series, the Seawolves have traditionally fared better against their in-state rivals. I’d ordinarily call a split in this series, but since the Nanooks haven’t been doing all that well the second half of the season (four wins in the second half (not including shootouts)), I’ll go with the WCHA on this one. UAA “sweep.”
Tyler: The Seawolves have stood tall against the WCHA’s best and they will take care of business against Alaska, a CCHA team that has fallen far from the success it had last season. UAA sweep.