MCHA, MIAC and NCHA championship picks for March 5-6

After more than 600 games across the three respective conferences, it comes down to this: the championship finals.
In addition to a conference trophy, winners of the Midwest Collegiate Hockey Association, Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference and Northern Collegiate Hockey Association titles advance to the NCAA Tournament’s first round, which starts March 9.
So, without further ado, here are my picks for the MIAC and NCHA title games on Saturday as well as the MCHA semifinals and finals on Saturday and Sunday.
MIAC championship final
7 p.m. Saturday
March 5
Concordia (Minn.) at Hamline: The No. 1 seed and No. 11-ranked Pipers have veteran savvy and a stellar goaltender in senior Beau Christian (13-4-3, 2.41 goals-against, .922 -save percentage), which has help them to grind out wins when necessary. This time should be no different, especially at the State Fair Coliseum where the Pipes are 7-3-1. The Cobbers (12-10-4) have been a revelation this season. Picked to finish sixth in the preseason coaches’ poll, No. 3-seed Concordia has played well above its station, upsetting No. 2-seed St. Thomas last weekend. Their commendable season ends here. Hamline 3, Concordia 1
NCHA championship final
7 p.m. Saturday
March 5
Wisconsin-Superior at St. Norbert: The No. 1 seed and No. 1-ranked Green Knights (21-4-1) have been single-minded in their quest to avenge last season’s 2-1 double OT loss to Norwich in the NCAA D-III Championship Final. Without a prolific scorer – junior Johan Ryd’s modest 8 goals and 15 assists for 23 points leads the team – St. Norbert has relied on lock-down defense with NCHA Player of the Year B.J. O’Brien (18-2-1, 1.65 GAA, .927 save-pct.) in net and clutch goals by Ryd who has 6 game-winners. The team’s impeccable 12-0 record at the Cornerstone Community Center makes No. 2-seed and No. 15-ranked UW-Wisconsin’s mission to dethrone the reigning Peters Cup holders all the more difficult. St. Norbert 4, UW-Superior 2
MCHA Finals
March 5
2 p.m.
Lawrence at Adrian: The No. 1 seed and No. 5-ranked Bulldogs (21-3-1) had their first taste of NCAA Tournament hockey last season, losing to St. Norbert, 4-3, in the first round. This time Ron Fogarty’s senior-laden squad is determined to chomp down at the NCAA’s dinner table. The team has overcome a few hiccups in the early going and has gone unbeaten in its last 14 outings (13-0-1). The scoring quintet of Shawn Skelly (16-20-36), Eric Miller (15-19-34), Brad Houston (13-20-33) and Mike Dahlinger (12-21-33) is just too much for No. 4 seed Lawrence (14-12-1) to handle. Adrian 6, Lawrence 2
6 p.m.
MSOE vs. Marian: After losing a pair at home to arch-rival Adrian to close the regular season, the No. 3 seed and No. 9-ranked Raiders (21-5-1) didn’t wilt. They got down to business, easily dispatching Lake Forest,  6-1 and 6-3, in the quarterfinals while displaying the pedigree that has kept them at or near the MCHA summit the entire season. The No. 2 seed Sabres (18-7) endured a four-game losing hitch in November, but bounced back like a trapeze artist on a bungee cord by going 13-2 in their last 15 games. Both teams feature preeminent goal scorers with MSOE’s Jordan Keizer (23-14-37) and Todd Krupa (18-13-31) and Marian’s Dakota Dubetz (14-31-45) and Brendan Hull  (19-19-38). With unflappable Connor Toomey (18-5-1, 1.77 GAA, .930 save-pct.), though, the Raiders have the edge in goal. MSOE 4, Marian 2
March 6
2 p.m.
MSOE vs. Adrian: After sweeping the Raiders in their home, the Bulldogs presumably have the momentum in this hard-fought regular season series where Adrian held 3-0-1 advantage.  Adrian senior goalie Brad Fogal (21-3-1, 2.19 GAA, .921 save-pct.) was the difference in the pivotal Feb. 18-19 series at MSOE, sweeping away 62 of 64 shots over two games. He will have to perform similar heroics to keep Keizer and Krupa as well as Bradley Tierney (8-19-27) and Michael Soik (10-14-24) in check. Likewise, Connor Toomey will need to continue his sparkling play to counteract Adrian’s foursome of Skelly, Miller, Houston and Dahlinger. On special teams, it’s loggerheads. The explosive Bulldog power play is a ranked No. 3 in the  nation at 41 of 137 for 29 percent while the Raiders’ flame retardant penalty kill leads the nation at 90 percent (123 of 136). That only leaves home advantage, which Adrian has in cozy Arrington Ice Arena. Adrian 3, MSOE 2