MCHA/MIAC/NCHA picks: Nov. 18

The weather may be cooling down, but the on-ice action is heating up in the Midwest. The last weekend before Thanksgiving may clarify the standings as to who will be the contenders in the MCHA, MIAC, and NCHA conferences. Here are some picks for this weekend’s upcoming action.
St. Norbert at Wisconsin-Eau Claire, 7:00 p.m. Friday
Wis.-Eau Claire has yet to lose at home in Hobbs Ice Area this season. Junior goaltender Brandon Stephenson leads the NCHA with a 2.20 goals against average and a .919 saves percentage. Junior Jordan Singer leads the Blugolds with six goals and three assists.   St. Norbert however, was picked to win the NCHA this season. The Green Knights lead the series versus Eau Claire by a 40-4-3 margin. Senior Johan Ryd leads the NCHA in scoring with five goals and eight assists. St. Norbert’s special teams play is better this year than Eau Claire’s, scoring on 15.4 percent of its chances, while Eau Claire is just under 12 percent for its power play.  St. Norbert has killed off 82 percent of its opponents’ power plays, and Eau Claire has been effective in killing off penalties 76 percent of the time. Pick: St. Norbert 5-3
Wisconsin-Stout at Wisconsin-Superior, 7:00 p.m. Saturday
The Wis.-Superior Yellowjackets will host the Wis.-Stout Bluedevils at Wessman Arena this weekend. Sophomore Pat Dalbec leads Superior offensively with three goals and six assists, and sophomore Drew Strandberg has handled the most minutes in goal so far this season, posting a 2.60 goals against average and .897 saves percentage. Branden Gay leads the Stout team with five goals and six assists, and junior goalie Tom Lescovich has a 2.49 goals against average and a .909 saves percentage. The Bluedevils have had some inconsistent play from an inexperienced squad, and still have to learn to win on the road. The Yellowjackets are the early leaders in the NCHA, and that will continue this weekend. Pick: Wisconsin-Superior 4-2
Hamline at St. Olaf, 7:30 p.m. Friday
Hamline has had a flair for the dramatic early this season by winning two games in overtime. Senior Jordan VanGilder leads all scoring with three goals and four assists, and freshman Nick Widing has added three goals of his own to go along with three assists. Senior goalie Beau Christian has a goals against average of 3.79 and an .867 saves percentage. Seniors Charlie Raskob and Peter Rohn lead St. Olaf’s offense with three goals apiece. Ben Leis, the senior goalie, has had an impressive start to the season with a 2.15 goals against average and a .933 saves percentage. St. Olaf wins a low scoring affair. Pick:  St. Olaf 2-1
Lawrence at Marian, 7:05 p.m. Friday
Marian’s Dakota Dubetz is leading the MCHA in scoring. The junior has five goals and six assists on the season, while freshman Brian Berger has five goals of his own. Marian will test Lawrence’s freshman goalie Peter Emry. Emry has had an impressive start to his collegiate career, with a goals against average of 2.33 and an MCHA-leading .920 saves percentage. Lawrence has another impressive freshman to watch in Gustav Lindgren; the young Swede has six assists and one goal on the year. However, keeping Dubetz off the scoreboard will be a difficult task. Pick: Marian 3-1


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