MCHA/MIAC/NCHA picks: Dec. 2-3

The Thanksgiving tournaments are now memories, and conference battles are back on tap for this weekend. In the MIAC and NCHA, there are some head-to-head match-ups that could tip the balance of power in this season’s standings.
Marian at Northland, 3:05 p.m. Saturday
Northland’s Colin McIntosh was a one-man wrecking crew last week against Bethel. He had a natural hat trick, giving him 10 goals on the year. Kraig Wright leads the team in scoring with 17 points. Brian Berger leads Marian with seven goals, and Dakota Dubetz leads all scoring for Marian with 14 points. Marian and Northland have similar success when killing off penalties this season.  Marian’s power play has been successful 28.9 percent of the time, while Northland has only scored on 11.5 percent of its power-play chances. Special teams will be the deciding factor in this game. Pick: Marian 5-3
St. Thomas at Concordia (Minn.), 7:00 p.m. Friday
St. Thomas picked up a big road win over Adrian last weekend, and is undefeated in the MIAC. Robby Philipp leads St. Thomas in scoring with 10 points so far this season. Concordia, currently in third place of the MIAC, could jump ahead of St. Thomas in the conference standings with a weekend sweep. Concordia’s strength is its goaltending. Chris Neamonitis and Kelly Andrew have a combined goals against average of 1.61. There should not be a lot of scoring this weekend, which favors Concordia. Pick:  Concordia 2-1
Hamline at Bethel, 7:00 p.m. Saturday
Hamline could be the biggest winner of a tight St. Thomas at Concordia series. If Hamline takes care of business against Bethel and St. Thomas battles to a series draw with Concordia, Hamline could take the MIAC lead. Jordan VanGilder and Cory Belisle lead Hamline in scoring with nine points each. Beau Christian has played a majority of the season in goal with a 3.58 goals against average. Jake Kogler and Jack Paul lead Bethel in scoring goals, each with four this year. Dan Harper and Robby Brown have split the goalie duties for Bethel this year. Pick: Hamline 4-2
Wis.-River Falls at Wis.-Superior, 7:00 p.m. Friday
Wis.-Superior currently leads the NCHA conference standings with a 3-1-2 conference record, good for eight points. Wis.-River Falls sits third with six points with a 2-0-2 record, and has not lost this season. The trip to the south shore of Lake Superior will be Wis.-River Falls’ toughest test this season. Pat Dalbec leads Wis.-Superior offensively with seven goals and 13 points on the year. Drew Strandberg sports a 1.97 goals against average and a .918 saves percentage. Justin Brossman and Jason Yeul lead a potent offense for Wis.-River Falls with 12 points apiece. Goalie Scott Lewan will likely start for Wis.-River Falls this weekend. He has a 2.08 goals against average and a saves percentage of .917. Expect both goalies’ goals against average to suffer during this series. Look for Wis.-Superior takes the first game of the series and improve its position from No. 10 in the poll next week. Pick: Wis.-Superior 6-4