WCHA Picks: Dec. 9-10

No. 1 Minnesota-Duluth (11-3-2, 9-2-1 WCHA) at Wisconsin (7-8-1, 4-7-1 WCHA)

Tyler:  The Bulldogs can cash in on the power play, facing one of the nation’s worst penalty kills (73.5 percent) but the Badgers have played well in their own building this season with a 7-3 home record. Wisconsin is rested and desperate for a WCHA win; their last league win was Nov. 11 at home against Minnesota. Split

Brian: The memory of last season’s controversial dual-overtime UMD sweep is fresh in the minds of the Badgers and their fans and should provide plenty of motivation if facing the nation’s top-ranked team isn’t enough. It’s nearly impossible to pick against the country’s hottest team (10-0-2 in last dozen games) and I didn’t last week. This week, however, I will. Kenny Reiter’s due for a stumble so I’ll say Wisconsin coach Mike Eaves gets his 200th win this weekend but 201 will have to wait. Split


Nebraska-Omaha (8-7-3, 6-3-3 WCHA) at No. 19 North Dakota (8-7-1, 6-6-0 WCHA)

Tyler: North Dakota’s top line is on fire right now and the Sioux haven’t scored less than four goals per game since it was shutout by Bemidji State Nov. 20. The Sioux brings a lot of offense into the weekend against a Mavericks team that lacked the firepower to beat UAH last weekend. It’ll be interesting to see which UNO goaltender — John Faulkner, Ryan Massa or Dayn Belfour — stays home this weekend. UND sweep

Brian: UND is hot of late and has been putting pucks in the net with regularity in recent weeks. The inconsistent Mavericks (2-2-2 in their last six games), on the other hand are coming off a split with Alabama-Huntsville which included a Friday loss that coach Dean Blais called “embarrassing.” While UNO might be due for a rebound, I’m going with the hot hand at home. UND sweep.

 

Michigan Tech (8-7-1, 5-6-1 WCHA) at No. 2 Minnesota (13-4-1, 10-2-0 WCHA)

Tyler: The Huskies are entering the toughest stretch on its schedule this weekend and they would easily accept a split, but Mariucci Arena has been a house of doom for opponents, rocking as the Gophers play its best hockey since this senior class has been at Minnesota. I’ll take a Minnesota sweep at home.      

Brian: Tech was swept at home by UMD last week. Taking on the Gophers on Mariucci Arena’s big sheet won’t be any easier. Minnesota sweep.

 

No. 13 Denver (6-5-3, 4-3-3 WCHA) at Bemidji State (6-8-2, 4-6-2 WCHA)

Tyler:  I liked the way the Beavers fought back in the third period to get a tie last Friday in St. Cloud and then protected their third-period lead Saturday. BSU has had trouble scoring in third periods all year with a WCHA-low 11 goals, but that seemed to turn around at SCSU. Split

Brian: It seems like, for me, Denver has been the toughest team to pick other than their loss at Michigan Tech. Maybe it’s because I’ve gone against the grain a bit with the Pioneers. Who knows? Who cares? Bemidji State is winless (0-8-0) all time against DU but I bet against them busting a losing streak to North Dakota a couple of weeks ago. That said, the Beavers win drought vs. Denver ends in a split.

 

Alabama-Huntsville (1-15-1) at Minnesota State (3-12-1, 2-9-1 WCHA)

Tyler: It’s probably the first time all season Minnesota State has gone into the weekend as the favorite. In a rough season loaded with injuries for the Mavericks, they can look to the future in a freshman class that has some upside. That group will show signs of what’s to come this weekend. MSU sweep

Brian: Minnesota State is coming off an emotional weekend having been swept at Minnesota in a series the Mavericks believe could have easily gone the other way. UAH’s entire week has been an emotional one after beating Nebraska-Omaha last Friday and then learning their season may have been removed from lame-duck status with the news that the program appears to have been saved from the scrapheap. The Chargers may receive a boost from that but the Mavericks will find a way to win one as well. Split.

 

Alaska Anchorage (5-9-2, 2-9-1 WCHA) at No. 6 Colorado College (8-4-0, 6-4-0 WCHA)

Tyler: Rylan Schwartz’s return will give the Tigers every bit of offense it needs to sweep the Seawolves at home, despite brother Jaden gone to World Juniors. CC sweep 

Brian: Yes Jaden Schwartz will only play Friday’s game but brother Rylan returns from injury and the Tigers will still be able to put up points at home against UAA. The Seawolves will not be able to keep up as CC goes to 7-0-0 at home with a sweep.


85 COMMENTS

  1. I once again scoured my cable package. If you live in Minnesota and have Charter Cable like me, here are some games that are televised. Gophers vs Mich Tech on FSN, Bulldogs vs Badgers on Big10 Net, BSU vs Denver on Lakeland Public TV, & Omaha vs Sioux on FSSN. I’ll look for more games as well & post if I find them. It’s Christmas time so I’ll be on my best behavior for a while. So good luck to your favorite team this weekend. Did you hear that Santa? I was nice and not naughty!… LOL 

    • I forgot to mention that Huntsville vs Mankato is on as well, on Charter Extra. That’s 5 games on tonight and people say there is nothing to do in Minnesota, in the Winter time.

  2. I once again scoured my cable package. If you live in Minnesota and have Charter Cable like me, here are some games that are televised. Gophers vs Mich Tech on FSN, Bulldogs vs Badgers on Big10 Net, BSU vs Denver on Lakeland Public TV, & Omaha vs Sioux on FSSN. I’ll look for more games as well & post if I find them. It’s Christmas time so I’ll be on my best behavior for a while. So good luck to your favorite team this weekend. Did you hear that Santa? I was nice and not naughty!… LOL 

    • I forgot to mention that Huntsville vs Mankato is on as well, on Charter Extra. That’s 5 games on tonight and people say there is nothing to do in Minnesota, in the Winter time.

  3. Connelly are you joking?  NO ONE up in orono had high expectations for this team. We all expected to be near the bottom of the conference this year and it’s proving right. Where do you get high expectations?

      • Uh, no we didn’t. The only Yahoo who thought so was Whitehead.  Because he’s completely lost touch with reality.

        And it’s Black Bears, not “Blackbears”. You should know this, Mrs. Whitehead.

  4. No one expected Maine to being at best a .500 Team…and they will be hard pressed to do that…with 6 wins they’ll be lucky to match that total after the Florida Classic…change is needed up at Orono…Whitehead needs to be Fired or Bought out and the rebuilding will begin come 2012-13 season….hopefully.

  5. No slight to Brian Flynn, but Spencer Abbott is having a better year numbers-wise for Maine. He is POTY-worthy. He, Flynn, and Diamond need a lot more help putting up some points or the second half of the season will mimic the first half of the season.

  6. Frankly. I’m surprised that Maine has even 6 wins at this point.  And, with 6 straight games against BC BU UNH coming up in mid-January, we’ve probably seen the best of this team.  Again.

  7. Keep in mind that a few of these teams are playing w/o young stars due to the World Juniors. Cornell: Iles, who has started every game in goal; BU: Clendenning; Notre Dame: Tynan and Johns; BC: Arnold; and UVM: Brickley.
    That and a couple of weeks rust make it tough to handicap the games this time of year. Probably evens out things in bu-nd matchup and helps umo vs cu. Can’t see bc slowing down,’though Arnold is #2 scorer.

  8. Fortunately, someone at USCHO believes in UVM, cause every  time I see that ad for Frozen Four tickets, it shows a UVM Catamount!

  9. You left out Cornell v Massachusetts on Thursday.

    For Drewpdrawers, I think Iles is with Cornell in Florida; he was only an emergency third pick.

  10. Brown 5 – New Hampshire 2
    Brown 5 – Providence 2

    Paul, the World Cup Octopus, was a better prognosticator.

    Over the past two seasons Brown is 3-0-3 against Hockey East teams, scoring 29 goals and allowing 18.

  11. I have to say I’m not amazed at the results. This seems typical for top teams right after the winter break. All players are trying to get back in the right mode while the ones that have nothing to lose bring it all. After watching SLU this weekend it made me wonder why was this team so bad on the first half??? Granted, they do not have “exceptional” talent… they have a solid defense, great passing and most importantly great positioning. Great technique overall! With that said, neither BC or  NU gave a great performance. BC players looked like they were still waking up from a nap, like a Van on a NASCAR speedway on a Sunday race… no connection, bad passing all dump and chase to the point of frustration when you start seeing the “I wanna be a hero” behavior from their players to try passing two defenseman on their own and wasting lots of shots when they had open teammates with better chance of scoring. Newsflash birdies, if you keep on shooting right at the goaltender it ain’t going in! How about better aim and some creativity? Like Dru Burns on the winning goal against Clarkson.
    BC and BU are much alike, they have a great overall talent but you never know when they decide to bring it or just show up because they have to. Hence why I agree that Minnesota and Wisconsin should be on top, they actually know the meaning of consistency!
    NU on the other hand.. Esposito was on fire! Two amazing goals (priceless!) even though they lost. You can’t blame Desjardins for the SLU goals.. where was the defense that allowed players completely open in front of the net?
    As for BU, I expected a close win since I knew Poulin would be back but Watchorn and Menard were out on top of Kohanchuk. I expect this team to get back to its powerhouse mode soon.. very soon.
    There is not much to say for the Gophers but the fact that they set their mind to win both games and they didn’t stop hustling till they did! Like I said, mental toughness defines great teams. No D-I hockey player made it there because they didn’t know how to play the game.. but yet they seem to forget quite often. Like the NE Patriots say “Do your job”.
    Take care and play smart hockey!

  12. the latest womens D-1 poll shows what a joke these voters are, UW goes on the road gets 2 points in a shootout win Friday and loses 1-0 Saturday and somehow they lose 12 votes??????? If they had lost both by 2 or more goals I would have no problem with that but that clearly did NOT happen. 

    • Jmm410 : Honestly, the polls mean nothing till the last week. I didn’t watch the game but I’m sure the point they were trying to make was that if you don’t allow the Powerhouse to beat you on regulation on the first game and you beat them on the second this far in the season, then you (Gophers) deserve to be on top. Granted that doesn’t mean that the Badgers can’t come back and win, but as of this week out of those 2 teams that are so closely matched .. the Gophers came out wining.

         On the plus side, this will make the Badgers become stronger and will also give other teams the hopes of a possible win if they work hard. It makes the competition stronger and therefore a better game to watch!

      • I understand what your saying but it is still a joke how these so-called experts vote. It should not matter how a team got the 2 points, regulation win, ot win or by shoot out. UW got the “win” on the road then lost, that is a split and therefore should make them even. If your number one and go on the road and split 4 points you are still number one. There is no excuse for the way these people vote.

  13. Get past the fact that I am a Sioux fan to hear this out. The problem started when the 6 teams formed the Big 10 conference. There simply weren’t enough quality teams. Most recruits are ‘over’ the allure of playing for Michigan or Minnesota, etc. It’s possible the Gophers are the 4th best team from Minnesota this year. I think the recruiting battles tipped to NCHC and HE once the Big Ten formed. It’s getting worse for the Big 10.

  14. This is probably an ignorant question with an obvious answer, but I’m going to ask it anyway because, well, things just seem so dire right now.

    Is there ANY chance the BI6 could just stop sponsoring hockey?

    • I don’t get that one either because Crooksten played down at D3 after D2 hockey went belly up. So no scholarships were involved and that is one of the biggest expenses in a sport, especially a D1 sport. I think there are some at the U of M who would drop a deuce if St.Cloud State or Minnesota State ever went D1, For now they still have a enough control over Duluth to keep the Bulldogs from going D1 but I think U of M views Duluth as a colony that has grown too big and would love to move them down.

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