WCHA picks: Dec. 16-17

Michigan Tech (9-8-1, 6-7-1 WCHA) at Northern Michigan (8-7-3, 5-6-3-2 CCHA)


TylerBoth teams are better in this year’s matchup than when the teams met last season. The Wildcats are in the PairWise Rankings top 16 (where teams typically need to be to make the regional tournaments). The Huskies are in a week-in, week-out fight to keep their collective head above water so if Tech plays with the urgency it needs, it will play in its favor. Pick: Tech gets another big road win.

Brian: Each team enters this one-night-only engagement on Friday in Marquette having earned splits on the road against ranked teams (Minnesota for MTU and Lake Superior State for NMU). The current Upper Peninsula and future WCHA rivals face each other for the first time in nearly a calendar year with both sporting identical .528 winning percentages. Although the Wildcats have a 63-48-13 advantage overall in the series, the Huskies are 4-2-2 in the last eight including 1-1-1 last season. Ultimately, Tech’s split impresses me more than Northern Michigan’s so I’m picking the Huskies.


No. 14 Denver (7-6-3, 5-4-3 WCHA) at St. Cloud State (6-8-4, 4-5-3 WCHA)


Tyler: Bob Motzko said the Huskies had a awful week of practice before his team only got one point out of a home series with BSU. He added the Dec. 9-10 bye week couldn’t have come at a better time. If the Huskies react well and return from the bye rejuvenated, they could sweep Denver, although a split is more likely. Juho Olkinuora has been a great fill-in for Sam Brittain and Adam Murray. Despite the loss of Beau Bennett for a couple months, the Pioneers are one of the most balanced teams when it comes to point producers with Jason Zucker and the Shore brothers. Split

Brian: DU coach George Gwozdecky faces two more branches of his coaching tree this weekend in SCSU coach Bob Motzko (associate head coach at Denver from 1993-94) and his assistant Mike Gibbons (DU assistant from 1990-94). Last week’s loss of Beau Bennett for 6-8 weeks due to a wrist injury is huge for Denver. The Pioneers are 1-3-2 without Bennett and average only 1.8 goals per game with him in the lineup as opposed to 4.4 without him. The Pioneers hold a 38-32-4 edge in the all-time series including 18-12-2 at St. Cloud’s National Hockey Center. Don’t be surprised to see a 3-2 score this weekend as SCSU has won two of the last three meetings between the schools, each of which ended 3-2. I’m calling it a split.


Alabama-Huntsville (1-17-1) at Bemidji State (7-9-2, 5-7-2 WCHA)


Tyler: I don’t think this is any kind of a trap game like it was for Nebraska-Omaha a couple weeks ago. UNO was lulled to sleep by the three-figure attendance in Nashville that weekend. The Beavers will not have have a letdown this weekend. BSU sweep

Brian: Until last week’s surprising announcement of a reprieve for Alabama-Huntsville’s off again, on again D-I hockey program, this was to be the final games between these two long-time rivals. Moving forward, BSU and UAH will likely find room on each other’s schedules for as many years as the Chargers survive. Having played its most recent “home” games in Nashville against Nebraska-Omaha, UAH last played in Alabama on Nov. 5 so the Bemidji State series marks the end of a six-week road grind for the Chargers. BSU senior defenseman Brad Hunt will miss playing against UAH as his 18 points in 15 games versus the Chargers will attest. Unless UAH goalie Clarke Saunders steals one on his own, I look for Hunt to get his last licks in and for the Beavers to sweep.


No. 7 Colorado College (9-5-0, 7-5-0 WCHA) at Minnesota State (5-12-1, 5-7-2 WCHA)


Tyler: I’ll take CC’s nation-best offense (4.21 goals per game) to score a lot this weekend on Minnesota State, which has the fourth-worst goals against average (3.72) in the country. MSU might squeak out a tie this weekend but in regards to the picks, CC sweep

Brian: The Mavericks are coming off consecutive solid series’ performances in dropping a pair of tight games at Minnesota and handily sweeping Alabama-Huntsville in Mankato, outscoring the Chargers 13-3. Since sweeping Wisconsin Nov.18-19, the Tigers are 2-3 in their last five after splitting at home last weekend with Alaska-Anchorage. The nation’s fourth (MSU-3.72 goals per game) and ninth (CC-3.36) worst scoring defenses square off this weekend in Mankato as does Minnesota State’s surging power play (11 goals in last five games) against the Tigers’ penalty kill which is the WCHA’s fourth worst (77.9%, five shorthanded goals allowed). But CC’s nation-leading 4.21 goals per game can’t be overlooked either. The teams split both series last year and my trust issues with CC this season have led me to choose a split here as well.


  1. The Mavericks have played all of their top-tier opponents tough this year, and I don’t expect the CC series to be any different. I’m not saying that they’ll walk away with more than a point or 2, the Tigers have some excellent offensive weapons, but between a goaltender (Cook) that is perfectly capable of stealing games for them and an offense that scores in bunches MSU could be tough.

    CC sweep, but not by much

    • CC’s mediocre goaltending will haunt them.  Minnesota state has been playing good hockey lately and they are home.  Look for a split here this weekend.

  2. CC, on paper, should sweep. But the should have swept Alaska as well and were only a few minutes away from going into overtime and potentailly tying Alaska last Saturday evening.

    If CC’s defense shows up, then they sweep, if not, then it will be another long weekend of missed potential for the Tigers.

    • SCSU hopes your dream’s come true Wisco. A sweep at the hands of the hawks would put them 3 games under 500. A hole that would be hard to climb out of to be under consideration for an at large birth.

  3. Candace, got a question for you. Anyone serious (Sparky/UofMGC/Ray) that might know can chime in. Fan voting has begun for Hobey and I went to the sight. There were some Freshman that I feel should get some consideration (Borgstrom/Greenway/McAvoy) that were not listed. Are there other names that can be added, or are only those currently listed on the site now eligible.

    • From my understanding only those listed are eligible. For some reason I feel the coaches of each team nominate a player/players on their team to be under consideration.

      • Wonder when the coaches do their nominations, and are they only allowed one per team? I’m sure Montgomery nominated Butcher for his total work throughout his career but would think he would nominate Borgstrom if possible.

    • I see that I am not one of your “anyone serious” candidates, but I had this same question a few years ago and the best I could find out was that it is too late to add anyone. But I could be wrong.

      • Sorry stod_2, you certainly are one of the “serious” candidates. Just haven’t seen you around in a while. I do appreciate you answering me, not what I wanted to hear though.

        • Yeah, I wish there was a way because it seems like there is always someone that deserves it even just for the pat on the back that it would be if they had very little chance to get the award. A good season should be rewarded with a nod for the Hobey and it shouldn’t matter what year you are, but it seems that Freshman have to have a better year than an upper class-man to even make the list.

          Hope you are well. Starting to feel like DU and UMD (really wish I could say it was UND) are on a crash course for each other in the FF this year. At this point I am just hoping that UND makes the tourney.

          • UND will make it. Looks like UND needs to win 4 of their last 8 to stay in top 13. Then I’m sure just not get swept in the first round of playoffs. collegehockeyranked.com/forecast/pwrbywins/

          • I think UND is in a good spot. According to college hockey ranked UND needs to go 500 to still be 13 and under in the PWR. They don’t factor in the playoffs so I would assume you would need to not get swept in the first round.

          • The way UND has been playing I think going 500 the rest of the way is a stretch. Look, I want them to make it but I think that this could be the year that their streak of NCAA tourney bids gets broken. Hope not. I think a lot depends on this weekend. They really need to find a way to sweep St Cloud and I would start to feel better but I doubt that happens. Should be an interesting end to the season.

          • I am doing well, hope the same for you. I agree with MN-Wild that UND is in a really good spot. Especially, playing pretty much only ranked teams from here on out. Once you get to Regionals, only takes getting hot enough to go on a 4 game winning streak. Sioux have showed that capability in the past, so I wouldn’t bail on them now.

          • So after their loss on Friday they dropped to 13th I think. And now sit at 10. Overall they have to get some more consistent scoring or they won’t make it.Too bad, cause they have a nice team this year and I hope they find that consistent scoring because the rest of their game seems to be where it needs to be. Just can’t score. I think that they can make it obviously but who knows. The issue is the last two series are against non ranked teams in Omaha and Miami, so if they were to say not get a win against one of them (tie and loss or two ties) then they are in real trouble. Hate seasons like this where they are on the bubble. Much better last year when it was just a matter of how how in the rankings they were going to end up.

    • I’ll take this one, Candy. I think it’s obvious that Bessy sould be the front runner. Maybe throw some other cats in the mix too. It’s probably going to be someone on Wisconson tho. Thanks for asking, good question!

    • Miami has 3, and I don’t feel any of them see more deserving than borgstrom after watching them play live 4 times. I understand they’ve played many more games than that.

    • Hi, sorry, I was in the mountains all day. I did research this, and as far as I can tell, and, more importantly, my editor as well, the teams nominate players for the fan vote. However, coaches can vote for anyone, and the coach vote makes up the majority that gets it to the final 10.


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