Paula's picks: Jan. 6, 2011

Oh, my friends, how poorly I fared for the holiday tournaments.
Last week: 6-8-0
Season to date: 71-52-14 (.569)

The week

There is a lot of action this week, including games that pit ranked teams from a couple of different conferences against ranked CCHA teams. Days and times are noted in each series or game.
No. 18 Lake Superior at No. 16 Michigan
The Lakers return from last week’s disappointing Catamount Cup showing to conference action against a Michigan team that looked as though its sub-par first half was a distant memory when the Wolverines took the ice in the Great Lakes Invitational tournament. LSSU has a Michigan monkey on its back; the Lakers haven’t beaten the Wolverines in Ann Arbor since Feb. 11, 2006, and the last Lakers’ win against the Wolverines was Feb. 18, 2007 in Sault Ste. Marie — a span of 13 straight Michigan wins. Timing, they say, is everything. Friday-Saturday, 7:35 p.m. UM 3-2, 3-2
Miami at No. 15 Michigan State
This may be the most interesting series of the weekend. The RedHawks haven’t played since their 3-2 overtime loss to Ohio State Dec. 10, a 26-day break that can either see them rusty or rested. The Spartans looked really good last week at the GLI, where they lost the championship game to Michigan in overtime, 3-2. The teams split a series in East Lansing last year, with MSU beating Miami 7-4 Jan. 21 and the RedHawks winning 4-0 the following night. Miami is 5-3 versus MSU in the last three seasons. Friday-Saturday, 7:05 p.m. MSU 4-2, Miami 3-2
No. 2 Ohio State at Bowling Green
The Buckeyes are returning to Ohio after a 4-2 win over Robert Morris in Pittsburgh Friday, while the Falcons dropped two road games to Bemidji State Friday and Saturday. Saturday’s 2-1 loss was the first game in which BGSU scored the opening goal since Oct. 29, and only the second time the Falcons have done so this season. That goal was also their first power-play goal since Nov. 19, a seven-game slump. BGSU brings a 10-game winless streak into this contest (0-8-2). The Falcons are also looking for their second CCHA win of the season. OSU swept BGSU in Bowling Green last season but needed overtime for the first contest. Saturday 7:05 p.m.; Sunday 5:05 p.m. OSU 3-2, 4-2
Alaska at Northern Michigan
The Nanooks haven’t played in more than a month, their last action a home series they split against Michigan Dec. 2-3. Alaska went 4-2-0 in their final six CCHA games of the first half after starting league play 0-6-2. The Wildcats warmed up for the second half with a 3-2 exhibition win over the Russian Red Stars Dec. 30. NMU has a serious home-ice advantage when playing UAF; the Wildcats are 5-0-5 in the last 10 meetings between these teams in Marquette, and the only time the Wildcats have lost to the Nanooks at home was Feb. 5, 2005. I’m not calling against those odds. Friday-Saturday, 7:35 p.m. NMU 3-2, 2-1
No. 9 Colgate at No. 17 Ferris State
The Raiders, currently in second place in the ECAC, played a single game last week, a 5-2 win over Canisius Dec. 30. Senior Austin Smith (19-12–31) is the nation’s leading scorer; sophomore Eric Mihalik (2.48 GAA, .912 SV%) has played most of Colgate’s games. The Bulldogs come back from the Catamount Cup with a pair of losses and a pair of goals, having been shut out by RIT 3-0 the first day with a 4-2 loss to Vermont the second. FSU’s goaltending and the Bulldogs’ defense is fifth-best in the nation, so this is an interesting match. The Raiders bring a seven-game unbeaten streak into Big Rapids. Friday 7:05 p.m.; Saturday 4:05 p.m. Colgate 4-2, FSU 3-2
No. 1 Minnesota-Duluth at No. 8 Western Michigan
The defending NCAA champion Bulldogs bring their nation-leading 14-game unbeaten streak (11-0-3) into Kalamazoo, having last lost Oct. 15 against Minnesota. Senior Jack Connolly (12-17–29) leads Duluth in scoring, but his classmate Travis Oleksuk (13-9–22) is the team’s top goal scorer. Senior Kenny Reiter (2.26, .917) has played all but one game this season. UMD last played Dec. 9-10, when they tied and defeated Wisconsin. The Broncos had all they could handle against St. Cloud State Dec. 29-30, losing 4-2 before winning 2-1 in overtime. As delighted as I would be to see UMD’s streak come to an end, I’m not calling it. Friday 7:35 p.m.; Saturday 7:05 p.m. UMD 4-2, 4-2
No. 5 Notre Dame at No. 3 Minnesota
The Irish beat visiting Boston University, 5-2, on New Year’s Eve before continuing to warm up for the second half with a 2-1 exhibition win over the Russian Red Stars Jan. 3. Minnesota is tied with Minnesota-Duluth for first place in the WCHA standings. Sophomores Nick Bjugstad (16-11–27) and Erik Haula (10-17–27) are the Gophers’ leading scorers; Bjugstad leads the team in goal production, but freshman Kyle Rau (12-10–22) has also reached double digits. Senior Kent Patterson (2.04, .921) has played every game this season. Minnesota has the top offense in the country, averaging 4.09 goals per game. That’s bad news for the Irish, who struggle defensively. The teams last met March 27, 2004, when Minnesota beat Notre Dame, 5-2 in ND’s first NCAA appearance. This is the Hall of Fame Game, which is nice. Saturday, 7:05 p.m. CST. Minnesota 5-2