Paula's picks: Jan. 13, 2012

It’s Friday the 13th. Could there be anything scarier than my picks percentage?
Last week: 6-3-4
Season to date: 77-55-18 (.573)
One of my better weeks. I’m beginning to think, though, that certain teams should pay me to pick against them.

This week

It’s a full slate of CCHA hockey, including Sunday’s Frozen Diamond game in the ballpark that Clevelanders still call The Jake. Everything is Friday-Saturday except for that Michigan-Ohio State series. Games are at 7:05 p.m. unless otherwise noted. Bowling Green sits this weekend out.
Alaska at No. 13 Ferris State
The Nanooks tied NMU last Friday night, 2-2, and took the extra shootout point before taking a shellacking Saturday, losing 7-3. The good news is that they scored three goals in the loss when they’ve been averaging 2.20 for 51st in the country. Ferris State did the league proud by sweeping visiting Colgate, 4-3 and 3-1. If the Bulldogs’ defense is as tight as it appears to be, this is a team that will be climbing the standings — and soon. FSU is 3-1-0 in the last four games with UAF. FSU 3-2, 3-2
Miami at No. 19 Lake Superior
The RedHawks were another team to sweep last weekend, but for Miami, that meant a significant climb up the ladder. Miami took two games from MSU on the road, and Connor Knapp couldn’t have looked better, shutting out the Spartans 4-0 the second night. Lake Superior took points on the road, too, when they tied Michigan and took that extra shootout point on Saturday — their first points in Yost Ice Arena since 2005 — after losing Friday’s game, 4-2. If Miami can continue to gel — and that’s what this team needs, to play like a team — then I don’t know how they’ll be stopped. Of course, the Lakers do find ways to win. Miami is 7-3-0 in its last 10 games in Sault Ste. Marie, but the Lakers swept the RedHawks in Oxford in October. Miami 3-2, LSSU 2-1
No. 15 Michigan vs. No. 2 Ohio State
The Wolverines beat the Lakers, 4-2, last Friday before tying 2-2 Saturday. Friday’s win marked defenseman Jon Merrill’s return to the team after spending the first half of the season benched for violating team rules. It also marked the hit that knocked starting goaltender Shawn Hunwick out of the game; he was replaced by Adam Janecyk, who did just fine. The Buckeyes took two little points from Bowling Green in two ties, mustering three goals in the weekend; OSU usually scores more than three a game. Friday’s game is at 7:35 p.m. in OSU’s favorite place to play, the Schottenstein Center, where the Buckeyes are 6-2-2. Sunday’s game is at 5:05 p.m. in Progressive Field in Cleveland, home to MLB’s Indians. The Wolverines were 3-0-1 against the Buckeyes last season. A split’s a fair call, and Michigan winning another outdoor game seems reasonable to me. OSU 3-2, UM 4-2
No. 20 Northern Michigan at No. 18 Michigan State
If you listened to Wildcats’ fans, you’d hear that Northern Michigan is the Rodney Dangerfield of college hockey — no respect. Why? Because NMU is currently seventh in the PairWise Rankings, but the Wildcats are tied with Miami for fifth in the CCHA standings and NMU is one of four teams in the league with conference records of .500; three of those teams are ranked in the Men’s Division I Poll, and none higher than 15th. However, if NMU continues to play as it has, Northern will get its due. Last weekend, the Wildcats tied and defeated visiting Alaska. Considerably down the road, the Spartans — a team that deservedly gets some props — lost two games to visiting Miami. Friday’s 2-1 overtime loss was tough enough, but Saturday’s 4-0 loss marked the first time this season MSU was shut out; the weekend was the second time the Spartans were swept this season. In recent years, the Wildcats have had MSU’s number, winning 10 of the last 15 and sweeping in East Lansing last season. The teams split in Marquette in November. I think that’s what will happen again — but you know how reliable I am. MSU 4-2, NMU 4-3
No. 10 Western Michigan vs. No. 3 Notre Dame
This home-and-home series has the Fighting Irish hosting at 7:35 p.m. Friday and the Broncos hosting at 7:05 p.m. Saturday. Last weekend, Notre Dame went to Minneapolis and beat the Golden Gophers, 4-3, in the Hall of Fame Game. The Broncos lost two at home to visiting Minnesota-Duluth, 4-1 and 5-2. The Irish have won their last three games with sophomore goaltender Steven Summerhays in net. The Broncos have lost three of their last four games, all against WCHA teams, by the collective score of 14-7. In each loss last weekend, WMU allowed three third-period goals. This is the second home-and-home series between the teams this season; the Irish won by a goal in South Bend Nov. 15 and the teams tied the following night in Kalamazoo with the Broncos taking the extra shootout point. I see a split — which should mean that they win on nights opposite of what I’m about to call. ND 3-2, WMU 3-2


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