MCHA/MIAC/NCHA picks: Feb. 3

Finlandia and Wisconsin-River Falls each scored overtime goals on the road that knocked my predictions under .500 for the week.  Wis.-River Falls broke a 0-for-18 streak at St. Norbert with a 4-3 victory on Friday, and Finlandia came through with its own overtime goal at Marian for an identical 4-3 win on Saturday. Officially, I went 3-5 last week, which makes my picks for the season 37-25, a .675 percentage.
It is another important week of action in the West. The NCHA continues its second week of single-game series. League leader St. Norbert will travel to the twin ports of Lake Superior to face Wisconsin-Superior and St. Scholastica. In the MCHA, the top two teams face the bottom two teams in the league, and the teams left in the middle will fight it out for positioning.
Finally, in the MIAC, St. Thomas has all but locked up the regular season title, but just like in the other conferences, the rest of the MIAC will be battling for playoff position, which begins in a few weeks.
{Predicted winners bolded}
Friday, February 2, 2012
Marian at Lawrence
In their first series against each other this season, the two schools from opposite sides of Lake Winnebago in Eastern Wisconsin had a pair of 2-2 overtime ties. In a road sweep of Northland last weekend, freshman goaltender Peter Emery picked up his second shutout of the season for Lawrence, while Marian split with Finlandia. In this series, the edge goes to the home team.
St. Olaf at Augsburg
St. Olaf is just one point ahead of Augsburg in the standings. St. Olaf is coming off a pair of one-goal losses to St. Thomas, while Augsburg had a pair of one-goal wins against St. Mary’s, but St. Olaf has the better defense, which becomes more important this time of year.
Hamline at Gustavus Adolphus
Statistically, Gustavus has the second best offense and defense in the MIAC. That balance will be needed to counteract Hamline’s seniors of Brain Arrigoni and Jordan VanGuilder. The duo rank as the MIAC’s third and fourth best scorers, and Arrigoni leads the league in goals scored.
St. Norbert at Wisconsin-Superior
An important weekend for St. Norbert on the road starts at Wessman Arena. Wis.-Superior has been strangely inconsistent since December, especially at home, where it has won only twice, sweeping Finlandia before winter break. St. Norbert may be tempted to look ahead to Saturday’s rematch against St. Scholastica, but it is 5-1 in its last six games, with two of those wins against Wis.-Superior.
Saturday, February 3, 2012
Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE) at Concordia (Wis.)
MSOE had an excellent weekend at Adrian last week taking three-of-four points to close the gap against the conference leaders. Since being swept by Marian in early January, MSOE has been on a roll, going 3-0-1. It also swept Concordia (Wis.) in the first series of the season.
Adrian at Lake Forest
The first time the two teams faced each other this season, Adrian shut out Lake Forest in both games.
St. Thomas at Bethel
St. Thomas looks to continue its NCAA-leading nine-game winning streak this weekend. One of those victories was a 9-4 win at Bethel early in January.
Wis.-River Falls at Wisconsin-Stout
Wis.-River Falls can forget about January. It went 3-4, including a season-high three-game losing streak. Wis.-Stout can forget about January as well. It went 2-6 to start off 2012. Wis.-River Falls’ shining moment was breaking its losing streak at St. Norbert.