Paula's picks: Feb. 3, 2012

It’s the beginning of the end — of this season, anyway. Here’s how I’m doing:
Last week: 6-3-1
Season to date: 95-63-23 (.588)
Remember that adage about a broken clock and the frequency of its accuracy? Yeah. Like that.

This week

Everyone plays this weekend. All series are Friday-Saturday, single site. The games in Ann Arbor and Marquette begin at 7:35 p.m. each night; everything else begins at 7:05 p.m., including the single exhibition game between the U.S. National Development Under-18 team and the Lakers Friday night, a game that I’m not picking.
Alaska at No. 16 Western Michigan
If there is one thing that Alaska has proven this season, it’s that you can’t take the Nanooks for granted. At home last weekend, 10th-place Alaska split with ranked Notre Dame, scoring three goals in a nine-minute span in the second period of Friday’s 6-3 win before losing 4-2 Saturday. Meanwhile. Western Michigan was learning that 11th-place Bowling Green can’t be overlooked, either. The Broncos beat the Falcons at home, 4-1, before dropping a 2-1 game in BG Saturday. One point out of first place with two games in hand on several teams near them in the standings, the Broncos can almost smell a regular-season title. The Broncos took five of six points from the Nanooks in Fairbanks last season; the teams haven’t played in Kalamazoo since Dec. 4-5, 2009, when the Broncos took four points in a win and a tie. WMU 3-2, 4-2
Bowling Green at No. 8 Notre Dame
Kudos to the Falcons, who beat the Broncos at home last Saturday, 2-1, after dropping Friday’s game in Kalamazoo. It was BG’s second win in four games to cap a .500 January. Notre Dame traveled to Alaska and split with the Nanooks, giving up nine goals in the process. Steve Summerhays was replaced by Mike Johnson in net after the first four goals Friday; Johnson got Saturday’s win, snapping his own personal five-game losing streak that dated back to Nov. 25. The Irish are 11-0-1 at home against BGSU, last losing to the Falcons in South Bend Jan. 29, 2005. Can’t call against that streak. ND 3-2, 2-1
No. 6 Ferris State at No. 19 Northern Michigan
The Bulldogs are on top of the CCHA standings by one little point after sweeping Michigan State at home last weekend, 3-1 and 4-3; their eight-game unbeaten streak (6-0-2) is the best in the nation. Six different Bulldogs scored for FSU last weekend. Northern Michigan split a pair of games in Oxford, a 2-1 win Friday and a 6-0 loss Saturday. Last season, NMU beat FSU twice in Marquette, a 2-1 OT win and a 3-1 decision. NMU hasn’t lost to FSU since Nov. 29, 2008 — and yet I’m picking them to do so this weekend. I should have my head examined. Pipe down, Wildcats fans. NMU 3-2, FSU 3-1
No. 18 Miami at No. 7 Michigan
Last weekend, the RedHawks split a pair of games at home against Northern Michigan, losing 2-1 Friday before Saturday’s decisive 6-0 shutout. Junior forward Reilly Smith had a goal and an assist in Saturday’s game to surpass the 100-point mark by a point. The Wolverines last played two weeks ago when they split on the road against Notre Dame. The RedHawks have won six of their last eight meetings against the Wolverines; they took five of six points from the visiting Wolverines earlier this season. Michigan is in seventh place in the CCHA standings — but that’s only four points behind the three teams tied for second place, including Miami. UM 3-2, Miami 3-2
Michigan State at No. 10 Ohio State
Both of these teams are looking to do better than they did in January — but only one team, the ranked team, is looking for its first win of 2012. Last weekend, the Spartans ended the first month of the year with two one-goal road losses to Ferris State, bringing their record in the new year to 2-4-2. Meanwhile, the Buckeyes ended January 0-4-4 with a loss and tie on the road in Sault Ste. Marie. The teams split a pair of games in the first half in East Lansing. OSU 3-2, MSU 3-2

Well, everyone here knew already that this kid is fast

Now everyone else does, too.
Congrats to NHL rookie and former Wolverine Carl Hagelin, the fastest skater in this year’s NHL All-Stars Skill Challenge. Hagelin, now with the New York Rangers, beat Cornell alumnus and current Ottawa Senator Colin Greening with a time of 13.218 seconds.