WCHA picks: Feb. 17-18

Nebraska-Omaha (13-11-6, 10-7-5 WCHA) at No. 15 Colorado College (15-11-2, 12-9-1 WCHA)

Tyler:  UNO is probably the most inconsistent and unpredictable team in the WCHA, not only wins and losses, scoring and goaltending as well. If Josh Thorimbert returns this weekend, which CC coach Scott Owens is optimistic about, CC is going to shut the Mavericks down. Though Ryan Massa has been solid in goal lately for UNO, the Tigers have the edge in depth. CC sweep

Brian:  Two teams which split an early November series meet three months later deadlocked in fourth place in the WCHA with 25 points. Neither UNO (4-3-3) nor CC (3-5-2) has exactly set the world on fire in its last 10 games but the Mavs are a .500 road team this season. Looking like a split in Colorado Springs.


Bemidji State (15-12-3, 9-10-3 WCHA) at No. 7 Minnesota (19-11-1, 15-7-0 WCHA) 

Tyler:  Right now, clinging to the lead in the WCHA standings is probably on the Gophers’ backburner because they know a loss this weekend could nudge them outside the top 15 in the PairWise Rankings. This is a must-sweep for Minnesota but the Gophers will be ready to go in their first weekend back in front of the home crowd since Jan. 27. Minny sweep

Brian:  After a blistering 9-1-0 start, Minnesota is a mediocre 10-10-1 in its last 21 while the Beavers are 11-7-3 over the same stretch including 4-0-1 in their last 5. BSU is undoubtedly the hotter team but desperation has to be setting in for Minnesota after suffering its first sweep of the season last week resulting in a PairWise freefall to No. 14. Despite the Gophers’ 8-1-1 all-time record against the Beavers at Mariucci Arena I think the hot hand of Dan Bakala earns BSU a split.


No. 4 Minnesota-Duluth (19-7-4, 13-6-3 WCHA) at Minnesota State (12-19-1, 8-15-1 WCHA) 

Tyler:  The Mavericks are playing their best hockey of the season the last few weeks because they’re finally getting timely goals and decent goaltending from Phil Cook, minus his major hiccup against Michigan Tech. If Cook has a dependable weekend in net, MSU is playing spirited enough hockey to have a chance to win a game this weekend against a UMD team that’s without one of its top offensive threats, JT Brown. Split

Brian: Five weeks ago this pair could not have been further apart in the league standings yet the Mavericks are 6-4 in that stretch while UMD is 5-4-1. Already a tough team to get a read on lately, UMD will be without the services of sniper J.T. Brown due to an upper body injury suffered against North Dakota last weekend. If the Bulldogs can lose in Anchorage with Brown, they can certainly lose in Mankato without him. Split


Michigan Tech (13-14-3, 10-9-3 WCHA) at No. 14 North Dakota (16-11-2, 12-10-0 WCHA) 

Tyler:  The Huskies can really help themselves this weekend by taking advantage of North Dakota’s struggling penalty kill although its own power play went dormant at home against Nebraska-Omaha last week. While both teams are jockeying for position near the middle of the WCHA standings, UND is teetering on the NCAA Tournament bubble and needs to recognize it has a lot more to play for this weekend. I like UND to sweep because they’re back in the confines of the Ralph, where it’s 10-4-2 this season.

BrianA much-improved Michigan Tech team continues its quest for its first finish above .500 since 1992-93 in Grand Forks. But the Huskies remain a team struggling to find the consistency to string wins together, something they’ve done just once since mid-October. That will be tough against a surging UND team (12-4-1 in its last 17 games) which is 22-5-1 against MTU in the Dave Hakstol era and annually plays its best hockey at this time of year. With apologies to @goon48, I’m picking a Fighting Sioux sweep. #kissofdeath


Alaska-Anchorage (7-19-2, 4-19-1 WCHA) at St. Cloud State (12-14-4, 9-10-3 WCHA)

Tyler:  There’s no team in the WCHA that hates one building as much as Alaska-Anchorage hates the National Hockey Center. Opened in 1989, it’s one of the oldest arenas in the league and the Seawolves are still looking for their first win in the building. Don’t expect a change in fortune this weekend, though. UAA has no punch on offense and the Huskies are rolling. SCSU sweep

Brian: The Huskies are coming off of a well-timed bye week to heal and recharge and the Seawolves are making their last trip outside of Alaska until the postseason following a 1-5-0 homestand. The Huskies are tough at home and with the goaltending at Bob Motzko’s disposal I think SCSU sweeps this weekend.


No. 10 Denver (17-9-4, 12-6-4 WCHA) at Wisconsin (12-14-2, 7-13-2 WCHA)

Tyler:  Denver’s weekly press release didn’t include Jason Zucker on its injury report and Sam Brittain has a .924 save percentage since he rejoined the team after he recovered from knee surgery so the Pioneers look pretty good this weekend against a Wisconsin team that has had a lot of difficulty scoring recently. DU sweep

Brian: Wisconsin has played very well at home this season, although you wouldn’t know it by the way St. Cloud State left town with four points two weeks ago. The Pioneers are 7-2-1 in their last 10 and sit two points out of first place after sweeping Minnesota last week. The Badgers might get a spark on Friday from the pre-game ceremony honoring former goalie Kirk Daubenspeck, but it will be tough to overcome the lack of depth at center with Derek Lee and Jefferson Dahl each out due to concussion symptoms. DU stays on a roll and wins twice.