Paula's picks: Feb. 8, 2013

I knew last time out was a fluke. I’m sure you did, too.
Last week: 2-6-2 (.300)
Season to date: 97-69-25 (.573)
I should have flipped a coin.

This week

There are five CCHA series this week with Lake Superior State taking a bye week. Every series is Friday-Saturday — unless that winter storm throws the Midwest a curveball — and the times listed are local.
Ferris State at Northern Michigan. The Bulldogs took two points from Western Michigan last weekend. Still chasing first place, Ferris State has a way to go and can’t get there with a sweep this weekend. The Wildcats last played Jan. 25-26, two losses to Alaska. Northern is chasing a first-round home playoff series. NMU is 6-2-3 at home. Games begin at 7:35 p.m. each night. FSU 4-2, NMU 2-1
No. 3 Miami at No. 6 Western Michigan. This is the series to watch in the CCHA this weekend, as the RedHawks are one point ahead of the Broncos in the standings. Each team has played the same number of games but WMU has one more win than does Miami. Each of these teams also faces third-place Notre Dame and fifth-place Ohio State down the stretch as well. The RedHawks swept Alaska last weekend while the Broncos took four points from Ferris State. Miami is 4-1-0 versus Western in their last five meetings, but that single loss for the RedHawks was a win for the Broncos in last year’s CCHA semifinal play. Games begin at 7:05 p.m. each night. WMU 3-2, 3-2
Michigan at No. 11 Notre Dame. This series is far more interesting than I anticipated it would be at the beginning of the season, when I thought these teams would be vying for first place. The Wolverines, near the bottom but improving down the stretch, can add to Notre Dame’s ongoing second-half misery this weekend. Six points out of first, the Irish still have a shot at a regular-season title but it seems unlikely; the Wolverines can technically finish in the top five and earn a first-round bye but it seems unlikely. Michigan swept Michigan State last weekend and Notre Dame took two points from Ohio State. This series is tied at 12-12-0 since Jeff Jackson became ND’s coach. Friday’s game begins at 7:35 p.m. and is carried by CBS Sports Network; Saturday’s game begins at 7:05 p.m. and is televised by Comcast. Michigan 4-2, Notre Dame 3-1
Michigan State vs. Bowling Green. The Spartans lost two to Michigan last weekend while the Falcons swept Lake Superior State. Each team is working to finish sixth through eighth to host a first-round playoff series. The Spartans scored four goals last weekend, the Falcons an uncharacteristic 11. BGSU is riding a five-game home win streak into Friday’s game; the Spartans are 2-10-1 on the road. This is a home-and-home series with Friday’s game in Bowling Green, Saturday’s in East Lansing. Each game begins at 7:05 p.m. Bowling Green 3-1, Michigan State 3-1
Ohio State at Alaska. One point separates fifth-place Ohio State from sixth-place Alaska, but the Buckeyes have two games in hand on the Nanooks. Last weekend, OSU took four points from Notre Dame while Alaska lost two road games to Miami. OSU is unbeaten (3-0-1) in its last four games, but the Buckeyes are 9-17-2 against the Nanooks in Fairbanks; under Dallas Ferguson, the Nanooks are 8-3-4-0 versus Ohio State. Prior to their two losses last week, the Nanooks enjoyed a six-game win streak. Each team seems to fare equally well at home as on the road. It is possible that Alaska will sweep and I will eat these picks. Games begin at 7:05 p.m. each night. Ohio State 4-1, Alaska 3-2

Stay safe, everyone

Since the Universe has decided to bestow a real winter on much of North America, plans for college hockey — and anything else that matters — have been disrupted throughout the Northeast.
If you have to travel in any area affected by the storm, please be careful. I am allegedly returning to Michigan from California today. Allegedly. It would be a tragedy to be stranded in southern California for an extra day. A tragedy, I say.