WCHA Picks: Feb. 15-17

No. 2 Minnesota at No. 18 Wisconsin Friday; in Chicago Sunday

Matthew: A very tough recent slate of games has seen Minnesota fall into a pattern of not picking up maximum points from each series over recent weeks, and I see that happening again this time around. I doubt a noticeable home-ice advantage will be in place for either team outdoors in Chicago on Sunday, so it’s imperative for Wisconsin to get its weekend off to the right start indoors in Madison on Friday. Remember, UNO failed to win its series opener last Friday indoors against North Dakota and then got routed by UND in front of a split crowd outdoors the following night. I’m taking the Badgers to learn from that and give the Gophers everything UW has. Split, with Minnesota winning at Soldier Field.

Tyler: Minnesota leads the nation in first-period goals but has only scored five in the last six games. The Gophers need to jump on Wisconsin early and make the Badgers prove they’re capable of a comeback. This looks like another defensive battle like the ones in Minneapolis earlier this season. The ice conditions Sunday will even the playing field and slow things down, offensively, which plays into Wisconsin’s favor. Split

Michigan Tech at No. 9 Minnesota State

Matthew: Tech has hit a rich vein of form just in time for the Huskies’ trip to surprise top-ten team Minnesota State. MTU closed out its famous Winter Carnival weekend last Saturday with a 6-1 win over Alaska Anchorage, and Tech followed that up by giving Upper Peninsula nonconference (for now) rival Northern Michigan an 8-1 pounding on Tuesday night in Houghton, Mich.. Don’t be surprised if Tech picks up another point or two this weekend against a Minnesota State club that has lost each of its last three home games. Split.

Tyler: The Mavericks roll into the weekend coming off their first successful weekend in Duluth since 2006. Michigan Tech has played three games in the last week and will have completed an eight-hour bus ride when it gets to Mankato.  MSU sweep

No. 16 Nebraska-Omaha at Alaska-Anchorage

Matthew: If this series was played on paper, UNO would have few issues against the Seawolves. Unfortunately for the Mavericks, though, they have lost each of their last three games – all in Omaha – and UAA has been punching above its weight in recent weeks, picking off the odd point and even picking up its first win since Dec. 1 last Friday at Michigan Tech. UNO’s the better team in this matchup, but the series won’t be a walkover. I’ll take the Mavericks to pick up three points in Anchorage.

Tyler: Nebraska-Omaha’s offense should overpower the Seawolves to bounce back after two home losses to North Dakota that killed the Mavericks’ chances at the MacNaughton Cup. UNO sweep

Minnesota-Duluth at Bemidji State

Matthew: It feels like it’s been ages since we last saw a scoreless tie in a WCHA game, but if it’s going to happen at any point this season, this seems the most likely series to give it to us. Both teams are in the bottom third of the WCHA in terms of scoring offense, UMD (winless in its last five) is fading fast, and BSU now has the WCHA’s longest winless skid, having not tasted victory since Dec. 15. I can genuinely see a low-scoring pair of ties in this series, so I’ll go with that as my pick.

Tyler: The Bulldogs are struggling to get their offense going in the past month with seven goals in five games and offense just isn’t Bemidji State’s thing. I think UMD can break out in one of these games but BSU’s defense is so frustrating that will give the Beavers a chance to win one. Split