Ferris State kicked off the WCHA’s 2013-14 regular season a week ago by splitting with the ECAC’s Colgate in Hamilton, N.Y. — a 7-4 win Friday and 1-0 loss Saturday — and will take the weekend off before playing another nonconference game on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, the other nine conference members are all in action on Friday and Saturday, with Bowling Green State playing again on Tuesday as well.
Here are the picks.
Kendall Hockey Classic at Sullivan Arena in Anchorage
Air Force vs. Alaska
Matt: Thanks to the government shutdown, the Falcons have found themselves in a constant state of limbo. They’ll be in Anchorage this weekend, but in what kind of shape? The trip to Alaska is tough as it is, it has to be even tougher not knowing until the last minute whether you are going or not. Alaska 2-1.
Shane: I’m with you on the shutdown. That can’t be easy, twisting in the wind like that, wondering if you’re going to play. The Nanooks have a pretty solid group back from the only team, other than Minnesota State, to have a winning record among the teams that make up the new WCHA. Alaska 3-1.
No. 10 Quinnipiac at Alaska-Anchorage
Matt: The Seawolves start their rebuilding against a very tough challenge in Quinnipiac, one that’s probably too much to overcome this early in the season. Quinnipiac 4-1
Shane: Quinnipiac isn’t the same team as last year’s Frozen Four squad, but it’s still an uphill battle for Anchorage. Quinnipiac 4-2.
No. 10 Quinnipiac vs. Alaska
Matt: I tend to think more highly of Alaska than others in the league, but not enough to take them over the 2012-13 national runners up. The Bobcats really impressed me last year in the tournament. Quinnipiac 3-1
Shane: I’m going the other way here. No Eric Hartzell for Qunnipiac. Alaska’s John Keeney will be the better goalie. Alaska 2-1.
Air force vs. Alaska-Anchorage
Matt: If it wasn’t for the chaos surrounding the shutdown, I would have taken Air Force over Alaska. I think the Falcons rebound Saturday. Air Force 2-0
Shane: In what is basically the third-place game, I like Air Force as well. Air Force 3-1
Robert Morris at Lake Superior State
Matt: The Lakers and Colonials were once rumored as possible league-mates when the CCHA was eyeing former College Hockey American teams in the East to save itself. I’m not sure those rivalries would have played out very well. LSSU 2-1, RMU 3-1
Shane: I’m still getting to know the former CCHA teams but was surprised to see Lake Superior drop its exhibition game to the U.S. Under-18 team. The Lakers are honoring their 1988 National Championship team this weekend. That might fire them up for one win. I’m with Matt here with a series split. LSSU 2-1, RMU 4-2
Alabama-Huntsville at Northeastern
Matt: This is the Chargers only series before opening WCHA play on Oct. 25-26 against Bemidji State. They’ll have to use the trip to Boston almost as a preseason series to fine tune things. Northeastern 4-1, 3-1
Shane: I’m curious to see what a stable Huntsville team can do, one with a coaching staff in place and recruits who knew they were coming to a program that’s sticking around for a while. It will take coach Mike Corbett some time to get things going, and I also see a Northeastern sweep. Northeastern 5-1, 2-1
No. 11 Minnesota State at No. 14 Providence
Matt: Picked to win the WCHA by the coaches and media, other NCAA tourney hopefuls in the league, like Ferris State, would welcome a Mavericks sweep. That’s tough to do opening weekend on the road. Providence 3-1, MSU 4-3
Shane: The Mavericks swept the Friars in Mankato last season, but Providence was without All-American goalie Jon Gillies. It will be Gillies vs. Stephon Williams, the best goalie from Hockey East vs. the best from the WCHA. They’ll split, with MSU taking the opener and the Friars coming back. MSU 3-1, Providence 2-1
Bemidji State at No. 9 St. Cloud State
Matt: It’s the first series at the Herb Brooks National Hockey Center since it’s grand re-opening this fall. That will be a tough environment for the Beavers to win in. SCSU 4-1, 3-1
Shane: Bemidji’s tough schedule opens in a really tough spot. The Huskies will be raising banners, and the crowd will be into it. The Beavers are going to have trouble scoring goals this season. St. Cloud sweeps. SCSU 3-1, 5-1
Michigan Tech at Minnesota Duluth
Matt: Another matchup between former WCHA rivals, which was dominated by the Bulldogs last season. All the Huskies could manage was a tie. Both of Tech’s losses in Duluth were by a goal, however. UMD 3-2, Tech 4-3
Shane: I think Michigan Tech is a top-three team in the WCHA. The Huskies will stun the Bulldogs in the first game, but Duluth will bounce back for the series split. Tech 5-2, UMD 3-2
Bowling Green State at Union
Matt: With Ryan Carpenter reportedly having surgery on a broken hand today, the Falcons are really going to have to rely on Dan DeSalvo offensively. Union 2-0, BGSU 2-1
Shane: That’s a big blow for Bowling Green off the bat, and Union was an NCAA team last season. Union sweeps a pair of close games. Union 2-1, 2-1
Northern Michigan at No. 3 Wisconsin
Matt: The Badgers have struggled in season-opening series against NMU the last two seasons, losing three of the last four all in Wisconsin (NMU swept UW in Green Bay last year). NMU has won three of its last four games in the Kohl Center dating back to January of 2009. NMU 3-2, UW 5-2
Shane: My first thought was to pick a sweep by the Badgers, the nation’s third-ranked team, but Matt’s pulled up some impressive stats. I’ll flip-flop the split, with Wisconsin winning the series opener and Northern pulling off an upset on Saturday. UW 4-2, NMU 2-1
Ohio State at Bowling Green State
Matt: The only win the Falcons could steal from the Buckeyes last year in their final season together in the CCHA was in a shootout, which doesn’t really count. Both teams meet again Oct. 29 in Columbus. OSU 2-1
Shane: I’ll take a Bowling Green bounce-back here. There will be a hangover for Ohio State’s tumultuous offseason. BGSU 3-1
Ferris State at Mercyhurst
Matt: The Bulldogs and Lakers were once league rivals in everything but hockey in Division II’s Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. The Lakers are participating in the IceBreaker in Minneapolis on Friday and Saturday while the Bulldogs are off. For once, a Bulldogs team will be the well rested ones after a seven hour trip from Big Rapids, Mich. to Erie, Pa. FSU 4-2
Shane: I’ll go with Matt on this one. FSU 4-2