NCHC picks: Oct. 25

Thanks to correctly picking the split days in the UNO-Northern Michigan series, as well as calling for a Miami sweep so that I got at least one of the dates for the win correct, I have opened up a three-game lead on Matthew in our series picks race. Last week, I went 5-4-1 (.550), hardly a great percentage, to move to 13-7-4 (.625) after two weeks. Matthew went 2-7-1 (.250) last week, to move to 10-10-4 (.500) on the year.

As always, we pick every NCHC game each week.

Friday-Saturday, Oct. 25-26

Colorado College at Clarkson
Candace: Clarkson sports a 4-1-1 record, but all of its wins are against Atlantic Hockey teams that have struggled to start the year, so it’s tough to know for sure how good the Golden Knights are. However, on home ice, I think Clarkson is good for a split. Clarkson 3-2, Colorado College 3-2
Matthew: The Golden Knights are unbeaten in their last three games and have only lost one of their six games so far this season, all against solid opposition. I think they’ll pick up their second loss of the season this weekend, though, when Colorado College comes to Potsdam, N.Y. That said, adding Clarkson’s good form so far this season to the fact these games being held at Cheel Arena, I think the Golden Knights are good for a split. Clarkson 4-2, Colorado College 3-1

No. 10 St. Cloud State at Colgate
Candace: Colgate has been a little up and down, and St. Cloud, after a bye week, should be raring to go. Call it a sweep. St. Cloud 4-2, 4-1
Matthew: Colgate is at home for these two games, but the Raiders have had an inconsistent start to the season and got pumped 7-0 last time out at Bowling Green. Welcoming into Starr Rink a very good and rested St. Cloud State team is far from what one would call a surefire solution in aid of getting back to winning ways. St. Cloud State 2-0, 3-1

Niagara (Fri.) and Canisius (Sat.) at No. 17 Denver
Candace: After a long trip out to Alaska, Denver returns home, having finally named captains (David Makowski, Josiah Didier and Zac Larraza). To boot, it’s homecoming weekend. I think this weekend is just what Denver needs to settle down, but both games will be closer than expected. Denver 2-1, 3-1
Matthew: I don’t know about you, Candace, but I’m finding it a bit tricky to get a really good read on this Denver team so far this season. I didn’t quite see the Pioneers’ season-opening sweep of Merrimack coming, and I definitely hadn’t envisioned DU losing to both Alaska and Alaska-Anchorage last weekend, even though, in fairness, both losses came in overtime. Now, however, they’re back at home against Niagara and Canisius, teams we’ll remember from last season’s NCAA tournament but clubs that haven’t exactly set the world on fire so far this season. Denver 4-1, Denver 5-1

No. 3 Miami at No. 8 Providence
Candace: I’m not completely sold on Providence yet, and I think Miami is one of the best teams in the country, so I’ll pick a Miami sweep. Miami 2-1, 4-1
Matthew: The RedHawks split at home last weekend in the big NCHC curtain-raising showcase series with North Dakota, and I think Miami will pick up another win and a loss here. I like this Miami team a lot, but flying out east to face a Providence team that tore Minnesota State apart two weeks ago and scored a ridiculous ten goals in its last game is a tall order for any team. Providence 4-2, Miami 3-1

No. 2 Notre Dame at Minnesota-Duluth
Candace: The Bulldogs rebounded nicely in the second game of a season-opening series against Colorado College, winning 5-1, and giving the first signs that their offense might be getting untracked. The Fighting Irish have looked outstanding so far. I’ll call Notre Dame in a sweep of two close games. Notre Dame 3-2, 4-2
Matthew: I’ve really liked how UMD has looked so far this season, but with all due respect to Michigan Tech and Colorado College, the Bulldogs are facing a significantly tougher task this weekend when they welcome second-ranked Notre Dame to town. NCHC commissioner Josh Fenton will be in attendance for those games, and he told me earlier this week Friday’s tilt will mark the first time he’ll have visited the Amsoil, but I’m not sure he’ll come away from the weekend completely happy with the results on the ice. Still, though, as Duluth is at home for this series, I’ll go with a split. Notre Dame 5-3, Minnesota-Duluth 4-2

No. 19 Cornell at Nebraska-Omaha
Candace: The Mavericks have looked very inconsistent to start the year, but have two weekends under their belt. Meanwhile, this is the season opener for Cornell. I’m thinking split. Nebraska-Omaha 4-2, Cornell 4-2
Matthew: UNO has been up-and-down so far this season and is having serious issues staying out of the box, as the Mavericks were called for 21 penalties last weekend at Northern Michigan and have been hit with 34 in total in their first four games. That needs to change this weekend against Cornell ahead of a grueling November slate for UNO: Denver, North Dakota, Michigan and Miami. There’s an easy joke to be made here about how the Big Red stands a good chance of winning in Nebraska this weekend, but I do think Cornell will pick up one ‘W’ this weekend. Cornell 4-2, Nebraska-Omaha 3-1