NCHC picks: Nov. 1

Well, because I picked a Miami sweep and a Notre Dame sweep, Matthew gained two games back on me. Last week, I went 6-5-1 (.541) to move to 19-12-5 (.597) on the year, while Matthew went 8-3-1 (.708) to move to 18-13-5 (.569) on the year.

As always, we pick all the NCHC games each week.

Friday-Saturday, Nov. 1-2

No. 20 Minnesota-Duluth at Ohio State
Candace: Duluth has been playing splitsville of late. It’s a road series, but I’ll guess that Scott Sandelin has his team motivated and using this as a springboard to a series in Grand Forks. Plus, Ohio State hasn’t faced a defense as good as Duluth’s. Minnesota-Duluth 3-2, 3-1
Matthew: Having won its last three games, Ohio State looks considerably less vulnerable now than it did nearer the start of October when it stumbled out of the gate with an 0-3-0 start. Minnesota-Duluth will be feeling good after knocking off second-ranked Notre Dame at home last Saturday, but we’ve yet to see the Bulldogs sweep an opponent this series, and I don’t see that first one coming in Columbus. Minnesota-Duluth 4-2, Ohio State 5-2

Canisius at No. 6 Miami
Candace: Canisius surprised me by beating Denver so convincingly last week, but I think the RedHawks are a different kettle of fish. Miami 4-1, 4-2
Matthew: The Golden Griffins of Canisius had a difficult October slate of games to navigate. They came out on the other side looking pretty good though, after holding their own at Niagara and Air Force and winning convincingly last time out at Denver. This week, they’re on the road again to face a Miami team that’s maybe the Griffs’ toughest opponent on their entire schedule. The RedHawks struggled last weekend on the road against a very good Providence team, but I think they’ll get back to winning ways this weekend at home. Miami 4-1, 3-1

Colorado College at Western Michigan
Candace: Both teams have trouble with offense, so this could be quite the defensive battle. Josh Thorimbert of CC got no help last weekend, and the Tigers still almost pulled the game out Saturday. I’m thinking split. Western Michigan 2-1, Colorado College 2-1
Matthew: I’m excited to see what Western might be able to do this weekend as it finally gets its NCHC home opener against a Colorado College team that has started the season 1-3-0 and struggled to earn scoring opportunities last weekend at Clarkson. The Broncos haven’t exactly set the world on fire, either, but they’re rested after a week off and looked better last time out at Alaska’s tournament. What’s more, what should be a great atmosphere at Lawson Arena this weekend could make life difficult for a CC team that has scored two goals in its last three games. Western Michigan 3-1, 2-0

No. 9 St. Cloud State at No. 5 North Dakota
Candace: Dang, I wish I could be in Grand Forks this weekend. This should be an amazing series. I’m sure it will be a split, but it’s hard to guess which day the wins will fall. North Dakota has done well on Fridays, so let’s just go with that one. North Dakota 3-2, St. Cloud 3-2
Matthew: It’s fair to say this is certainly the most anticipated NCHC series of the weekend and maybe even in all of Division I. St. Cloud State has the better record so far, but North Dakota has had the tougher schedule and came out of October 2-1-1. What concerns me a little with North Dakota is that it’s yet to put together a really solid weekend, having tied a game against Vermont North Dakota probably should’ve won and then getting worked in its second game at Miami a couple weeks ago. Those two games both fell on Saturdays, so I’m going to follow form and pick a split here with the Huskies winning the rematch. North Dakota 4-2, St. Cloud State 3-2

Nebraska-Omaha at Denver
Candace: New coach, new systems, and it seems the Pioneers are struggling with consistency. Then again, Nebraska-Omaha hasn’t lit the world on fire either. Split seems most likely. Denver 3-2, Nebraska-Omaha 3-2
Matthew: I’m still sort of two minds about this series. It’s been a long time since the Pioneers last looked as vulnerable as they have so far this season, but they’re welcoming to Denver a Nebraska-Omaha team that has somehow still never won in the Colorado capital (0-8-2 all-time). UNO needs at least one win this weekend before it ends the month with games against North Dakota, Michigan and Miami, but the Mavericks are averaging 20:30 in penalties per night so far this season and DU has converted on 25.7 percent of its power play opportunities so far this season. Picking a split seems the most sensible choice, especially as a sweep for one team here could really damage the other. Denver 3-2, Nebraska-Omaha 3-1