NCHC picks: Jan. 10

Thanks to picking the UNH sweep of Nebraska-Omaha and the Brown win over Colorado College, I now have a three-game lead over Matthew in our picks race. Last week, I went 3-0-1 (.875), moving to 58-37-13 (.597) on the year. A couple more good weekends and I’ll be above .600! Matthew went 1-2-1 (.375) to move to 55-40-13 (.569).

Of course, there’s a lot to go in the season, and it was only a month ago that Matthew had a three-game lead on me, so I better be extra psychic if I want to hold my lead.

Friday-Saturday, Jan. 10-11

No. 2 St. Cloud State at No. 17 Denver
Candace: St. Cloud had an outstanding first half, and this will be a key series for them to get off to a good start in the second half. Denver gets Will Butcher and Quentin Shore back from the World Juniors, and should be better than it was last week against Brown. However, Denver has struggled offensively all year. Both Denver and St. Cloud have outstanding defenses, ranking third and fourth respectively, but St. Cloud has better forwards. St. Cloud State 2-1, 3-1
Matthew: SCSU is the more complete team here, if we’re honest. However, I’m sticking with my prediction that Denver’s in for a big second half of the season, and I think they’ll get something out of this weekend. Only getting a tie last time out against Brown wasn’t so great, but I think the Pioneers will pick up a split here. St. Cloud State 3-1, Denver 2-1

Colorado College at North Dakota
Candace: CC is having one of its worst seasons ever, and the scoring continues to be nonexistent. North Dakota has been streaky at times, and freshman forward Adam Tambellini just left to play for the Calgary Hitman in the WHL. Tambellini only had four points though, so I don’t think North Dakota’s offense will suffer. North Dakota 3-1, 4-2
Matthew: UND ended the first half of the season very well and I think they’ll carry on that form this weekend. CC’s first road win of the season has to come somewhere, but I don’t see it coming in Grand Forks. North Dakota 4-1, 3-1

Minnesota-Duluth at Nebraska-Omaha
Candace: The Bulldogs have been the split team of the season, splitting almost every series. Picking the right night is difficult in this one though. Usually, UMD wins on Saturday, but with UNO missing coach Dean Blais and defenseman Jaycob Megna, I’m thinking it will be the opposite. Minnesota-Duluth 3-2, Nebraska-Omaha 3-2
Matthew: This has “split” written all over it. These are two fairly even teams – and especially Friday with Mavericks coach Dean Blais and defenseman Jaycob Megna still out with suspensions – and I don’t see UNO sweeping the Bulldogs like it did at CenturyLink last season. Minnesota-Duluth 3-2, Nebraska-Omaha 4-2

No. 13 Miami at Western Michigan
Candace: Western Michigan did well in winning the Great Lakes Invitational, but I don’t know if the Broncos can stop the high-flying Miami offense. This will most likely be a split, but I’ll go opposite Matthew and pick Miami to sweep. Miami 3-2, 4-2
Matthew: It feels a bit like going out on a limb, but I’m taking Western Michigan to sweep here. The Broncos looked good in winning the Great Lakes Invitational after Christmas, and Miami has underwhelmed all season so far. Western Michigan 5-3, 3-2