WCHA picks: Jan. 17-18

Six WCHA teams are involved in conference play this week while Bemidji State and Lake Superior State play nonconference series. Michigan Tech and Bowling Green both are on the bye. Here are the picks.

Alaska at Northern Michigan

Shane: The fun thing about the WCHA this year is that there’s not just a race for home ice but there’s a race for the final playoff spot(s) and trying to avoid being ninth or 10th. These two teams seem too talented to miss the postseason, so it should be a battle this weekend in Marquette. Nanooks 3-2, Wildcats 4-1

Matt: Fairbanks Daily-News Miner reporter had a few interesting stats at NewsMiner.com this week about the Nanooks’ lack of success in Marquette. Alaska hasn’t won at NMU since Feb. 5, 2005 and have only picked up five points in 12 games at the Berry Events Center. All time, Alaska is just 1-16-7 at NMU. Wildcats 2-1, 3-2

Alaska-Anchorage at Alabama-Huntsville

Shane: The Seawolves are on a roll right now, thanks to the renaissance of goalie Chris Kamal. I don’t have the guts to pick the Chargers’ second win of the season, but I think one of these games, probably Saturday, could be very, very close. Seawolves 3-1, 2-1

Matt: The Seawolves are on a roll, but not on the road, where they are 1-6-1 this year overall and 0-5-1 in WCHA play. Chargers are going to get their second win this season and first at home. Chargers 2-1, Seawolves 3-0

Ferris State at Minnesota State

Shane: When the league schedule came out last summer, this series was the first non-rivalry matchup circled on a lot of calendars. These were the WCHA’s top two teams as picked by the coaches and the media. Ferris State hasn’t lost in league play yet, and Minnesota State is looking to bounce back from a disappointing trip to Alaska. Bulldogs 3-2, Mavericks 3-1

Matt: The Bulldogs are six points up on the Mavericks and have two games still in hand. Three or more points for the Mavericks gets them right back into contention for a WCHA regular season title, while three or more points for Ferris puts the MacNaughton Cup practically in Big Rapids. Until FSU loses in WCHA play, I can’t pick against them, even in Mankato. Bulldogs 3-2, 4-3

Bemidji State vs./at North Dakota

Shane: The Beavers had a huge sweep last weekend at Lake Superior and return home to play a big nonconference series. The Sanford Center should be rocking Friday before the series goes west to Grand Forks. North Dakota is playing better but it’s not the mighty UND we’re used to. Beavers 3-2, UND 4-2

Matt: NoDak may not have been as mighty as some are used to in October and November, but has since shown some life, not counting exhibition games played outside the U.S. against Canadian teams. Beavers hang tough, but get swept. UND 3-2, 4-1

Lake Superior at Notre Dame

Shane: What happened to the Lakers after that great start to the season? They might be in trouble with a tough remaining schedule that includes 10 of their final 14 games on the road. It starts with this nonconference series in South Bend. Irish 4-1, 3-2

Matt: The Lakers, facing former coach Jeff Jackson this weekend, are 4-1-1 in nonconference games this season having swept Robert Morris and Union while losing and tying at Wisconsin. This is the league’s last chance to get a win against Hockey East. So far, the WCHA is 0-10-0. Irish 3-1, 2-0.

Last week: Shane 5-4-1, Matt 6-3-1. Overall: Shane 93-39-18, Matt 86-46-18