NCHC picks: Jan. 25

Candace and I both went 3-1 Friday, which looks pretty good when you consider we both went 2-3-5 last week.

Now, though, we’ve got two more North Star College Cup games today to call. Yesterday at St. Paul, Minn.’s Xcel Energy Center, Minnesota-Duluth outlasting Minnesota State 5-4 in overtime Friday before top-ranked Minnesota bested No. 5 St. Cloud State 4-1.

In our season-long predictions contest, Candace and I are tied at 67-45-18. It appears, however, that you’ll have to check back next week to see if one of the two of us can finally break our deadlock.

Our predictions for today:

No. 5 St. Cloud State vs. Minnesota State:
Candace: This matchup of former WCHA foes should be interesting. St. Cloud has been struggling of late, and Minnesota State has been improving, but the Mavericks don’t play well away from home. As such, I’ll make a league-homer pick and say that St. Cloud gets back to its winning ways. St. Cloud State 4-3
Matthew: SCSU has lost three of its last four games in regulation and lost a shootout in the other, but as for the Huskies’ 4-1 loss to Minnesota Friday, you have to chalk that up largely to the fact Gophers goaltender Adam Wilcox was wonderful (38 saves) and that Minnesota’s hot and riding an 11-game unbeaten run. Today, though, I think we’ll see the Huskies snap out of their funk ahead of what’s looking like a big series next weekend at Nebraska-Omaha. St. Cloud State 5-3

No. 1 Minnesota vs. Minnesota-Duluth:
Candace: So many intriguing storylines in this first North Star College Cup title game. Start with the fact that the Bulldogs played a two-game set with the Gophers back in November and split, pasting Minnesota with a 6-2 loss, only its second all year. That result makes me think the Gophers will be on guard, especially since they did win the first game of that two-game set, and will claim the title. Minnesota 4-2
Matthew: For a tournament with no history, already I’m really drawn into the final that brings together two teams that have both won a national championship on the ice they’ll be skating on today. As Candace said, UMD did give Minnesota a thumping two months ago in Minneapolis, but for as much as I want to make the homer pick and take the Bulldogs here, I look at their defensive struggles Friday and wonder how they’ll hold up against a Minnesota team that always seems to be good for at least a few goals per game. Minnesota 4-3