NCHC picks: March 21

Well, neither Matthew nor I had much luck picking the games last weekend, what with all the upsets and all. We went 4-5 (.444) on the weekend, and I only correctly picked one series (North Dakota), while Matthew picked Western Michigan to win its series, so he was correct on two, but neither of us picked the correct number of games. On the year, I have a five-game lead on Matthew, going 96-71-22 (.566), while Matthew is 91-76-22 (.539)

Let’s see how we can do this weekend.

Friday, March 21

Miami vs. North Dakota
Candace: In this league of upsets, very little would surprise me, but I think now that North Dakota has gotten to the semifinals, they go all the way. North Dakota 3-2
Matthew: I had thought Miami could steal a game last weekend at St. Cloud State in the first round of the NCHC playoffs, but I’m not sure how anyone could have predicted the sweep Miami pulled off on the Huskies’ home ice. Momentum’s definitely on Miami’s side going into this semifinal against North Dakota, but UND’s a much deeper team than Miami, and I think UND will exploit the RedHawks’ defensive frailty, which feels like just about the only thing Miami didn’t fix last weekend. North Dakota 4-2

Denver vs. Western Michigan
Candace: Back in February when I interviewed Broncos coach Andy Murray, he talked about his team’s prowess in neutral site games and how they would be in great shape if they could make the Frozen Faceoff and NCAA tournament. Both Denver and Western Michigan looked good last weekend in winning their series. Denver won the season series between these teams, in part because Sam Brittain shut down Western’s top scorers. I’m not sure if Denver can do that again. Western Michigan 3-2
Matthew: The fact that this game pits a Denver team with great goaltending but not so great scoring prowess against a Western Michigan team that knows where the net is but hasn’t gotten incredible goaltending makes me think this is going to be a really low-scoring game. I think the Broncos will edge this one, if only because Western has been great in neutral-site games this season (4-0-1) and I have a feeling the Broncos will be less affected by the occasion than Denver will. Western Michigan 2-1