WCHA picks: Oct. 10-11

The first full week of games is finally here! And seeing as how this is my first official blog post on USCHO I’m a bit nervous that Shane is going to humiliate me in this year’s pick ’em standings.

I’m bad at predicting things, which is why I don’t gamble. Luckily for me, we’re not betting money in these pick ’ems, just pride.

Seven of the 10 WCHA teams are in action this weekend, and many of them feature teams facing off against their former WCHA or CCHA foes.

Anyway, enough chit-chat. Here are our picks.

Kendall Hockey Classic at Sullivan Arena in Anchorage

Friday

No. 10 Wisconsin (0-0-0) vs. Alaska (0-0-0)

Jack: The Badgers are a Big Ten contender this year, while the Nanooks are hoping to build on a promising 2013-14. They have some scorers back, but the Badgers counter with Hobey Baker finalist Joel Rumpel. I’ll take Wisconsin in a close one. Wisconsin 4-3

Shane: Alaska is an interesting team to me. The Nanooks graduated a lot of talent but have a pretty solid roster remaining. This is a tough trip for anyone to start the season, even for what appears to be a good Wisconsin team. I think the extra practice time will favor Alaska, 3-2.

Maine (0-0-0) vs. Alaska-Anchorage (0-0-0)

Jack: The Seawolves are undefeated in their past 13 home openers. That’s hardly a surprise: The Seawolves almost always open at home for the Kendall Classic and it makes sense that their opponents are rusty and playing on travel legs for their season openers. I’ll go with the Seawolves here to keep their streak alive despite Maine’s possible rebound season this year. Alaska-Anchorage 3-1

Shane: A big key to the Seawolves’ turnaround last season was their play at home, and it all started right away with the Kendall. As the home team, they’ll be more comfortable to start off the season, especially against a team flying in from all the way across the continent. Anchorage 4-3

Saturday

Maine vs. Alaska

Jack: This one seems like a wash, but I’ll take the Nanooks in their home state. Alaska 4-2

Shane: I’m with you on this one Jack. Nanooks win 3-2

No. 10 Wisconsin vs. Alaska-Anchorage

Jack: The former WCHA foes meet again in the final game of the Kendall Classic this weekend. The Seawolves actually stole two points from the Badgers in Madison in January, so they can skate with them. These openers are so unpredictable, but I’ll go with the Badgers this time around. Wisconsin 3-1

Shane: Wisconsin will bounce back from the Alaska loss and win a good game against the Seawolves, who do have things to figure out in goal to start the season. Badgers 5-4.

Bemidji State (0-0-0) vs.No. 2 North Dakota (0-0-0)

Jack: The Beavers travel just down the road to UND Friday to open up Ralph Engelstad before returning to Bemidji to host BSU’s home opener in the Sanford Center. The Beavers don’t historically have much success against UND no matter the venue (UND is 18-1-2 all time in Grand Forks and 8-1-1 all time in Bemidji). However, I think BSU can steal a low-scoring win Saturday night, given it will be their home opener. UND 4-1 Friday, BSU 2-1 Saturday

Shane: I’ll say this about Tom Serratore: He’s not afraid of the tough schedule. North Dakota, Minnesota, then Alaska and Minnesota State to kick off the conference schedule. I appreciate that these teams continue to play each other, but this is a tough task for the Beavers right out of the gate, even if one game is at home. North Dakota sweeps, 4-1, 3-2

Bowling Green (0-0-0) vs. No. 11 Miami (0-0-0)

Jack: Another home and home, this time between two former instate CCHA rivals. People are very high on Miami right now despite the fact that they weren’t able to live up to their lofty expectations a year ago. The Falcons, meanwhile, are something of a sleeper pick in the WCHA. I think BGSU can earn one at home in Bowling Green. It remains to be seen if they can do it in Oxford. I’ll go with the split. BGSU 4-2 Friday, Miami 3-2 Saturday

Shane: I’m with you on this one, Jack. Miami might have a “fool me once …” vibe this season, and I agree on Bowling Green. Not sure if there’s high-end talent there, but the Falcons have depth and experience. I think each team wins at home, too. BGSU 3-1, Miami 4-3

Alabama-Huntsville (0-0-0) at Colorado College (0-0-0)

Jack: Year two of Huntsville’s rebuilding project begins today in Colorado Springs. I don’t think the Chargers will struggle nearly as much as they did last season, but I’m not sure they will be able to beat the Tigers on the road in the season opener. The games won’t be as out of hand for UAH as they were last year but I still see a CC sweep. Tigers 3-1, 2-1

Shane: If the Chargers were at home this weekend, I might be courageous enough to pick a win, but they’re on the road. Coloado College is also in rebuilding mode, hiring a new coach in the offseason, but the cupboard isn’t and shouldn’t be bare in the Springs. It will be close, CC sweeps 3-2, 3-2

Lake Superior State (0-2-0) at Robert Morris (0-0-0)

Jack: The Lakers were swept at home against Upper Peninsula rivals Michigan Tech. It’s unclear if Damon Whitten has decided on a true No. 1 goaltender, but Gordon Defiel started both games for LSSU last weekend and gave up eight goals. I’ll pick the Colonials for the sweep simply due to the unknowns for the Lakers that remain. RMU 5-2, 3-1

Shane: Have you looked at the Lakers’ schedule to start the season? Yikes! Hardly seems fair for a new coach. After this, Whitten’s team goes to Notre Dame, host Northern Michigan, then travels to Anchorage and Huntsville. This might be as good a weekend as any to get an early season win. RMU 4-1, LSSU 4-3

No. 13 Minnesota State (0-0-0) at Omaha (0-0-0)

Jack: Normally I don’t put too much stock into exhibition games, but Omaha lost theirs this weekend against Alberta Institute of Technology and Dean Blais was mad. You can’t take too much from the loss but if the red Mavericks are not 100% against the purple Mavericks, it could get ugly. I’ll pick the purple sweep. MSU 4-1, 2-1

Shane: I agree, Jack, you can’t tell much from those exhibition games, whether a team loses 4-0 or wins 12-1 as Minnesota State did against Trinity Western. Minnesota State is bound and determined not to get off to a poor start as they did last year. After what happened opening weekend in Providence last year, a road split wouldn’t be bad for the purple Mavs. I think that’s what will happen. MSU 4-2, UNO 3-2

Last week: Shane 2-1-0, Jack 1-2-0. Overall: Shane 2-1-0, Jack 1-2-0

47 COMMENTS

  1. Here’s my little prediction. Somebody that otherwise would not be in wins the NCHC tournament and bull rushes their way into the dance. 6 teams have legitimate shots at wining that conference tournament, IMHO.

    • The bracket buster to worry about is a team other than Ferris State winning the WCHA. They are unlikely to get 2 teams into the top 15 pairwise, and Ferris State will get a bid if they lose their tournament. This scenario will bump the 15th team Pairwise. With the NCHC, if NoDak or DU wins the tournament, they probably knock out Duluth. Tougher to see 3 teams from the NCHC

      • I’d have to say this is more accurate. I’m a Ferris grad and will always support the Dawgs, but this scenerio is far more likely. I wouldn’t count them out, as they have been dominant in the WCHA this year, but anything can happen in the playoffs. Just look at BGSU in the old CCHA playoffs knocking out the likes of Ferris, Western and Michigan at times.

  2. Can you spread the 4 ECAC teams across all four regions so that we can have an all ECAC Final 4, the way the hockey gods always intented it should be !!!! :)

    • We had that with the WCHA back in 2005. Ever since, they only put teams from the same conference in three regionals. Besides, the ECAC has nothing on the B1G.

    • The top three first round match ups are hockey east vs ecac teams, I don’t see the ecac winning any of them. But they’ll be fun games to watch. I really like the PC v Union storyline. Gillies doesn’t look the same since the world jrs but he should right the ship soon.

  3. Farley proceeded to fall over after being tied up by rau and lay motionless for 5 minutes. He then got up and scored on his first shift of a 5 minute power play that he created through his theatrics.

  4. Your “Interesting…” section is all messed up. Wisconsin and Minnesota aren’t in the same regional, and Michigan isn’t in Ohio. Not sure what you’re talking about there, but it’s certainly interesting….

  5. One slight nit pick. In terms of rankings, it seems the Midwest is a little soft (36 places in seedings) while the Northeast (32) is a little strong after the St Cloud / Lowell swap. Is Michigan such a draw in Cincinnati that a Cornell / Michigan swap would not make sense? Cornell travels well, and that kind of equalizes the strength of each regional at 34. It weakens Worcester, but with both UML and BC there, you have a draw for each 1st round game and odds are at least one of the high seeds advances.

    Really like 3 of the regions for keeping locals close

    • Your not going to have to worry about Michigan, they are going to drop out of the top 16. They have 3 more games against Minnesota and the pressure is going to build on there freshman goalie

  6. You don’t need to worry about attendance in St. Paul with Wisconsin and Minnesota, so send Minnesota Duluth elsewhere so you protect from a #13 seed in state rival.

    • Are you stupid? UMD draws 10x better than Wisconsin does. Need proof? Check out the replay of the 2011 NCAA Championship game…Where was that game? OHHH St.Paul 150 miles down the road. Jesus christ.

  7. 218hockey seems like a real hater. Dude needs to relax. Gophers facing a scary pod if UMD and Wisconsin are in it. Those 3 schools always play each other tough, no matter the rankings or location. And as much as I like Vermont, I’d love to see them drop out and be replaced by North Dakota. Imagine that group!! Minnesota-Wisconsin-UMD-North Dakota. I can dream.

  8. If a conference has 5 or more teams in the tournament, inter-conference matchups do not need to automatically be switched. Therefore I would keep the Northeastern-Lowell matchup in the Northeast region, shift North Dakota to St. Paul to play Wisconsin, and move Michigan to the Midwest.

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