WCHA picks, Oct. 17-18

It’s the second full week of the season, and Jack and I are wondering how to pick better. Each of us correctly called some splits last week but picked the wrong teams on the wrong nights. Based on the Frederick-Wellens rules of last year, those go down as losses on our records. So it goes. But as a result, we both went 9-5-0. As always, and just like the teams we cover, we’ll try to do better this week. Here goes …

Bowling Green at Alabama Huntsville

Shane: Let’s start with the lone league series. The Falcons are coming off a solid nonconference split against Miami, and the Chargers played two close games at Colorado College last week. One of UAH’s two wins last season came at Bowling Green, and no one in the league wants to leave points on the table against Huntsville. Still, I have a feeling the Chargers are improved and just might steal some from a good Falcons team during their home opener. Chargers 3-1, Falcons 5-1

Jack: I’m really tempted just to go ahead and call this a Chargers sweep. Huntsville’s scorelines from last weekend make me think maybe they’ve turned a corner, but the Chargers are still giving up way too many shots and don’t seem to be generating enough offense to win consistently (yet). I’ll agree with you and say they win their home opener but lost the finale. Chargers 5-3, Falcons 4-0.

Ferris State at St. Lawrence

Shane: The fourth-ranked Bulldogs scheduled smartly. No real chance of a hangover after the Michigan win, as they played an exhibition game last week. Now they go on a road trip to Canton, N.Y., and will face a team that put up 10 goals on 30 shots Saturday at Niagara. No way C.J. Motte lets that happen to his team. Bulldogs 3-2, 4-2

Jack: I still find it strange that St. Lawrence, of all teams, was the only squad to beat Ferris in Big Rapids last season. I have a feeling the Bulldogs will return the favor twice, with ease, this weekend in Canton. Bulldogs 5-2, 6-3

Lake Superior State at Notre Dame

Shane: Remember this time last year when the Lakers were red hot to start the year? Not the case this time around, as first-year coach Damon Whitten’s team is 0-4-0. I’ll bet he’d like a week off to get down to some fundamental work with his team. He’ll have to wait a couple of weeks for that. Meantime, the Lakers go to Notre Dame, which is also looking for its first win. The Irish will get two Irish 4-1, 3-2

Jack: The Lakers are going to be the first WCHA team to play on national television this weekend with their trip to South Bend. I don’t really think that’s significant, but the ND football team is playing Florida State in a huge game on Saturday so it would be just Lake State’s luck that they pull off an upset in the game nobody is going to be watching.  Irish 4-1, Lakers 4-3

Northern Michigan vs. Wisconsin (in Green Bay, Wis.)

Shane: The Wildcats finally take the ice, meeting the Badgers halfway between Marquette and Madison. I like this arrangement and hope they can get a good crowd at the Resch Center. It will be interesting to see how the players’ legs are this weekend. NMU hasn’t even played an exhibition, and Wisconsin is coming off a trip to Anchorage. Badgers 3-2, Wildcats 2-1

Jack: I’m picking an NMU sweep here, mostly to make it interesting but also because I think they have a real opportunity to come out and pounce on the Badgers, who are already in sore shape after two losses and an Alaska trip. Wildcats 2-1, 3-2

Minnesota State vs. Minnesota Duluth (home and home)

Shane: The Mavericks and Bulldogs will play Friday in Duluth and Saturday in Mankato. Those towns aren’t exactly close together. Minnesota State, ranked 12th, had its ups and downs in its split at Nebraska Omaha last weekend, but most importantly, it finished strong. MSU will be raising its Broadmoor Trophy championship banner on Saturday, its home-opener, a ceremony that’s never taken place at the Verizon Wireless Center. Mavericks 3-2, 4-2

Jack: A four-hour trip is really stretching the limits of these home-and-homes, isn’t it? Anyway, I’ll go with a Mavericks sweep simply because I’m not convinced the Bulldogs are for real (although enough people were to rank them No. 20 this week despite a loss and a win). Mavericks 4-2, 5-2

Alaska Anchorage vs. Penn State, Air Force (Alaska Goal Rush)

Shane: Getting a little extra practice time for being an Alaska school and getting the first four games in Alaska is a nice advantage for the Seawolves (and the Nanooks, see below) to start the season. They’ll head up to Fairbanks with an air of confidence and expectation after last weekend and last season. There might be a hiccup, but it will still be a good start. Seawolves 5, Nittany Lions 2; Falcons 2, Seawolves 1

Jack: I had the same thoughts as Shane, although I’m going to reverse the order and say Penn State wins Friday. Nittany Lions 4, Seawolves 1; Seawolves 3, Falcons 2

Alaska vs. Air Force, Penn State (Alaska Goal Rush)

Shane: Same thoughts about the start of the season for the Nanooks, who will be at home this weekend following their two wins in Anchorage a week ago. Travel does get tough after this, as both Alaska teams hit the road next week. Alaska has to feel good about its start, especially when it had to see who could step up following some big offseason losses. Nanooks 3, Falcons 1; Nanooks 4, Nittany Lions 1

Jack: Both Alaska schools look like WCHA contenders this season, although I think most would agree that the Nanooks have the deeper team (having Tyler Morley and Colton Paryako ain’t nothin’). I think the Nanooks start out 4-0 in their home state but I’m going to be really interested to see how they do when they leave Alaska the next two weeks. Nanooks 4, Falcons 4; Nanooks 4, Nittany Lions 3

Last week: Shane 9-5-0, Jack 9-5-0

Overall: Shane 11-6-0, Jack 10-7-0