Pickin’ the Big Ten: Oct. 17-18

Five Big Ten teams are in action this week. First, let’s see how Drew Claussen and I did picking last weekend.

Last week
Drew: 3-4-1 (.437)
Paula: 2-5-1 (.313)

Season
Drew: 4-4-1 (.500)
Paula: 3-5-1 (.368)

So there’s that. At least I called the split in Columbus … with the Buckeyes winning in nights opposite of my picks.

This week

There are old rivalries, visits with old friends and action in the Big Ten/Hockey East Challenge. Everyone but Minnesota plays.

Massachusetts at Michigan State

Drew: Michigan State struggled last year, but didn’t UMass struggle last year. The Minutemen only managed four conference victories and were only able to tack on four more nonconference wins en route to an 8-22-4 overall record. I still predict that the Spartans are going to be the fifth-place team in the Big Ten this year, but starting the season off with a sweep would be a good start in their quest to prove me wrong.

Paula: The Minutemen dropped their opening game of the season Oct. 10 to Boston University, 8-1. UMass swept Michigan State last season (Oct. 18-19, 2013) in Amherst, 3-1 and 5-2. Both games in this weekend’s series begin at 7:00 p.m. in Munn Arena. These are not televised.

Drew’s picks: Michigan State wins 4-2 and ties 3-3.
Paula’s picks: Michigan State 3-2, 3-2.

Miami vs. Ohio State

Drew: I loved Ohio State’s play last weekend. It was similar to last season where the Buckeyes played good teams closely with the exception this time being that they found a way to put one a win column. Miami dominated the games these two played last year, so Steve Rohlik won’t have to dig too deep for bulletin board material. Miami split a pair of 3-2 games against Bowling Green last weekend and I could see the same thing happening this weekend, but I’m getting bold with this pick.

Paula: This is one of the best little-known rivalries in college hockey. These two teams — 120 miles apart — have a healthy dislike for each other. Miami leads this series 71-62-13 and the RedHawks have taken the last three games between the clubs. It’s not unusual for these teams to split these home-and-home series by winning in each other’s barns. Friday’s game begins at 7:00 p.m. at the Schott in Columbus, Saturdays at 7:00 p.m. in Steve Cady Arena in Oxford. Neither is televised.

Drew’s picks: Ohio State sweeps 3-2, 4-1.
Paula’s picks: Ohio State 3-2, Miami 3-2.

New Hampshire at Michigan

Drew: Two long-term bench bosses go at it in this weekend series at Yost. Michigan’s Red Berenson has been with the Wolverines since 1984-85, and New Hampshire’s Dick Umile has been the head man for the Wildcats since 1990-91. These two teams played to the tune of a 1-1 draw and a 3-2 Michigan victory last year, and I think it’d be fair to expect two close games again. With their last game taking place while the rest of the teams were playing exhibition games, it’s easy to forget that the Wolverines are 0-1. Michigan will obviously be looking for a better start than the one it had against Ferris State and I think playing in front of the hometown faithful will help the cause.

Paula: New Hampshire also enters the weekend 0-1, having lost to Union 3-1 Oct. 11. Michigan is 6-2-3 against the Wildcats and 2-0-3 in the last five games against UNH. Both games begin at 7:30 p.m. in Yost Ice Arena. Friday’s game is being carried by Comcast.

Drew’s picks: Michigan sweep 3-2, 3-2.
Paula’s picks: Michigan 4-2, UNH 3-2.

Penn State vs. Alaska-Anchorage and at Alaska

Drew: After last weekend, the Nanooks and Seawolves have to be licking their chops when they think about this weekend’s games against Penn State. The Nittany Lions were able to light the lamp repeatedly last weekend, but I’m not ready to put any stock into a blowout win and tie against Connecticut. If Penn State puts up another strong performance this weekend, we’ll talk about my stock options.

Paula: This is the seventh annual Brice Alaska Goal Rush, which features Air Force in addition to PSU, Alaska, and Alaska-Anchorage. All games are played at the Carlson Center in Fairbanks. The Nittany Lions face a pair of undefeated opponents in this event. Alaska-Anchorage and Alaska each beat Maine and Wisconsin last weekend in the Kendall Hockey Classic, with the Nanooks prevailing as the tournament champions because of a tiebreaker (which I originally thought to be goal differential, but I admit confusion about the outcome because of the final scores). This is also a homecoming of sorts for PSU coach Guy Gadowsky. Gadowsky, the former Nanooks head coach, was in Fairbanks for a day in September to be inducted into the Alaska Nanooks’ Hall of Fame, but Gadowsky told me this week he’s looking forward to spending a little more time in Fairbanks this trip to reconnect with old friends. This is the first time the Nittany Lions will face the Seawolves and Nanooks. Friday’s game begins at 5:00 p.m. locally with Saturday’s contest starting at 7:00 p.m. These games are not televised.

Drew’s picks: Anchorage 4-2, Fairbanks 3-1.
Paula’s picks: I’m not picking against the Nittany Lions until they lose. PSU 2-1, 3-2.

Wisconsin vs. Northern Michigan

Drew: The two factors I’m most intrigued about in this series have little to do with the teams on the ice and more to do with the fans supporting them. It’ll be interesting to see (1) how many fans attend these games in The City That Mustn’t Be Named (Boo, Packers!), and (2) which team gets the bigger cheers. According to Google Maps, it’s a two-hour, 21-minute drive (140 miles) from the Kohl Center to the Resch Center. The trek from the Berry Events Center to the Resch is three hours and 18 minutes (179 miles). I suppose I should say a thing or two about the actual game before I wrap things up, so … Wisconsin needs a sweep after last weekend and Northern Michigan hasn’t played a game yet, but was a disappointing 15-21-2 last year.

Note: I know the Vikings are terrible and have been for many years with the exception of the one season they started a former Packer at QB, so there’s no need to respond to the Packers jab. All in good fun. Paula’s team should have a field day against Minnesota on Sunday.

Paula: The Badgers opened last season with a home sweep of the Wildcats, 5-2 and 2-1 (Oct. 11-12, 2013), and it’s the fourth consecutive year that Northern Michigan has opened its season against Wisconsin. The teams are an even 3-3-0 for those series. The Badgers are 3-2-1 at the Resch Center, with a 1-2-1 record at the Resch Center against the Wildcats. UW leads this all-time series 46-27-6. These games are not televised.

Drew’s picks: Wisconsin gets back on track with a hard-fought 3-2, 3-1 sweep.

Paula’s picks: Good people of Wisconsin, you should know that I harbor no hatred of the Green Bay Packers. Good people of Minnesota, I likewise wish you no ill will, but I am hoping that I am happier than you are, collectively, after the Vikings spend Sunday afternoon in Orchard Park, N.Y. As for this series, neither the Badgers nor the Wildcats plays well on the road, but I’m thinking Wisconsin prevails as well. Badgers 4-2, 3-2.

50 COMMENTS

  1. I don’t think ND has anything to play for here, way from home, in what will probably be a blase’ environment. I would not be shocked at all for MT to come of this weekend with at at least a point. Trap games.

  2. UNO leads the nation in shutouts (6) and their goaltending is “average”?

    Plus, Faulkner has taken a shutout into the 3rd period of 12 games (more than 1/3 of UNO’s entire schedule), and UNO’s goaltending is “average”?

    Right.

    How about, if we had better defensemen and took a few less penalties we’d have the best goaltending in the NCAA? That sounds a lot more like it to me.

    If Faulkner isn’t the WCHA goaltender of the year, there’s something really wrong here.

    • Faulkner won’t be goaltender of the year because sorry but the WCHA doesn’t have that award. We have a “goaltending champion” which goes to the goalie with the best goals against average in league play, and it’s looking like that will be Aaron Dell. So sorry. Faulkner will have to settle for *maybe* one of the all-wcha awards.

    • As a UNO fan, I almost made the same post. But his GAA is 2.50 and save percentage is 91.1. Those are fair numbers but there are 6 other WCHA goalies ahead of him in the same categories and having a similar amount of games. So that’s middle of the pack and does not equate to goaltender of the year. Don’t get me wrong, he can steal games. I’ve seen it numerous times this year. And if he gets on a roll, UNO has a good chance to do some damage.

  3. Why is it that all season long they don’t give tech a chance in heck to win anything, but all of a sudden they are predicting a win against the Sioux in one of the upcoming two weekends? I understand they beat us two years ago in the Ralph, but I firmly believe that this year the Sioux are better than they were two years ago, and at the same time I think Tech is worse than two years ago. True, upsets can always happen, but I think the Sioux are just too deep of a team and playing too well this time of year for that to happen. Long story short, I’m wondering why they picked a team that is #1 in every poll and #2 in the pairwise to be one of the few teams to drop one against Tech?

  4. i think that pairwise crap is bullshit…maine doesnt loose at all this weekend,, bu cc,rpi all loose at least 1 game..and maine drops in pairwise..yeah it was umass but at their home..

      • Skoff was outstanding in net for PSU last weekend. I mean “seeing the puck like it was a beachball” outstanding. Anything is possible if he keeps playing at that level and his defense continues making smart plays.

        • Agreed, anything is possible. Playing at home at Pegula and traveling over 3000 miles to play in Alaska, those are way different animals. Very few teams make that trip and come out with two wins.

          • He will do better as the team plays better in front of him. He was good at times last year and not so good at times. His opponents will be stronger this weekend so it will be a good test. As for best kept secret, with the likes of Wilcox, Rumple, Hildebrandt and Naglevoort in the the B1G how could he do anything *other* than fly under the radar?

          • True, the B1G is loaded in net. Skoff is totally under the radar, which should prove interesting when we get into league play. I agree that this weekend will be a good test not only for Skoff but for the PSU team.

        • I don’t believe you can even call it thinking. She had no problem picking the Gophs to lose last year. Didn’t turn out so well for her.

          • Agreed! If memory serves me correctly on three different occasions she said she wasn’t going to pick against the Gophers until they lost and then when they didn’t lose, she picked against them. Kinda makes you wonder.

    • Decatur, I believe that the ship is turned, Minn is loaded, those boys had to of made pact to stay. Other than that MSU plays with anybody in the B1G. No one likes a Hater, Decatur…

      • Noke, I’m not believing that “Ship has turned” stuff. Not yet. Playing with, and beating them are two very different things. We’ll see if MSU knows the difference. But for now…..not buying it.

  5. Big day today in North Dekota. Today is Hitler’s anniversary of when he became Chancellor. For a North Dekota fan, today must be like Cinco de Mayo in Mexico.

    • Pretty sure that isn’t a holiday in ND. I spent many years there and never once knew it was on this day that he came to power. You have to stop with this kind of garbage. This site is about hockey, your statement isn’t. Try again and be better next time.

      • Coach H…, Wisco (and her other 6 pseudonyms) is just trying to get under our collective skin. At least this time she got the geography correct as she has alleged UND is in SD.

        Hint: The “N” in UND is “North”…

    • Blais coached Minot High when I played for the Jays. The guy can coach and is a a great guy away from the rink. With that said Go Sioux!!!!!

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