Two weeks left. Four games to go in the regular season.
No team has clinched anything but home ice. No team has been eliminated from contention.
Welcome to the WCHA.
This weekend all 10 teams are in action with plenty on the line — the MacNaughton Cup, the final home ice slot, the final playoff spot.
You name it, it’s on the line.
Anyway, it’s 1 a.m. CST and I’m just not getting around to posting my picks so I won’t spend too much more time here. The point is: it’s going to be a fun weekend for WCHA teams. Here’s the picks.
Michigan Tech at Minnesota State
Shane: Looking forward to seeing this in person with two of the nation’s top three teams squaring off in front of a couple of big crowds in Mankato. The Mavericks, with a sweep, can win the MacNaughton Cup, something the Huskies denied them last year by forcing a tie on the last day of the season. Tech hasn’t been swept since MSU beat them twice in Houghton last November. Nothing will surprise me this weekend, but I’ll say (release the hounds) … Mavericks 4-2, 3-2
Shane: I think this will be really fun to watch, Shane. HOWEVER… I have a sinking feeling that this year’s MacNaughton Cup race is going to come down to the final weekend once again. I think Tech earns the split and keeps themselves alive for a while final weekend (because of course that’s going to happen). Huskies 3-1, Mavericks 4-2
Bemidji State at Ferris State
Shane: The second-best series of the weekend pits two teams fighting for a home-ice spot. I really like the way the Beavers have been playing, but this is a tough matchup, especially with superstar goaltender C.J. Motte possibly playing his final home game (unless the Bulldogs can move up) on Saturday night. Beavers 3-1, Bulldogs 1-0
Jack: I’d like to cede my time to Geof Morris of UAHHockey.com, who wrote a very helpful explainer for all of the possible scenarios that could happen if the Beavers, Bulldogs and Wildcats finish tied. It’s worth your time to read just because the three-way tiebreaker and all the scenarios can make one’s head spin if you’re an English major/liberal arts type like me (it’s nice having two engineering schools in the WCHA now to do all this “math” stuff for us). Anyway, long story short is the Beavers can eliminate Ferris from home ice with a sweep. I don’t think that will happen despite how well BSU has been playing. I’ll call the split as well Shane. Beavers 3-2, Bulldogs 2-1.
Lake Superior State at Northern Michigan
Shane: The Wildcats are making a strong push for home ice after their impressive sweep at Bowling Green a week ago, and with Michigan Tech on the docket on the final weekend of the season, this is the time to make some hay. The Lakers are trying to hold on to a playoff spot, too, but they’re on a five-game losing streak. Wildcats 4-2, 3-2
Jack: Just to get this out there: If Bemidji sweeps Ferris and Lake State sweeps NMU, the Beavers clinch home ice. I don’t know if that’s going to happen this weekend, however. The Wildcats look too strong. I’d call a sweep but the Lakers have been winning a lot when I don’t expect so I’ll call the split. Wildcats 4-2, Lakers 3-2
Alaska at Alabama Huntsville
Shane: The Chargers have a chance to clinch a league playoff spot at home this weekend, and what a story that would be in their second season in the league and after winning just two games a year ago. I’m curious to see the Nanooks’ motivation as a good team but one the road knowing they aren’t playing for anything more than their final standing. Chargers 3-1, Nanooks 4-1
Jack: If my calculations are correct (they may be wrong) the Chargers may need just two points to clinch said playoff spot. Anyway, I think they do it this time in their final home game. Nanooks 3-1, Chargers 2-1
Bowling Green at Alaska Anchorage
Shane: The Falcons suffered a bit of blow last weekend, getting swept at home by Northern Michigan. They’re still a virtual lock to finish in third place in the standings, so the losses were worse for their Pairwise Ranking. They can’t afford to have that happen again, but they’re playing a desperate Seawolves team on the verge of missing the playoffs. Falcons 4-2, 3-2
Jack: BG has had the chance to clinch third the past two weekends and haven’t been able to do so. I think they’ll do that and more this weekend and puck the sweep as well. Falcons 5-3, 3-1
Last week: Shane 3-3-0, Jack 3-3-0
Overall: Shane 105-67-16, Jack 90-82-16