WCHA picks: March 6-7

Well, here we are. The final week of the regular season. And, like last year, there remains much to be decided, including the regular-season championship, the final home-ice spot for the league tournament as well as the final playoff spot. The theme of the weekend from the league coaches seems to be, “Everybody’s playing for something.” And, indeed, everybody is!

Alabama Huntsville at Bowling Green

Shane: The host Falcons are locked into third place, but these games may be more important for them than they are for the Chargers, who have not yet locked up a playoff spot. Huntsville will be eliminated from the tournament with two losses, one point or more from Lake Superior State and three points or less from Alaska Anchorage. Given the circumstances, I think the Chargers get in. Bowling Green, on the other hand, has dropped to No. 14 in the Pairwise Rankings and can’t afford to drop down any further. In fact, it needs to find a way to inch back up. Must wins for the Falcons. Falcons 3-1, 4-2

Jack: I guess as a Bemidji State writer I’m supposed to pretend to hate the Chargers but in all honestly I’d like to see the Chargers make the playoffs just to see what they can do. That said, they’re going to have a tough time against Bowling Green, who desperately wants to make the NCAA tournament after once being thought of as a virtual lock. I think the Falcons will sweep but I don’t think UAH will miss the playoffs. Falcons 3-2, 5-3

Northern Michigan at/vs. Michigan Tech

Shane: These U.P. rivals close out the season with what should be an intense home-and-home series. Tech coach hinted as much on his way out of Mankato last weekend. His fourth-ranked Huskies still have an outside shot at winning the MacNaughton Cup, while the Wildcats remain in the hunt for the final home-ice spot. A sweep by either team doesn’t guarantee it reaches its goal either. Northern Michigan took three of four points from Tech in a pair of overtime games in early January. I suspect these will be just as close with each team winning a one-goal game at home. Huskies 3-2, Wildcats 3-2

Jack: This is going to be an intense series — maybe even more than it normally is. The home-and-home element is throwing me for a loop, too. I think each team wins on the others’ home ice. The Wildcats are closer to their home-ice goal than the Huskies are to theirs of the MacNaughton Cup so I think they’ll be hungry to win Friday to keep their home-ice race with Bemidji interesting until the final day. Then the Huskies win the return trip. Wildcats 4-2, Huskies 4-2

Ferris State at Lake Superior State

Shane: The Bulldogs still have an outside shot at home ice and need to sweep and get some help in order to get there, while the Lakers can stave off elimination with a win (or one or no points along with some assistance). Lake Superior State, whose missing the playoffs a year ago led to an offseason coaching change, has half as many wins as it recorded a year ago, and there’s a lot of history between these two teams that says the defending MacNaughton Cup champs should sweep this series. But I simply don’t trust Ferris State to score enough goals to do that. Bulldogs 2-1, Lakers 1-0

Jack: The Lakers were in a similar position last year — clinging to the final playoff spot in the final weekend but losing both games in their final series against Ferris State. They lost both games, lost a tiebreaker to Bemidji, and Jim Roque lost his job. I don’t think that will happen this season. Lake State should make the playoffs — just barely. Bulldogs 3-1, Lakers 2-0

Minnesota State at Bemidji State            

Shane: These in-state rivals are seem to be in the best position to reach their goals — the first MacNaughton Cup championship for the No. 2-ranked Mavericks and a fourth-place/home-ice finish for the Beavers. One thing’s for certain: This ought to be a very competitive series considering how the two teams have played against each other this season and how they’re playing currently. The Mavericks swept 6-3 and 5-3 in Mankato in early November, and the Beavers won the North Star College Cup with a 3-1 win over MSU six weeks ago. I think each team gets what it want this weekend. Mavericks 4-2, Beavers 3-2

Jack: Bemidji State, as strange as it might seem, has never hosted a playoff series as a WCHA member (and never at their current Sanford Center home). The Mavs have never won the MacNaughton Cup title. So both teams have a significant milestone on the line. And as Shane said, they’ve played some very good games this season so I think they’ll split, but the question is which game which team wins. For the sake of my competition with Shane (which I’ve already lost) I’ll hedge my bets and pick the opposite games. Ultimately both teams should get what the want (if my other picks are correct) but of course, because this is the WCHA, it’s going to come down to the last game of the season. Beavers 4-2, Mavericks 4-3

Alaska at Alaska Anchorage

Shane: There’s a chance that this series will begin with the Seawolves already knowing they’ve been eliminated from the WCHA tournament. (That will be the case if Alabama Huntsville and Lake Superior State each nab a point four time zones away on Friday night). With the Nanooks already out of contention due to NCAA violations, that could make this Governor’s Cup rivalry an all-out war. Better get your popcorn and your WCHA.tv ready. Anchorage could sneak into the playoffs with two wins and a lot of help, but that won’t happen, even if we won’t figure that out until Saturday. Seawolves 5-4, Nanooks 4-3

Jack: Ladies and gentlemen, let’s goon it up in Alaska! Not that I would ever advocate such a thing, but if it’s going to happen it should be some brutal (and entertaining) old-time hockey in Anchorage. When you have two teams with nothing to play for in the last series of the season, this is what happens. I’ll predict two high-scoring slugfests to cap the WCHA regular season. Nanooks 5-3, Seawolves 6-5

Last week: Shane 5-3-2, Jack 6-2-2

Overall: Shane 110-70-18, Jack 96-84-18

33 COMMENTS

  1. This will be an NCHC @ Big 10 weekend with Miami @ OSU and WMU @ U of M.
    It will be interesting to see which current CCHA rivals will continue to schedule each other when they are in different conferences.

    • I really hope WMU manages to keep Ferris on the schedule, Lawson was packed this weekend, it would be a shame to lose because we move to different conferences.

  2. “They lost both games, lost a tiebreaker to Bemidji, and Jim Roque lost his job. I don’t think that will happen this season.”

    I wholeheartedly agree. I don’t think Jim Roque will lose his job this time around.

  3. Plus Ferris cannot win home ice if they win and Bemidji loses because Bemidji holds the tiebreaker. Know your facts when writing and article please

    • Not that it matters now that Bemidji won but Bemidji did not hold the tie breaker. Head to head only works when they play 4 games against each other. Since they only played 2 games, the tie breaker is conference wins. Ferris had the edge. Looks like dking should know his facts before admonishing the writers. Whoops.

    • WCHA MEN’S TIE-BREAKING PROCEDURES FOR PLAYOFF SEEDING ONLY

      In regular-season competition, each WCHA team shall have an opportunity to accumulate points from each WCHA contest (i.e., a contest between teams representing two WCHA member institutions played as part of the conference schedule), receiving two points for each game won in regulation time or overtime, and one point for each game tied at the conclusion of overtime. The team accumulating the greatest number of points in regular-season WCHA contests shall be the WCHA regular-season champion.

      If two or more teams are tied for the regular-season championship, they shall be considered co-champions. Seeding for the WCHA Tournament if two or more teams have accumulated the same number of points shall be determined according to the following procedure:

      A) If two or more teams are tied, and all tied teams have played four contests against one another, then the team with the most accumulated points from these head-to-head contests will be granted the higher seed.

      B) If two or more teams are still tied (or all tied teams have not played four contests against one another), then the team with the greater number of conference wins will be granted the higher seed.

      C) If two or more teams are still tied (and A) above is not applicable due to an unbalanced home and away schedule amongst one another), then the team with the highest winning percentage in all head-to-head contests among the tied teams will be granted the higher seed.

      D) If not determined by A), or B), or C) above, the recipient of the highest seed shall be determined by comparison of the winning percentages of the tied teams, against the remaining highest ranked WCHA team successively, until the determination is accomplished, or all conference contests have been considered. In the event of multiple ties within the standings that become dependent on one another for determination, the procedure shall be applied to the highest tie first, using combined winning percentage against all teams involved in the lower tie(s) and continuing through the order if needed. If this fails to break the highest tie, the procedure shall be applied to the next highest tie (and so on if needed), using combined winning percentage against all tied teams as needed when proceeding through the standings.

      E) If not determined by A), or B), or C), or D) above, the recipient of the higher seed will be determined by a team’s “winning margin” during conference contests. “Winning margin” is equal to conference goals for minus conference goals against. In the event of multiple ties within the standings that reach this step, the procedure shall be applied first to the highest tie in the standings. If this fails to break the highest tie, the procedure shall be applied to the next highest tie (and so on if needed) until any tie is broken and all procedures are re-started.

      F) If not determined by A), or B), or C), or D), or E) above, the recipient of the higher seed shall be determined by the flip of a coin. In the event of multiple ties within the standings that reach this step, the procedure shall be applied first to the highest tie in the standings, after which all procedures are re-started.

      In the case of ties among three or more schools, the criteria above will be used in order, beginning with A), until a team (or teams) is (or are) separated from the other tied team (or teams). At that point, the procedures are re-started to break the “new” tie and determine recipient of the higher seed. In other words, when a three-way tie becomes a two-way tie, the two-way tie is treated as a “new” tie and the process re-starts with the first criterion.

  4. Every week you pick a split with MIch Tech amd their opponents and MTU keeps sweeping the weekend. Last weekend was the exception we at least Tied with MInn State on their ice. Tech easily beat Northern tonight and expect more of the same tomorrow. Lets go Tech!

    • .
      Just making a comment…

      It may be to Northern’s advantage to “lose” the game tonite; if I were a NMU fan, I would rather play BG then Bemidji. It is still all dependent on the Ferris game however.

      But just a note…
      .

  5. Bemidji just beat Minnesota state 5-2. Same results tomorrow for Mich Tech and Bemidgi and Mich Tech wins the Division. It could happen!

  6. .
    As of Saturday morning:

    MSU -vs- UAH/LSSU
    MTU -vs- UAH/LSSU
    BGSU -vs- NMU/FSU
    BSU -vs- NMU/FSU

    And in a way, to be fair to Fairbanks, I am glad that Anchorage was the team left out this year. Seemed to work out…

    I think MTU rather play UAH and NMU rather play BGSU.
    .

  7. Alabama drags this whole conference down. I dont know why my school hired Corbett. He is a horrible recruiter and coach. Its time to either stop operations or hire a real coach. A guy who knows how to build to build a program like bergeron at BGSU. Corbett is an idiot. He is embarasing

  8. So Dave, on the last day of the season and the batting titled secured you don’t bat, you sit? Unless you have a huge wager we don’t know about have to say this is a real Come on Man moment!

  9. Can someone please explain why UML always gets relegated to the 5:00 game? It seems like every year during this run that Lowell has to play the early game, regardless of the opponent. Is there a method to that madness?

    • JC98

      As Joe Ngo says, this is purely driven by NESN/NBCSN. If BU and BC were in different semi-final games, I am sure BC would be the 8 p.m. game, as much as I think our end of Comm Ave is more important.

      And if Notre Dame was in a semi-final, is there even the slightest question who NBCSN would demand play in the late game? BU and BC could be playing each other in the other semi-final (which is the premier match-up in our league) and NBCSN would want Notre Dame against anyone else. Because they know the real fan will show up, but to get the casual fan not familiar with hockey, they can say the magic words IRISH and think ratings go up.

      • Actually, when the teams get to the Garden, the top remaining seed gets their choice of which game they want. Obviously BU picked the 8:00 game, as do most coaches because it starts more in line with regular season games. Though it works both ways, if the first game goes to OT, you’re not really sure when it will start.

          • Good to know. I had actually been told at some point that it had to do with travel time to boston, but that never really made sense to me. Regardless Lowell should be well represented at the game tonight, even though it’s spring break I hear the student body is turning out

          • Hopefully all teams have a great turnout, it’s always more fun that way. I only know because I have attended many post-game UNH gatherings and Coach Umile was asked on a couple of occasions. Best of luck!

  10. jc98 – it’s about TV. NESN wants BU in the late game, which will have better TV ratings. Unfortunately (or fortunately) for UML, they’re not as big a draw as BU.

  11. I have my BU gear on today! I am hoping for a nice BU win.

    I would be happiest if BU wins the next four games at the Garden this year, but if that is not in the cards, I would not mind any of the other three teams becoming a new, first-time champion. Good luck everyone.

      • The four remaining teams in the Hockey East Championship. If any of them wins their next four games at TD Garden this season, they will be NCAA champions, since the Frozen Four is in the same building. (Of course, they have to win two regional games, as well). Of the four remaining HE teams, only BU has a D-I Hockey title. UNH has been in the final game twice, Lowell has won three titles at the D-III level and Vermont as been to at least two Frozen Fours. Lowell has been to the Frozen Four at the D-I level once, while UNH has been seven times, if I remember correctly. Those would be the other three teams playing in TD Garden tonight.

  12. Wait a minute. Dave, why do you get to look at Jimmy’s picks before making your own? I have a problem with the integrity of the process.
    Your picks should be driven by who you think will win and why, NOT based on winning the head-to-head matchups with Jim.

  13. You have to give a ton of credit to Norm Bazin,he just gets everything out of what he has as a team each and every year he’s been @ UML…he knows he has to Coach the players he has…no excuses he gets them to play.

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