Jack here …
The semester is winding down for most of the schools in the WCHA. As such, just about every team will play a couple games this weekend before shutting down until after Christmas (save Alabama Huntsville, which plays a nonconference series next weekend).
All that means is one final week of league action which, once again, promises to be a doozy. We have two instate rivalry series (Alaska’s Governor’s Cup, plus Tech heading to Lake Superior State), one former CCHA grudge match (Ferris and Northern Michigan) and two series in Minnesota (Bowling Green visiting Bemidji and Alabama Huntsville visiting Minnesota State).
Neither Shane nor I did a great job making picks last week — I got three games right and Shane just two — but maybe we’ll do better this week. I’m gaining on him in the overall picks race (the winner buying the other a beverage of some sort … or something). So let’s see what happens this week.
Ferris State at Northern Michigan
Jack: Neither the Bulldogs nor the Wildcats have been able to put together a consistent win streak. They also haven’t lost very much. With a pair of .500 teams facing off in Marquette, there’s no way this series isn’t a split (or at the very least, two ties). Bulldogs 4-3; Wildcats 4-3
Shane: Between Ferris State’s splits and Northern Michigan’s overtime games, there’s no way these two teams don’t win one game apiece with at least one game being decided in OT. I’m copying Jack’s picks here, but there’s no way those teams will combine for 14 goals this weekend. Bulldogs 3-1, Wildcats 2-1
Michigan Tech at Lake Superior State
Jack: The Huskies losing both games against Alaska Anchorage at home was the shocker of the month. Tech will be angry headed to Sault Ste. Marie, where Lake Superior State hasn’t played well. I think LSSU will keep it close but I’m picking a Tech sweep. Huskies 3-1, 2-1
Shane: I’m still stunned that Tech was swept at home last weekend, and there’s no doubt they’ll be spittin’ nails by the time they make their way across the U.P. The Lakers have been on a nice little roll here but might be a little road weary after coming home from Alaska (as, perhaps, the Huskies were last week). Huskies 4-2, 3-2
Alabama Huntsville at Minnesota State
Jack: The Chargers can’t seem to catch a break — they were seven seconds away from going to overtime against Northern Michigan but gave up a penalty shot and lost 4-3. They would eventually tie on Saturday night, but they seem to be looking for a bounce or two. Not sure the Mavericks will surrender one this weekend. Mavericks 4-2, 5-3
Shane: Alabama Huntsville has played everybody pretty closely, and I know the Mavericks are aware of that as they get ready to close out 2015. The Chargers haven’t beaten MSU since 2001-02, a 16-game winless streak. I don’t see that changing this weekend. Mavericks 5-1, 3-1
Bowling Green at Bemidji State
Jack: Bowling Green has never played well in Bemidji. The Beavers are 3-0-1 against the Falcons all-time at the Sanford Center (the teams only recently started playing one another, when BG joined the WCHA). But BG has lost just once in its last 10 games. The Beavers are playing well lately, so I think this is a split. Beavers 4-3, Falcons 3-2
Shane: The Falcons are on a seven-game unbeaten streak with the last six of those games taking place at home. Now they go on the road to play a much-improved Beavers team in what should be a very entertaining series for you to watch, Jack. I, too, will call a split. Beavers 3-2, Falcons 2-1
Alaska at Alaska Anchorage
Jack: Round one of the Governor’s Cup definitely sees the Seawolves looking like the stronger team right now. Aside from a lost weekend in Mankato — MSU outscored UAA 8-2 — the Seawolves have been pretty consistent. I think they’ll sweep this weekend. Seawolves 6-4, 3-1
Shane: The Seawolves have to be feeling good after those two wins in Houghton, while the Nanooks really seem to be struggling right now. You know what they say about rivalries, though: Throw out the records. That includes records over the last few weeks. Split. Nanooks 4-3, Seawolves 3-2
Last Week: Jack 3-4-3; Shane 2-5-3. Overall: Jack 44-38-20; Shane 47-35-20.