Quarterfinal picks, March 11-13

Shane here …

The playoffs are here, and, as I’ve thought throughout the year, it’s a wide-open race for the Broadmoor Trophy. Based on the way teams have defended and tended goal this season, as well as the vast number of low-scoring, one-goal games (not to mention the ties, dear God, the ties!), it would not shock me if any of these eight teams somehow get to Grand Rapids and keep things rolling from there. Having said that, yeah, I picked all the home teams to move on, but I also picked three of the series to go to a third game on Sunday. Honestly, there are few outcomes that would truly surprise me this weekend. On to the picks!

Alaska at Michigan Tech

Shane: Congratulations, Huskies, on your first MacNaughton Cup title in 40 years and the No. 1 seed for the league playoffs! Your reward? Only the team that mounted a furious comeback against you in one game and took you to overtime in your barn two weeks ago. Sure, you won those games, but now the Nanooks have their best player, Tyler Morely, back from injury. I can’t pick against Tech here, but something tells me these teams might be playing on Sunday. Huskies 4-1, Nanooks 3-2, Huskies 6-2

Jack: I agree that Tyler Morley’s return gives the Nanooks a huge advantage and a much better chance than they might have had. But I think Tech is going to take care of business this weekend. The Huskies want to get back to the NCAA Tournament and the best way to do that is to go 2-0 this weekend. I think this is going to be close, and maybe we’ll go to overtime first, but the Huskies win two. Huskies 5-6, 3-2 

Lake Superior State at Minnesota State

Shane: This is a rematch of last year’s first-round series, one in which the Mavericks rolled. They haven’t been quite as prolific scoring-wise this season, except when they played Lake. Superior State in January when the outscored the visitors 13-1 in the two games. This is a good matchup for the co-champs, not so much for the young-and-improved Lakers. Mavericks 5-1, 4-2

Jack: The Lakers are a much better team than they were last year when the Mavericks outscored LSSU 13-4 in a sweep. But like you said, Shane, this was probably the worst matchup the Lakers could have gotten for a first-round playoff matchup (I’m sure they would have much preferred potential series against Tech and BG, both of which they played very closely this season). Alas, this isn’t the case. The Mavs are going back to the Final Five with relative ease. Mavericks 6-1, 4-1

Bemidji State at Bowling Green

Shane: This is an interesting matchup, as the home team has been very good in its own rink this season (10-4-5), while the road team has been very good away from home (9-5-2). There’s no other series in which the first goal of the game carries more weight. If the Beavers can get an early lead, as they did last Saturday in Mankato, look out; they know how to defend. It may not be pretty, but it’s effective. I think the Falcons eke out the win in three very physical games. Falcons 4-3, Beavers 2-1, Falcons 3-2

Jack: Not sure which team has the advantage here. The Falcons play incredibly well in their own rink and the Beavers are excellent on the road. The game could be crowded and rowdy: Although BG is on spring break, Falcon great Rob Blake is going to be paying for free student tickets to the game. Bowling Green played well against the Beavers earlier this season, but BSU is playing much better hockey right now. I think this is going to go the distance and BSU will get the win. Beavers 2-1, Falcons 3-2, Beavers 5-3

Northern Michigan at Ferris State

Shane: Who smells overtime? And lots of it? These two teams each played in 11 overtime games this season, including one against each other. This series is going to go deep into the Big Rapids night at least once, if not two or three times! With the Final Five being played just down the road, I think the Bulldogs get the slight edge, but they won’t get it until late Sunday (maybe early Monday). Bulldogs 4-3, Wildcats 3-2, Bulldogs 2-1

Shane: WCHA detractors are going to hate this series, but in the defense of Ferris and NMU, the Bulldogs did score 13 goals against the Wildcats in four games this season. They split the series (including, yes, one OT game), but I wouldn’t be surprised if this ends up going the other way in that bandbox of a rink in Big Rapids — a bunch of weird bounces and fluke goals in three high scoring (for the WCHA, anyway) games. Bulldogs 6-4, Wildcats 5-3, Bulldogs 3-2