Final Five picks, March 18-19

Shane here …

Greetings from Grand Rapids, Mich., the site of the WCHA Final Five, where there should be a few good games this weekend. Too bad Jack can’t be here to join me in this fine city. The top four teams in the conference are here, even if two of them needed to win Game 3s to get here. Really, it’s anyone’s tournament to win, based on everything we’ve seen throughout the league this season. Let’s get to the picks.

Minnesota State vs. Bowling Green

Shane: These two teams went 1-1-2 against each other this season with two ties at Bowling Green and a series split in Mankato. The Mavericks are the two-time defending Broadmoor Trophy champions, and they have a boatload of veterans who were part of both of those runs. Bowling Green might have the best goalie in the tournament in Chris Nell, but I think the champs win another tight one. Mavericks 3, Falcons 2

Jack: First thing, Shane: As nice as it would have been to return to my home state, Bowling Green’s Game 3 win over Bemidji State last week ended that possibility. Bummer for me. Ah, well. You should be seeing a great matchup this weekend. After both teams went to three games in their quarterfinal series, I think both teams are vulnerable. Can the Falcons figure out how to frustrate the MSU offense like Lake Superior and Bemidji did in shutouts recently? If that happens, I can see them moving on. Whatever happens, this game will probably go to overtime. Sorry Shane. Hope you’re ready for a couple extra periods than normal. Falcons 3, Mavericks 2

Michigan Tech vs. Ferris State

Shane: These two teams split a pair of series this season, although both of those took place way back in October. The Bulldogs had a strong second half of the season, but it was nothing like the one the Huskies had. Tech has lost just once since the beginning of 2016, and I think that trend continues on Friday. Huskies 5, Bulldogs 2

Jack: Crazy to think Tech’s only loss in 2016 was a 3-0 shutout at the hands of Bemidji State. The Bulldogs have, against the odds, emerged from the post-C.J. Motte era still in great shape, but Tech seems to be on a mission. I don’t think they’re going to lose here. Huskies 4, Bulldogs 2

Michigan Tech vs. Minnesota State

Shane: Well, I have the league’s regular-season co-champions in the final for the ultimate tiebreaker. If Minnesota State wins and things go right around the rest of the country both of these teams will be playing next week. That would be great for the WCHA. However, the Huskies have been able to score goals in a league where there hasn’t been much goal scoring, averaging 5 ½ goals per game over it’s last seven wins. MSU doesn’t give up much, but this seems like Tech’s year. Huskies 4, Mavericks 3

Michigan Tech vs. Bowling Green

Jack: I have Tech going up against Bowling Green, but honestly I don’t think it matters which team the Huskies are going to play. They’re playing as well as any team in the country now and no matter what, I think they win the Broadmoor Trophy for the first time ever.. Like you said, this seems like Tech’s year. Huskies 4, Falcons 2