We’re starting to get into the normal groove of the season now — every team has played at least one series. And after this weekend, all but one WCHA team will have played at least one league series.
We’ve got some pretty good matchups this weekend, including three WCHA series. The other three league teams in action (Bemidji State, Michigan Tech and Bowling Green) all play ranked opponents.
Once again, it’s another big weekend for the conference’s pairwise.
Let’s get to it.
Northern Michigan at Ferris State
Jack: The Bulldogs so far are one of the biggest disappointments early in the season. They’re 0-5. However, all but one of their games have been decided by one goal. I think they’ll get back on track a little bit this weekend and earn a split at home. Bulldogs 3-2, Wildcats 4-3
Sean: Ferris has to be better than 0-5 and I think they’ll prove that this weekend. The Bulldogs have been close in each game and I think they turn the corner this weekend at home. Bulldogs 3-1, 2-1
Lake Superior State at Alabama Huntsville
Jack: What a weekend for the Lakers last weekend against Michigan State. They scored 13 goals on the Spartans. Can the keep those awesome offensive numbers going? It’s going to be tough against the Chargers’ solid goaltending. Lakers 4-1, Chargers 2-1
Sean: Alabama Huntsville has played solid defensively this season and Lake Superior State proved its offense can light the lamp last week. This series has split written all over it and the Lakers offense will come back to earth. Chargers 3-2, Lakers 4-0.
No. 9 Minnesota State at Alaska
Jack: The Mavericks are 4-0 for the first time since the 90s. They’re playing well, but the trip to Fairbanks is always difficult. I think they have enough to overcome it, but don’t be surprised if game two gets a little wild (and goes to OT). Mavericks 5-2, 4-3
Sean: I like Jack’s pick of overtime in one of of these games, and it’s about time Minnesota State faces a bit of adversity. However, I think the Mavericks are more than capable of dealing with that adversity and getting the sweep. Mavericks 3-2 (OT), 6-1.
No. 18 Bemidji State at No. 1 North Dakota
Jack: The Beavers are the other WCHA team that is currently 4-0 (the first time since 2005-06), but obviously a trip to Grand Forks is going to be a tough task. BSU has only beaten UND twice in Grand Forks, but if any team has the talent to do it, it’s this one. I’ll say they split. Beavers 3-1, Hawks 4-2
Sean: North Dakota is No. 1 for a reason and it’s going to be a big test for the Beavers to go into Grand Forks and pull out a win. Bemidji will make a game of it, but right now the Hawks aren’t going to lose at home. Hawks 4-3, 4-1.
Michigan Tech at No. 11 Michigan
Jack: Tech heads to Ann Arbor to play one of their longest-standing rivalries. The Huskies are 42-76-3 all-time at Michigan since 1921. They seem to be struggling right now, so a Wolverines sweep seems likely. Wolverines 3-1, 2-1
Sean: On paper this looks like a gimme pick. Michigan is ranked and playing well, while Michigan Tech is struggling. Red Berenson’s teams rarely are unprepared so I have to go with the smart choice here. Wolverines 4-2, 3-0.
No. 19 Ohio State at/vs. Bowling Green
Jack: The Falcons haven’t looked particularly sharp in four losses this season (OK, three losses and a 3-on-3 overtime loss). Ohio State, on the other hand, has already knocked off preseason favorite Denver and tied both Air Force and Miami. I think Bowling Green can finally get it done this weekend at home. A split seems the most likely, though. Falcons 3-2, Buckeyes 2-1
Sean: Each week the Falcons have been looking for a higher level from their players, and each week they’ve failed to deliver. It only gets tougher against Ohio State and Bowling Green simply isn’t playing well enough right now. Buckeyes 4-1, 3-2.