West picks: Nov. 11

The second weekend of November has arrived and below is a look at eight games to watch in the western region of Division III hockey. The slate includes several MIAC-WIAC crossover games.

Friday, Nov. 11

Concordia (3-1) at Wisconsin-Stevens Point (3-0-1)
Coming off a series split with fellow MIAC power St. John’s, the Cobbers now hit the road for perhaps their biggest test of the year as they take on the defending national champion. Capitalizing on opportunities is the key to success for the Cobbers, who feature several scoring threats, including Dalton Mills (three goals), and have come through with 11 goals. The Pointers are tough to beat at home, winning 79 games on their home ice over the last nine seasons. Their offense is one of the best in the nation, with 15 players tallying at least one point. Wis.-Stevens Point 5-2

Hamline (3-0-1) at Wisconsin-River Falls (1-4)
The Pipers are off to a hot start thanks in large part to the play of Russ Jordan, who is in the midst of a breakout season, having scored five goals and dished out four assists. With Jordan on the ice, the Pipers have a chance to win every time out and will look to keep their momentum rolling in a road game against the Falcons. Wis.-River Falls is off to a difficult start and is 0-2 on its home ice and 0-2 against MIAC competition. Hamline 4-2

St. John’s (3-1) at Wisconsin-Eau Claire (2-1-1)
The Johnnies come to town poised for the upset and have to be able to find a way to grind out a win in a game that is expected to be tight from start to finish. Both teams have been fairly efficient on the power play, converting a combined 13 chances, and it’s an area of the game that could determine which team comes out on top. Wis.-Eau Claire is a little better at defending the power play, allowing just two goals. St. John’s has given up five. St. John’s 4-3

Friday-Saturday, Nov. 11-12

Lake Forest (3-1) at St. Scholastica (1-2)
The Foresters are riding the momentum of earning a split over St. Norbert and can build off that with a stellar performance in this two-game series against the Saints. Playing on the road is never easy, but the Foresters are 2-0 away from home and are ready for the challenge in front of them. Jack Lewis will be crucial to the Foresters’ success, having scored five goals already this season. Steven Phee is the player to watch for the Saints. Phee has scored all three of his goals off the power play. St. Scholastica needs a quick start each night as the Saints have yet to score a first-period goal this season. It will be a surprise if the Saints don’t win at least one of these games. Lake Forest, 4-2, St. Scholastica, 3-2

Aurora (2-2 at St. Norbert (3-1)
The Spartans, riding a two-game win streak, would love nothing more than to go on the road and make a statement in this two-game series against the Green Knights. They have yet to win on the road and will need goalie Hunter Vorva to rise to the occasion if the Spartans are to pull off an upset. Vorva has one shutout and a .911 save percentage on the year. The Green Knights are one of the best in the nation at home and one of the better offensive teams in the country as well. Tanner Froese has five goals and leads the way for a team that has put up 23 goals in all. St. Norbert 6-2, 5-2

Saturday, Nov. 12

Hamline (3-0-1) at Wisconsin-Superior (3-1)
Hamline has scored four or more goals in each of its last three games and will need that offense to click against a Wis.-Superior team that is off to an impressive start, including a 2-1 win over St. Thomas last Saturday in a neutral-site game. The Yellow Jackets will lean on the play of goalie Ethan Wood to keep this game close and give Wis.-Superior a shot to win at the end. Wood is 3-1 with a 3.43 goals-against average. Hamline 6-3

Concordia (3-1) at Wisconsin-Eau Claire (2-1-1)
The Cobbers have to be able to keep this close to have a shot at knocking off the Blugolds on the road. Wis.-Eau Claire is accustomed to tight games, going 1-1-1 in its last three outings. Garrett Hendrickson of Concordia and Mac Jansen of Wis.-Eau Claire are two of the best offensive threats on their respective teams, combining for five goals and five assists, and the one who has the best game will go a long way in determining the outcome. Concordia, 3-2

St. John’s (3-1) at Wisconsin-Stevens Point (3-0-1)
The Johnnies have been competitive in their series with the Pointers over the years, trailing just 9-7-1 all-time. St. John’s hasn’t beaten Wis.-Stevens Point since 2007 and will have its work cut out for it if it hopes to end the streak. Slowing down the Pointers’ high-powered attack is crucial. The Johnnies have allowed 11 goals and need a great game from the defense to have a shot at the upset against a Pointers team that boasts seven players with two or more goals. Wis.-Stevens Point 5-3