WCHA Picks: Dec. 16-17

It’s a light weekend for the WCHA. Only four teams are in action, and we only have one series that will impact the WCHA standings.

Either way, there are some fun matchups. So let’s get picking:

Bowling Green at Alaska

Sean: All WCHA eyes will be on this one as the Falcons try to regain their footing after getting swept by Michigan Tech. Trips to Alaska are never easy, but Bowling Green should be motivated to pick up a WCHA win before the holidays. Falcons 3-1, 4-2

Jack: The lone conference series this weekend, this one could be interesting. BG was just swept by Tech while Alaska just split with Anchorage. I think the Falcons get back on track with a sweep. Falcons 4-2, 5-3

Bemidji State at/vs. Minnesota Duluth

Sean: Bemidji State would like to beef up it’s non-conference resume and they have a big opportunity to do so against the No. 1 team in the country. It’s a home-and-home set, which should be nice for both fan bases, and I think each fan base gets a win on home ice. Bulldogs 3-1, Beavers 2-1

Jack: Bemidji State is 0-4 against nonconference foes this season. The Beavers would, without a doubt, like to change that. Although UMD comes in as the No. 1 team in the country, don’t expect the Beavers to be intimidated by the Bulldogs — BSU is 5-0-1 against UMD in the past six matchups. I think this is a split with each team winning at home. Bulldogs 4-2, Beavers 3-2

Minnesota State at Princeton

Sean: Princeton is playing very well right now and they’ve been particularly good on home ice. The WCHA hasn’t been very good in non-conconference games, and that trend will continue in New Jersey. Tigers 3-1, 4-2

Jack: Three weeks ago I’d have said this was an easy Mavericks split. But the Tigers are arguably the hottest team in the country now — especially after sweeping Bemidji State on Thanksgiving weekend. They continued their hot streak with a sweep of Quinnipiac and wins over UMass and RPI. I think they’ll manage a split. Tigers 4-1, Mavericks 3-1

20 COMMENTS

  1. No thoughts from the writer on why this might be? Better athletes in goal, teams paying more attention or putting more focus on defensive minded hockey, less penalties leading to less power play opportunities, goalie equipment………

          • Point in case right there. How could that kid not benefit from another year in D1. He’s gonna get the stuff beat out him at the next level, at least for the first season.

          • Because the recruiting pipeline is closed forever? No one else can score?

            Of course they won’t have someone as talented as Eichel next year unless he stays in school. Neither will any other team next year.

          • BU is more than just Eichel and they have one of the best recruiting classes coming in next year.

          • I think that’s a bit extreme…I’m no BU fan, but BU is still a brand that attracts top recruits and the team has other very good players too. Just because they won’t have a superstar like Eichel doesn’t mean that they will fall back to “ho-hum” levels without him.

      • Someone noted to me last night that the CHL banned European goalies, wanting to develop North American goaltending. If that’s the case, then the NCAA is the only route now available for top goaltending talent from places like Sweden and Finland who want to come to North America to play. So it may not just be players leaving early, but also an increase in talent in goal due to players who would otherwise have gone to major juniors playing D1 instead.

    • I’d really like to see the actual number of penalties that were called in each of the 3 seasons looked at above. That is by far the most obvious starting point.

      A personal observation, that is just my opinion in having attended upwards of 300 college hockey games since 1997, is that its my impression that shooting skills, in general, aren’t what they were. The number of shots I seem to see now that aren’t even close to being on net that the goalie just watches whiz by is just astounding to me.

      Taking a look at the number of shots actually taken in these 3 seasons is something I’d want to have a look at, as well.

      And, I think I have seen someone citing stats in the past of “shots taken” vs. “shots on net taken”, too. Those would be interesting, as well, and might support my impression that a lot of errant shots are being taken.

      • RBTGT, shots taken – lacrosse – is the most bizarre stat ever, this coming from an old lacrosse player. If a shot is taken and it misses by 20 yards is it really a shot?

      • Your point is moot. I could easily argue against you by stating that both defense and goal-tending has improved mightily over the last twenty years.

      • Having spectated at over 600 college games over the last 30 years, I am seeing better D. Better tending (maybe because of the lighter-weight pads etc) And fewer kids with great puck handling skills. I see much, much more dump and run then I used to. Looking back, I think the emphasis on D really started with Frank Anzalone at Lake State in the late 1980’s. It was about then, scores started dropping a little bit.

  2. The answer to the question has many parts. A big part, for me, is the vast improvement in overall goaltending talent, with taller and more agile goaltenders that play soundly in the net.

    I also agree with the idea that less penalties, shorter college careers and a deeper level of overall quality exists than it did ten or twenty years ago.

  3. Who Gives???? Hockey doesn’t equal goals….Take notes on other sports. Football(the first football)is about possession and controlling the game. Baseball is loved for it’s No-hitters. My point is that defense and goal-tending is just as important as scoring goals. Leave the sport I love alone!!!!!

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