Happy New Year! This weekend brings the Great Lakes Invitational, the Mariucci Classic and a single game between Miami and Ohio State. First, how Drew Claussen and I are doing so far.
Drew: 42-30-10 (.573)
Paula: 44-28-10 (.598)
Bring it, 2017!
The Great Lakes Invitational is played for the last time in Joe Louis Arena Dec. 29-30. This year, the field includes the three regulars — Michigan Tech, Michigan, Michigan State — plus invitee Western Michigan. Games are at 3:30 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. each day, and all games are carried by Fox Sports Detroit.
The Mariucci Classic is hosted by Minnesota Dec. 30-31. The Golden Gophers play the 7:00 p.m. game each night and Fox Sports North Plus will televise each game.
Click here for USCHO’s full preview of the holiday tournaments.
Additionally, Ohio State hosts Miami at 4:05 p.m. Dec. 31. That game is not televised.
Great Lakes Invitational
Drew: Raise your hand if you predicted that Western Michigan would be the highest-ranked team in this field back in October. These are some important nonconference games for each team. The Big Ten could use another victory or two over the NCHC and the WCHA could use another victory or two period. Michigan vs. Michigan Tech is the marquee match on Thursday night and I think whoever wins that game will defeat Western Michigan in the championship game. I’ll pick the Huskies to take home the hardware.
Paula: The Huskies come into the GLI having gone 3-1-0 in December, their last action a sweep of Bowling Green. Western Michigan was 1-2-1 in December, with a split against North Dakota ending the first half. Michigan State was 0-3-0 for the month, while Michigan was 1-3-0. My money is on the Broncos.
Drew’s picks: Michigan Tech over Michigan 4-2; Western Michigan over Michigan State 3-1; Huskies over Broncos 4-3 and Wolverines over Spartans 5-1.
Paula’s picks: Michigan Tech over Michigan, 4-2; Western Michigan over Michigan State, 3-2; Western Michigan over Michigan Tech, 4-2.
Drew: It will be a massive disappointment if the Gophers fail to pick up two wins this weekend. Even though it’s funny to watch two teams play for a “championship” in front of roughly 50 fans on a Saturday afternoon, I think the Gophers will shake the demons that have hurt them in this tournament recently and come out successful.
Paula: The Gophers haven’t captured the Mariucci since 2012, and as they are the only team under consideration in the PWR playing in this field this weekend, they should — and they’d better. A single loss this weekend can make a big difference to Minnesota come NCAA playoff time. No pressure. Seriously, though, Minnesota played a tough first half to prepare for a good second half, and that should start this weekend.
Drew’s picks: Minnesota wins 5-2 over Mercyhurst and 6-1 over Alabama-Huntsville.
Paula’s picks: Minnesota 4-2 and 4-2.
Miami at Ohio State
Drew: I might have to try and find a stream of this one, because it should be a pretty good contest. The Buckeyes picked up a win at Miami earlier this season and the RedHawks will try and return the favor. Both teams are coming off of a break so I think the Buckeyes will use the home-ice advantage to take a quick lead and hold on for a victory.
Paula: This is one of my favorite college hockey rivalries. Miami leads this all-time series 75-62-14 overall, with the Buckeyes leading 36-27-8 in Columbus. I’ve seen the RedHawks win in Columbus often, but in spite of that, I’m picking Ohio State. Hey, the first 1,000 fans through the doors New Year’s Eve get NYE hats!
Drew’s pick: Ohio State 4-3.
Paula’s pick: Ohio State 2-1.
You know, it’s not just for presidents-elect anymore. I’ll be at the GLI championship game, live tweeting and beginning my fond farewell to Joe Louis Arena. Follow along (@paulacweston) and if you’re really adventurous, check out my personal account (@PaulaBonaFide).