West picks: Jan. 13

The slate for the second weekend of January includes several big matchups. Wisconsin-Stevens Point battles two of the best teams in the MIAC, hosting Saint Mary’s and Augsburg, while St. Thomas will square off with Wisconsin-Eau Claire.

Adrian and Lake Forest face-off in a key NCHA series, while Concordia looks to keep its momentum rolling as it currently sits in second place in the South Division.

Friday, Jan. 13

Augsburg (9-2-2) at Wis.-Eau Claire (11-2-3)
The Auggies already defeated the Blugolds once this season, winning 2-1 in overtime in November. Augsburg now faces Wis.-Eau Claire on the road, where it is 5-1 on the season. Augsburg has just one win in its last five games and is led offensively by Nate Flynn, who has come through with six goals and six assists. The Auggies have scored 44 goals. Wis.-Eau Claire has yet to lose at home and has lost only one game in all since December began. Colton Wolter has been instrumental to Wis.-Eau Claire’s success, punching in seven goals and dishing out 10 assists to fuel an offense that has cranked out 65 goals and averages 4.1 goals per game. Wis.-Eau Claire 4-3

Saint Mary’s (8-5-2) at Wis.-Stevens Point (11-2-3)
Saint Mary’s hits the road for a pivotal nonconference game against the reigning national champions. The Cardinals have won three of four and have come up with 50 goals while allowing 40. Bob Kinne leads the way with 10 goals and seven assists. Ten other players have scored at least two goals. The Pointers are unbeaten in their last seven games and have no intentions of slipping up as they continue to tune up for another playoff run. They have scored 68 goals and given up only 38. A total of 12 players have scored three or more goals. Wis.-Stevens Point 7-5

Hamline (6-6-2, 3-3) at Concordia (9-4, 3-1)
The Pipers are anxious to snap out of a five-game losing streak and take aim at moving up in the standings. They have an opportunity to do that this weekend in a key series with the Cobbers on the road. Jordan Russ needs a great performance. He leads the Pipers with 11 goals and nine assists. Concordia is one of the hottest teams in hockey, winning five in a row. The Cobbers are 4-1 at home and have scored at least two goals in each of their games during the streak. Jeremy Johnson has had a big impact on Concordia’s success, scoring two goals and dishing out 10 assists. Concordia 4-2, 5-3

Friday-Saturday, Jan. 13-14

St. Scholastica (7-6, 5-3) at MSOE (5-5-3, 2-4-2)
The Saints come in on a two-game win streak. Brandon Millin will be one to watch for St. Scholastica this weekend, having scored 10 goals already this season. Millin has also dished out seven assists. Steven Phee and Brett Radford have also stepped up, scoring six goals apiece. The Raiders begin a stretch of five consecutive home games and need to capitalize in order to climb back into contention for a playoff spot. Gage Christianson will need to be at his best. In 12 games, he has come through with seven goals and nine assists. MSOE 3-2, St. Scholastica 4-2

Adrian (10-3-2, 9-1) at Lake Forest (9-6, 5-5)
Adrian has won two in a row and is atop the South Division as it heads into this divisional showdown with Lake Forest. The Bulldogs have played well on the road, losing just once, and the top five in points in the league all play for the Bulldogs, including Trevor Boyd, who leads the NCHA in points with 22. Boyd has scored nine goals to go along with 13 assists. The Foresters have won three of five and are 5-4 on their home ice. This series is a chance for Lake Forest to make a statement, the same way it did two months ago in a road win over St. Norbert. While the Bulldogs have arguably the best offense in the league, the Foresters have one of the NCHA’s top goal scorers in Jack Lewis, who is tied for the league lead in goals with 11. Adrian 5-4, Lake Forest 4-3

Concordia (9-4-1, 6-3-1) at Marian (7-7-1, 5-5)
The Falcons are the second-best team in the South Division and have an opportunity to maintain their hold on the position in this series against the Sabres. Concordia is riding a three-game win streak. Jim Pearson and Connor Hogg lead the Falcons with nine and seven goals, respectively. Jack Romanuik is one of the top goalies in the NCHA, winning eight games and fashioning a goals-against average of 2.98. The Sabres have won their last two and have suffered just one loss in their last eight. Like Concordia, Marian has a solid player in goal in Mike Baldwin, who has won six games and has a .334 GAA. Marian has scored 46 goals on the year, including six by Gianni Mangone. Concordia 4-3, Marian 3-2

Saturday, Jan. 14

St. Thomas (7-4-3) at Wis.-Eau Claire (11-2-3)
Whenever two great teams hook up, defense is often the difference in the game. St. Thomas is looking to get back on track after losing two of its last three, and will lean on a solid defensive effort to help pave the way for a win over Wis.-Eau Claire. The Tommies have allowed just 34 goals. Benjamin Myers has six wins and a 2.26 goals-against average. Jay Deo has been tremendous in goal for the Blugolds, winning 11 games while fashioning a goals-against average of 2.15. His save percentage is above 90 percent and has started all 16 games this season. If he’s on top of his game, the Blugolds have a great shot of winning. Wis.-Eau Claire 2-1

Augsburg (9-2-2) at Wisconsin-Stevens Point (11-2-3)
Defense will be a key to success for Augsburg in the only meeting of the season with the Pointers. Jordyn Kaufer and Nick Schmit have both appeared in seven games for the Auggies. Schmit has won five games and Kaufer has tallied four wins. Augsburg has allowed 28 goals and will be put to the test against one of the nation’s best offensive teams. The Pointers are averaging 4.5 goals per game and have scored 21 times off the power play. Lawrence Cornellier and Jacob Barber have combined to score 21 goals. Wis.-Stevens Point shares the wealth well and has scored its 68 goals off 106 assists. Wis.-Stevens Point 5-3


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