Hey everyone. Jack here, and I’m back from vacation. Apparently I did not bring the balmy 50-degree Texas weather back to Minnesota with me (as I type this, it is 3-below in Bemidji… when I woke up it was 30-below. Fun times!)
Anyway, I digress, because we have hockey to discuss.
The WCHA is basically done with nonconference games at this point: Just Bemidji State’s participation in the North Star College Cup at the end of the month and Bowling Green’s one-off with Mercyhurst next month remain.
All that’s left now is conference series. And because of the league’s dismal nonconference showing this year, all of these games matter even more as the teams jockey for playoff position.
Eight of the 10 league teams are in action this week, with two (Bemidji State and Alabama Huntsville) getting the week off.
It’s starting to get pretty exciting, so let’s get on with the picks.
Alaska at Ferris State
Jack: Ferris State hasn’t won a regulation game since early December, but they played well against both Robert Morris and Boston College in the Three Rivers Classic (lost 1-0 to Bobby Mo and tied BC 1-1). They took a step back at Anchorage, losing 4-1 and tying 2-2, but they won a shootout to salvage two points. The Nanooks are on a three-game losing skid. Something has to give. I think these teams will split. Nanooks 3-1, Bulldogs 2-1
Sean: This could be a series we look back on later in the year when Ferris State or Alaska have secured the sixth seed for the WCHA playoffs. The teams are back-to-back in the standings, which screams split. Bulldogs 3-1, Nanooks 5-4.
Alaska Anchorage at Michigan Tech
Jack: This is a perfect opportunity for the Huskies to pick up some points on idle Bemidji State. Tech has four games in hand and are 13 points back. And even though the Seawolves are playing better in the past month, I think the Huskies will be hungry to try and close that gap between themselves and the Beavers. Huskies 3-1, 4-2
Sean: Anchorage is playing at a higher level recently and picked up a split with Ferris State. Michigan Tech, however, is another level than Ferris State. It’ll be a low-scoring weekend because of the style both teams play, but that favors Michigan Tech. Huskies 2-0, 3-1.
Lake Superior State at/vs Northern Michigan
Jack: You again? The Wildcats and Lakers just faced one another last week. They split, with each team winning at home. Why would we expect any different this week? Wildcats 4-2, Lakers 4-1
Sean: The Lakers and Wildcats continue their back-to-back home-and-home stretch after they split a pair of games last week. This is one of the more fun rivalries in the WCHA thanks to proximity, and each home team should pull out a win. Wildcats 3-1, Lakers 4-2
Bowling Green at Minnesota State
Jack: This one could, ultimately, decide which team finishes third and which takes fourth in the league standings. Right now, they’re tied, with the Mavericks also having two games-in-hand. If they can sweep, they would put themselves in a perfect position. Mavericks 3-1, 3-2
Sean: Both teams should head into this game feeling confident. Bowling Green beat WCHA-leading Bemidji State last Saturday, while Minnesota State took care of business against Alabama Huntsville. The Mavericks are at home and they’ll get the slight upper hand this weekend. Mavericks 4-2, 2-1 (3-on-3 overtime)