West picks: Feb. 3

February has arrived and the conference races continue to heat up. St. Thomas will try to maintain its hold on first place in the MIAC and Wisconsin-Stevens Point faces two WIAC tests this weekend. Concordia looks to keep its momentum rolling in the NCHA and St. Norbert will try to bounce back.

Friday, Feb. 3

Wisconsin-Stout (10-9-2, 2-2) at Wis.-Stevens Point (14-4-3, 6-3-1)
Wis.-Stout has won three of its last five but is just 3-6-1 on the road. Riley Colvard leads the Blue Devils’ attack with 10 goals and seven assists. He is one of nine players with at least three or more goals. Wis.-Stout has tallied 60 goals in all. Wis.-Stevens Point has won three of its last four games and will try to keep rolling in the right direction this weekend. The Pointers have scored close to 90 goals and are led by the one-two punch of Lawrence Cornellier (14 goals, 14 assists) and Jacob Barber (14 goals, 11 assists). Wis.-Stevens Point, 5-2

Wisconsin-River Falls (10-10-1, 3-4-1) at Wisconsin-Superior (7-13-1, 1-3)
The Falcons skate into this showdown riding a two-game win streak and have won four of their last five overall. Their defensive effort has been impressive, with the Falcons giving up just 46 goals. Zach Quinn has played a pivotal role in the success, fashioning an 8-6-1 record in 17 appearances. He has recorded two shutouts and has a 1.79 goals-against average. Wis.-Superior is playing Wis.-River Falls for the first time and is eager to move past the Falcons in the standings. The Yellow Jackets are 5-5 on their home ice and have gotten great production out of Daniel Litchke, who has scored 14 goals while dishing out three assists. Wis.-River Falls 4-3

Friday-Sautday, Feb. 3-4

Concordia (11-7-1, 5-4-1) at St. Thomas (10-5-4, 8-1-1)
The Cobbers hit the road with a chance to improve their position in the standings. They are in fifth and have won their last two games. They defeated St. Thomas once already this year, winning 1-0 in the showcase. Concordia will lean on its defense, including goalie Sam Nelson, who has risen to the occasion often. The freshman has 11 wins and a 2.61 goals-against average. St. Thomas has won two in a row and is unbeaten at home. The Tommies feature one of the best goalies in the league in Benjamin Myers. The sophomore has won nine games and has stopped 421 shots, anchoring a defense that has given up only 43 goals. St. Thomas 4-3, Concordia 3-2

Augsburg (13-3-3, 7-1-2) vs. Hamline (10-8-3, 7-4-1) (home-and-home)
No team in the MIAC has a better overall record than Augsburg, which is just one point out of first place entering the weekend. The Auggies are unbeaten in their last four, winning three times, and have scored four or more goals in each of those games. They feature one of college hockey’s best offenses, tallying 74 goals, and Nate Flynn leads the way with 10 goals. Hamline is in a position to move up in the standings, sitting just two points out of second and three points out of first. The Pipers, winners of two consecutive games, have a chance to win every time they take the ice with Russ Jordan in the lineup. Jordan leads the league in points (28) and goals (15). Mitch Hall leads the conference in assists with 19. Augsburg 5-3, Hamline 5-4

Concordia (Wis.) (11-7-1, 8-5-1) at St. Scholastica (11-7-1, 9-4-1)
Concordia comes into this series on a two-game win streak and riding a wave of confidence after sweeping St. Norbert. Connor Hogg has played a key role, scoring 10 goals and dishing out four assists. The defense has been solid as well, allowing 49 goals, and the Falcons blanked St. Norbert, 3-0, last Saturday, marking the first career shutout for goalie Nick Malvin. Ranked in the top 15 for the first time and owners of a 7-3-1 road record, Concordia is poised to keep the momentum rolling. St. Scholastica has won three of four and faces a tough test at home. The Saints are 7-2 at home and have one of the top scorers in the league in Brandon Millin. Millin has come through with 12 goals and 13 assists this year. He ranks second in the conference in goals scored. The Saints have scored 68 goals in all this season. Concordia (Wis.)  5-3, 3-2

Northland (9-8-2, 7-6-1) at St. Norbert (14-4-1, 10-3-1)
No team in the league is more intriguing at the moment than Northland, which has won its last four games. The Lumberjacks have turned things around in a big way this season and face one of their toughest challenges of the year playing St. Norbert on the road. The Lumberjacks have shown they can play with the best, skating to a 1-1 tie against Wis.-Stevens Point earlier this season. The Green Knights are stinging after two consecutive losses and look to rebound this weekend. St. Norbert has scored 69 goals and has one of the best defenses in the conference, allowing just 30 goals, thanks in part to the play of T.J. Black in goal. Black has won 10 games. St. Norbert 5-2, 4-2

Saturday, Feb. 4

Wisconsin-Superior (7-13-1, 1-3) at Wisconsin-Stevens Point (14-4-3, 6-3-1)
This will be the second meeting of the year between the Yellow Jackets and Pointers. Wis.-Superior lost 3-2 to Wis.-Stevens Point on Jan. 24 and will look to finish the job this time around. The Yellow Jackets have won three of five and will need a big effort from Anton Svensson, who has come through with 11 goals and 14 assists. The Pointers have a solid defense, allowing only 53 goals. Part of that success is a credit to Max Milosek, who has fashioned an 11-3-3 record while recording two shutouts. Milosek has made 352 saves this year. Wis.-Stevens Point has allowed more than three goals in a game just once. Wis.-Stevens-Point 4-2

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