West picks: Feb. 17

Friday-Saturday, Feb. 17-18

Augsburg (14-3-6, 8-1-5) vs. Saint John’s (11-9-3, 6-6-2) (home-and-home)
Augsburg is looking to secure at least a share of the MIAC title when it battles the Johnnies this weekend. The Auggies are unbeaten in the month of February and haven’t lost a game since Jan. 14. The Auggies have the most dangerous offense in the league, scoring 91 goals, including 11 in a series with St. Thomas last weekend. Augsburg also ranks second in the conference in goals allowed, giving up just 58, and that means the Johnnies will have their hands full. Nate Flynn leads the attack with 14 goals. The Johnnies have dropped three of four and are two points behind Concordia for the fifth and final conference playoff spot. Saint John’s has given up a league-low 55 goals and can lean on either Tyler Nelson or Andrew Lindgren in goal. The two have combined for 11 wins and will need to be at their best for the Johnnies to prevail. Augsburg 5-2, 5-4

St. Olaf (7-13-3, 5-7-2) vs. St. Thomas (11-7-5, 9-3-2) (home-and-home)
St. Thomas enters the weekend looking to secure the regular-season title. The Tommies have had a tough February, winning only once, but they are tied with Augsburg for first place in the MIAC standings. St. Olaf is just hoping to end what has been a difficult year on a positive note. St. Thomas features a defense that has given up only 59 goals, which is a credit, in part, to the play of Benjamin Meyers, who has won 10 games and owns a 2.49 goals-against average. The Tommies aren’t bad defensively either, scoring 72 goals, which ranks fourth overall among the conference teams. The Oles have struggled on both ends of the ice, scoring only 58 goals and allowing 67, but they have won two of their last three and have proven their ability to win on the road, fashioning a 5-3-2 record away from home. Drew Otto needs to play well for St. Olaf to thrive. He has tallied 15 goals and 12 assists on the year. St. Thomas 2-1, 4-3

St. Scholastica (12-10-1, 10-7-1) at Adrian (16-5-2, 15-3)
The Saints face a postseason-like test when they hit the road to battle the Bulldogs, the best team in the NCHA. St. Scholastica is looking to get back on track after dropping its last two. Goalie play will be key for the Saints, who can go with either Zane Steeves or Peter Megariotis. Megariotis leads the way with nine wins. Steeves has won three games. Both have made more than 200 saves this year. Adrian has a pretty good goalie of its own in Kevin Entmaa, who has won 10 games this year. He has racked up 418 saves and has allowed just 39 goals. He is backed by an offense that has cranked out 106 goals on the season. The Bulldogs are tough at home and want to keep their momentum rolling as they gear up for a run at the Harris Cup. Adrian 5-2, 6-3

Northland (10-11-2, 8-9-1) at Concordia (12-10-1, 9-8-1)
Northland is in the discussion for a postseason berth heading into its weekend series with Concordia, but the Lumberjacks will need some help to make that dream a reality. The Falcons have lost three of their last four but are still in the playoff hunt as well. The Lumberjacks have dropped three of four in February and are just 5-7-1 away from home. Concordia is just 4-6 at home this season. Northland will look to Michael Berens to have a big game. He has scored 10 goals and dished out 14 assists this year. Connor Hogg is the leader in goals scored for Concordia, scoring 10 on the year. He has also dished out five assists. Northland has scored 10 more goals than Concordia (76-66) but has allowed 20 more goals than the Falcons (87-67). Something has to give. Northland 4-2, Concordia 5-3

Wisconsin-Superior (7-16-2) at Wisconsin-Stout (11-12-2)
It is playoff time for the Yellow Jackets and Blue Devils. The two teams play a two-game series this Friday and Saturday, with a mini-game on tap if needed. The winner gets Wisconsin-Stevens Point in the semifinal round of the WIAC tournament. The two teams split their series in the regular season, with Wis.-Stout winning 5-3 in December and Wis.-Superior earning a 4-2 win last month. This game is a rematch of last year’s opening round battle that ended with the Blue Devils advancing after a 3-2 win in the mini game. Riley Colvard leads Wis.-Stout, scoring 12 goals and dishing out eight assists. The Blue Devils have also gotten great production from Colton Brausen, who has tallied eight goals and 12 assists. Wis.-Superior has not won a game since Jan. 27 and is led by Anton Svensson, who has scored 11 goals and 15 assists. The Yellow Jackets are winless in their last five games. Expect both games to be close. Wis.-Stout 4-3, 3-2

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