Weekend picks: Oct. 6

Hello everyone, it’s time to kick off another edition of our annual NCHC picks race. In our first four years, Candace has won the picks race and the six pack of beer that goes with it. Will Matthew finally break Candace’s stranglehold this year in the NCHC’s fifth season?

Just a reminder, you need to pick the correct winner on the correct night. Shootouts are recorded as ties, and any tie is worth half a point.

Friday, Oct. 6

No. 3 Minnesota at No. 6 Minnesota Duluth
Candace: Boy this a tough opening game to call. Duluth has won the last few between these two teams; in fact, Minnesota last beat Minnesota Duluth in the Ice Breaker in October 2014. The Bulldogs also lost a ton from last season’s team, and taking on a loaded Gophers squad in their first game without last year’s talented seniors, plus Neal Pionk, Hunter Miska, and Adam Johnson, might be too tough an ask. Minnesota 4-3
Matthew: This should be a fantastic game and exactly what you want for the opening night of a first-week tournament. I want to take the homer pick here, but I’m curious to see what Duluth will look like in its own end without Messrs. Miska and Pionk. Gophers in a tight one. Minnesota 3-2

Friday-Saturday

No. 7 North Dakota at Alaska Anchorage
Candace: I expect a lot from North Dakota this season, and this is a good opening series for them. North Dakota 4-2, 4-2
Matthew: North Dakota won its first five games last season, and I wouldn’t be terribly surprised to see something similar happen again. North Dakota 4-2, 3-1

No. 11 Providence at Miami
Candace: I’d like to think home ice might be good for a win for Miami here, though I have no idea which night it might happen on. Decisions, decisions. Providence 3-2, Miami 3-2
Matthew: This is the first time in the Enrico Blasi era that Miami is opening the season with a non-exhibition matchup, and the Friars will be a very decent team this season. Split. Providence 3-1, Miami 3-1

Ferris State vs. No. 20 Western Michigan (home-and-home)
Candace: This is a good series to learn what we can expect from the Broncos this season. Going with the league homer pick. Western Michigan 3-1, 2-1
Matthew: Ferris State struggled somewhat to score goals last season, and I’m excited to see what Ben Blacker does for Western after a very solid freshman season. This might come back to bite me, but I like Western to sweep here. Western Michigan 3-1, 3-2

Colorado College at Vermont
Candace: I don’t know enough about Hockey East, but I’m not sure if Alex Leclerc will have shaken the off-season rust fully off yet. Vermont 3-2, 3-1
Matthew: CC lacks scoring talent but could sneak out of Burlington this weekend with a win or two against a Vermont team that didn’t finish games that well last season. Colorado College 3-2, Vermont 3-1

Saturday, Oct. 7

No. 9 St. Cloud State at No. 18 Minnesota State
Candace: I think St. Cloud is going to a be a really tough team to beat this season. St. Cloud State 3-2
Matthew: MSU was terrific at home last season and swept St. Cloud in Mankato a year ago next week. I’ll take the Mavericks, but can certainly see SCSU winning. Minnesota State 3-2

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