For the Big Ten, the weekend begins Thursday with the series between Nebraska-Omaha and Notre Dame. Here’s how Drew Claussen and I are doing with the picks through the third week of October.
Drew: 9-5-0 (.778)
Paula: 10-4-0 (.833)
Drew: 18-13-3 (.574)
Paula: 22-9-3 (.691)
Both Drew and I were bitten by the wrong-way splits, but we’re both doing better than I bet either of us expect to be doing.
Michigan and Penn State play a B1G series, and everyone else plays out of conference. All times are local.
Nebraska-Omaha at No. 8 Notre Dame
Drew: I haven’t been very good at picking Notre Dame this year, outside of its opening-weekend sweep. The Irish have done very well against these former CCHA foes in recent meetings; they’re 9-1-1 in the last 11 contests. That record really has nothing to do with the current teams, however, considering the last meeting was in 2012. I’ll pick a split. The Mavericks defeated and tied visiting Arizona State last weekend.
Paula: After dropping the opening game of their series against Sacred Heart last weekend, the Fighting Irish knuckled down and practically shut down the Pioneers the following night, outshooting Sacred Heart 43-25 in a 3-1 win. That kind of rebound after a poor performance is something that should give the Irish a bounce this weekend — but I can easily see a sweep by either team. This is a Thursday-Friday series, with games starting at 7:35 p.m. each night. Neither game is televised.
Drew’s picks: Notre Dame 3-1, Omaha 3-2.
Paula’s picks: Omaha 4-2, Notre Dame 3-2.
Michigan at No. 15 Penn State
Drew: After a disappointing overtime loss last time out, Penn State should come out flying at home. Michigan picked up its first sweep under Mel Pearson last weekend, but it’ll be hard for the Wolverines to duplicate those results if they cannot get the power play going. I’m going to predict that Penn State wins two high-scoring games.
Paula: When Guy Gadowsky coached Alaska — then Alaska-Fairbanks — he had a 4-8-0 record against Michigan. Penn State is 9-9-0 against Michigan all-time. Two seasons ago, the Wolverines swept the Nittany Lions 4-0 for the season. Last year, Penn State and Michigan split the season 2-2 and the Nittany Lions eliminated the Wolverines in the Big Ten Tournament en route to PSU’s first-ever conference title. All of that history with Michigan was during the Red Berenson era. It’s a new era now. I liked what I saw in spots last weekend with the Wolverines. I think they get at least one win. Friday’s game starts at 7:05 p.m., Saturday’s at 8:05 p.m., and neither is televised.
Drew’s picks: Penn State 6-4, 5-3.
Paula’s picks: Michigan 3-2, 3-2.
No. 9 Clarkson at No. 7 Minnesota
Drew: If they are true title contenders, the Gophers need to start picking up more than just one win per weekend. Sweeping a previously under-the-radar and now top-10 ranked opponent at home this weekend would go a long way for Minnesota as it heads back into conference play next weekend. I think this is the weekend where the Gophers finally put together a good two-game effort.
Paula: With a record of 4-1-1, Clarkson is a team to respect, and — as Drew suggested — how well the Golden Gophers respect the Golden Knights this weekend will speak volumes about Minnesota. Last weekend, Clarkson lost to Massachusetts-Lowell before blanking Providence. The Gophers and Knights have only faced each other once during the regular season, and that was a year ago this weekend, a 4-3 overtime road win for Minnesota. Games begin at 7:07 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and both games are carried by Fox Sports North.
Drew’s picks: Minnesota 4-2, 4-2.
Paula’s picks: Minnesota 3-2, Clarkson 3-2.
Lake Superior State at Michigan State
Drew: The Lakers proved that they can hang with anyone last weekend by tying Denver on the road, but hosting a one-win team should be an opportunity for Michigan State to have a good weekend. The Spartans have exceeded my expectations by starting the season 2-2. Both of the Spartans’ wins have been at home, but I think the Lakers will steal one this weekend.
Paula: This is a series that I love for obvious CCHA reasons. The Spartans are 71-37-14 all-time against the Lakers, including a record of 37-12-6 in Munn Ice Arena, but a year ago Sault Ste. Marie, Lake State owned Michigan State in a two-game sweep in which the Lakers outscored the Spartans 13-4. I don’t think that will be the result this weekend. Games begin at 7:05 p.m. Friday and Saturday and they are not televised.
Drew’s picks: Michigan State 5-3, Lake Superior 3-1.
Paula’s picks: Michigan State 3-1, 3-2.
Robert Morris vs. Ohio State
Drew: Ohio State leads the series against Robert Morris 5-4-3, but the Buckeyes are only 1-4 against the Colonials in Columbus. Robert Morris beat the Ohio State in Columbus last season before the two teams tied in Pittsburgh. The Buckeyes have been playing good defense so far this season; the only time they allowed more than two goals was against Wisconsin, so if they can keep that up and get the offense clicking, they could pick up a couple wins this weekend. I also wouldn’t be surprised if this year’s series produced a tie, but I’m going to pick each team to win their home game.
Paula: This has become a really nice little rivalry. Not only has Ohio State only beaten Robert Morris once in Columbus, but the Colonials have yet to win a home game against the Buckeyes. I’m calling that each team wins on the road — which, of course, will curse me to a wrong-way split prediction for the weekend. Friday’s game begins at 7:05 p.m. in Columbus, and Robert Morris hosts the rematch at 7:05 p.m. Saturday. Neither game is televised.
Drew’s picks: Ohio State 4-1, Robert Morris 3-2.
Paula’s picks: Robert Morris 3-2, Ohio State 3-2.
St. Lawrence at No. 5 Wisconsin
Drew: The law of averages says that St. Lawrence has to win a game eventually, right? It would be almost poetic if the Saints got off the schneid by beating their former goaltender that left for greener pastures. I’ll predict that they get that elusive first win on Friday and then get blown out on Saturday.
Paula: When the Badgers beat the Saints last season for a single game in Canton, N.Y., Wisconsin’s new starting goaltender, Kyle Hayton, was not in net for St. Lawrence. It was now-junior goaltender Arthur Brey with that loss, but Brey did his best, stopping 33 of the 38 shots he faced as Wisconsin outshot St. Lawrence 38-20. Games are Friday and Saturday at 7:07 p.m. and Friday’s game is televised by Fox Sports West.
Drew’s picks: St. Lawrence 3-2, Wisconsin 5-1.
Paula’s picks: Wisconsin 3-2, 3-2.
For the third straight week, I get to see two former CCHA teams play against each other. This Friday, join me (@paulacweston) for the old-school love from Munn Arena when the Lakers are in town.