We have Thursday night hockey again, another CCHA-esque match-up as Ferris State travels to Michigan for two. As always, though, we start with how Drew Claussen and I are doing with the picks so far.
Drew: 5-7-0 (.417)
Paula: 8-4-0 (.667)
Drew: 23-20-3 (.533)
Paula: 30-13-3 (.685)
Drew has a knack for knowing which series will split; this week, however, he was bitten once again by the wrong-way splits. My turn is coming soon, I’m sure.
This week, we have two B1G series and a primo nonconference series between two top-10 teams. Everyone plays. All times are local.
Ferris State at Michigan
Drew: Michigan played well against Penn State on the road last weekend and maybe the Wolverines can carry some momentum into this home series against an in-state rival. Mel Pearson should have a good scouting report on the Bulldogs from his time at Michigan Tech. I want to pick the Wolverines to sweep, but I have a feeling that Ferris State will sneak out a win in Thursday’s game.
Paula: There’s a lot of history between these two teams, with Michigan leading this all-time series 70-30-4. The Wolverines and Bulldogs last met Oct. 15, 2016, a 2-1 win for Michigan in Big Rapids. Michigan’s 11-0-2 versus Ferris State in their last 13 meetings in Ann Arbor. Ferris State is struggling this season, with a record of 2-5-1, having tied and lost to Bemidji State last weekend. Everyone who knows me knows that I have a soft spot for the Bulldogs, but I’m not calling them to win this weekend. The games begin at 7:35 p.m. Thursday and Friday and Thursday’s game is carried by the Big Ten Network! Hooray!
Drew’s picks: Ferris State 4-3, Michigan 4-1.
Paula’s picks: Michigan 3-2, 3-2.
Michigan State at No. 5 Minnesota
Drew: The Gophers showed flashes of the team I thought they were last weekend during the sweep of Clarkson. The next step would be to sweep a lower-tier conference side like the Spartans. Minnesota should sweep at home.
Paula: Both the Gophers and the Spartans swept last weekend, so both should be primed for a good series in Mariucci. Minnesota is 139-124-14 all-time against Michigan State, and starting goaltender Eric Schierhorn is 6-1-1 versus the Spartans. Last season, the Gophers were 3-0-1 against Michigan State. I think Michigan State will give Minnesota all the Gophers can handle and the Spartans will still come out on the losing side of things. Friday’s game begins at 7:07 p.m. and is carried by both Fox Sports North and Fox Sports Detroit Plus; Saturday’s game is a 4:07 p.m. matinee and is also televised by Fox Sports North.
Drew’s picks: Minnesota 4-2, 4-1.
Paula’s picks: Minnesota 3-2, 3-1.
No. 10 Notre Dame at No. 16 Ohio State
Drew: Ohio State is looking good, coming off of back-to-back sweeps. That’s a tough thing to do these days, regardless of who the opponents are. Notre Dame has gotten into a habit of splitting weekends lately, and I wouldn’t be surprised if that happens again. A sweep by either side would give them a leg up in establishing themselves as a top-tier team in the conference, however.
Paula: I am so excited to see this rivalry renewed, as I’m sure many Ohio State fans are as well. Those who have been among the Buckeye faithful for a long time remember the last-ever men’s regular-season hockey played in the old OSU Ice Rink, a two-game series against the Irish that Ohio State handled, as they didn’t lose a game that calendar year in the old barn. I distinctly remember Aniket Dhadphale — one of my all-time favorite Notre Dame players — tossing his stick down the ice in frustration and earning a penalty and Chris Richards — one of my all-time favorite Ohio State players — waving to Dhadphale as he headed to the penalty box. The 1,200 or so fans in attendance went wild. But I digress.
The Buckeyes have a slight edge in this all-time series, 35-32-10, leading Notre Dame 18-15-6 in Columbus. The last time these two teams met was in the 2014 Shillelagh Tournament when OSU won 5-1. I see a split here, too. I’ll probably call it wrong. Games begin at 7:05 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and the Big Ten Network is carrying Friday’s contest.
Drew’s picks: Ohio State 4-3, Notre Dame 3-1.
Paula’s picks: Ohio State 3-2, Notre Dame 3-2.
Mercyhurst at No. 17 Penn State
Drew: After surrendering its home-ice advantage during Saturday’s game against Michigan, the Nittany Lions get another shot at home this weekend. I see this as another instance where Penn State will try and outgun its opponent. Mercyhurst could get a great goaltending performance and steal a game, but I’m picking a sweep.
Paula: The Nittany Lions and Lakers met early last season in Erie, a 7-0 win for Penn State. Mercyhurst is 2-2-2 on the season so far, having split a pair of road games with Bentley last weekend. Games begin at 7:05 p.m. Friday and Saturday and neither is televised.
Drew’s picks: Penn State 5-2, 4-1
Paula’s picks: Penn State 4-2, 3-1.
No. 4 North Dakota at No. 7 Wisconsin
Drew: Wisconsin’s win at Boston College earlier this season was the Badgers telling everyone that the past couple seasons, excluding last season, were defiantly in the past. A couple good results against North Dakota this weekend would let all of college hockey know that the Badgers will be a team that is going to be in the mix this season. I’m going to play it safe and predict a split.
Paula: Each of these teams split a pair of games last weekend, both in series that each team probably should have swept. The Fighting Hawks come into Madison with a win, while the Badgers will want to recover from that 6-3 loss to St. Lawrence. The Badgers lead this all-time series 87-69-12, but North Dakota is 3-1-0 in the the last four meetings from the last two seasons, and the Fighting Hawks are 7-1-1 versus Wisconsin in their last nine games. I’m going way out on a limb with this one and calling a Wisconsin sweep, just because. Friday’s game is carried by Fox Sports West Plus, Saturday’s game is televised by Fox Sports West, and both games begin at 7:07 p.m.
Drew’s picks: Wisconsin 4-3, North Dakota 4-2.
Paula’s picks: Wisconsin 4-3, 4-3.
I’ll be at Yost Ice Arena Friday night covering Ferris State and Michigan — and I can’t wait! Find me on Twitter (paulacweston) and I’ll shout back at you.