West picks: Dec. 1

MIAC

Friday-Saturday, Dec. 1-2

Saint John’s at Saint Mary’s
Big opportunity for both teams here. The Johnnies are tied for third in the standings with a 2-2 mark. The Cardinals are fifth with a 1-2-1 mark. Brady Heppner is a legit offensive threat, tallying 11 points, including seven off assists. The Cardinals just ended a six-game winless streak and are looking for more momentum. Jack Stang is tied for the third-most goals in the league with four. Saint Mary’s 5-3, Saint John’s 4-3

St. Thomas vs. No. 3 Augsburg
It doesn’t get any better than these two teams meeting in a crucial series. The unbeaten Auggies are one of the hottest teams in the nation and the reigning MIAC tourney champs. St. Thomas won the regular-season crown. Both teams have tremendous goaltending with Nick Schmit (1.55 goals-against average) and Benjamin Myers (1.84 GAA). Both games should live up to the hype. The series begins at Augsburg. Augsburg 4-2, St. Thomas 2-1

Bethel vs. Gustavus Adolphus
The Royals are desperate for wins. They have only one this season. Peter Barral has been a bright spot, scoring four goals and dishing out four assists. The Gusties are in great shape, sitting in second place in the conference standings with a 3-1 record. They have won two in a row and are led by Caleb Anderson, who has three goals and five assists. Gustavus Adolphus 6-2, 5-1

NCHA

Friday, Dec. 1

St. Scholastica at No. 2 Adrian
Winners of three in a row, the Bulldogs are atop the South Division and the second-ranked team in the nation. They feature three of the top five goal scorers in the league in Taylor McCloy (8), Kyle Brothers (7), and Austin Rust (6). The Saints hope to make a statement after four consecutive losses, and they will have to lean on their defense to do it. They’ve allowed only 15 goals, with Forbes Ploszaj fashioning the best GAA at 2.02. He has 71 saves. Adrian 6-2

No. 1 St. Norbert at Lawrence
The Green Knights have yet to lose and have given up more than two goals just once. It helps they have T.J. Black in goal. He has given up only 11 goals and owns a 1.34 GAA. He ranks first in the league in wins with seven. The Vikings ended a three-game slide last weekend, but have just one win in their last five games. Josh Koepplinger and Lane King have four goals apiece to lead Lawrence. St. Norbert 5-1

Saturday, Dec. 2

Concordia at Lake Forest
The Falcons are unbeaten in their last five and look to keep that momentum rolling on the road. It will be only the third road game of the year for the Falcons, who have gotten a big lift from Dante Hahn. He has five goals on the year and ranks among the best in the league in that category. Like Concordia, Lake Forest is tied for second in the South Division with a 3-1 mark. The Foresters are 5-1 in their last six. Eleven players have scored at least two goals. Lake Forest 5-4

WIAC

Friday, Dec. 1

No. 10 Wisconsin-Stevens Point at Wisconsin-River Falls
The Pointers have just one win in their last four games and are eager to get out to a hot start in conference play. They are certainly capable of doing it behind an offense that has scored 35 goals, including seven by Tanner Karty. The Pointers have allowed 20 goals. The Falcons come in on a roll, winning their last three, and have scored four or more goals twice during the stretch. Eddie Matsushima leads the way with five goals and four assists. Wis.-Stevens Point 5-3

Saturday Dec. 2

Wisconsin-River Falls at No. 15 Wisconsin-Eau Claire
The Falcons face a stern test for the second consecutive night, and goaltending will be crucial against the best offensive team in the league. Zach Quinn is 3-5-1 with a 2.69 GAA. The Blugolds have scored 41 goals and have given up only 25, but are stinging from a surprising 4-3 loss to Wisconsin-Stout. Five players have at least two goals for the Blugolds. Wis.-River Falls 4-3

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