West picks: Feb. 9

Friday, Feb. 9

No. 13 St. Thomas at Saint John’s
Few rivalries in sports compare to this one, and it’s only appropriate that a lot is riding on it. The Tommies, riding the high of a seven-game win streak, come in as the top team in the conference with 28 points. Saint John’s is third and just four points out of first place. Both teams have their fair share of offensive weapons, but this is a series that could be decided by goaltending. Benjamin Myers is an All-American and leads the MIAC in save percentage (.932) and goals-against average (1.83). Lindgren isn’t too far behind, boasting a 2.03 GAA. He has a .927 save percentage. Expect this matchup to live up to the hype. St. John’s 3-2

Concordia at Gustavus Adolphus
Concordia and Gustavus are third and fourth, respectively, in the MIAC standings and still very much alive in the hunt for a conference playoff berth. This game will mark the 120th time the two rivals have met, and the Gusties have dominated the series, winning 83 times. Back in October at the MIAC Showcase, the two teams skated to a 1-1 tie. With so much riding on this series, it’s hard to imagine either game not being close. Gustavus Adolphus 2-1

No. 3 Wisconsin-Stevens Point at Wisconsin-Stout
With a win, or even a tie, in this road game, the Pointers are assured of the regular-season conference championship. Wis.-Stevens Point features the two best scorers in the league in Tanner Karty (39 points) and Willem Nong-Lambert (26). The Blue Devils are led by Mathias Ahman, who has the most points (21) among defensemen this season. Wis.-Stevens Point 3-1

No. 14 Marian at St. Scholastica
The Sabres need to beat or tie the Saints to secure the No. 2 seed in the North Division. The Saints still have an opportunity to finish as high as second in the division, but need to beat Marian to have a shot. The Sabres have won their last five. The Saints just ended a three-game losing streak. Marian rolled to a 6-2 win in the last meeting between the schools. This one should be closer. Marian 4-3

Milwaukee School of Engineering at No. 1 Adrian
This is a preview of a first-round matchup in the Harris Cup playoffs. The Bulldogs can lock up the No. 1 overall seed in the tournament with a point against the Raiders. Winners of 11 in a row, Adrian defeated MSOE in their first meeting. With an offense averaging just over four goals per game, they should complete the season sweep. The Raiders are hoping to snap a two-game losing streak. Adrian 5-2

Saturday, Feb. 10

Saint John’s at No. 13 St. Thomas
The finale should be one to marvel at, and the Tommies will be aiming to close out the series on a high note. Playing at home will help. St. Thomas is 5-2-1 on its home ice. St. Thomas 4-2

Concordia at Gustavus Adolphus
The Cobbers have one of the top scorers in the conference in Mario Bianchi, who has tallied seven goals and 15 assists. Colin Hernon comes in on a four-game point streak for the Gusties, coming through with three goals and three assists during the stretch. Concordia 4-3

Wisconsin-Eau Claire at No. 3 Wis.-Stevens Point
Does it get any better than the Blugolds and Pointers battling it out in the final game of the regular season? Wis.-Stevens Point is atop the conference and is the hottest team in the WIAC, having won its last five. The Pointers have already beaten the preseason favorite once this season, and being at home where they are 9-3-2, there is a good chance they do it again. It should be close with these two teams featuring the best offenses and defenses in the WIAC. Wis.-Stevens Point 4-3

Lawrence at St. Scholastica
The showdown could mean little if Lawrence takes care of business against Northland Friday night. A win or tie would assure the Vikings of a playoff berth, but if the Vikings fall and Northland beats Marian Saturday, this game becomes a must-win. The Vikings have lost their last two, but did beat the Saints just a couple of weeks ago. NCHA points leader Lane King needs to have a big game. Lawrence 5-4