West picks: Feb. 22

Thursday, Feb. 22

Concordia at Gustavus Adolphus
The winner moves on. The loser goes home. It’s that simple. Both teams will leave it all on the floor, that is for sure. The two teams are 1-1-1 against each other this season. Zach Doerring has been phenomenal for the Cobbers, racking up 28 points, including 14 off goals, and he’ll be at his best for this showdown. Gustavus doesn’t have that one lights out offensive threat, but Colin Hernon has been pretty good, tallying eight goals and nine assists. Concordia 5-3

Friday, Feb. 23

Wisconsin-River Falls at No. 3 Wisconsin-Stevens Point
These two teams have combined to win the last three league tournament titles, with the Pointers winning two in a row. The Falcons haven’t had the easiest year, but are unbeaten in their last four games. They have a goalie capable of rising to the occasion on any given night in Zach Quinn, who has won six times and owns a 2.73 goals-against average. The Pointers are one of the best offensive teams in the nation and are unbeaten in their last seven. They’ve scored close to 100 goals, with Tanner Karty punching in 19 to go along with 23 assists. Wis.-Stevens Point 5-3

Wisconsin-Stout at Wisconsin-Eau Claire
The Blue Devils did beat the Blugolds once this season, so it’s not as if they will lack confidence going into this semifinal series. Their issue is that they have won just once in their last 12. Mathias Ahman has been the go-to guy for the Blue Devils, tallying 11 goals and 10 assists. The Blugolds have won three of their last five games and feature 11 players with at least 11 points. Colton Wolter leads the way with seven goals and 14 assists. This is a team that is 10-3 at home this year. That should play to their advantage. Wis.-Eau Claire 4-2

Saturday, Feb. 24

Augsburg at Saint John’s
This is a matchup worthy of a championship game, but only one team gets to advance. The Auggies are looking to three-peat as MIAC champs. The Johnnies are eager to win their first crown since 2013. Two of the biggest stars in the league will be on the ice for this one, with Nate Flynn the leader of the Auggies, racking up 25 points on the year, and Brady Heppner coming in as one of the top goal scorers in the league. He has scored 13 goals on the season. The two teams split in the regular season, so this one could go either way. Augsburg 6-5

Concordia at No. 15 Saint Thomas
The Cobbers will come riding the high of a big road win over the Gusties, but face a tall order in trying to knock off one of the best teams in the nation. The Tommies have won nine of their last 11 and seem to be playing their best hockey at the right time of the year. Johnny Panvica ranks first in the league in points (29), and Brett Gravelle is tied for second (28). These two teams played at the end of January, and both were decided by a goal. This one should follow a similar script. St. Thomas 3-2

Lake Forest at No. 1 Adrian
The Foresters have won two in a row and have standout goalie Louis-Philippe De Courcy in their lineup. He boasts a .1.97 GAA and a 933 save percentage. He has won 21 games and has established himself as one of the top netminders in the nation. Adrian has won its last 15 games and won’t be easy to cool off. De Courcy will be tasked with slowing down a high-powered Adrian offense fueled by the play of Taylor McCloy, who has punched in an NCHA-best 20 goals and 30 points in all. Kevin Entmaa has been sensational in goal, fashioning a 1.82 GAA. Adrian 6-3

No. 13 Marian at No. 2 St. Norbert
A big-time showdown pitting two of the best teams in the country. St. Norbert owns a nine-game win streak. Marian has won seven in a row. Something will have to give. Both teams have great goalies, with T.J. Black (1.44) between the pipes for the Green Knights and Hunter Vorva (1.89) manning the goal for the Sabres. The Green Knights swept the regular-season series. Their run of success against the Sabres should continue Saturday. St. Norbert 4-2

Wis.-River Falls at No. 3 Wis.-Stevens Point
The Falcons lost both games to the Pointers in the regular season, though the second meeting (3-2) was a lot closer than the first (6-1). The Pointers are at home, and momentum is on their side. Wis.-Stevens Point 6-3

Wis.-Stout at Wis.-Eau Claire
The Blugolds were favored to win the regular-season title. That didn’t happen, but they are still in the running for the Commissioner’s Cup for the first time since 2014. Wis.-Eau Claire 4-1