Weekend picks: March 9

Last weekend, we only picked the semifinals of the conference tournaments, but because I picked Minnesota to beat Ohio State, I went 6-1 (.857), while Nicole went 5-2 (.714). On the year, I am 359-127-59 (.712), while Nicole is 349-137-59 (.694). With a 10-game lead, I could get every game wrong from here on out and still win our season picks race. Of course, I think the two of us will likely pick the same going forward, but who knows?

Saturday, March 10

Mercyhurst at Clarkson
Candace: Clarkson looks like a force to be reckoned with. Mercyhurst was definitely the top team in the CHA for most of the year, but the Lakers struggled out of conference. I see Clarkson returning to the Frozen Four. Clarkson 4-1
Nicole: The Lakers stacked their early-season schedule with big name opponents, and I’m guessing they did that precisely so they had that experience to draw on here in the postseason. They didn’t fare particularly well against those teams, though it was very early in the season, and they’ve grown a lot since then. However, I still don’t think that’s enough to give them a chance against Clarkson. The Golden Knights are dominant at every position. There aren’t a lot of chinks in the armor to attack. I expect Clarkson to win this. Clarkson 4-2

Northeastern at Colgate
Candace: We are guaranteed at least one new team in the Frozen Four, and that’s a good thing. Otherwise we could have been looking at a third-straight Frozen Four with the same four teams. Northeastern came up big last weekend to win the Hockey East tournament and advance to the NCAA tournament. Northeastern is the sleeper of the tournament to me. The Huskies beat both Wisconsin and Boston College during the regular season, so they clearly have the talent to advance to the Frozen Four. I’ll pick Northeastern just to be contrary to Nicole in one game. Northeastern 3-2
Nicole: If the Northeastern team that beat Boston College and Wisconsin shows up, this is going to be a heck of a game. The problem is that way more often this season, that was not the case. I said it in our Wednesday Women column this week, but I think Colgate is a sneaky good team that folks may not understand is as good as it is. We’ve got a good shot at a first-time national champion this year, and Colgate is a strong contender. I pick them to win. Colgate 3-1

Minnesota at Wisconsin
Candace: This sort of reminds me of a few years ago when Minnesota had to go up against North Dakota on back-to-back weekends, first in the WCHA, then the NCAA tournament. That last game went three overtimes, and was really the closest Minnesota came to losing a game all year, even if Boston College did take them to OT the weekend after. The difference right now is that Minnesota won the last game between the two teams, the Gophers have been better on the road, and if Minnesota can get past Wisconsin, they will be at home for the Frozen Four. That’s a lot of motivation, but I’m not sure it will be enough. I think this goes to at least one OT, but I’m going with the Badgers. Wisconsin 3-2
Nicole: My pick for this game probably changes by the minute. The Badgers have such an advantage at LaBahn and the game sold out, including standing room only, in less than two minutes. They need to play their game and stick with what has been working for them. Minnesota is about as high as a team can be after playing for their life and winning last weekend. There are no more familiar foes than these two — three of Wisconsin’s last four games were with the Gophers and now this. It’s going to come down to a very slim margin, but I’ll take the Badgers. Wisconsin 3-2

Ohio State at Boston College
Candace: A lot of how this game goes could come down to whether Kassidy Sauve is in net for Ohio State. She is the type of player that can get in the heads of BC’s high-flying forwards. BC will come out fast and furious, especially after losing to Connecticut in the semifinals of the Hockey East tournament, and that may be the difference. I think BC squeaks by. Boston College 4-3
Nicole: This is the game I’m most interested in in terms of a matchup of squads we don’t much get to see. Boston College is so thirsty for a title, and they have a lot to prove after that early Hockey East tournament exit. They have such a dynamic offense, and it can just go into hiding sometimes. The Eagles have to be hoping Buckeyes goalie Kassidy Sauve continues to be out. Both teams count on puck possession, and I’m not sure either will get it — these games tend to be a lot less smooth than the ones during the regular season. How either one adapts to that will be pretty key. I’ll take Boston College here, but this is the game most prime for an upset, I think. Boston College 5-3