Each week, USCHO.com columnists will pick the winners of the upcoming games in their respective conferences.
Niagara at Penn State – The Nittany Lions (2-0) have eight straight home games to start the season including this series with Niagara, which is coming off a season-opening split with AIC. Penn State swept Niagara at Pegula Ice Arena two years ago, and after some stumbles against Atlantic Hockey teams last season (losses to Mercyhurst and AIC), I don’t think PSU will be taking Niagara lightly. Penn State sweeps.
Mercyhurst at Ferris State – The Lakers are 1-7-1 all-time against the Bulldogs, with the lone victory coming the last time the teams met, on Oct. 21 of last year. Mercyhurst nearly upset Notre Dame last weekend and a split certainly isn’t out of the question, but I like Ferris to sweep on home ice.
Army at Robert Morris – The Black Knights are coming off a win against Merrimack, while the Colonials opened the season with a split with Bowling Green. The only other conference series played to date have resulted in splits, and I think that’s the way these games will go as well. I’m picking RMU and AWP to split.
Air Force at Canisius – This should be a great series between teams picked first and second in the coaches and media pre-season polls. It’s also a rematch of one of last year’s AHA semifinals, won by the Falcons, 3-0. The teams split their regular-season series last year, so guess what? I’m picking a split here.
Holy Cross at St. Lawrence – This is the only the second meeting between the two schools — the first coming way back in 2000. The Saints dropped a pair at Maine to open the season, while the Crusaders split with Canisius on home ice. I like Holy Cross to pick up a road win.
Colgate at RIT – This is the annual Brick City homecoming game at Blue Cross Arena, and the Tigers draw upwards of 10,000 each year. RIT has tied each of the past three Brick City games, but I think the Tigers will manage a win here.
Providence at Sacred Heart- The Pioneers are coming off the wrong end of a sweep against No. 12 Northeastern, and it doesn’t get any easier against fifth-ranked Providence, which was the runner-up in last weekend’s Ice Breaker tournament. I’m going with a Friars win.
Holy Cross at Clarkson – The Crusaders complete their North Country trip with a tilt against the Golden Knights, who were swept by Penn State last weekend. The last time the teams met at Cheel Arena was back in 2012, with Holy Cross coming out on top. I don’t think that happens this time. Clarkson wins.
— Chris Lerch
Notre Dame at Omaha
After uncharacteristically giving up six goals in their season opener, the Irish bounced back and shut out Providence 3-0 the next night. I think they’ll keep that momentum rolling and sweep the Mavericks on the road.
Wisconsin at Clarkson
The Badgers will take their first road test after last weekend’s impressive sweep of Boston College. If its offense keeps the foot on the gas, I like Wisconsin in this game.
Wisconsin at St. Lawrence
St. Lawrence looks to be in full rebuilding mode right now, so I’ll take the Badgers again here.
Massachusetts at Ohio State
Arizona State played Ohio State close last weekend and I do think UMass is going to be a good team this year, but I’m not picking against the Buckeyes until they give me a reason to do so. I’ll take an OSU sweep at home.
Western Michigan at/vs Michigan
The Wolverines have had quite a while to stew over their opening-night loss to Vermont, so I look for them to have a quick start and win the game at home on Friday. I’ll pick Western Michigan to win its home game in a close one on Saturday.
Niagara at Penn State
Penn State’s nonconference home series have yielded sweeps for the Nittany Lions the past couple seasons and I’ll predict that to continue this weekend.
— Drew Claussen
Wisconsin at Clarkson – The Golden Knights dropped a pair of games last weekend at Penn State, while Wisconsin swept Boston College at home. Given the early results so far, I’m going with the Badgers to win.
Union at Northeastern – Offense hasn’t been a problem for the Dutchmen so far this season, but they haven’t faced a goaltender the caliber of the Huskies’ Cayden Primeau. I think this series has split written all over it, with Northeastern winning Friday and Union winning Saturday.
Boston College at Quinnipiac – A young Bobcats team has started the season 2-0, while Boston College is seeking its first nonconference win in nearly two years. Quinnipiac should extend that streak at least another game.
Holy Cross at St. Lawrence – The Saints had a tough weekend at Maine to start the season, but I think St. Lawrence will win its home opener.
Colgate at RIT – The Raiders put together a pretty complete weekend last time out against New Hampshire, and I don’t see that changing against RIT. Colgate should win.
UConn at Rensselaer – RPI was swept last weekend at UMass, but I think the Engineers will bounce back with a win in their home opener.
Wisconsin at St. Lawrence – Not sure if the Saints can match the depth of the Badgers. Wisconsin wins.
Holy Cross at Clarkson – The Crusaders should be a more manageable opponent than Wisconsin, and Clarkson should get its first win of the season.
— Nate Owen
Connecticut at Providence – The Friars may not have won the Ice Breaker, but they were impressive enough for me to pick them at home. Providence wins.
New Hampshire at Colorado College – This was a competitive series a year ago, but I feel like CC has improved more than UNH. Colorado College wins.
UMass Lowell at Miami – This series will likely be a split if Lowell can play solid defense and get good goaltending. River Hawks on Friday. UMass Lowell wins.
Union at Northeastern – This should be a knock-down, drag-out series. And I like the home Huskies. Northeastern wins.
Massachusetts at Ohio State – I really want to pick and upset here, and I tend to like the road team on night one. UMass wins.
Boston College at Quinnipiac – QU has been decent out of the gates and BC’s struggles last weekend make me shy away. Quinnipiac wins.
Maine at Minnesota Duluth – Maine is a good team and improved. But facing the defending national champs on the road isn’t the formula. Minnesota Duluth wins.
Boston University at Merrimack – Last weekend wasn’t what BU wanted, but that should make them hungrier heading to N. Andover. BU wins.
New Hampshire at Colorado College – I feel like I should pick the split, but also feel like CC can take care of business at home. Colorado College wins.
UMass Lowell at Miami – Good chance that I’ll call this split backwards, but I’ll go with the host on night two. Miami wins.
Union at Northeastern – I think this is the bold move in picking two Northeastern wins, but I’m doing it anyway. Northeastern wins.
Massachusetts at Ohio State – Making this pick assuming that UMass wins the first, Ohio State will be hungry on night two: Ohio State wins.
Connecticut at Rensselaer – Not sure what to make of UConn just yet, but RPI didn’t have a lot of firepower against UMass. UConn wins.
Providence at Sacred Heart – I think Bridgeport can be a tough place for opponents to play, but Providence is up to this test. Providence wins.
Maine at Minnesota Duluth – Maine should be an auto-pick for a sweep, at least, most weekends this year. Except this one. Minnesota Duluth wins.
Thursday, Oct. 25
St. Cloud State at Boston College – Finally at home, this will be a good test for the Eagles. But I think on home ice they prevail. BC wins.
— Jim Connelly
New Hampshire at Colorado College – I still think CC is going to be a tough team to beat this year. UNH started its season by losing two to Colgate, while CC has been consistent except for a hiccup in its second game against Alaska Anchorage. I’m going with the league homer pick. Colorado College 3-2, 4-2
Alaska at Denver – I’m beginning to think Denver is going to surprise a lot of people who expected them to struggle this year, me included. Denver 4-2, 4-2
UMass Lowell at Miami – The RedHawks got a split out of their Ice Breaker sojourn, losing to Providence and beating Mercyhurst. Lowell got a split out of its first weekend against RIT. I think a split is likely this weekend too. Miami 4-3, Lowell 3-2
Northern Michigan at St. Cloud State – I think this might produce two tight games, but I think St. Cloud State is going to continue a strong start. St. Cloud has a lot of ways to hurt an opponent, with multiple scoring threats and a strong defense. St. Cloud State 4-2, 4-2
Maine at Minnesota Duluth – The loss to Minnesota aside, the Bulldogs are a really hard team to score against. I like UMD to get a sweep and help the NCHC record against Hockey East for the year. Minnesota Duluth 3-2, 3-2
Minnesota State at North Dakota – The Mavericks surprised a lot of observers by sweeping Boston University, and North Dakota surprised a lot of people by only getting a tie in two games against Bemidji State. North Dakota is at home and will be gunning for a win, but I think Minnesota State will get a split. North Dakota 3-2, Minnesota State 3-2
Notre Dame at Omaha – The Irish had a tough game against Mercyhurst but rebounded with a solid outing against a strong Providence team. Omaha has a lot of potential with its offense, but I think Notre Dame will get a sweep. Notre Dame 4-2, 4-3
Michigan vs. Western Michigan (home-and-home) – The Wolverines had a rough opening weekend. The Broncos rebounded after a tough loss to Bowling Green with a win over Ferris State. I think each team wins on home ice. Michigan 4-2, Western Michigan 3-2
— Candace Horgan
Alaska at Denver – With Alaska still rebuilding, signs point to the college hockey blue blood sweeping the series this weekend.
Mercyhurst at Ferris State – Mercyhurst played Notre Dame to a tie but was skunked by Bowling Green and Miami. Depending on which Lakers team shows up will determine how well Ferris does, in my opinion. I like Mercyhurst to win Friday’s matchup and Ferris to take the following day’s game.
Northern Michigan at St. Cloud State – The Wildcats have just enough firepower to make this series interesting. With only two assists on the season, this could be a series where Troy Loggins has his first breakout game of the year. I like SCSU to win Game 1, but NMU to rebound with a win going away.
Arizona State at Alabama Huntsville – The Sun Devils swept Alaska at home and then played Ohio State tough to open the season. So I like ASU to take the weekend sweep against a struggling UAH team.
Minnesota State at North Dakota – It’s never easy going to North Dakota to get a win, but I like the Mavericks to split this series. Mankato takes Game 1, but UND takes Game 2.
— Brandon Folsom