Each week, USCHO.com columnists will pick the winners of the upcoming games in their respective conferences.
AIC at Mercyhurst
I featured AIC this week, but I would say that Saturday’s “Fighting For Folgs Day” is going to be one of the greatest events in college hockey history. It’s one of those things that we’re going to remember forever and having the first place team creates the perfect foil for the Lakers. I’m going with a split, but more importantly, I’m going with Mercyhurst on Saturday.
Keep fightin,’ Folgs. You’ve got all of college hockey behind you.
Army West Point at RIT
Army’s win over the Canadian Royal Military College won’t show up in an official record book, but it ended a four-game slide that included the Ledyard Bank Classic at the end of December. I think the break will help them turn around against an RIT squad that is going to be pretty hungry after last weekend at Bentley. This is going to be a great weekend of hockey. I’m calling for a split.
Holy Cross at Sacred Heart
This is one of those sneaky-good eastern hockey rivalries that dates back to Atlantic Hockey’s earliest days. No team right now should want to play either opponent; the Pioneers took three points from Air Force and the Crusaders have become the second half sleeper I kind of envisioned they would be. The games are in Connecticut, so I’m taking the home team here. Sacred Heart sweeps.
Bentley at Canisius
If Sacred Heart holds up its end of the prediction bargain, it will put pressure on both Bentley and Canisius to hold serve in the race for home ice. The Falcons’ win over RIT kept pace with Robert Morris, but the Pioneers are only two points behind. Considering how tight the race goes, Canisius is also lurking, one point behind. Whoever loses this series winds up essentially on the outside looking in. They’ll meet again in Massachusetts in a couple of weeks, and I’m going for a split here.
Robert Morris at Air Force
It’s not that I don’t like Robert Morris to win in this series, but Air Force, coming off of a one-point weekend on the road, hasn’t lost back-to-back series since the early stages of last season. So I’m taking the Falcons to sweep.
Tuesday, Jan. 29
Sacred Heart at Connecticut
I just said that no team would really want to play Sacred Heart at this time of year. That includes non-conference games. It kicks off five in a row at home for UConn and is part of seven of eight games played there before mid-February. The Huskies will only have two road games left on the season by the time this game rolls around. UConn wins this one.
— Dan Rubin
Penn State vs. Michigan
After dropping two home games to Ohio State last weekend, the Nittany Lions travel to Yost Ice Arena Thursday night to take on the Wolverines before both teams head to Madison Square Garden for a rematch Saturday night. The Wolverines are rested after having last weekend off, and the weekend before earned a road split against Ohio State. History here says that the entire weekend favors Michigan — the Wolverines are 8-2-0 in their last 10 against Penn State at home and have won the last seven straight at Yost, and the Wolverines tend to do well in NHL arenas. I don’t see the Nittany Lions extending their losing streak to five games with two losses this weekend, though. Penn State wins Thursday, Michigan Saturday.
Michigan State at Notre Dame
The Spartans carry a three-game win streak into this weekend, having swept visiting Minnesota last weekend and split with Penn State the weekend before. The Fighting Irish snapped a three-game skid last weekend with a home win against Wisconsin and a tie against the Badgers in the United Center. Notre Dame is 8-2-0 against Michigan State in the last 10 games the teams have met, and the Irish have already swept the Spartans in Munn Ice Arena this season. Again, I don’t see either team losing two, though. Notre Dame wins Friday, Michigan State wins Saturday.
Wisconsin at Minnesota
The Badgers ended their own losing streak with that tie against Notre Dame last weekend, and the Golden Gophers lost two on the road to the Spartans. The Gophers are 169-95-23 all-time against the Badgers, their oldest rivals, and the teams have split the series in Mariucci the last three seasons. Wisconsin is .500 in B1G play but in the cellar. Minnesota is .536 in B1G play and in second place. What a season. Minnesota is also 5-5-2 at home. Minnesota wins Friday, Wisconsin wins Saturday.
— Paula C. Weston
Colgate at Cornell
The two travel partners meet up for their yearly home-and-home series. Cornell has scored 16 goals the past two weekends while Colgate has scored two. The Big Red sweeps the weekend.
St. Lawrence at Dartmourth
This an intriguing game. While St. Lawrence hasn’t won since Dec. 7, they have found their scoring touch the past two weekends and played good teams tough. Dartmouth has played well against good teams this season but has struggled against bottom-end teams. I will take the Big Green in a close one.
Clarkson at Harvard
One of the better games on the schedule in the ECAC for the weekend. Clarkson has been one of the hottest teams in the country while Harvard has also played well but is 3-2-1 since the break. Clarkson extends its win streak.
Brown at Rensselaer
This may be an underrated game on the schedule this week. A point separates them in the standings. Brown won the first game this season 2-1 and I expect another close, low-scoring affair. Brown wins.
Yale at Union
This will be the third meeting of the season for these teams. They battled to a 1-1 tie at the Friendship Four with Union moving onto the championship game in a shootout. Yale beat Union at home a few weeks later 3-0. The Dutchmen have struggled for the most part going back to the start of the Friendship Four. Yale wins.
Clarkson at Dartmouth
As mentioned above, Dartmouth has played well against top-end teams, so the Golden Knights shouldn’t look past Dartmouth. I think Adrian Clark keeps Dartmouth in striking distance in goal, but Clarkson finds a way to win.
St. Lawrence at Harvard
The key for the Saints is to stay out of the penalty box with Harvard’s strong power play. Not saying stopping the power play will lead them to victory, but it might frustrate Harvard enough that the Crimson may struggle five on five. Still, Harvard has too much depth. The Crimson win.
Yale at Rensselaer
This could be a trap game for the Bulldogs coming off the game against Union. The Engineers played Yale tough the first time this season. This could also be the game Joe Snively breaks out of his cold streak of one point in his past four games. Yale wins.
Brown at Union
Brown has had Union’s number this season, defeating them in the championship game of the Three Rivers Classic and then skating to a 3-3 tie in December in Providence. I have a hard time seeing the Dutchmen going winless against the Bears. Union wins in a close game.
Tuesday, Jan. 29
Rensselaer vs. Union (at Albany, N.Y.)
The Mayor’s Cup contest was moved because of the snowstorm this past Saturday that wreaked havoc in the northeast. The Engineers have Union’s number this season as they have won the two conference contests. Just like against Brown, I think the Dutchmen find some redemption to capture the Mayor’s Cup.
— Nathan Fournier
UMass Lowell vs. Boston College
The way Lowell is playing right now, this probably should be an easy pick for a sweep. But for some reason, BC’s two wins over Providence concern me. I’m going with a split, with the road team winning each game. BC, Lowell split.
Massachusetts at Maine
Maine’s win over Boston College impressed me, but everything about UMass right now impresses me. Maine’s only way to win one is to steal one. UMass sweeps.
Northeastern vs. Providence
Both teams have had some stumbles of late, though NU is probably playing better. That said, the home team wins each game. PC, Northeastern split.
Connecticut vs. New Hampshire
I think a month ago, this is an easy split in my mind, but I love the way Mike Souza has this UNH team running. UNH sweeps.
Merrimack at Vermont
Vermont needs to start scoring goals. But playing another struggling offense might be a good formula for the Catamounts. UVM sweeps.
Arizona State at Boston University
In October, I’m picking a BU sweep. In December, I’m picking an ASU sweep. Now as we approach February, I think these teams will each earn a win. BU, ASU split.
— Jim Connelly
Colorado College at Miami
Colorado College is yet to win in 2019, but the Tigers’ last three games all went to overtime. Miami is still looking for its first victory of the calendar year too, so this is a tough series to predict. Both teams could use a sweep to climb up the NCHC standings, but a split seems more likely. Miami 3-2, Colorado College 3-2.
Omaha at Minnesota Duluth
Omaha showed positive signs last weekend in its home split with North Dakota. I don’t love the Mavericks this weekend, though, against a UMD team that has won three of its last four games, the last two being road shutouts. Minnesota Duluth 3-1, 3-1.
St. Cloud State at North Dakota
UND hasn’t been especially convincing in the two weeks since the Fighting Hawks were swept at Canisius. The Hawks are at home this weekend but could run into more problems against top-ranked SCSU. St. Cloud State 3-2, 3-2.
Denver at Western Michigan
My prediction for this series is different now than it would have been a week ago. Western was rolling before it got swept last weekend in St. Cloud. Denver, on the other hand, hasn’t lost in a month in a half. The Pioneers are on the road for this series, but I think they’ll do well and WMU will then get back on track in what looks like a less-tricky February slate. Denver 4-2, 3-2
— Matthew Semisch
Bemidji State at Lake Superior State
One of two marquee matchups on the docket in the conference this week. The Beavers, thanks to their sweep of Michigan Tech last week, moved just one point behind the Lakers in the conference standings. LSSU also had a good weekend, getting a rare split at Minnesota State (they handed the Mavs their first home loss this season). The Lakers and Tech are now tied for the fourth and final WCHA home playoff spot while the Beavers are in sixth but just one point behind both of them. This feels more like a split than anything, especially considering, so I’ll say the Lakers win Friday with the Beavers taking it Saturday.
Minnesota State at Northern Michigan
The first-place Mavericks saw their five-game win streak snapped by Lake Superior State last weekend. The Wildcats are also on a hot streak of their own — they’ve won six straight and seven of eight. I have to call a split on this one, too. Wildcats take game one at home on Friday while the Mavs win the finale.
Ferris State at Bowling Green
Since sweeping Minnesota State before Christmas, Bowling Green hasn’t been able to find consistency. They’re 3-3-0 since then and haven’t been able to win more than one game in a row — they’ve lost three straight Friday night games. If they want to put together a streak to try and overtake Minnesota State, now might be the time. Ferris State has just two wins in their last 16 games. However, they did play Bowling Green close when they met in December — they tied 3-3 and lost 4-3 in overtime. I think the Falcons sweep, but it will be a pair of close ones.
Alaska at Alabama Huntsville
Has Alabama Huntsville finally turned a corner? They’re 3-2-1 in their last six games and are now tied with Alaska in the standings for seventh place with 20 points. The Nanooks have been pretty good recently, too – split their last two series against Bemidji State and Bowling Green. It seems awfully likely that after this weekend, these teams will be in the same place they’re in now, only with three extra points each. Nanooks win Friday, Chargers take it Saturday.
Michigan Tech at Alaska Anchorage
Michigan Tech has dipped from being in first place in the standings during the holiday break to being now tied for fourth. That’s mainly because won just one conference game in their last six. However, a trip to Anchorage might be what they need to get back on track. The Seawolves have just two wins on the season, and only one of them is a conference win. That was Dec. 15 against Bemidji State. Since then, it’s been a struggle. I think the Huskies get the sweep here.
— Jack Hittinger