Well, doesn’t this seem familiar?
It’s the start of another hockey season and a return to individual conference picks blogs at USCHO. This season, Drew Claussen and I will be alternating the weekend picks narrative with each of us predicting weekly, and I am the lucky one who starts the conversation. We’ll be keeping a running total of how we’re doing, too, just as we have in the past.
Drew: 0-0-0 (.000)
Paula: 0-0-0 (.000)
Drew: 0-0-0 (.000)
Paula: 0-0-0 (.000)
At least we’re tied for now.
Every B1G team plays this weekend with a full slate of nonconference games, including the Ice Breaker Tournament. All times are local.
Air Force at No. 8 Notre Dame
Friday at 7:00 p.m., Sunday at 3:00 p.m.
Both the Falcons and the Fighting Irish tuned up last weekend with exhibition wins, Air Force beating Trinity Western 8-0 and Notre Dame beating the U.S. Under-18 Team 4-2. Air Force was picked sixth in the Atlantic Hockey preseason poll. The Falcons last beat a ranked opponent in the 2018 NCAA tournament. These teams played each other most recently in 2006.
Drew: Notre Dame sweeps, 4-2, 3-1
Paula: Notre Dame 3-2, 3-2
No. 11 Clarkson at Michigan
Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m.
Clarkson and Michigan each registered lopsided exhibition victories last weekend, with the Golden Knights beating Royal Military 7-0 and the Wolverines taking Windsor 8-2. Some good news for Michigan in that game was scoring by rookies Johnny Beecher and Cam York. These teams last met in 2017, a 3-0 home win for the Golden Knights. Clarkson was picked to finish second in the ECAC.
Drew: Clarkson wins Friday 4-2, Michigan wins Saturday 4-3
Paula: Clarkson 5-2, Michigan 3-2
Michigan State at Northern Michigan
Friday at 7:00 p.m., Saturday at 6:00 p.m.
Last weekend, the Spartans beat Western Ontario. 6-1, in exhibition while the Wildcats beat the U.S. Under-18 Team 4-3. Michigan State and Northern Michigan are familiar foes from their CCHA days, with the Spartans leading this all-time series 36-31-4. This is Michigan State’s first road series against Northern Michigan since a split in Marquette in 2011. Coaches have NMU finishing fourth in the WCHA; the media picks the Wildcats to finish third.
Drew: Michigan State wins 3-2 Friday, Northern Michigan wins 5-2 Saturday
Paula: NMU 4-2 Friday but the Spartans steal Saturday, 3-2
Minnesota at Colorado College
Friday at 7:37 p.m., Saturday at 7:07 p.m.
Minnesota tied Mount Royal in exhibition last weekend, 2-2, scoring a third-period power-play goal to do so. Colorado College won its exhibition game against Trinity Western, 4-1. This is another renewed once-upon-a-time conference rivalry, with the Golden Gophers holding an all-time lead over the Tigers 162-86-8. These teams last met in the 2013 WCHA tournament, a 2-0 win for CC. The Tigers are picked sixth in the NCHC preseason poll.
Drew: Minnesota wins Friday 4-2, Colorado College wins Saturday 3-1
Paula: Minnesota sweeps, 4-2, 3-2
No. 12 Ohio State vs. No. 14 Western Michigan and RIT/Bowling Green
Friday at 5:05 p.m., Saturday at 5:05 p.m./8:05 p.m.
The Buckeyes and Broncos renew their CCHA rivalry in the opening game of this year’s Ice Breaker Tournament in Toledo’s Huntington Center. Western Michigan, picked to finish third in the NCHC preseason poll, beat Northern Alberta IT 6-1 in exhibition last week. Ohio State beat Western University in exhibition, 5-2. The Broncos lead this all-time series 66-61-13. The last time these teams played was in the 2014 Shillelagh Tournament, a 6-2 win for the Broncos.
Ohio State potentially renews its CCHA rivalry with Bowling Green the second night of the tournament. BGSU is 98-76-10 against OSU and the Falcons were 1-0-1 against the Buckeyes in nonconference play last season. Should Ohio State play RIT Saturday, it will be the first meeting between the teams.
Drew: Ohio State wins Friday 3-2, Loses to Bowling Green on Saturday 5-3
Paula: Ohio State takes the tournament, winning 4-3 both nights
Sacred Heart at No. 13 Penn State
Friday at 7:00 p.m., Saturday at 4:30 p.m.
Sacred Heart beat Simon Fraser in exhibition last weekend 6-1 while Penn State beat Ottawa 5-0. The Pioneers are looking for their first wins against the Nittany Lions, as Penn State has taken all four previous meetings. The teams last met in Pegula in 2015. Sacred Heart is picked to finish third in Atlantic Hockey.
Drew: Penn State sweeps, 6-2, 5-3
Paula: Penn State 5-2, 4-2
No. 16 Wisconsin at No. 10 Boston College and Merrimack
Friday and Saturday at 7:00 p.m.
Boston College beat New Brunswick in exhibition last weekend 4-2, but Merrimack played games that counted in that weirdly early starting weekend, losing on the road to Lake Superior State, 6-2 and 4-3. Wisconsin had no warm-up exhibition games, so Friday against BC is the first of the season for the Badgers. BC is picked to finish first in Hockey East while Merrimack is slated to finish last. The Badgers and Eagles are meeting for the fifth consecutive season and Wisconsin has won the last three meetings between the teams. The Badgers and Warriors last met in 2017, a road win for Wisconsin.
Drew: Boston College wins 5-4, Wisconsin wins 4-2
Paula: BC 3-2, Wisconsin 3-2
Follow both Drew (@drewclaussen) and me (@paulacweston) on Twitter. I’ll be live from Yost Ice Arena Saturday night as Michigan hosts Clarkson.