NCHC picks: Nov. 15

Jordan Kawaguchi (North Dakota-29) 2019 January 12 University of North Dakota hosts Colorado College in a NCHC matchup at the Ralph Engelstad Arena in Grand Forks, ND (Bradley K. Olson)
Jordan Kawaguchi (North Dakota-29) 2019 January 12 University of North Dakota hosts Colorado College in a NCHC matchup at the Ralph Engelstad Arena in Grand Forks, ND (Bradley K. Olson)

I gained a game back on Matthew in our season picks race, and if Denver had held on to its two-goal third-period lead Friday, we’d be tied. Oh well. Overall, we both did well, as I went 6-2-2 (.700) and Matthew went 5-3-2 (.600). On the year, I am 25-20-10 (.545), while Matthew is 26-19-10 (.563).

Friday-Saturday, Nov. 15-16

No. 9 North Dakota at No. 2 Denver
Candace: To me, this is the series of the weekend, in any conference. A renewal of a fierce rivalry, North Dakota will be extra motivated since Denver ended its season last year. The Pioneers didn’t look good last Saturday, but I think they regroup here. Hard to see this as anything but a split, but I’ll reverse Matthew’s picks. Denver 4-2, North Dakota 4-2
Matthew: I’m not worrying about Denver after the Pioneers got a loss and shootout win last weekend against Minnesota Duluth, but DU gets another tough test here. UND is better than it was the last couple of years, but this is only their second ranked opponent of the season, so I’m not going overboard about the Hawks’ 7-1-1 record. This feels like a split, but watch me be wrong. North Dakota 3-2, Denver 3-2

No. 6 Minnesota Duluth at Miami
Candace: Just a couple of weeks ago, we were talking about Minnesota Duluth’s struggles, but of late the Bulldogs have looked like their old national champion selves. Miami is better than its record, but that isn’t saying much, and I don’t think home ice will get them the win. Minnesota Duluth 4-2, 3-2
Matthew: I’m not reading a ton into Miami’s two losses last weekend at UND, apart from that Saturday’s 5-4 loss could give the RedHawks some momentum going into this series. They’ll be playing against Hunter Shepard, though, so there’s that. Minnesota Duluth 3-1, 3-1

Colorado College at St. Cloud State
Candace: St. Cloud has been struggling out of the gate, but Colorado College isn’t much better in terms of consistency. I’m really not too sure of these games, especially since both teams are pretty poor on defense and I don’t have a good handle on either team. CC was off last weekend, so I’m wondering if that will play into it at all. Also, CC is on the road for the first time this year. St. Cloud State 5-4, 5-3
Matthew: Most years, I would have called this a relatively straightforward sweep for SCSU. Now, after the Huskies went to overtime in each of their last three games, I’m interested to see if they put one or both of these games away in 60. St. Cloud State 3-2, 4-2

No. 19 Omaha at No. 20 Western Michigan
Candace: These games are in Lawson, and I’m sure the Broncos are happy to be back on home ice. Omaha has shown improvement, and it might be enough to get the split. Western is a real tough out at home though, and gets Cam Lee back in the lineup. The key for Western will be to stay out of the penalty box. I’m tempted to call a home sweep, but I’ll go with the split. Western Michigan 4-2, Omaha 3-2
Matthew: There’s a lot to like about this series between two teams that could be really competitive by the time we start thinking about the postseason. Omaha has been better than I thought it would be, and Western has been good lately after a meh start to the season. Split. Western Michigan 3-2, Omaha 4-2