Picking the WCHA: Jan. 3-5

Well, this past week has certainly been a surprising one. Jack and I were both correct that Michigan Tech sat in a great position to win the Great Lakes Invitational, and with a three-goal third period, they did just that. On the other hand, both of us felt that Minnesota State was well set up to win the Mariucci Classic, but instead, it was Minnesota that shocked the hockey world, which is a weird sentence to write, and the Mavericks were forced to settle for third.

The rubber hits the road this weekend as some of the top teams in the WCHA are in action, jockeying for position as we begin the second half.

Daver last week: 7-4-0

Jack last week: 6-5-0

Daver this season: 53-30-8

Jack this season: 66-42-11

Northern Michigan at No. 11 Bowling Green

The Falcons struggled Monday in a loss to Miami, especially on the power play, where they went 0-for-5. They currently sit two points back of Bemidji State for second in the conference, and could take a big step towards rectifying that this weekend.

The Wildcats have been off since December 14, but that last game was a big one as they finished the first half with 4-1 win at home over the Mavericks. The Wildcats sit just two points behind the Falcons and would love nothing more than to move up the standings with a pair of road wins.

Jack: BGSU wins Friday 4-2, NMU wins Saturday 5-3

Daver: BGSU wins Friday 3-1, NMU wins Saturday 4-2

Ferris State at Bemidji State

Both the Bulldogs and the Beavers went 0-and-2 in tournament play earlier this week. For the Beavers, the losses were especially disappointing as they currently sit second in the WCHA and had hopes of a strong Mariucci Classic showing. They will have their work cut for them in the second half if they want to hold on to a home playoff spot.

The Bulldogs had been playing better in the weeks leading into the GLI before dropping games to both Michigan and No. 18 Michigan State on Monday and Tuesday. The good news is they don’t have to wait long to get back at it, but the bad news is they are facing a hungry Beavers squad.

Jack: BSU sweeps, 5-2 and 4-3

Daver: BSU sweeps, 3-1 and 4-2

Alaska at No. 3 Minnesota State

The Nanooks were the darlings of the first half of the WCHA schedule, going 8-6-0-0 in 14 conference games and holding down a tie for third with Michigan Tech. They have scored the fourth-fewest goals in conference play, which does not bode well heading into Mankato, where the Mavericks have scored 44 goals, second-best in league play.

The Mavericks had a rough showing Saturday in a 7-2 loss. Star goaltender Dryden McKay uncharacteristically found himself on the bench before the midpoint of the game. He bounced back with a shutout of the Beavers on Sunday.

Jack: MSU sweeps, 6-2 and 6-3

Daver: MSU sweeps, 4-1 and 4-2

Lake Superior State at Alaska Anchorage

The Lakers come into the weekend looking to get back on track after a pair of losses to Providence and Vermont at the Catamount Cup over the weekend. While has struggled to find wins, senior Max Humitz continues to shine, having scored 12 goals and 18 points through 24 games this season.

The Seawolves have not seen action Dec. 7, where they lost to the Huskies, 4-1. The good news about that layoff, freshman forward Brayden Camrud should be ready to go. The first year winger had two goals and six points in 13 games before missing the series against the Huskies with an injury.

Jack: LSSU sweeps, 5-3 and 4-2

Daver: UAA wins Friday 2-1, LSSU wins Saturday 3-1

Alabama Huntsville at No.1 North Dakota

The Chargers would love nothing more than to wipe the slate clean to start the second half after winning just once in 18 tries. That will be a difficult task this weekend as they head on the road to face one of the top teams in the country in the Fighting Hawks.

The Fighting Hawks have won seven straight games and are unbeaten in their last 14 contests. Friday night will be Military Appreciation Night at the Ralph Engelstad Arena.

Jack: UND sweeps, 4-0 and 5-1

Daver: UND sweeps, 4-1 and 5-1

Michigan Tech at No. 17 Arizona State

The Huskies take their hot streak, 9-2-1 in their last 12, on the road to Phoenix fresh off a pair of come-from-behind victories over Michigan State and Michigan to win the GLI. Goaltender Matt Jurusik has been goal for the length of this run, and was named WCHA Goaltender of the Month for December for his efforts.

The Sun Devils come into the second half of their season after making a name for themselves in the first half with wins over No. 4 Denver, No. 18 Michigan State, and Nebraska Omaha and a sweep of No. 9 Quinnipiac. If they want to qualify for the NCAA Tournament for the second straight year, a sweep over the Huskies would be a great start.

Jack: MTU sweeps, 5-3 and 2-0

Daver: MTU sweeps, 3-2 and 4-2