Game Picks: D-III West

Fifth-ranked Augsburg faces reigning champ UW-Stevens Point. on Saturday (Photo by Kevin Healy, Augsburg Athletics)

It’s the first full weekend of hockey of 2020 and some interesting matchups are on top. Augsburg and Wisconsin-Stevens Point square off in a huge crossover game that carries a lot of weight for both teams while St. Thomas and Saint Mary’s battle in a key MIAC series. St. Norbert and Aurora both have a lot on the line in their NCHA series.

Check out my picks for the weekend below.


Saint John’s (2-5-4) at Wisconsin-Superior (10-2-1)

The Johnnies travel to play one of the most impressive teams in the region. The Yellow Jackets are in the midst of a special season and are looking to add to their win total in this MIAC-WIAC crossover showdown. Saint John’s has one of the best playmakers in the region in Kyle Wagner, who has dished out 11 assists. UW-Superior has lost just once at home and is 2-0 this season against teams out of the MIAC. UW-Superior, 4-3


No. 5 Augsburg (10-2)  at Wisconsin-Stevens Point

The calendar says January. The matchup is one that you might just find played in March. There’s no other way to slice or dice this one. It’s a big game for both teams. The Auggies are looking to make another statement and have been nearly lights out on defense, allowing just 14 goals. The Pointers have won three out of four and may finally have found their groove. They are at home and that’s huge and they have been solid offensively, scoring 52 goals. This one could go either way. Augsburg, 5-4

Concordia (4-6-1) at Wisconsin-Superior (10-2-1)

The Cobbers Tyler Bossert ranks among the top five in the conference in points (12) and assists (9). Jacob Stephan is third in goals against average (2.42). This matchup presents an opportunity for Concordia to turn a few heads with a big road win.It will be the Cobbers’ first game since Dec. 7. The Yellow Jackets boast one of the best offenses in the conference, scoring 53 goals. They’ve allowed only 24. UW-Superior, 4-1

Lawrence (5-8-1) at No. 3 Wisconsin-Eau Claire (10-2-1)

The Vikings have won their last two and would love nothing more than to stun one of the best teams in the nation. They have to be on point defensively to have a shot. The Blugolds, meanwhile, have given up just 21 goals all season. It helps having Zach Dyment between the pipes. He sports a goals against average of 1.53 and has won eight games. If he’s on his game, the Vikings will have a hard time pulling off the upset. UW-Eau Claire, 4-2

Friday and Saturday

St. Thomas (6-5-1, 4-2) vs. Saint Mary’s (5-5-1, 3-1)

The Tommies are in second place entering the weekend. Saint Mary’s is in third and just three points back of St. Thomas. In other words, both teams have a lot riding on this series. St. Thomas is looking for a little momentum after losing its first two. It will be the first time the Tommies have played in nearly a month. Saint Mary’s has a ton of confidence right now. The Cardinals just swept a tournament in Oswego by beating two nationally ranked teams. This home-and-home battle is one worth paying attention to. Saint Mary’s, 4-2; St. Thomas, 4-3

Gustavus (2-9-3, 2-2) vs. St. Olaf (2-11, 1-5)

The Gusties travel to open this home-and-home series against the Oles. It’s a must-sweep series for Gustavus if it hopes to stay in the hunt for a conference playoff berth. The Gusties enter the weekend two points out of a shot for the final spot. The Oles have dropped four of five and need to come up big to get out of last place in the league. Gustavus, 3-2 and 4-3

MSOE (6-4-2, 1-4-2) at No. 12 Adrian (8-4-1, 6-2)

The Bulldogs and Raiders are both looking to get back on track. Adrian has lost its last two and MSOE has dropped three in a row. MSOE will need to be at its best defensively to get a win out of this series as Adrian features three players in the top five in points in the league, including Sam Ruffin, who is third in points (19) and has dished out 13 assists. Adrian, 5-2 and 4-3

St. Norbert (7-7, 5-5) at Aurora (9-5-1, 5-4-1)

The Green Knights are rolling into the weekend on a five-game win strreak. Aurora is looking to stay in the mix for a division crown. It’s a big game for both teams to say the least. This one should be a defensive battle. St. Norbert has allowed two goals or less three times during its streak. The Spartans have given up just 27 goals all season. St. Norbert, 4-2; Aurora, 3-1