Game Picks: D-III West

Adrian heads out on the road this weekend to take on St. Norbert. (Photo courtesy of Adrian Athletics)

The big matchup on tap for this weekend is one featuring Adrian and St. Norbert. The 14th-ranked Bulldogs travel to Wisconsin to take on St. Norbert in a crucial NCHA series. Augsburg battles Bethel as it looks to bounce back while Saint John’s and Hamline are battling to keep their conference tourney hopes alive. Wisconsin-River Falls and Saint Mary’s square off in a crossover game that carries a lot of meaning to both teams. 

Check out this weekend’s picks below.


Wisconsin-River Falls (10-4-2) at Saint Mary’s (6-6-1)

It’s a key test for both teams. The Falcons feature the top scorer in the WIAC in Ryan Cusin, who has come through with 10 goals and 13 assists. When he’s on, UW-River Falls is tough to beat. The Cardinals have proven they can play with anyone and feature two of the top scoring threats in the MIAC in Jack Stang (15 points) and Tommy Stang (13 points), Saint Mary’s, 4-3

Wisconsin-Superior (12-2-1) at Gustavus (6-6-1)

UW-Superior is unbeaten in its last seven and is tough to stop from an offensive standpoint. The Yellow Jackets have scored 64 goals, with Chad Lopez playing a key role, tallying six goals and 10 assists. Gustavus has a chance to pull off an upset and make a statement against one of the hottest teams in the country. The Gusties need a solid defensive effort. Robbie Goor owns a 2.09 goals against average. UW-Superior, 4-2

Friday and Saturday

Wisconsin-Eau Claire (11-2-1) at Concordia (4-7-2)

UW-Eau Claire is one of the best defensive teams in hockey. The Blugolds have allowed 21 goals behind the play of Zach Dyment, who has three shutouts. They have scored 49 goals. The Cobbers are winless in their last three. Ending that slide against a nationally ranked opponent won’t be easy. Concordia has to keep this game a low-scoring affair and will lean on goalie Jacob Stephan (2.62 GAA) to lead the way. UW-Eau Claire, 5-2 and 4-3

Saint John’s (4-6-4, 1-1-3) at Hamline (3-10-3, 1-4-2)

In a tight MIAC race, this game is huge for both teams in terms of their conference playoff hopes. The Johnnies have shown promise as of late, winning two of their last three. Kyle Wagner leads the way for Saint John’s as one of the top offensive threats in the conference, dishing out 12 assists. Ryan Kero has tallied eight goals. Hamline has been led by the play of Jackson Bond, who is atop the MIAC with 21 points, including a league-leading 11 goals. Hamline, 4-1; Saint John’s, 4-3

Augsburg (10-4, 5-1) vs. Bethel (3-10-2, 2-2-2)

The Auggies are looking to get back on track in this home-and-home series after losing two in a row. Augsburg has gotten a big lift from Gavin Holland, who has scored seven goals, and netminder Daniil Gerasimov owns a GAA of 1.20 and has made 271 saves. The Royals are winless in their last five and need to generate some offense to have a chance. They have scored just 28 goals as a team. Augsburg, 4-0 and 5-1

Adrian (8-4-3, 6-2-2)  at Saint Norbert (7-7-2, 5-5-2)

The Bulldogs are ranked 14th in the country. The Green Knights come in unranked but seem to be on the right track. Adrian has seen its last four games end in a tie and don’t want a similar fate against one of its biggest rivals. The Green Knights are somewhat similar as of late, having skated to a tie in their last two games. This could be a show offensively considering the two teams have playmakers all over the ice.St. Norbert’s Kurt Black is tied for the league-lead in goals (12) and Adrian’s Dino Balsamo is tied for second (11). A win goes a long way for both teams as far as the conference race goes as well as the NCAA tourney hopes for both teams. Adrian, 4-3; St. Norbert, 5-4

Marian (10-4-1, 6-4) vs. MSOE (6-4-4, 1-4-4)

The Sabres (10-4-1, 6-4)  lead the North Division and have won their last two games. MSOE has shown it can battle teams tough, having played Adrian to a pair of ties last weekend. Marian has gotten solid goaltending from Hunter Vora, who owns a 2.14 GAA. The Raiders need a great outing from Matt Hanewall, who has come through with 10 goals and four assists. Marian, 4-3; MSOE, 3-2 

Aurora (9-5-3, 5-4-3)  at Saint Scholastica (5-10-1, 3-8-1)

The Spartans are looking to stay in the hunt for a division crown and can solidify those hopes with a pair of wins this weekend. The Saints just need some momentum from somewhere as they come in on a four-game losing streak. Riley Doyon has been a spark for the Spartans, scoring 11 goals to go along with eight assists. Aurora, 4-2, 3-1