D-III West College Hockey Picks

UW-River Falls takes on UW-Stout in the opening round of the WIAC tournament this weekend. (Photo courtesy of UW-River Falls Athletics)

It’s the final weekend of the regular season in the MIAC while teams in the WIAC and NCHA begin tournament play this weekend. The MIAC wraps up a regular season that has been entertaining from start to finish and four spots in the postseason are still open.

Here are predictions on the top games of the weekend.

Concordia (11-10-2, 8-5-1) at St. Olaf (4-16-3, 2-9-3)

The Cobbers are in good shape for a MIAC tourney berth but need to avoid an upset here against a team that is only playing for pride. The Cobbers have Tyler Bossert leading the way offensively. He has 24 points, includin 19 points off assists. Aaron Herdt leads the team in goals with 11. Concordia, 5-1 and 4-1

Saint John’s (10-8-5, 7-3-4)  at Saint Mary’s

The Johnnies still have an opportunity to win the regular-season conference title but need to take care of business to have any shot of doing so. The Cardinals are fighting for their playoff lives. Saint John’s has the luxury of leaning on two different goaltenders in Mac Berglove and Andrew Lindgren. Saint Mary’s has two of the better offensive weapons in the game in Tyler and Jack Stang. Saint John’s, 5-2; Saint Mary’s, 4-3

St. Thomas vs.Augsburg (14-8-1, 9-4-1)

The Tommies begin this series on the road and are fighting for a playoff spot. The Auggies are looking to wrap up the regular-season crown in the conference. St. Thomas can never be underestimated but the Auggies are one of the most well-rounded teams in the conference, getting the job done on both ends of the ice.
Augsburg, 4-2; St. Thomas, 3-2

Northland (4-20-1) at Wisconsin-Superior (14-8-3)

The season hasn’t been the easiest for Northland, which finished last in the conference standings and comes into the tournament on a 10-game losing streak. The Yellow Jackets were a conference title contender at one point and are looking to play at that level again in the postseason. UW-Superior is the better team on both ends of the ice and won all three games against the Lumberjacks in the regular season. That trend continues this weekend.  UW-Superior, 5-2 and 4-0

Wisconsin-Stout (7-17-1) at Wisconsin-River Falls (15-7-3)

The Bue Devils have one win against the Falcons this season and it was on the road. The Falcons are one of the better defensive teams in the league, allowing the second-fewest goals (55) behind the effort of Zach Quinn, who ranks second in goals against average (1.93) and has come through with 489 saves. The Blue Devils won’t make it easy but the Falcons should find a way to move on. UW-River Falls, 4-2 and 3-1

St. Scholastica (8-16-1) at Marian (17-7-1)

The Saints have won their last three and the Sabres are 7-3 in their last 10 games. They have a lot of confidence and haven’t given up more than a goal in each of their last three wins. Marian dominated the Saints in the regular season, winnin both games by four goals and it’s hard to imagine their fortunes changing. Marian, 4-1 and 5-2

Lawrence (6-17-2) at St. Norbert (14-9-2)

The Vikings are looking for the upset here over a St. Norbert team that shook off a tough start to the season and has played well throughout the second half of the year. The Green Knights have given up only three goals in their last four games, including a 6-0 shutout win over Lawrence in the regular-season finale. The Vikings did beat St. Norbert last week by a 3-1 score and hope to duplicate that success. St. Norbert, 4-2 and 4-0

Aurora (12-7-6) at Adrian (17-5-3)

The Spartans have proven they can play with anyone. But Adrian has found its stride, winning its last nine games as no team is playing better than the Bulldogs right now. They won both games over the Spartans in the regular season but the playoffs are a different animal and it wouldn’t be a surprise at all if Aurora pulled off the upset. The challenge is slowing down Adrian. The Bulldogs have scored 125 goals. But Josh Boyko has shown he is one of the league’s top netminders, sporting a 2.00 GAA. Adrian, 4-2 and 5-4

Trine (12-10-3) at Lake Forest (17-5-3)

The Thunder lost twice to the Foresters in the regular season, both times at home, and now it faces the daunting task of trying to take out Lake Forest on the road. Lake Forest has won only once in its last six and that  could work to Trine’s advantage. This game features two of the best goalies in the NCHA in Boyd DiClemente of Lake Forest and Brett Young of Trine. This series could go the distance.
Trine, 5-3, Lake Forest, 4-2, Lake Forest 2-1 (mini game).