NCHC pick: Feb. 21-22

Hunter Shepard of UMD plays the puck. Minnesota Duluth at Denver at Magness Arena, November 17, 2018. (Candace Horgan)
Hunter Shepard of UMD will need to be at the top of his game against Western Michigan. (Candace Horgan)

Well, last week Matthew and I were a middling 3-2-1 (.583), falling back to Earth after a strong showing the week before. On the year, I am now 79-51-21 (.592), while Matthew is 74-56-21 (.559). We’ve got three weekends left in the regular season; can I hold off Matthew and win the picks race? I’d also like to get above .600 if I can.

Friday-Saturday, Feb. 21-22

Miami at No. 7 Denver
Candace: I could see at least one of these games being a tie, but there’s no percentage in picking it, so I’m going with a Denver sweep. Denver 3-2, 3-2
Matthew: I was off last week about picturing Denver losing four straight, but that was down to the company they were keeping the past couple of weeks. I think they get back on track this weekend. Denver 3-1, 3-1

No. 1 North Dakota at St. Cloud State
Candace: Does North Dakota have a letdown after the big series against Denver? If North Dakota loses, it will likely be in the first game, but I like the Fighting Hawks to solidify first place in the conference and move closer to clinching the Penrose Cup. North Dakota 4-2, 4-2
Matthew: St. Cloud has been on a little bit of a roll lately, but that was against bottom-half teams in the conference. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Huskies won a game this weekend against UND, but something tells me they won’t. North Dakota 3-2, 3-1

Colorado College at Omaha
Candace: CC is coming off a big sweep of Air Force, but given the Falcons’ recent struggles, I’m not sure how much we can read into that as we return to league action. Omaha has cooled off of late, but I’m going for the sweep. Omaha 4-2, 3-2
Matthew: UNO won twice at CC earlier this season, but I’m not sure the Mavericks will complete a season sweep. The Tigers’ two wins last weekend at Air Force have me thinking differently, and there’s an opportunity here to get out of the league cellar. Colorado College 3-2, Omaha 3-1

No. 4 Minnesota Duluth at No. 19 Western Michigan
Candace: I’m throwing Matthew a bone by giving him two chances to pick up ground. This series is likely a split, but I’ll pick the Duluth sweep just for the heck of it. Minnesota Duluth 3-2, 5-3
Matthew: Both teams have been doing well recently, but Duluth has done so against stronger opposition in the past few weeks. Still, this feels like a split. Western Michigan 3-1, Minnesota Duluth 3-1