Here we are, playoff time. A short time ago, it looked like we might never make it this far. Fortunately, we have, and we have a nice grouping of matchups that could be very exciting as we work through the weekend.
(1) Minnesota State vs. (8) Ferris State
Jack: The Mavericks have looked nearly unstoppable this season, but their opponents this weekend were one of the teams that has given them some trouble. The Bulldogs took them to overtime last month but were never able to finish the job. I don’t think that will happen this weekend. Mavericks sweep
Daver: After their slow start, the Mavericks have almost perfect the rest of the way. What is fascinating is that the Bulldogs are perhaps the one team they might not have wanted to see. Ferris State has given them fits at times, and this weekend might not be any different. However, I think Minnesota State is just too strong right now to let that happen. Mavericks sweep
(2) Lake Superior vs (7) Alabama Huntsville
Jack: One of this season’s surprises is the Lakers finishing in second. They’ve been consistently good, but the Chargers have played hard against them all four times they met. This should be an exciting series but I still think the Lakers win two close games. Lakers sweep
Daver: Boy the Lakers have been the one team this season that has been consistently strong throughout the season. They have met every challenge and then some, earning a home playoff spot to boot. I love what Damon Whitten is accomplishing at this proud school. The Chargers have a ways to go before they are consistent, but they have played well this year in spurts. Lakers sweep
(3) Bowling Green vs (6) Northern Michigan
Jack: Which Bowling Green team shows up this weekend? The one that the Wildcats held scoreless on Feb. 20? Or the one that put 6 goals past the Wildcats the next night? I think the answer is “both.” NMU has not played up to its own expectations for this season either, so I think we should see an even series. Falcons in three
Daver: This series is a head-scratcher for sure. Which Falcons squad will show up? The offensive juggernaut or the defensively-minded group? Which Wildcats team will show up? The one that takes a mountain of penalties or the one that beat the Falcons earlier this season by playing smart hockey? I know they have yet to play a full weekend of smart hockey, but I like the Wildcats in this one. Wildcats in three
(4) Bemidji State vs (5) Michigan Tech
Jack: As is usually the case, the 4-5 series should be the most evenly-matched. The Beavers have won 6 out of their last 8, including a sweep of Tech in Houghton. Tech has won 3 of 8. Still, as their series in Houghton showed, these teams like to play a close, physical series. I think it goes the distance. Beavers in three.
Daver: Another great matchup, and one that could be a tough-as-nails series. The Beavers are perfectly happy to wait while opponents run themselves ragged trying to score. The Huskies’ offense is almost as impressive as their defense. It will come down to who gets the breaks when happen. This is a moment for Michigan Tech’s Blake Pietila to prove he was snubbed by the All-WCHA teams while Bemidji State’s Zach Driscoll was not. Huskies in three