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Another weekend slightly above .500. I should be grateful. Why don’t I feel grateful?

Last week: 5-3-2 (.600)
Season to date: 78-45-21 (.615)

Here are my picks for games this week. There’s a full slate of CCHA play. Bowling Green is the team on the sidelines this weekend. All games are Friday-Saturday. Start times are noted.

I’m covering the Friday Miami-Michigan State game providing some extra coverage of the Alaska-Michigan game Saturday. Please say hello if you see me.

FSU at NMU. Fourth-place FSU is six points ahead of eighth-place NMU, but the Wildcats have a chance to make up some serious ground this weekend, as Northern has three games in hand on the Bulldogs. Last weekend, FSU dropped two to Michigan and the second loss, a 6-1 home loss, especially rankled; the game was televised, two Bulldog goals were disallowed, FSU had the top defense in the country heading into the weekend, and the game marked the first time since Jan. 2, 2010, that FSU had given up six goals to an opponent (Yale). The Wildcats were idle last week and are winless in their last four (0-3-1), and in that span NMU was outscored by opponents 18-6. Looks like both teams have something to prove. FSU and NMU are 2-2-1 in their last five meetings. 7:35 p.m. both nights. FSU 4-3, NMU 3-2.

Miami at MSU. Last weekend, the Spartans came away from two games in Sault Ste. Marie with four points while the RedHawks swept Bowling Green at home. Freshman Will Yanakeff was the goalie of record for the Spartans in last weekend’s win and tie, and he’s 3-0-1 in his last four starts; the Spartans are 3-1-1 in their last five. Junior Cody Reichard had both wins against BGSU last weekend, allowing just two goals. Miami has won seven of the last 10 meetings between these teams. MSU is 67-26-5 all-time against Miami, including a 35-15-3 record at Munn. 7:35 p.m. Friday, 7:05 p.m. Saturday. MSU 3-2, Miami 4-2.

ND at OSU. First-place Notre Dame holds that spot by a single point over Michigan, and the Wolverines have a game in hand on the Irish. Ohio State is no threat to the Irish in terms of the standings, but with 25 points, OSU is in that middle CCHA mix with six other teams. Last weekend, the Irish split at home with Alaska; head coach Jeff Jackson went on record with a personal mea culpa after the split, saying that he hadn’t prepared his team for the series. You can bet that’s a mistake that won’t be made two weeks in a row. The Buckeyes returned from Kalamazoo with two points after losing to and tying WMU. Even though ND earned more points on the weekend, OSU ended on a higher note – setting up a very interesting series in Columbus. Last season, ND went 1-0-1 against OSU. The Irish have more goals than anyone in the country (98) and are third in the nation (.3.77) in goals per game. The Buckeyes have the 15th-best defense in the country, allowing 2.43 goals per game. 7:05 p.m. both nights. ND 3-2, OSU 3-2.

UAF at UM. The Nanooks may have surprised the Irish last week, but the Wolverines have the benefit of that series and won’t be able to make the same claim. In splitting with Notre Dame last weekend, Alaska won its first game in the Joyce Center in eight games, having last won there March 4, 2006. It’s been a little longer since the Nanooks won in Yost; UAF’s last win in Ann Arbor was Jan. 7, 2006. In sweeping the Bulldogs last week, the Wolverines posted their best defensive weekend of the year, allowing just three goals in two contests. UM is unbeaten on Saturdays this season (10-0-2)…which means that Fridays are a little different (3-5-2). One of those Friday losses came in Fairbanks, a 3-0 loss to UAF when the teams split (Nov. 5-6). Scott Greenham (1.97 GAA, .926 SV%) vs. Shawn Hunwick (2.45, .916) should be a good match-up. I confess that I enjoy watching Hunwick play, as he’s a little, um, extroverted. 7:35 p.m. both nights. UAF 3-2, UM 4-2.

WMU at LSSU. The CCHA announced a one-game suspension of LSSU head coach Jim Roque today – and no, I don’t know the circumstances of it, yet, other than what the press release said, that Roque violated the league’s Good Conduct Regulations following LSSU’s 2-2 overtime tie against MSU last weekend. So Roque – a passionate, expressive coach, I’ve found, and a guy I like a lot – will return to the Lake bench Saturday. The Lakers took two points from the visiting Spartans last weekend with that shootout extra point Saturday; last weekend’s action was the first D-I play LSSU had seen since mid-December. The Broncos hosted the Buckeyes and earned four points with a win and tie; WMU now possesses the longest unbeaten streak in the country at seven games (5-0-2). That streak began with a Dec. 11, 2010, 5-2 win over LSSU. Last year, WMU defeated and tied LSSU in Kalamazoo (Nov. 6-7, 2009); the teams split a pair of games the last time they met in Sault Ste. Marie (Feb. 20-21, 2009). I’m not calling against a streak until it’s broken. 7:05 p.m. both nights. WMU 3-2, 4-2.

  • The Broncos will have a fight from here to the end of the season..I’m glad Paula has come around to viewing this as a streak..that might not ever be repeated….

  • Anonymous

    CONGRATULATIONS Bulldogs! Mitakuye! Oyasin!

  • Mfurta15

    Great game … the only thing missing is if ESPN could get announcers who actually know the sport. Thorn amd Melrose are a JOKE and a DISGRACE……. What team is MIke Brown???? Clendending took alot of shots on hs own net,, the problem was that it was JT Brown , they have the same number… Those 2 fools ruined the game

    • Sheps20

      I agree–Melrose knows hockey, but didn’t have a clue about college hockey or their players–better off having college announcers call the game!

      • Gogofs

        He sounds drunk. Especially Thursday…

      • Bringing home # 8

        Melrose has openly stated his disdain for American college hockey since he began covering it after he was fired years ago. Join the Sioux in hating the NCAA and ESPN for the absolute lack of underestimating of college hockey, bcs sucks lets have a 3 game playoff for hockey. Make it real. BC and Minnesota are the only number one teams in a decade to achieve a national championship.It is tradion in college for a team to make a run for the title. UND 97, Denver 04, Boston 09, etc. It is hard in a one game series for the best teams to meet in the frozen four.

  • Brenen Helgesen

    Umichfan is bigger loser than Barry Melrose…

    Just one question, did the puck cross the line before or AFTER the whistle blew? I guess it wasn’t a goal then.

    Get over it, you are taking away everything your team accomplished this year with this whine of yours. Michigan had an amazing team and a great run to the championship game, but they LOST. It doesn’t take away from what they accomplished this year, but your BS does. Way to ruin a good thing for Michigan.

    • UM1975

      Actually, if you watched the replays and listened the puck crossed BEFORE the whistle – not sure if that was just an artifact of the slow-motion replay or not. It was stated that the whistle is not the thing that ends the play, rather it is the referee’s decision that the play had ended when he could no longer see the puck. That is, the play ends when the ref deems it should end, not when the whistle blows.

      • Steve

        I don’t know about that, but the Michigan player said he heard the whistle just as he was striking the puck…

  • collegehockeyfan

    Congrats to the Bulldogs! They decided to play their best hockey at the perfect time of the year. Great to see Michigan not catch the breaks they did against UND and UNO, Hunwick still played a lights out game, congrats on Michigan’s run, all coming from a Sioux fan!

  • Dwvandy

    Here is a great article that sums up what this victory means to many long time UMD Bulldog fans. It is from the perspective of Bulldog assistant coach, and former Hobey Baker award winner Bill Watson… Whew!: http://www.startribune.com/sports/gophers/119549949.html

  • WOOF WOOF

    Props to Michigan for shutting down the top scoring line in the nation, but it just wasn’t enough! Kenny Reiter chose the right time of the year to step up his game, and Tardy chose the right game to score his first college goal.

    • Bringing home # 8

      Better late than never! Hahaha Tardy get it! One to remember that’s for sure. Congrats Bulldogs! And go Sioux!

  • Candmb2

    I had no sound in the bar so I did not find out what was up with the UMD fans with wigs on. Anything to this?

    • bdk

      It was the family of #5 Trent Palm.

    • Bringing home # 8

      Looking for blond locks without making a real commitment!

  • MD17

    And cue the talk about how the WCHA is the best league in college hockey.

    • Suture1

      Well, the WCHA is the best league. Are you telling me they are not? Come on, honestly, do you think the WCHA is not the best conference? I think this is a very difficult argument to make there tiger….:)

  • Uffda93

    As a Minnesota Hockey fan living in Connecticut, it was a dream come true that they landed in the eastern regionals, and I got to see them beat Yale. I am torn between the Gophers and the Bulldogs because I can get the Gophers on TV here and follow them, but I’m from Duluth and visit the North Shore every Summer. What a week. UCONN wins in round ball, and then Duluth wins a championship.

  • nogofer

    I could see the M in the bleachers.  Fans, hello???

    • BashBrother

      There were over 8,000 there

    • Phoenixfyre1313

      Too many corporate sponsors that don’t show up to the games.  I lost my season tickets in the late 90’s and it took me 17 years to get them back, yet when I would watch a game there were scores of empty seats.  It’s not right!

      • Fast Walk to Fresno

        This has become a problem at almost all major sporting venues in big cities (except in football where there are so few games that everyone goes to all of them). Decades ago, Madison Square Garden and Boston Garden had a great system where season ticket holders had to “claim” their tickets by a deadline or they were re-sold on the day of the game. I firmly believe everyone should do this. Empty seats should never exist in any market where there is a demand for those seats.

    • Dhd823

      It was a 6 pm start. A very late crowd. It’s also MEA weekend. Half the Twin Cities is on vacation. (And there’s more than one thing to do here)

  • Fucker

    8,000? Not even close.