I knew it! That 2-0 Thursday night record was so sweet — and perfection so brief.
How did I do last night? Not as bad as I thought I would: 1-1-1. Seriously, I thought it would be 0-3 the moment I posted the picks.
Last Week: 4-5-2
Last night: 1-1-1
Season to date: 29-19-6 (.593)
Painful — and it isn’t even November yet.
The remainder of this week
For the Thursday-Friday series picks, check out yesterday’s blog. Here are my picks for the three Friday-Saturday series. All games are 7:05 p.m. EDT.
ND at BGSU
When Notre Dame opened the Compton Family Ice Arena (and when can I start calling that “The Compton”?) with a 5-2 win over Rensselaer last Friday night, sophomore Anders Lee recorded a hat trick, netting the first-ever goal in the new barn at 9:21 in the first, scoring at 1:09 in the second and adding an empty-net marker at 18:40, bringing his season goal total to eight in five games — one-third of his total from his 44-game freshman season. Neither he nor classmate T.J. Tynan appears to be destined for sophomore slumps, as they’re tied for second in the nation among scorers for points per game; Lee leads the country in goals per game, Tynan in assists per game. The Irish have 11 skaters who have netted at least one goal, and ND is tied for seventh in the nation in goals per game (4.20). Defensively, though … well, the Irish are a bit down on the list (28th), allowing three goals per game.
Bowling Green split with Lake Superior State on the road last weekend, winning 1-0 Friday before losing 4-1 Saturday, the Falcons’ first loss of the season. That Friday shutout, though, was Andrew Hammond’s second in as many games, as he stopped Alabama-Huntsville 3-0 the Saturday before. Hammond (1.48 GAA, .937 SV%), a junior, is posting career-season numbers and has played every game for BGSU. With his help, the Falcons have the fourth-best defense in the nation, allowing 1.67 goals per game. This is a team that finished tied for 36th in the nation in that category in 2010-11. Offensively, though … well, let’s just say that BG’s offense hasn’t yet made the same strides. Freshman Ryan Carpenter leads the Falcons in goals with three; BGSU is averaging 2.17 goals per game and is No. 41 in that category.
Picks: Last season, the Irish were 3-1-0 against BG, the only Falcons’ win coming in Bowling Green Nov. 5, 2010. ND is 19-2-3 in the last 24 meetings between these teams. BGSU 3-2, ND 4-2
NMU at WMU
At home last weekend, Northern Michigan earned four points from Michigan with Friday’s 5-3 win and Saturday’s 3-3 tie. Five different Wildcats scored in the win, including seniors Justin Florek and Tyler Gron, who between them account for nine of NMU’s 21 goals so far this season. The Wildcats’ offense is currently tied with four other teams for 14th-best in the nation (3.50 goals per game). Defensively, the Wildcats are tied with four other teams for 17th in the nation (2.50), in large part because of the solid goaltending provided by senior Reid Ellingson (2.27, .918) and sophomore Jared Coreau (2.62, .904), who have split time in net. Ellingson had the win last Friday.
Western Michigan comes into the last weekend in October tied for the 12th-best offense in the country (3.67) and third-best defense (1.50). Last weekend, the Broncos remained undefeated when they captured five points from Alaska in Fairbanks with a win, tie and shootout point. Junior Nick Pisellini (1.68, .931) earned the win; freshman Frank Slubowski (0.96, .955) had the tie. The Broncos have 13 skaters who have scored at least one goal through six games this season, and they’re outscoring opponents 22-9 overall so far. Sophomores Chase Balisy and Shane Berschbach lead WMU in scoring and have seven goals between them.
Picks: In 2010-11, the Broncos were 2-1-1 against the Wildcats, outscoring NMU 11-4 in a two-game home sweep Jan. 28-29. Neither current WMU goaltender has defeated NMU, Slubowski because he’s new and Pisellini because he’s only played them twice and lost and tied in that series (Dec. 3-4, 2010). Just a note that intrigued me. WMU 3-2, 4-2
RMU at MSU
The only nonconference series of the weekend brings Atlantic Hockey’s Robert Morris to East Lansing. The Colonials are 2-3-0 overall this season, having split at home with Quinnipiac last weekend. Junior Eric Levine (2.50, .928) made 35 saves in the 5-4 Friday win and senior Brooks Ostergard (2.74, .915) stopped 38 in Saturday’s 4-1 loss; six different Colonials scored the six goals on the weekend.
The Spartans split a Thursday-Friday home series last week with Ohio State. Senior Drew Palmisano (3.02, .902) earned his first win of the season with a 3-0 shutout in Thursday’s contest. Junior Kevin Walrod had both goals in Friday’s 5-2 loss, and he’s one of six Spartans with two goals this season. MSU is trying to reinvent itself as an up-tempo, high-offense team and that is certainly evident on the ice — as are the growing pains that accompany that effort, like an overall team defense that is still working on that transition.
Picks: These teams have never met before. The CCHA homer in me wants to pick an MSU sweep. MSU 4-3, RMU 3-1
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