Happy holiday weekend, one and all! I hope that you’re able to enjoy some quality time with people and things you love — like the CCHA.
Because of the holiday, the picks are abbreviated.
Last week, including Tuesday: 5-4-3 (.541)
Season to date: 53-34-13 (.695)
I hate the wrong-way splits.
This week we have two conference series, one nonconference series, one team entertaining two different non-league foes in single games, and Miami in the Denver Cup. Ferris State, Northern Michigan, Ohio State and Western Michigan are off this weekend. Days and times are noted, and all times are local.
ND at LSSU The Irish played two teams to OT this past week, beating Boston College 3-2 at home Friday and tying with Western Michigan on the road 2-2 Tuesday. The Lakers traveled to Western New York and tied Canisius 2-2 Saturday before beating the Golden Griffins 4-2 Sunday. ND was 4-1-0 against LSSU last season; that includes two regular-season wins and a playoff series. This series pits Notre Dame’s 15th-best power play nationally (.215) against the Lakers’ sixth-best (.902) penalty kill. The Lakers are allowing just 2.14 goals per game on average, period. This series gives the Irish a chance to overtake the first-place Buckeyes and the Lakers a chance to catch them. Friday-Saturday, 7:05 p.m. Picks: ND 3-2, 4-2
UAF at BGSU With a split at home against Ferris State last weekend, the Nanooks finally registered their first CCHA win of the season — but not for lack of trying. The win came Friday (ruining the way I picked a split, thank you very much) in the form of a 2-0 shutout. The Falcons took two points from Miami on the road with a Friday loss and Saturday tie plus shootout point. Alaska is 11-4-1 against BG since Mar. 11, 2005. These teams are tied for last place in the CCHA standings with five points each. Friday-Saturday, 7:05 p.m. Picks: UAF 3-2, BGSU 4-2
UMN at MSU With the College Hockey Showcase a thing of the past, it’s nice to see the Golden Gophers and the Spartans filling in the gap with an out-and-out series. Each team split last weekend, Minnesota with St. Cloud State and Michigan State with Northern Michigan. UMN’s nation-leading offense is averaging 4.36 goals per game and the Gophers are third-best in the nation defensively (1.71). Friday and Saturday, 7:05 p.m. Picks: UMN 4-2, 4-2
Miami vs. Providence and Denver Providence, tied for fifth in Hockey East, lost to Northeastern in its only game last weekend, Friday night. Denver is tied for fourth in the WCHA, and the Pioneers beat Nebraska-Omaha 7-3 before tying the Mavericks 3-3 last weekend. The RedHawks are 2-3-0 all-time against the Friars, 3-4-0 all time against the Pioneers. Miami brings an unbeaten streak of 4-0-2 into this weekend after defeating and tying Bowling Green at home. Friday 4:37 p.m.; Saturday 7:07 p.m. Picks: Miami 3-2, Denver 4-3
Northeastern and Union at UM Northeastern is tied for fifth in Hockey East after beating both Providence and Vermont last weekend. Union is tied for fourth in the ECAC and last played Tuesday, Nov. 15, a 5-1 road win over Rensselaer. The Wolverines are stinging from a two-week dominance by the state of Ohio; their current winless streak (0-3-1) includes a loss and tie in Oxford two weekends ago and a home sweep last week at the unlikely hands of Ohio State. In the old days, I would have automatically said that this was bad news for the next Michigan opponents, but after the last weekend, I’m not so sure. The Wolverines are 3-2-0 all-time against Northeastern, and the Dutchmen and Wolverines have never met. Friday 7:35 p.m.; Sunday 3:05 p.m. Yes, homer picks. Picks: UM 4-2, 3-2