This week, I have to give kudos to the Wisconsin-Eau Claire men’s hockey team for proving me wrong.
For my Nov. 16 picks, I tabbed the Blugolds to lose both games to St. Norbert. I was banking on the fact that the Green Knights rarely lose at home. Not only did Wis.-Eau Claire claim one victory, they also tied the Green Knights on Saturday.
Last weekend’s impressive showing lifted the Blugolds to fourth in the latest USCHO.com Division III Poll. Talk about a momentum booster.
I’ll definitely think twice before picking against the Blugolds for the remainder of the season. They have a veteran team that can hit the net, kill penalties, and stonewall opponents.
With the Thanksgiving holiday, the schedule’s a little light this week, but here goes.
Friday-Saturday, November 23-24
Marian and Lawrence at St. Norbert
Despite last week’s loss to Wis.-Eau-Claire, St. Norbert is still 6-2-1 and ranked sixth in D-III. With two contests against Midwest Collegiate Hockey Association teams in this weekend’s Thanksgiving Classic, expect the Green Knights to bounce back nicely. St. Norbert has never lost a game against an MCHA opponent, holding an astonishing 56-0-2 record against that league. Neither Marian (4-3-1) nor Lawrence (2-4) has the firepower to match St. Norbert, which is scary, because the Green Knights will be moving to the MCHA next season. St. Norbert 6-1, 7-0
Saturday-Sunday, November 24-25
Concordia-Wisconsin at Wis.-Eau Claire
To give you a sense of how tough the NCHA is, four of the seven teams are ranked in the top 15 nationally. Two other teams (Wisconsin-Stout and Wisconsin-Stevens Point) received votes, but failed to crack the top 15. The Blugolds, however, stand at the top of the conference. After leaving St. Norbert without a loss, you can bet the Blugolds will be motivated to keep the momentum flowing. It could be a long weekend for Concordia-Wis. Wis.-Eau Claire 5-2, 7-1