We’ve reached the midway point of January and here are the picks for this week’s games.
The West slate includes a nonconference showdown between Wisconsin-Eau Claire and Augsburg.
Eau Claire (10-3-2) vs. Augsburg (9-4)
The Auggies are one of the hottest teams in hockey, having won their last five, and they have scored at least five goals in each of those wins. Nate Flynn leads the attack with 10 goals and 10 assists and Rory Vessel has tallied a goal and 11 assists. Jordyn Kaufer is having a solid season, winning eight games and fashioning a 2.44 GAA.
The Blugolds are also playing well, riding a three-game win streak into the matchup. They have cranked out 68 goals this year, including 16 by Adam Knochenmus, and have gotten solid goaltending play out of both Tyler Green and Jay Deo.
The team that plays the best defense will come out on top.
Eau Claire, 3-2.
Concordia (Minn.) (6-6-1, 4-0) vs. Hamline (4-7-4, 1-4-1)
The Cobbers have just one win in their last five and are looking to get back on track and stay in the hunt for a MIAC title. Jon Grebosky leads the team in goals scored with six, while Alex Reichle is 6-6 in 12 starts in goal. Concordia needs to be on top of its game offensively to sweep this series.
Hamline is winless in its last six and is searching for its first win since Nov. 25 when it defeated Wisconsin-Superior 3-1. Charlie Adams will be instrumental to the Pipers’ success this weekend. He has scored 10 goals and dished out 16 assists this season. Brandon Zurn will be counted on as well. He has 11 goals and 15 assists for the Pipers, who played in the NCAA tournament last year.
I think Hamline gets at least one win this weekend.
Concordia 5-3, Hamline 4-3.
Wisconsin-Stevens Point (10-3-1) vs. St. Mary’s (7-6-2)
The Pointers have won four consecutive games, scoring at least five goals in each of those games, and feature two players with double-digit goal totals. Joe Kalisz has tallied 12 goals and 12 assists while Lawrence Cornellier has come through with 11 goals and four assists. Stevens Point has struck for 69 goals in all and will be tough to slow down.
The Cardinals are eager to bounce back after dropping four of their last five. They have the offensive firepower to do it, having racked up 67 goals this year. Bob Kinne and Martin Gruse lead the attack with nine goals apiece. Both players have tallied nine assists apiece as well.
Stevens Point, 6-3.
Wisconsin-Stout (7-4-3) vs. St. Thomas (8-5-2)
The Blue Devils have shown promise, winning three of their last four, and they will head out on the road hoping to make a statement against one of the nation’s most successful programs. Balance will be the key to their success. The offense features seven players who have scored at least three goals. Joe Anderson leads the way with six on the season.
The Tommies are tough at home, fashioning a 4-1 record on their own ice, and they are balanced as well as nine players have come through with at least three goals. Connor McBride leads the attack with eight goals and four assists.
This one should be close but St. Thomas gets the edge at home.
St. Thomas, 4-2.
Lake Forest (6-7, 4-6) vs. Adrian (12-1-1, 8-1-1)
The Foresters have won three of four, earning a split with nationally ranked Milwaukee School of Engineering last week, but the challenge becomes even more difficult this week. Lake Forest will be up against the No. 2 team in the nation and will need to be sharp defensively. Leo Podolsky is 5-5 with a 3.26 goals against average. Billy Kent leads the offense with seven goals.
Adrian is a force to be reckoned with. The Bulldogs are on a nine-game win streak and show no signs of slowing down. They have more than doubled the goal total of Lake Forest, striking for 79 goals, and they won’t be easy to keep in check this weekend. Mathew Thompson is having a tremendous year, punching in 10 goals to go along with 11 assists.
Milwaukee School of Engineering (9-4, 4-4) vs. St. Scholastica (8-3-1, 6-2)
The Raiders have won five of six and want to keep that momentum rolling. Gage Christianson has been a tremendous play-maker, dishing out 14 assists. He has also scored twice. Omar Mullan has been a key part of the offense, scoring six goals and dishing out four assists.
The Saints are on a two-game win streak and are 4-1-1 at home this season. Brandon Millin has been an integral part of the offense, coming up with nine goals and eight assists. Stephen Phee has struck for seven goals and six assists this year.
This should be one of the more exciting matchups to watch this weekend.
MSOE, 5-3, St. Scholastica, 6-4.