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Welcome to another exciting NCHC season. As in the previous two years, Matthew and Candace will pick all NCHC games. We always put a friendly wager on the season-long contest, a six-pack of beer. I’ve won the first two seasons, so Matthew has something to prove.

The rules: you have to pick the correct winner on the correct night; you can’t just pick a split. In this blog, the first game listed is Friday, the second Saturday (or whatever day a second game happens). Ties count for half a point.

With that outlined, let’s get to the picks!!

Friday-Saturday, Oct. 9-10

No. 2 Minnesota-Duluth vs Bemidji State home-and-home
Candace: I expect Bemidji to give Duluth fits, but that the Bulldogs will get their season off to a good start. Minnesota-Duluth 3-1, 3-2
Matthew: Can the Bulldogs live up to their hype this season? We’ll see starting this weekend. Minnesota Duluth 3–1, 3-2

No. 4 North Dakota at Icebreaker: Friday vs. Lake Superior State; Saturday vs. Maine
Candace: A new coach might equal a better start than in the past. Also, neither Hockey East writer is expecting much out of Maine this year, and I tend to trust Dave and Jimmy. North Dakota 4-2, 4-1
Matthew: UND doesn’t always fly out of the blocks, and I’m not sure the intimidation factor will be there in Portland like it might’ve been in Orono, but I’ve got them splitting. North Dakota 3-2; Maine 3-2

No. 5 Denver vs. Air Force (home-and-home)
Candace: Frank Serratore likes to make his former team pay whenever he can, but Air Force is looking down this year. Denver 4-1, 4-2
Matthew: I have a tendency to say the home team wins in situations like these, but I’ll buck trend and go with DU in both games. Denver 3-1, 3-2

No. 10 Omaha at No. 6 Minnesota State
Candace: One of the bigger series of the weekend. This has split written all over it, assuming Omaha’s goaltending is solid. Minnesota State 3-1, Omaha 4-2
Matthew: Two of the biggest games in the country this weekend. I’ll take the safe option and pick a split. Minnesota State 3-2, Omaha 3-1

No. 7 Providence at No. 11 Miami
Candace: Another big series with ranked squads. I’m sure Miami wants revenge for being the first team to lose on Providence’s march to the title. If the RedHawks win, it will be with defense and goaltending, because some of the top offensive stars are gone. I feel like I could flip a coin and be more accurate. Miami 3-2, Providence 2-1
Matthew: MU will be excited about the chance to exact revenge for its NCAA regional loss to the Friars last season. They’ll get some, but I’d be surprised if they get a sweep. Miami 4-2, Providence 3-2

No. 17 St. Cloud State at Kendall Hockey Classic: Friday vs. Alaska; Saturday at Alaska-Anchorage
Candace: A long trip sometimes equals tired players, but I think the Huskies will come out strong in both games. St. Cloud State 3-2, 4-2
Matthew: Alaska is looking to bounce back from its postseason ban and I think they’ll do it here, but I think the Huskies will find their feet there and carry that over into the game against UAA and win that one. Alaska 4-2; St. Cloud State 3-0

Ferris State vs. Western Michigan (home-and-home)
Candace: If this was last year, I’d take a sweep for Ferris State, but since this is the first game without CJ Motte in net, I’m going split. Western Michigan 2-1, Ferris State 3-2
Matthew: I want to take the homer pick, but I have a feeling Ferris takes both. Ferris State 4-2, 3-1

Massachusetts at Colorado College
Candace: Neither team is expected to do much, so why not be an NCHC homer? Colorado College 2-1, 2-1
Matthew: Nobody’s really fancying UMass to make waves in Hockey East, and I think they might be an ideal opponent for CC to start its season with. I’m taking the Tigers twice. Colorado College 2-0, 3-2

Tuesday, Oct. 13

No. 16 Bowling Green at Western Michigan
Candace: Bowling Green is going to be a tough out this year, and I expect them to take this. Bowling Green 3-1
Matthew: Western’s facing probably the two best WCHA teams right away, and even though both are at home, I’m not sure if the Broncos will get a ‘W’ in any of the games. Bowling Green 3-2