Last week Theresa: 3-7-2
Season Theresa: 113-70-20
Last week Tyler: 5-5-2
Season Tyler: 118-48-16
Some weeks go well. Some weeks … don’t. Obviously last week was fairly unpredictable.
This weekend, once again, we’ve got all 12 teams playing each other. I also get the feeling that things might start staying unpredictable as the race toward the playoffs gets even hotter.
No. 18 Colorado College (17-14-1, 11-11-0 WCHA) at Bemidji State (11-14-3, 7-12-3 WCHA)
Theresa: CC comes into this series deeply mired in the fight for home ice and is aided with the return of Jaden Schwartz on Friday. His brother, Rylan, is sitting out on Friday, but he will play on Saturday which could make the Tigers explosive. The Beavers are out of the home ice race, but could still make some noise to give themselves a more favorable playoff opponent. Given BSU’s firepower up front and the fact that they’re at home, I could see them taking a game here, but with the return of Jaden and the reunion of the Schwartzes on Saturday, I have to give the nod to the Tigers. CC sweep.
Tyler: Jaden Schwartz is back which will give CC the spark it needs as the Tigers try to gain position for home ice. CC averaged nearly four goals per game before Schwartz left for World Juniors where he fractured his ankle. CC sweep.
Michigan Tech (3-23-4, 1-19-2 WCHA) at No. 4 Denver (18-7-5, 14-5-3 WCHA)
Theresa: Tech rule. DU sweep.
Really not much more to say here except that if the Pioneers get just one point in their next six games, they clinch home ice. They’ll easily end up doing that this weekend. The Huskies have clinched last by a long shot and at this point, are only hoping to finally win another game. Unfortunately, it probably won’t happen this weekend.
Tyler: There shouldn’t be much of an argument here. DU sweep.
No. 5 Minnesota-Duluth (18-6-5, 13-5-4 WCHA) at Minnesota State (13-13-6, 7-13-4 WCHA)
Theresa: If the playoffs were to begin this weekend, this would be your first round match-up. Depending on how things shake out the rest of the season, these two teams might very well be facing each other once again. The Mavericks have proved themselves to be a team that no one will want to face in the playoffs, which makes them dangerous. The Bulldogs, on the other hand, are still in the race for the MacNaughton and also probably want to rebound after being spanked by SCSU last Friday. Odds are, we’ll see a split here this weekend – MSU Friday, UMD Saturday.
Tyler: MSU is going to be one of those teams the top seeds won’t want to play in the WCHA first round and UMD will find out why this weekend. The Mavericks played North Dakota and Denver tough in Mankato in the last two months but the Mavericks will finally beat a top-three team this weekend. Split.
No. 2 North Dakota (21-8-2, 16-6-0 WCHA) at St. Cloud State (12-14-4, 8-11-3 WCHA)
Theresa: This has developed into a nice little rivalry over the past two years and should prove to be an interesting weekend. Despite injuries, the Sioux have been rolling along just fine (as coach Dave Hakstol has said, they’re not technically short-handed). The Huskies, meanwhile, may have found their stride at the perfect time in the season. I believe home ice is a stretch for them (don’t quote me on that), but, like BSU above, they can make their league positioning a lot more favorable. As a result, I believe we’ll see a split – SCSU Friday, UND Saturday.
Tyler: UND’s key injuries (Genoway and Kristo) make it a little more of an even playing field with the series played in St. Cloud. This is probably the last bump in the road for the Sioux before they end the season with Bemidji State and Michigan Tech. Meanwhile, centers Garrett Roe and Drew LeBlanc are finally making strides for SCSU. Split.
No. 13 Nebraska-Omaha (18-10-2, 14-6-2 WCHA) at Alaska-Anchorage (10-15-3, 9-13-2 WCHA)
Theresa: This is kind of an interesting series as there’s no history to draw from to predict how it might go. These two teams have played once prior almost five years ago and they tied. That being said, we know how both play this year and can formulate more of an idea. On paper, this series should be easy - Mavs sweep … especially given that they’re coming off sweeps of both SCSU and UW. The Seawolves, meanwhile, are coming off a tough road sweep at the hands of UND. That being said, like MSU above, UAA is proving to be a team that no one wants to meet in the playoffs. The Seawolves also have the advantage of playing this one on home ice, where they haven’t lost in four games. So, and I know I’ve been doing this a lot this year, I’m going to give the home team the benefit of the doubt and call a split – UAA Friday, UNO Saturday.
Tyler: That loss to Alabama-Huntsville might have brought the Mavericks together because they’ve won four straight games since. Seems like they’ve found the consistency they had through the fall. But the Seawolves have been a team that can take down any team, especially in Anchorage. Split.
Minnesota (12-12-4, 9-10-3 WCHA) at No. 12 Wisconsin (19-10-3, 11-9-2 WCHA)
Theresa: As discussed earlier this week, this series is chock-full of playoff implication fun for both squads. As also mentioned in the notes of that series, two interesting things come into play – UW’s current unbeaten streak at home and the fact that the Badgers have never swept UM at home under coach Mike Eaves. Unless UW once again takes three points from the Gophers this season, one of those is going to change. Still, it’ll be interesting to see what happens … to see whether the Badgers and goalie Scott Gudmandson can rebound from last weekend’s sweep by UNO or whether the Gophers can keep the offense going like they did Saturday against Denver. It’s a hard call, but I think I’m going to go with a split – UM Friday, UW Saturday.
Tyler: Huge game for both teams trying to gain ground on home ice for the playoffs. The Gophers had a great game offensively last Saturday but Scott Gudmandson is one of the best goalies in the country and I see him bouncing back after a rough weekend in Omaha. The guy is unbeatable at the Kohl Center. UW sweep.