We’re finally into December, and I’m still hanging tough three games behind Shane (Ferris State tying Wisconsin last Friday didn’t do me many favors, but it turned out Shane also picked the Badgers to win on the wrong day so it’s a wash).
This week just seven of the league’s teams are in action, with only three league series. It’ll be interesting to see how this week (and next) play out to see how the teams finish going into the holiday break.
Anyway, enough chit-chat: Onto the picks.
No. 14 Bowling Green (10-3-1, 7-1-0) at No. 19 Northern Michigan (8-3-1, 5-3-0)
Jack: Without question the series of the weekend. And it should be a good one: Can Bowling Green’s high-powered offense solve Northern’s stingy defense? Or will Mathaias Dahlstom steal the show? Because this game is in Marquette and not at the funhouse rink that is BGSU Ice Arena, I’ll say the Wildcats are favored defensively. But the Falcons still could score a (low-scoring) split. Wildcats 2-0, Falcons 2-1.
Shane: I agree that this should be a great series between two good teams. Northern Michigan had to be happy with a 2-2-0 showing during its long Alaska trip, although it seems that Dahlstrom has come back to Earth a bit. Bowling Green still seems to be under the radar a bit, despite its outstanding record and could make a big splash with a sweep. Still, I, too, think it will be a split. Wildcats 3-1, Falcons 3-2
Alaska (7-7-0, 2-6-0) at No. 2 Minnesota State (11-3-0, 9-1-0)
Jack: The Mavericks are rolling right now, and I would not want to be in the Nanooks’ shoes. MSU has won six straight games and have scored 26 goals in that span. The Nanooks managed a split against Northern Michigan but I just can’t see anyone stopping the Mavericks in Mankato right now. Mavericks 4-1, 5-2.
Shane: Minnesota State’s strength is its depth right now, getting scoring from all four lines, solid defense and — suddenly — very good goaltending. Different players have stepped up at different times, which bodes well for a team playing at home for the first time in nearly a month. Alaska won’t be a pushover, though. Mavericks 4-3, 3-2
Bemidji State (4-10-0, 2-6-0) at Alaska Anchorage (5-7-2, 2-6-0)
Jack: The Beavers finally snapped their long losing streak by beating instate rivals St. Cloud Saturday. While it’s nice to see BSU score some goals, the question is if they can keep it up — especially following a long roadtrip to Anchorage. However, Anchorage still hasn’t been swept at home since 2012-13. They’ve been playing better as of late. I’ll call a split. Seawolves 3-2, Beavers 4-1.
Shane: Both of these teams snapped long losing streaks their last time out with the Seawolves stopping a six-game skid with a shutout of Northern Michigan (then getting a week off) and the Beavers stopping a seven-game slide. Who will get a winning streak started? I say the Beavers, but in an eventual split. Beavers 3-1, Seawolves 4-2
Lake Superior State (3-13-0) at No. 1 North Dakota (10-3-2)
Jack: How crazy is it that these teams have played one series, and that was in the early 70s? You’d have figured they’d at least have met once or twice in the Lakers’ national title heyday (late 80s/early 90s) but it just never happened. Unfortunately for the Lakers, they’re going back to Grand Forks at perhaps the lowest point in the program’s history. North Dakota just has too many weapons to make this a fair fight. UND 5-1, 4-2.
Shane: The only thing going against North Dakota this weekend is November’s curse on the No. 1 team in the country, which has made for four different top teams in as many weeks (Minnesota, Michigan Tech, Boston University, North Dakota). UND 6-1, 4-1
Last week: Jack 6-3-1, Shane 6-3-1
Overall: Jack 53-36-6, Shane 56-33-6