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Shane here …

The WCHA race is heating up. I’m curious to see how much of it comes down to the wire like it did last season when the MacNaughton Cup, home ice and the final playoff spots all came down to the final weekend. It’s a six-week sprint, starting now – or at least with eight of 10 teams in action.

Time to pick …

Alabama Huntsville at Michigan Tech

Shane: The Chargers have proven to be much improved from a year ago and could very well make the league playoffs come March. This weekend, against a team that might just win the regular-season title, will show them just what that will be like. The Huskies, meanwhile are coming off an impressive home sweep against Alaska. I think they keep it rolling. Huskies 4-1, 4-2

Jack: UAH is coming off a rough “off” weekend in which they lost two last-minute exhibition games against the same USA U-18 team that beat Minnesota. They certainly won’t be rusty when they take on the Huskies, but like you, I think Tech is too strong right now. I expect a pair of close games but ultimately a Huskies sweep. Huskies 2-1, 3-2

Alaska Anchorage at Northern Michigan

Shane: A well-rested Seawolves team starts a four-game road swing in Marquette against a team that’s gone through a crazy couple of weeks. Walt Kyle is back behind the bench for the Wildcats after a week-long suspension by the school. They have just one win in their last 13 games (five ties in there), and they’ll get one this weekend. Seawolves 3-2, Wildcats 5-2

Jack: It seems as though Northern Michigan’s myriad issues really started to come to fruition when they went up to Alaska over the Thanksgiving break.  Mathias Dahlstrom is still a good goalie, but the rest of NMU’s defense seems to be a disaster area. I think they could end some of their woes here and get a split, but it won’t be easy. Wildcats 4-3, Seawolves 4-1

Bowling Green at Bemidji State

Shane: This will be no easy weekend for the Falcons, who seem to have tapered just a bit after that outstanding first half. Just one win in each of their last three weekends, including the surprising split at home against Lake Superior State last week. The Beavers have to be full of confidence after last week’s North Star Cup championship. A split would be good for both teams. Falcons 3-1, Beavers 3-2

Jack: The real question this weekend will be which Beavers team is for real: The one that got swept at Lake State two weeks ago, or the one that beat two top 10 teams and looked dominant doing so last weekend? I tend to lean towards the latter, since they’ve played very well since their seven-game losing skid in November. The Falcons are looking for a bit of a spark too, after splitting with LSSU. I think BSU gets a split, but I’ll say they win Friday night and BG wins Saturday. Beavers 4-1, Falcons 3-2

Ferris State at Minnesota State

Shane: These two teams played a close series two weeks ago in Big Rapids and now play in Mankato where their rivalry was sparked a year ago. Not sure if there’s any carryover from either series, but the Bulldogs might be desperate not only to stay in home-ice contention but to break an 0-5 skid against the Mavericks. After last week’s hiccup in the North Star finals, though, I think the No. 3 team in the country wins two at home. Mavericks 3-1, 4-3

Jack: Ferris and Northern are both tied for the final home ice playoff spot, but both are there by virtue, really, of good starts early in the season. I think the Bulldogs have a little more of what it takes to stay there, and I’d like to think they’ll figure something out with CJ Motte in net. But the Mavericks are strong, so while I’ll pick a split I won’t be shocked by a sweep, either. Mavericks 4-3, Bulldogs 2-1

Last week: Shane 4-5-1, Jack 6-3-1.

Overall: Shane 84-56-14, Jack 80-60-14

  • Guest

    How in the world is Frattin not on this list????

    • Sara

      because these were preseason picks

  • Ryrotramel

    What do you mean…UND fans are expected to actually read the article before they ask questions?

    • Sara

      Well I read it so your thought is flawed.

  • FCC

    Go Jack and Justin! strong finish boys

  • Rinkpig

    frattin would appear on the hobey GOON ballot!!!!!!!