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Shane here …

It’s February, and you can almost feel the tension in the air. The final five weeks of the regular season will be a “bloodbath” as one player told me this week. Let’s hope it doesn’t get too messy in the stretch run. Perhaps we’ll start to see some separation in the standings after this weekend.

I’m letting Jack pick first, and I’ll rebut …

Alaska Anchorage at Minnesota State

Jack: The Mavericks are hot: With just two losses in their last 19 games, they’re still showing why they’re the No. 1 team in the country. The Seawolves, on the other hand, have struggled in the Lower 48, losing twice in Marquette with a series sweep. I can’t see the Wolves snapping out of their brief funk before they return to Alaska, so I’m calling a MSU sweep. Mavericks 4-2, 3-1

Shane: It’s hard to argue with you here, Jack, and it’s hard to pick against the Mavericks, who were nothing short of surgical against Ferris State last weekend. When Minnesota State dictates the way the game is played, there are few teams that can beat them. They’ll face a stiff test against a desperate Anchorage team, but they’ll sweep at home. Mavericks 5-2, 4-2

Bemidji State at Michigan Tech

Jack: This should be a fun one this weekend. The Beavers are arguably the hottest team in the country right now, having gone 3-0-1 in their last four games — all against top-10 teams. They took three points from Bowling Green last weekend after being swept in Ohio earlier in the season. Now, BSU heads to No. 5 Tech looking for more points against a top 10 team. Tech swept BSU in Bemidji back in November but the way the Beavers are playing now it’s hard to see that happening. But it’s also Winter Carnival, so the Huskies will be hard to sweep at home in front of an even-more-crazy-than-usual student crowd. I’m picking a split, but only because we aren’t allowed to pick ties (which is likely; BSU and Tech have tied four times in Houghton in the past five years). Beavers 4-2, Huskies 5-3

Shane: Jack, you can pick ties if you want. But it’s always a risky proposition when it comes to this very serious picking game. There’s, uh, what exactly on the line? Perhaps a tasty beverage when I go to Bemidji at the end of the season. Anyway, this should be a close series between two teams that seem to have things figured out. The Huskies can’t really afford a hiccup between now and the Minnesota State series if they want a shot at the MacNaughton Cup, but the Beavers have been doing nothing but causing hiccups for ranked teams. Beavers 3-2, Huskies 4-1

Ferris State at Bowling Green

Jack: A matchup of two teams looking to get back on track. Ferris suddenly finds itself in a fifth-place tie with Bemidji after a hot start had them in home ice position for most of the beginning of the season. BGSU, on the other hand, has lost three of its last six. Not sure who has the upper hand here, so I’m going to be lame and call a split. Bulldogs 4-2, Falcons 5-3

Shane: These are two teams that desperately want to win games this weekend. Bowling Green has taken a bit of a stumble after it’s great first half and needs to get momentum back on its side. Ferris State, meanwhile, is in the midst of a crazy-tough second-half schedule. While a split seems to be the safe pick, I think the Falcons roll at home. Falcons 4-2, 3-1

Lake Superior State at Alaska

Jack: Lake State is 4-3-1 in its last three games and are doing a great job rebounding after their terrible start. Alaska is winless in six games. The last time these teams met, it was wild: The Nanooks won the opener 7-5 in the opener before losing 3-2 in overtime in the finale. I think we’re on tap for another split. Lakers 5-4, Nanooks 3-2

Shane: Sometimes bye weeks come a good times and sometimes they come at bad times. I think the week off wasn’t great for the Lakers, who, like you said, Jack, have played pretty good hockey of late. Now they go to Alaska to face a Nanooks team that has been reeling a bit. Perhaps I need to believe more in that Lake State turnaround, but I’m thinking a split for the home team. Nanooks 3-2, 2-1

Northern Michigan at Minnesota Duluth

Jack: I was looking at these numbers and surprised how even the series is: 33-33-4. But both teams are much better against the other at home. I’m tempted to pick the split anyway just because I’m so consistent with those this week but I think the Bulldogs are going to sweep a pair of close games. Bulldogs 4-3, 4-2

Shane: That was a nice sweep last week for Northern Michigan following a rather tumultuous week off the ice. The Wildcats face a difficult nonconference test against a very good team. And if there’s no Mathias Dahlstrom in goal this weekend, I think it will be that much more difficult. Bulldogs 3-2, 4-2

Last week: Shane 5-2-1, Jack 5-2-1

Overall: Shane 89-58-15, Jack 85-62-15