Hey all. Jack here.
What a difference a week can make.
After going 3-8-1 on my picks last weekend, I was able to turn it around completely this time around and go a perfect 9-0-0 on the weekend. I have no idea how this happened, but I swear I didn’t cheat. (But I won’t completely deny being a sorcerer…)
Anyway, it’s a fairly light slate for conference teams this weekend, but two of the series feature middle-table teams that need all of the points they can muster when it comes to playoff positioning. Meanwhile, the first and last place teams also face off, but I honestly think they will play better games than many might expect.
On to the picks. Hopefully I can conjure some more black magic this weekend.
Bemidji State at Lake Superior State
Jack: The Beavers are playing pretty well right now, but after a Thursday night game in Duluth, they’re going to be on their third game in five days by the time this series is over. I think they’ll win Friday but the Lakers will capitalize Saturday for a split. Beavers 5-2, Lakers 3-2
Shane: Just two points separate these two team in the standings and both still have a shot a home ice. I’m not as worried about the Beavers’ schedule as they had last weekend off. The Lakers are at home where they’ve done a good job getting points. Since we don’t pick ties for three-point weekends I’m going with a Bemidji sweep. Beavers 4-1, 3-2
Northern Michigan at Ferris State
Jack: Fun fact: Both teams got their first series sweeps of the season last weekend. Ferris won a pair of games in Fairbanks while NMU hosted Anchorage and won both games. Both teams seem to be playing their best hockey right now. The Bulldogs are unbeaten in their last seven games. I think that streak ends at some point this season, but I’ll say it extends to eight before the ‘Cats break it up. Bulldogs 4-2, Wildcats 3-1
Shane: This is the matchup of the weekend, as it might even determine which of these teams hosts the other one in the playoffs. Both are playing good hockey right now, but, even before that, they almost always found ways to get points in a series. That will happen again this weekend in a couple of low-scoring games. Wildcats 2-1, Bulldogs 2-0
Minnesota State at Alabama Huntsville
Jack: The Mavs are looking to secure their second-straight MacNaughton Cup. A pair of wins would certainly help in that regard, especially since both teams chasing them (Tech and BG) are idle. But I wouldn’t write the Chargers as an easy W so fast. They played two pretty good games against MSU last time out in Mankato, including a game in which they were leading 1-0 going into the third period. I think they may be able to squeeze a win this weekend and keep their playoff hopes alive. Chargers 2-1, Mavericks 5-1
Shane: You’re right, Jack, that the Chargers played the Mavericks tough two months ago in Mankato, and they’re always competitive. But I just don’t see Minnesota State losing a game this weekend. The Mavs will give their lead atop the standings a nice, and needed, boost this weekend. Mavericks 5-2, 3-1
Miami at Bowling Green (Friday)
Jack: Bowling Green has one last chance to right the ship in nonconference play and give themselves (and the WCHA) a boost with a win over their instate rival. The Falcons are currently 0-3 against NCHC foes. Their 2-1 loss against the Redhawks last time out maybe isn’t that shocking, but losing to Western Michigan 4-1 and 1-0 in the other two games both remain head-scratches. I suppose that’s what happens when we have hockey #MACtion going on. I think the Falcons will salvage at least something this weekend — one of three home games left for them. Falcons 3, RedHawks 1
Shane: I was impressed with what I saw from Bowling Green last weekend, especially in its win on Saturday when it played with some desperation to get a much-needed win. Considering the WCHA is likely a one-bid conference, everybody’s playing for momentum right now, and I think the Falcons keep theirs going. Falcons 4, RedHawks 3
Last week: Shane 6-3-0, Jack 9-0-0. Overall: Shane 98-52-27, Jack 83-67-27