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Well, after winning the first two years of our friendly wager on the picks contest, Arlan finally beat me out last year, getting the six pack of beer that goes along with it. He beat me pretty handily in the end too, so this year, it’s up to me to be a better prognosticator.

This is the first full weekend of games, with a lot of interesting nonconference matchups and many of the top teams in action. Let’s get to it!

Friday-Saturday, Oct. 3-4

Wisconsin at Minnesota-Duluth
Candace: The Bulldogs should be stronger this year, but they looked at little flat last weekend against Connecticut, and I have to favor Wisconsin. Wisconsin 3-1, 4-2
Arlan: I’m 50/50 on the first game with UMD at home, but I’ll say the Badgers’ incoming class has a little more impact. Wisconsin 3-2, 4-1

Robert Morris at Maine
Candace: Robert Morris didn’t get off to a good start last weekend, and I have to think they’ll come out with more fire this weekend. Robert Morris 3-2, 3-1
Arlan: The Colonials didn’t inspire a lot of confidence last weekend, or dating back to February. Robert Morris 2-1, Maine 3-2

Providence at Mercyhurst
Candace: The Friars are going to have a tough time this year getting to the top of their conference. The Lakers started slow last year, but I think home ice helps. Mercyhurst 4-1, 3-2
Arlan: Providence could use a quick start to get confidence back, but I don’t see it happening. Mercyhurst 4-2, 5-3

New Hampshire at Ohio State
Candace: The Wildcats are a team in turmoil with a new coach and few stars gone, and while I think new coach Hilary Witt will settle things down, I don’t see UNH winning. Ohio State 3-1, 3-1
Arlan: Signs last weekend that neither of these teams is quite ready to fire. Ohio State 3-2, 2-0

Union at RIT
Candace: The Tigers need to start strong if they have any hopes of challenging Mercyhurst for the CHA. RIT 3-2, 3-1
Arlan: The loss to a club team should have the Tigers’ attention. RIT 3-1, 2-0

Clarkson vs. St. Lawrence
Candace: I got burned picking St. Lawrence in this arch-rivalry last year, and while a lot of Clarkson’s top players are gone, I think the Golden Knights still have a bit too much for the Saints. Clarkson 3-2, 3-1
Arlan: A vote for home ice. St. Lawrence 2-1, Clarkson 4-1

Friday, Oct. 3

Vermont at Bemidji State
Candace: I’m tempted to go for the Catamounts here, but I think the long travel might take its toll. Bemidji State 3-2
Arlan: Vermont has done well under Jim Plumer, but it hasn’t started well. Bemidji State 4-2

Connecticut at Quinnipiac
Candace: Connecticut played very well against Minnesota-Duluth last weekend, and I think this game will be close, but I also think the Bobcats have too much firepower, plus a proven senior netminder in Chelsea Laden. Quinnipiac 2-1
Arlan: The Bobcats have a lot of confidence heading into this season. Quinnipiac 2-1

Boston University at St. Cloud State
Candace: I don’t think this one will be very close. Boston University 4-1
Arlan: Too much to tackle in Eric Rud’s first game coaching the Huskies. Boston University 5-1

Rensselaer at North Dakota
Candace: North Dakota isn’t going to be that down this year, especially with a senior netminder in Shelby Amsley-Benzie. North Dakota 4-1
Arlan: North Dakota is playing the sort of nonconference schedule that the Pairwise Rankings require a team to sweep. North Dakota 3-0

Saturday, Oct. 4

Syracuse at Boston College
Candace: The Eagles were upset on the road last year by the Orange, but I don’t see it happening again. Boston College 3-1
Arlan: I don’t expect the Eagles will underestimate the Orange again. Boston College 4-2

Boston University at Minnesota
Candace: Even with Amanda Kessel gone, the Gophers are one of the strongest teams in the country, and while the Terriers have Marie-Philip Poulin back, I don’t think she can carry her team to victory. Minnesota 4-2
Arlan: The Terriers have the advantage if firepower, but the hosts have the edge on the back end. Minnesota 3-2

Vermont at North Dakota
Candace: North Dakota gets off to great start. North Dakota 4-2
Arlan: I expect this will be a very entertaining game, but it would be better two months from now. North Dakota 4-3

Rensselaer at Bemidji State
Candace: Bemidji could be looking very good after this weekend. Bemidji State 3-1
Arlan: Sanford Center was a tough place to play in Zuzana Tomcikova’s day, and Jim Scanlan hopes to make it so again. Bemidji State 2-1