Ten of the 12 WCHA teams are in action this weekend. But three of them, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Denver, play two nonconference opponents. That's a lot of scouting to do.
After soundly thumping Austin Cumblad of the Minnesota Daily last week -- gotta brag when you can -- Austin is back to challenge me for a second week. Doubt I can duplicate my 9-1 mark last weekend, especially since there are 14 games this week.
Austin was 6-4, but I am sure he has dusted himself off and put that behind him. I would have.We have five differences this weekend.
Austin's rebuttal: Okay fine, so last weekend could have gone better. But everyone loves a comeback story, right? I catch a whiff of overconfidence from Roman, and now that I have an entire week of picks under by belt, you better watch out.
That said, it's a bunch of non-conference action this weekend, which I suspect will make both our lives a bit tougher. I'm trying not to overthink things, plus I hear we are running out of space on this here interweb, so I;m going to limit myself to a one sentence explanation on each of my picks.
Good idea Austin, more space for me. I did hours of analysis you know.
So here we go:
Michigan State at Gophers (Fri.)
Roman: Gophers have owned Spartans of late, going 4-0-5 against them last nine years in College Hockey Showcase. U also coming off second road sweep of season, beating MTech 6-4 and 4-1. Jake Hansen had two pp goals in one of those games, Mike Hoeffel two goals in both games. If those guys get going -- Gophers 5-1-1 in last seven games. All signs point to ... Gophers win.
Michigan at Gophers (Sun.)
Roman: Michigan thumped U 6-0 a year ago and have three-game win streak over Minny. Wolverines are averaging 3.5 goals per game, tied for 11th in nation. Carl Hagelin has six goals and nine assists for 15 points in 14 games. Watch him. Could be high scoring affair. Wolverines also 6-0-2 on Saturdays, but fortunately game was moved to Sunday. Even so Gophers have not showed yet they can beat top teams so ... Wolverines win.
Austin: At present, the Wolverines are the class of this pari of potential future Big Ten hockey matchups, and the Spartans are ice clod. ... U Beats State, lose to Michigan.
Michigan at Wisconsin (Fri.)
Roman: Wolverines (8-3-3) have won three in a row. Are rated No. 8 in country. Michigan has committed only nine penalties in last four games and not allowed a power play goal. Badgers are reeling, 0-4-1 in last five games. Last weekend lost two OT games to UMD. Deserved better fate. ... Badgers win.
Michigan State at Wisconsin (Sat.)
Roman: Badgers are 4-0-1 vs. MSU in last five games. Spartans are in 1-6-0 slide. Wisconsin pp at 28.2 percent, third best in nation. Junior forward Jordy Murray has 10 goals in 14 games after scoring 12 all last season. So the numbers, if you are selective, say Wisconsin should post a W. ... Badgers win.
Austin: The WCHA's success in the other half of the College Hockey Showcase is much the same as Minnesota's. ... Baders lose to Michigan, beat State.
Lake Superior State at Denver (Fri.)
Roman: Pioneers have won four in a row and outscored foes 16-6 in that stretch. LSS is 5-7-2 this season. Also DU is 28-6-2 in Denver Cup. ... Denver wins
Air Force at Denver (Sat.)
Roman: Pioneers are 14-0 vs. Air Force in Denver Cup. Falcons are 4-6-1 this season. Enough said. ... Denver wins.
Austin: I was unaware Lake Superior was granted statehood. ... Denver wins both.
Notre Dame at North Dakota
Roman: Sixth weekend in row No. 9 Sioux have played ranked opponent. Irish are No. 11 and are visiting Ralph for first time since 1998-99 when they played in old Ralph. Matt Frattin of Sioux is tied for national lead in goals with 12. NoDak split at Nebraska Omaha last weekend. ... NoDak sweeps.
Austin: On paper, about as evenly matched as a series could be and NoDak has a habit of splitting its annual Subway Holiday Claissic. ... Split
Northern Michigan at Bemidji State
Roman: Beavers (2-7-1) have Friday-itis. That's as good a name as any for their problem. BSU is 0-5 on Friday and has been outscored 22-12. Junior Dan Bakala need three saves to become fourth Beavers goalie with 1,000 saves. BSU has scored on first shot in four of past five games. Top scorers are senior Matt Read and sophomore Jordan George with 12 points piece. BSU was 1-0-1 versus North Michigan on road last season. NMU beat Alaska 2-1 and tied the Nanooks 1-1 last weekend, then lost to them in a shootout. ... Beavers sweep.
Austin: Bemidji is desperately in need of wins, but a visit from Northern Michigan only half helps. ... Split.
Minnesota State Mankato at UMass-Lowell
Roman: Mavs (2-6-4) are playing seventh and eighth consecutive games on road. Have played UMass-Lowell three times in NCAA Division II Frozen Four, losing in title game 6-4 in 1979. ... Split
Austin: WCHA improves to 4-0 against UMasses (Gophers swept UMass to open regular season). ... MSU sweeps
Alaska Anchorage at Colorado College
Roman: CC is 20-2 vs. UAA at World Arena and Stephen Schultz has scored a goal in his last five games for Tigers. CC has not played last two weekends. On the other hand, Seawolves (3-7-2) play everybody tough. Of their 12 games, 10 have been decided by one goal or ended in ties. ... CC sweeps.
Austin: In the battle of double letters and this weekend's lone WCHA series, CC + AA = 2 points each. ... Spli