Weekend Predictions - Tough Weekend Ahead

After looking at the schedule, I decided it was time to make some predictions.  I just had to choose one of the most difficult weekends in the WCHA to make these decisions.  But there is a plus side...  With all these great series being played this week, it will be easier to gauge the skill level of each team after the weekend is over, as there are a lot of games between teams that stand fairly close to one another in league standings and national rankings.


Bemidji State at Minnesota Duluth:
The Puppies are hot as of the last couple games, climbing up from the bottom of the WCHA and scoring goals why they're at it.  But, they have had a hard time keeping the puck out of their own net, which may make or break the weekend.  Bemidji State was just swept, badly, by Minnesota State and only managed 1 goal throughout the weekend.  Also, they've only scored 29 goals so far this year.  Add all that up, and I think we have to go with a Bulldog SWEEP.

Michigan Tech at Wisconsin:
Normally I wouldn't count Tech out of this series but with Wisconsin playing extremely impressive against the best team in the WCHA, taking 3 points, and Michigan Tech playing pretty ugly hockey last weekend i'm not sure what to think.  Tech has some great talent, but now that Kerdiles is back for Wisconsin, it will make things a bit more difficult for the Mel Gang.  SPLIT.

Alaska Anchorage at Minnesota State:
A few years ago, well hell even last year, this would have been one awful series.  And to a certain extent I think it still has potential, but now that Mankato has found this nice scoring groove, they're either going to bury UAA or the games might be closer then you think.  Last weekend Anchorage managed to beat a very talented St. Cloud State team, so we can't count them out yet.  Mankato SWEEP.

Denver at North Dakota:
There are a couple of huge matchups this week that i'm excited for; this is one.  It may or may not have something to do with the fact that goon has posted some great videos about past meetings between the two teams, which show lots of physical and talented hockey.  Truth about this series is this: Denver can beat any team in the country.  They can score very easily and in high quantity.  They have extremely talented goaltenders and one of the best defenseman in the league.  But, North Dakota can beat any team as well.  It's still the first half of the season, so any college hockey fan knows UND is bumpy this half, but they did keep a goal-scoring Colorado College team to 2 goals last Saturday.  So given that the Pioneers are great, I still don't think they walk into one of the hardest ice rinks to skate on in the world and sweep, UND has to much talent for that to happen.  SPLIT.

Nebraska Omaha at St. Cloud State:
Another pretty significant matchup in this league this week.  SCSU is coming back from Anchorage where they split with the Seawolves last weekend while UNO, also on the road, split with the Gophers 3-2 and 2-3.  Both of these teams have proved they can score.  I can tell you first hand i've seen the Huskies make some tic-tac-toe plays that made the Pups look foolish.  Ryan Walters of Omaha actually leads the WCHA in scoring right now with 20 points, so you know these teams can put points on the board, but who is going to strike first?  If I had to pick a team to sweep, i'd go SCSU for sure, but Blais will pull his goalie with 7 minutes remaining to avoid a loss.  SPLIT.

Minnesota at Colorado College:
This is, what I believe to be one of the first difficult tasks for the Gophers.  Adam Wilcox hasn't had to take to much of a beating yet this year with Minnesota's successful defense holding the puck up.  But Colorado College averages 3.69 goals per game and has scored a total of 59 goals this year.  They also have 5 players with 14 points or more where as the Gophers only have 2.  But scoring defense is going to make or break these teams.  Minnesota leads the WCHA, only allowing, on average, 1.87 goals per game versus Colorado College who allows 3.44.  Also of note is Minnesota has the best penalty kill where as Colorado College is tied for last in the league.  This is going to be a very good series; a good marker to let everyone know where these teams stand.  SPLIT.