Rolling the Dice with Week 3 Picks

Before I made my picks last week, I was feeling pretty good after my opening weekend predictions. This week, I’m still in the same mood, and that’s mostly due to a technicality that always works in my favor.  

For those who don’t know, I made a rule when I started making predictions two years ago that states that if a tie occurs during a series, it automatically counts as a correct prediction. Thanks to that decision, I ended up having a pretty good week overall instead of wondering what went horribly wrong.  

That rule helped me pick four series correctly whereas if it wasn’t in place, I would’ve only gotten one right and that was the Alaska Anchorage-Lake Superior State series, which ended up being a normal split. On the other hand, Ferris State-Western Michigan, Northern Michigan-Minnesota Duluth and Alaska Fairbanks-Michigan Tech were all splits involving ties and resulted in three more wins for me. I’d like to thank all those teams for those ties and keeping my record respectable.  

I only picked three matchups incorrectly thanks to my special technicality. I thought St. Cloud State and Minnesota State would split, but the Mavericks ended up with an impressive sweep of the Huskies. I also believed Bemidji State would sweep its Ice Breaker battles against Wisconsin and Army, but the Beavers lost to the Badgers in overtime. My final misfire was a big one and it took place in Sioux Falls. I figured that if Augustana was going to get its first ever Division I victory, it wouldn’t be against a veteran Bowling Green squad. However, the Vikings shocked the Falcons and ended up sweeping the series. At least I can take solace in the fact that nobody else I knew saw that one coming.  

I’m hoping that rule doesn’t come into play this weekend as it’s more fun to boast when I make the correct prediction outright, but if it does, I’ll gladly accept it. So, here’s my picks for Week 3 and I’ll start off with a Michigan-Ohio border battle.  

Bowling Green vs. No. 9 Western Michigan (BG tonight, Kalamazoo Sat.) 

This series would’ve probably snuck under the radar if it wasn’t for Thursday’s news. The BG athletic department announced that head coach Ty Eigner will be back on the bench this weekend after it concluded its investigation into an alleged hazing incident at an unsanctioned, off-campus event and determined the coaching staff had no knowledge of the event. The Falcons definitely need to refocus now after that shocking sweep at the hands of a DI newcomer and perhaps Eigner’s return will help that. It won’t be an easy weekend as they’ll face a very good Broncos squad, but I think BG gets back in the win column with a split. The Falcons win tonight 5-2 and Western wins tomorrow 4-3.  

Bemidji State vs. No. 14 Minnesota Duluth (Duluth tonight, Bemidji Sat.) 

In-state rivalries are fun and this one is an underrated one. The Beavers are probably a little frustrated as they should’ve gotten two wins at the Ice Breaker, and now they get to feast on a shaky UMD defense that surrendered 10 goals to NMU. The Bulldogs offense is potent, but the Beavers have a great goalie in Mattias Sholl, and I think he’ll be the big factor in the series. I don’t usually go bold with rivalry series, but it’s early in the year, so why not? The Beavers sweep UMD 2-1 tonight and 3-2 tomorrow.  

Wisconsin at No. 17 Michigan Tech 

Former Minnesota State head coach Mike Hastings brings his new squad into a familiar place this weekend and he’s probably happy the Badgers are visiting the Upper Peninsula in mid-October instead of in mid-January and having to deal with below-zero temperatures. Wisconsin is 3-1 and confident, while the Huskies have mixed feelings as they struggled at times against Alaska. However, I think Tech rights the ship against the Badgers, and the Huskies send them back to Madison with two defeats. Tech sweeps the series 4-3, 3-2.  

Northern Michigan at No. 18 Arizona State 

Wildcat fans are probably wishing this series took place in the middle of winter, so they could escape the cold of the U.P. Instead, they’ll have to bake in the heat as it’s supposed to be above 100 degrees all weekend. NMU is almost as hot offensively as the temps outside right now as it looked good against UMD, especially CCHA Forward and Rookie of the Week Tanner Latsch. The ‘Cats didn’t look great on defense last week, but the Sun Devils don’t look very intimidating to me. So, I’ll go bold again and pick another sweep. Northern wins 6-2, 5-3.  

UMass at No. 19 Minnesota State 

The Mavericks are a bit of a mystery to me. I thought at the start of the year that Mankato would have a down year as Hastings sprinted off to Wisconsin with a lot of its best players, but the Mavs are off to a solid start with that sweep over St. Cloud. Some people that I know are all climbing onto the Mankato bandwagon after Week 2, but I’m not anywhere close to hopping on yet. Yes, Mankato looked good, but the Minutemen (2-1) just forced a split with now-No. 7 Michigan, bouncing back from a blowout loss the first night. I think it’ll be a tight series and after gambling big the previous three series, I’ll play it safe here and pick a split. Mankato wins Friday 4-3, and UMass rebounds tomorrow 5-2.  

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