Looking for a feast of victories in CCHA Week 8

By Ryan Stieg 

If there’s one thing that is true about the CCHA this year is that it’s wildly unpredictable. This makes me feel as if each passing week, my picks for each conference series are pointless. In fact, last week, I was celebrating my own mediocrity where I once again picked only one league series correctly. Yeah, I know. It’s pretty sad.  

I went into last weekend with low expectations and just hoped that I’d manage to keep my one win per week streak alive. Well, guess what? I did even better than that. I picked three series correctly thanks to playing it safe by predicting four splits. I got Bemidji State-Minnesota State, Bowling Green-Lake Superior State and Ferris State-Michigan Tech right and the only one I missed was Alaska-Northern Michigan as the Wildcats swept a good Nanooks team at home. Honestly, I’m feeling pretty good right now.  

This week is Thanksgiving weekend and I’m hungry for more victories. This week though, I’m not just hoping for one win, I’m hoping to achieve something that has eluded me all season and that’s a perfect week. In fact, I’m confident that I’m going to pull it off. So, let’s get started. Here’s my picks for Week 8 in the CCHA and I’ll start off with a series that I saw quite often when I went to school in Grand Forks.  

Bemidji State at No. 1 North Dakota 

Right now, the Beavers are one of the CCHA teams that is easier to predict. During the past two weeks, Bemidji has been dominated on Friday as well as through most of Saturday’s game before rallying late to force a split. The Beavers have accomplished that feat against Tech and Mankato, but pulling it off a third time will be much harder as UND is a deeper team than the other two. The Fighting Hawks are strong at both ends of the ice and I don’t think the Beavers can keep up. UND wins Friday 5-2 and Saturday 4-1.  

Michigan Tech at Minnesota State 

Last year’s top two squads face off for the first time this season and neither are living up to their fans’ expectations. The Huskies are playing better right now than at the start of the season, but are still underachieving as they blew a huge lead against Bemidji and then split with Ferris last week. Then there’s the Mavericks, who have been up and down from the start. With both teams being hard to comprehend right now, I’ll go with a split. Mankato wins Friday 3-2, but Tech wins Saturday 4-3.  

Northern Michigan at Bowling Green 

Three weeks ago, the Wildcats were reeling after a bad sweep at the hands of St. Thomas, but now, they’ve won four in a row and looked good in all four games. NMU might be finally figuring things out and starting to play near the level people expected it’d be at going into the season. BG, on the other hand, has had to deal with a lot off of the ice so far and is just starting to get on the right track. The Falcons got swept by the Tommies two weeks ago, but split with Lake State last weekend and probably should’ve swept the series. Northern is hot and I’m tempted to pick a sweep, but I think BG steals a game and forces a split. The Wildcats win Friday 4-2, but the Falcons win Saturday 4-3.  

Augustana vs. Nebraska Omaha (Friday in Omaha, Saturday in Sioux Falls)  

The Vikings are back in action after a week off and they have a tough opponent to deal with. The other Mavericks team in the Midwest is having a solid season so far including a split last weekend at now-No. 4 Denver. I don’t get a chance to watch Omaha that often, but from what my NCHC friends tell me, the Mavs are legitimately good. Augie has been entertaining this year with its surprising start, but I think the Vikings will be a little rusty coming off a bye week and Omaha takes advantage of that. The Mavs sweep the series, winning 5-3 Friday and 4-3 Saturday. 

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