Will the CCHA finally get consistent in Week 14?

When a new year arrives, sometimes things can change quickly for college hockey teams. However, in the case of the CCHA, it continues to remain unpredictable.  

I wanted to start off 2024 on a good note with my weekly predictions and I did reasonably well, but far from perfect. The only series I won outright was Bemidji State-Ferris State, which ended up in a split after the Beavers were blown out Saturday. I also notched another win thanks to a technicality. I picked Minnesota State and Augustana to split and it ended up with the Mavericks getting a win and a tie. Since ties always go in my favor, I earned my second victory.  

Thanks to my special rule, I only took one loss last week and that was the Bowling Green-Ohio State series. I thought it’d be a split, but the Falcons flopped and were swept by the Buckeyes. Meh. Going 2 for 3 is a pretty good performance with this league.  

Last week was the start of a new year, so this week doesn’t have as much hoopla. However, it’s still an interesting set of games, so let’s get started. Here’s my picks for Week 14 and I’ll begin with a series you probably didn’t expect me to talk about.  

Michigan Tech at St. Thomas (Thurs., Sat.) 

Yes, this week you’re getting a Tommies prediction. As you know, I never predict UST home games as I’m always at them in person, but this week, I won’t be at the games as I will be attending a funeral. So, you’re in for a real treat as you’re getting an ultra-rare UST home series prediction. I’m sure you’re all ecstatic to hear it.  

Well, let’s start off with the Toms. After heading into the holiday break with some momentum after getting a hard-earned split against Mankato, UST fell flat on its face out in Vermont and got mauled by the Catamounts. The Tommies rebounded slightly last weekend with a home exhibition win over Minnesota Duluth, but this week brings a much tougher test.

The Huskies are in third place and just two points behind the Tommies, so this is a big series for both teams. As I’ve said before, Tech has been hard to figure out as it’ll look great one weekend and then make you scratch your head the next. Last week was a good example of the latter as the Huskies got destroyed by Northern Michigan in an exhibition game. Now, I’m not judging Tech’s performance too harshly as it was an exhibition and a stupid one at that, but it is a little concerning to get blown out by your archrival. This is a toss-up series and in cases like that, I always pick a split. The Tommies win Thursday 4-2, but the Huskies win Saturday 3-1.  

Ferris State at Minnesota State 

It’s been a down year for the Mavericks, but not unexpected. They still have time to make ground in the CCHA standings, but I think Mankato will be competing only for home ice soon and not for the MacNaughton Cup. The Mavs did get a win and tie against Augustana, but they didn’t look particularly good either night. Then there’s Ferris, who surprised Bemidji last week and stole some points from the Beavers. The Bulldogs are the weakest team in the conference, but they’ve shown that if you take them lightly, they can score fast. I picked Ferris to split last week and I’m going to do it again. The Bulldogs win 4-3 Friday, but the Mavs rebound Saturday, 4-1.  

Northern Michigan at Lake Superior State 

Two U.P. rivals go at it this week to claim the Cappo Cup and it should be a competitive series. The Wildcats swept the Lakers in Marquette earlier this year, so they currently hold the edge and a split would clinch the trophy for NMU. The teams are evenly matched, and both seem to be battling the same problem that’s plagued every team in the conference, inconsistency. LSSU looked good heading into the holidays, but then the Lakers crashed into the rocks at the Ledyard Bank Classic in New Hampshire, falling to Dartmouth and RIT.

Northern, on the other hand, appears to be playing a little better after beating Tech before the holiday break and then stomping them again over the weekend. As I’ve said many times before, rivalry series are the toughest to predict, so I think I’ll play it safe and pick a split. The Lakers win 3-2 Friday, but the Wildcats win Saturday, 5-3 to win the Cappo Cup.  

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