Looking to stay hot in CCHA Week 16

By Ryan Stieg 

Two weeks ago, I went winless for the second time this season, a performance as ice cold as the temperatures were outside.  

Last weekend, the weather got a little better and so did my prediction-making skills as I went 3 for 5 in the CCHA series. I was right that St. Thomas would split with Northern Michigan and that Minnesota State would do the same with Bowling Green. I also picked up another victory thanks to my special rule as I picked Bemidji State and Michigan Tech to split, and it ended up being a Huskies win and a tie. Since ties always go in my favor, I earned my third win of the weekend. 

This weekend, the weather is supposed to be even nicer, so maybe I’ll notch my second perfect week of the year. It’ll be easier to accomplish that feat this week as there’s only three series to predict, so I’m feeling confident. So, let’s get started. Here’s my picks for Week 16 and I’ll start with a series in southern Minnesota.  

Northern Michigan at Minnesota State 

There are still a few weeks left in the regular season, but the Wildcats need to find a groove soon. Getting a split with the first place Tommies last week helps, but if NMU wants to get home ice, it needs to start getting sweeps. Mankato, on the other hand, is in better shape standings-wise and has a big opportunity to gain ground this weekend. The Mavericks sit in third place, one point behind Bemidji and four behind UST. With both teams on a bye this week, Mankato could move into first place with a sweep of the Wildcats. Both teams are hoping to climb the standings, so I’m picking a split. I think Mankato wins Friday 4-2, but NMU wins Saturday 3-1.  

Michigan Tech at Lake Superior State 

Two U.P. teams will tangle in Sault Ste. Marie this weekend, and both are within striking distance of first place. The host Lakers are five points out of first and the Huskies are seven behind the first place Tommies. Tech has had a difficult start to its second half, but it did earn a win last week over Bemidji, so maybe it can build on that and pick up more points this week. LSSU, however, appeared to be on the right track and then it got swept on the road by Ferris State, which proves that this league is full of surprises this year. Had Lake State not flopped last week, I’d predict a Lakers sweep here, so I guess I’ll go with a split. LSSU wins Friday 4-1, and the Huskies win Saturday 5-3.  

Ferris State at Augustana 

The Bulldogs were almost left for dead last week as they were sitting in last place, but now, they’re just one league win away from climbing out of the cellar. Ferris looked good last week in its sweep of LSSU and it might be on the cusp of going on a late season run. Then there’s the Vikings, who did what they’ve already done a few times this season and that’s steal a win from a good team as Augie picked up a split with now-No. 18 Arizona State. Augie also opens its new arena, Midco Arena, this weekend, so you know it has a little extra motivation to beat Ferris. As much as I liked how the Bulldogs played against the Lakers, I think the Vikings take care of business here and notch two wins. Augie wins Friday 5-4 and Saturday 4-2 to get the sweep.  

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