A lot on the line in CCHA Week 20

By Ryan Stieg 

Well folks, I just had a disappointing week. My hope was that it would be an elusive second perfect week and I thought the odds were in my favor as I only had to pick two series correctly, but I only got one of the two right as thankfully, Augustana split on the road with Lake Superior State. Like Charlie Brown looking sadly into his empty mailbox, I also didn’t get a Valentine.  

I may not have received a Valentine, but I do have an extra dose of enthusiasm as things have gotten very interesting in the CCHA standings. There are only two weeks left in the regular season and both the MacNaughton Cup and home ice in the playoffs are up for grabs.

There’s a lot on the line this week and one slip up could send a team on the road in the first round, which makes every series worth watching. So, let’s get started. Here’s my predictions for Week 20 and I’ll start with a series in the Buckeye State.  

Michigan Tech at Bowling Green 

At the start of the season, these two teams were seen as top MacNaughton contenders. However, at the start of February, neither team seemed to be living up to preseason hype. But things have changed as the Falcons have caught fire recently. BG has won five of their last six games and isn’t showing any signs of letting up. The Falcons are now tied for second place and a sweep this weekend could potentially push them into first place. The Huskies, on the other hand, need a little help to remain in MacNaughton contention as they sit in fifth, seven points behind leader Bemidji State. Both teams are fighting for something important, so I’m picking a split. I think the Falcons win Friday 4-2 and Tech wins Saturday 2-1.  

Lake Superior State at Minnesota State 

These two squads are playing for different things right now. The former is trying to stay in the picture for home ice, while the latter is hoping it’ll be hoisting the MacNaughton next week. The Lakers have had a surprisingly solid season after a messy one last year and they’ve looked impressive in person. Meanwhile, the Mavericks are in the hunt for another league title despite this being seen as a down year in Mankato. The Mavs were off last week, so that could help them in a big way. It’s hard to beat MSU at home when it’s fighting for something important, but I think LSSU forces a split. The Lakers win Friday 5-3, but Mankato wins Saturday 3-2.  

Northern Michigan at Ferris State 

It’s make or break time for the Wildcats as they’re sitting in seventh place and can’t afford to get swept this week. NMU was picked to finish near the top of the standings at the start of the year but hasn’t lived up to those expectations. Home ice is still a possibility if the Wildcats can get the job done in Big Rapids. Ferris, on the other hand, is probably focused on the playoffs at this point as it’s finishing in the cellar no matter what happens in the next two weeks. Right now, the Bulldogs are playing a spoiler role to see who they can keep from getting home ice. However, I don’t think Ferris will be spoiling anything as Northern will get a desperately needed sweep. The Wildcats win Friday 4-2 and Saturday 5-2. 

Alaska Anchorage at Augustana 

The Vikings won’t have any effect on the standings for the rest of the year, but they’re still worth paying attention to. Augie will finish out its inaugural season with three straight home games and it starts with a surging Seawolves squad. UAA has won five of its last six games and has pulled some impressive upsets this year over Wisconsin, Providence and Penn State. Since there’s nothing on the line here except pride, I’m picking a split. The Seawolves win Friday 4-3, but the Vikings win Saturday 3-1. 

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