Hockey Game Pick D-III West – February 4, 2022 – College Hockey
We are entering the month of February, and as expected, the conference races are heating up.
The spotlight seems to be on the NCHA this weekend where two key matchups are set to take place. Adrian and Aurora will square off in a nationally ranked tag team battle while MSOE hopes to make a statement against one of the hottest teams in the nation in St. Norbert.
Check out the choices for these games and more below.
Adrian (20-1, 14-0) at Aurora (14-5, 9-4-0-1)
Top-ranked Adrian goes on the road for a massive NCHA series against the Sparants, who are No. 12 in this week’s DCU/USCHO NCAA Division III men’s poll.
Winners of 20 consecutive games, the Bulldogs can take a step closer to the regular season championship. Their offense has been nearly unstoppable, scoring 10 or more goals on three occasions in the last seven outings. The Bulldogs haven’t scored less than five goals in a game since Dec. 9, when they edged Wilkes 3-2 in overtime.
Aurora is playing well into this series, winning four straight, and she should enjoy being at home, where she is 7-1 on the year. The Spartans have two players with double-digit goal tallies, including Simon Boyko with 13, and it may take two efforts from the Spartans to have any chance of turning the tide.
Adrian, 5-2 and 6-3
MSOE (10-9-2, 8-5-1) against St. Norbert (18-3, 14-0)
Huge home-and-away series ahead for the Raiders, who will face the fifth-ranked team in the DCU/USCHO NCAA Division III men’s poll.
MSOE is on a late season spurt, having won its last five, and is now putting that streak on the line against the Green Knights. In three of its last five games, the Raiders have allowed two goals or less, and that kind of defensive effort will be needed this weekend.
St. Norbert has been as hot as any team there, winning 17 straight, and is coming off two huge wins over Trine. Peter Bates helped pave the way. He leads the league in points (44) and goals (23). Bates is also second in assists (21).
St. Norbert, 7-5 and 5-2
Lake Forest (6-13-2, 4-8-2) at Trine (14-7, 8-5)
The Thunder need a turnaround after losing three straight games. The good news is that Trine will play at home, where he is 8-1. Currently fourth in the standings, the Thunder are in a position where they could be third by the end of the weekend.
The Forresters are winless in their last seven games and need to finish strong to keep pace for a playoff berth. They are currently seventh in the standings. The top eight make the NCHA tournament.
Trine, 6-3 and 5-3
St. John’s (11-6-2, 5-3-1) at Concordia (11-7-2, 8-2-1)
Concordia won the opener 4-1 the other night and are now aiming for a sweep as the Cobbers look to stay in contention for an MIAC crown. They have won their last five games, allowing just five goals in that streak, could still claim the regular season conference title.
The Johnnies have only lost once in their last five games and would love nothing more than to part ways with this series. Finishing strong is the key. Saint John’s trailed just 2-1 early in the third before allowing two goals.
Gustavus (5-10-2, 0-5-1) against Augsburg (17-2, 9-1)
The Gusties face one of their biggest tests of the season when they take on the fourth-placed national team. They’re still looking for that first conference win of the year and an Auggies surprise would be quite the statement.
Augsburg, meanwhile, enter this home-and-away series still in first place in the standings. He has won his last eight games and has been solid on both sides of the ice, scoring 68 goals while allowing 29.
Augsburg, 5-1 and 6-2
Saint Scholastica (7-9-2, 3-6-1) against Bethel (12-6-1, 5-4-1)
The Royals are looking to continue their successful season with a big run against the Saints. They are in the midst of one of their best seasons, racking up the most wins in over a decade. They have won three in a row and still have a chance to finish in the top three of the standings.
Saint Scholastica have won just one game since the start of 2022 and could use some momentum in their favor as they head towards the end. A good start will be key against the Royals.
Bethel, 5-2 and 4-2
UW-Superior (12-6-2, 5-3-1) vs. UW-River Falls (11-9-1, 7-4)
The Yellowjackets begin this crucial WIAC series on the road. UW-Superior is in third place in the standings while UW-River Falls is second.
The Yellowjackets scored 67 goals during the year, the second most in conference teas, and have three of the conference’s top five scorers, including leader Dylan Johnson (11 goals and 11 assists).
Cayden Cahill has been an offensive leader for the Falcons. He registered five goals and 10 assists. He is one of three Falcons ranked among the WIAC’s top 10 scorers.
UW-River Falls, 5-4; UW-Superior, 4-3
UW-Stout (7-13, 5-6) at UW-Stevens Point (13-5-1, 7-2)
Two big matches are on the agenda for both teams. The Pointers, ranked 11th in the DCU/USCHO NCAA Division III men’s poll, are trying to hold their grip on the top spot. The Blue Devils go on the road in search of two wins that could propel them forward in the standings.
The Pointers have scored the league’s best 70 goals this season and have also given up the fewest goals (40). Their goaltender, Ryan Wagner, has made 315 saves and has a 1.86 goals-against average.
The Blue Devils need to be able to slow down the Pointers offense, but they will also need to seize opportunities early on. Dylan Rallis ranks eighth in the WIAC in points (15). He will be the key to success if UW-Stout wants to pull off the surprise.