Last Week: 7-6-1
On the Season: 129-68-27 (.636)
This Week’s Picks:
Friday, March 1 and Saturday, March 2
Niagara at Air Force - The Purple Eagles can almost guarantee themselves an at-large bid in the NCAA tournament with a sweep. At most, Niagara can lose two more games after this weekend, and that probably won’t be enough to drop them out of contention. That said, Air Force has incentive to put some doubt into Niagara and get its usual post-season mojo on. I’m going for a split. Air Force wins Friday; Niagara Saturday.
Canisius vs. Rochester Institute of Technology – The Tigers need a single point to clinch a first-round home playoff series, but a sweep puts them in contention for a first-round bye. Canisius needs a sweep or at least a split and then some help from American International in its series with Bentley for home ice in the first round. I’m picking the home team each night. RIT wins Friday; Canisius Saturday.
Bentley vs. American International – The Yellow Jackets have been a different team in February, and have gone from what looked a lock on 11th place to a solid chance at home ice. They’ll need to sweep Bentley and get some help from RIT. I don’t think it’s going to happen. Falcons, this is your wake-up call. Bentley sweeps.
Holy Cross vs. Army – The Black Knights have collapsed in the second half of the season. They were 7-4-2 in league play and in second place at the end of December. Since then they Army is 0-9-3 and has fallen to 11th place. Holy Cross needs three points this weekend to lock up a first-round bye and I think the Crusaders will get it. Holy Cross sweeps.
Mercyhurst vs. Robert Morris – Fifth and sixth place square off and either team can finish from third to eighth. I could flip a coin on this one - like a lot of the series this weekend, it could go either way. Friday’s game is important because the team that wins will still be in contention for a bye. I think that team will be RMU, which will then have the killer instinct to close it out on the road. It’s a gut choice based on which team has the momentum right now. Robert Morris sweeps.
Sacred Heart vs. Connecticut – The battle for the Nutmeg State should be interesting as both teams are playing well at the moment. The Pioneers can play spoiler and ruin the Huskies’ chance for a bye. There are several scenarios for the Huskies to finish in the top four, but the simplest is via a sweep this weekend and I think they’ll pull it off. UConn sweeps.
Based on those picks, the final standings would look like this:
2. Air Force (wins tiebreaker with Holy Cross on head-to-head goal differential)
3. Holy Cross
5. Robert Morris
12. Sacred Heart
Feel free to chime in by posting your picks in the comments and follow me on Twitter @chrislerch for updates throughout the weekend.