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The fallout from championship weekend

These are the three things I think I learned this weekend (other than “triple overtime takes a long time!”).

1. Northeastern won its second Hockey East title and first since 1988.

Who’d a thunk it back when the Huskies were 1-11-2? Has there ever been a turnaround from an opening record like that to a 20-1-2 finish?

And the story isn’t over. The Huskies now travel to Cincinnati for the Midwest Regional where they will face North Dakota.

“Some poor team is going to be a number one seed tomorrow and find out they have to play Northeastern,” Hockey East Commissioner Joe Bertagna said on Saturday night after Northeastern defeated Massachusetts-Lowell for the title. “That’s not going to be a very good reward for having a great year and finishing in the top four.”

Not that anyone in Hockey East will be feeling badly for North Dakota. The hope will be that the Huskies make that storied program feel even worse on Friday.

2. Six Hockey East teams made the NCAA tournament.

The NCHC got six teams in last year, but this is the first time Hockey East has pulled off the feat. Boston College, Providence, Boston University and Lowell had wrapped up their bids before the weekend started. Notre Dame went from a 93.1 percent favorite to a lock by the end of Friday night.

Northeastern still needed  either to win the Hockey East tournament or see Michigan defeat Minnesota to keep one last at-large berth open for the Huskies.  As it turned out, both happened, and the Huskies made for Hockey East’s perfect half dozen.

3. Six teams in ain’t enough.

No, I’m not talking about the possibility as of eight nights ago when Vermont was taking BC to overtime of game three in their series that Hockey East could have gotten seven teams in (adding Vermont if it won the league title).

We’ll let Joe Bertagna make this point.

“I don’t want to be a hypocrite because last year other people [the NCHC] got six in but when the smoke cleared they didn’t have anything to show for it,” Bertagna said. “So right now, we’re happy to have six in, but like a certain [BC] coach in our league says, ‘We’re about winning trophies.’

“We’ll be happiest when it’s over if we’ve got the last team standing. We have been spoiled. Last year we had the last two teams standing, and that’s what we hope for.

“It’s not just the number of teams but how many of them have a chance.”

Here’s hoping four Hockey East teams advance to the Frozen Four in Tampa and make it entirely a league affair. If that should happen, I promise to be even more insufferable than usual.

Hockey East picks – Mar. 18-19

Dave went with strategy over intelligence last weekend and made a bad deficit a horrid one. Butt-kick central. This is like a six-goal victory.

On to the Garden.

Jim last week: 8-1-0
Jim to date: 189-65-36
Dave last week: 3-6-0
Dave to date: 174-80-36

Friday, March 18

Hockey East Semifinals (at TD Garden, Boston)

No. 4 UMass-Lowell vs. No. 2 Providence
Jim’s pick: I know this is the defending national champion, but I’m going with the upset by the team that has had more recent success in the Hockey East tournament. Only a mild upset, but an upset nonetheless.
UML 3, PC 2
Dave’s pick: There’s no longer any point to me making contrarian picks, so I’m going with my straight-up assessment. And that is that I like Lowell in this game. It was hard not be impressed with what the River Hawks did to BU last weekend. And although the Friars have been playing well without Jake Walman, he was a true difference-maker whose absence could well tip the scales.
UML 2, PC 1 (OT)

No. 6 Northeastern vs. No. 1 Boston College
Jim’s pick: It has been a wonderful run for Northeastern but I think it will come to an end here. Let’s hope the Huskies have done enough to get into the NCAA field.
BC 4, NU 2
Dave’s pick: I’m not so sure. Going into the tournament, I thought BC was the team to beat. However, Northeastern’s road sweep of Notre Dame while BC came within inches of being denied the Garden for a third straight year have me wondering. I’ll go for the major upset and the 18-1-2 team. (That does sound like an oxymoron, doesn’t it?) BC doesn’t have the championship game experience edge of years gone by.
NU 3, BC 2 (OT)

Saturday, March 19

Hockey East Championship Game
Jim’s pick: We’ll pick all the scenarios here, but I think BC is the champion. Don’t be surprised if this pick is totally incorrect, though.
BC 3, UML 2; BC 3, PC 2; UML 2, NU 1; PC 3, NU 1
Dave’s pick:
It’s a cliche to say that any of the four teams could win, but ya know, any of these four teams could win. Give me the River Hawks with their third title in four years.
UML 3, NU 2; UML 2 BC 1; NU 3 PC 2; BC 4, PC 3

Five Hockey East teams in NCAAs seems a foregone conclusion… but what about six?

A year ago, the NCHC made history placing six teams in the NCAA field, the most any conference had ever placed in a single season. Could Hockey East repeat that feat? That leads the three things I learned this week.

1. Hockey East could have six teams in NCAA field

We know some simple facts right now about Hockey East and the NCAA tournament. Boston College, Providence, UMass-Lowell and Boston University are all in the field. Notre Dame is 99% 93.1% to make the tournament. That gives Hockey East five NCAA teams, in any good bettor’s mind. But what about a sixth team in Northeastern? That’s hardly as far-fetched as one may think. Right now, the Huskies are 14th in the PairWise. And should all of the leagues avoid major upsets in the conference tournaments (or if the Huskies win two at TD Garden next weekend), the Huskies would be in, making it possible that Hockey East matches the mark set by the NCHC of six teams in the NCAA tournament a year ago.

(And for the record, until Vermont lost in overtime to Boston College in game three, there were a number of very possible scenarios that if the Catamounts won the Hockey East tournament, the league could have placed seven teams in the field. SEVEN teams. That equals the most any conference placed in this year’s 68-team NCAA men’s basketball field.)

2. Northeastern and Providence head to Garden on major streaks

There is little question that the two hottest teams at the TD Garden next weekend will be Northeastern and Providence. The Huskies boast the nation’s longest unbeaten streak – 12 games (11-0-1). The Friars posses the second-longest winning streak of 10 games (one behind Denver’s 11). The two won’t play in the semifinals meaning you could possibly match two incredible streaks against one another in the Hockey East title game. That would be a pretty impressive storyline.

3. And let’s not forget about BC, Lowell

UMass-Lowell has reached the Garden for the fourth straight year and looks for its third title in that time. Boston College, absent the last two years, would love the opportunity to restart what was the longest winning streak in the championship’s history when the Eagles won three straight title between 2010 and 2012 (and five of six from 2007-2012).

And for those who haven’t seen, the league announced the game times for Friday’s semifinals:

5:00pm #4 UMass-Lowell vs. #2 Providence
8:00pm #6 Northeastern vs. #1 Boston College

It should be an incredible weekend of hockey at the TD Garden. We’ll preview the semifinals and look at possible picks for the league’s award winners in this week’s Hockey East column.

Hockey East picks – March 11-13

Stick a fork in me. I’m done.

With a six-game deficit staring me in the face last week, I had to go for some long shots. And for a while on Friday night, it looked like I might pick up an amazing four games on Jim heading into Saturday. My faux thoroughbreds, however, couldn’t hold their leads and wound up in the glue factory.

Now ten games back, I’m all but mathematically eliminated. Jim only needs to parrot my picks, no matter how foolish, and he won’t be able to lose. It’s what I did last year when he closed to within a game in the final week, so I won’t blame him at all.  

We’ll see, though, if he wants to be called gutless like I was last year.

Onward, then, to my Bizarro picks. 

Jim last week: 8-1-0
Jim to date: 181-64-36
Dave last week: 4-5-0
Dave to date: 171-74-36

(Each three-game playoff series will include three picks from each columnist. Game three is “if necessary” in all series)

No. 9 Vermont at No. 1 Boston College
Dave’s pick: Could BC actually fail to reach the Garden three years in a row?  Inconceivable. Especially since Vermont dispatched the Eagles last year. But even though I’d be picking a BC sweep, Bizarro Dave goes in the other direction.
UVM 2, BC 1 (OT); UVM 1, BC 0 (OT); UVM 2, BC 1 (3 OT)
Jim’s picks: The worst part of this, I actually love this Vermont team. I think they have good defense an goaltending has been solid. But this still is a good BC team. If I lose games, I expect them to be in this series. But please, Dave, don’t act like a fool.
BC 3, UVM  1; BC 4, UVM 2; BC 3, UVM 2

No. 7 Merrimack at No. 2 Providence  
Dave’s pick: I love the way Providence is playing right now. Normally, I’d pick the Friars to extend their winning streak to 10 games, but Bizarro Dave must believe in the Cinderella Warriors.
MC 3, PC 2 (OT); MC 4, PC 3 (OT); MC 2, PC 1
Jim’s picks: Providence was upset a year ago. And Dave will quickly learn that not only am I not a parrot, but I also will crush him come season’s end.
PC 4, MC 2; PC 3, MC 2; PC 4, MC 1

No. 6 Northeastern at No. 3 Notre Dame 
Dave’s picks: Here’s a series I expect to go three games with the winner anyone’s guess. Both teams have played exceptional hockey in the second half. I might naturally lean to Notre Dame and home ice so my conventional pick would be the Irish, the Huskies in game two, and then the Irish.  But I’m guessing that Mr. Connelly will also go with the Irish (and home ice) so I’ve got to go with a Northeastern sweep.
NU 4, Notre Dame 3; NU 3, Notre Dame 2 (OT); NU 4, Notre Dame 3 (OT)
Jim’s picks: I actually am okay with Dave’s picks here. I’m not sure Notre Dame will win, but I am very happy to match the Northeastern sweep. This is a solid matchup for the Huskies, even on the road.
NU 3, Notre Dame 2; NU 4, Notre Dame 2; NU 4, Notre Dame 2

No. 5 Boston University at No. 4 Massachusetts-Lowell 
Dave’s picks: I don’t think there’s a chance in the world that either team sweeps this series. These two clubs are evenly matched all the way down to identical league records. What I expect is that the teams split the first two (I’ll give BU Friday night), and then Lowell’s home ice and depth proves decisive on Sunday.  But that’s too easy for Jim to mimick so my Bizarro pick will be a BU sweep.
BU 3, UML 2 (OT); BU 2, UML 1 (OT); BU 3, UML 2 (2 OT)
Jim’s picks: Going back to the first two series, I’ll pick the entire series with my head. I think Lowell opens with a good win but needs three to advance to the Garden for the fourth straight year.
UML 4, BU 2; BU 2, UML 1; UML 5, BU 3

Playoff thoughts and UMass

These are the three things I think I learned this week.

1. Once the playoffs start, there are no easy games.

I’ll admit it. I thought that Maine and Massachusetts had the proverbial snowball’s chance in Tampa.

UMass had been getting shellacked by seemingly everyone over the second half. Boston University, by contrast, had positioned itself nicely for an NCAA tournament berth. And with the games at Agganis Area, I expected the Terriers to do little more than break a sweat in dispatching the Minutemen, in the immortal words of Mike Tyson, into Bolivian.

Instead, a stunningly feisty UMass club took BU to overtime in the first contest and was tied in the second with nine minutes remaining in regulation. The Minutemen lost both games but went out fighting.

And while Maine had been playing light years better than UMass, the Black Bears were taking on a Northeastern club that was as hot as any team in the country. Maine actually held a 2-0 lead in the first game and didn’t get tied until the third period. Both games required overtime.

So much for my expectation of “just about a zero chance” for UMass and Maine.

2. The John Micheletto era at UMass is over.

This was hardly a surprise. This past weekend aside, UMass had been getting stomped by lopsided scores for virtually the entire second half of this year. More importantly, Micheletto’s four years added up to two last-place finishes and two next-to-last seasons.

That dog won’t hunt.

It will be interesting to see whether UMass invests in an ultra-high-profile coach the way that Providence did with Nate Leaman just a few years ago, an investment that obviously produced huge dividends.

3. Momentum and home ice didn’t mean much in the 8 vs. 9 and 7 vs. 10 match-ups.

UConn earned home ice with an end-of-the-season sweep of New Hampshire but still lost to a Vermont team that was entering the playoffs with four straight losses.

Similarly, Merrimack swept the Catamounts in the regular season’s final weekend to take home ice, but lost the opener to UNH and had to survive overtime in game two before taking the rubber game, 2-1. The Wildcats, on the other hand, entered the series having gone 0-4-2 in their last six.

Ya just never know.

Hockey East picks – Mar. 4-6

I’m not going to prematurely celebrate as things can still change on a dime, particularly if Dave decides to leave his brain behind and pick differently than I do in most games this weekend in a singular attempt to catch up. But I picked up two more games on Dave last weekend and hold a six game lead with just three weeks remaining.

That’s all I’ll say for now.

Jim last week: 8-4-0
Jim to date: 173-63-36 (.702)
Dave last week: 6-6-0
Dave to date: 167-69-36 (.656)

(Each three-game playoff series will include three picks from each columnist. Game three is “if necessary” in all series)

No. 12 Massachusetts at No. 5 Boston University
Jim’s picks: Last year, UMass pulled off an upset in game one. I just don’t see that team playing well enough to upset BU.
BU 5, UMass 2; BU 3, UMass 1; BU 5, UMass 2
Dave’s picks: Even though I’m six games behind and closing in on mathematical elimination, you’d still have to put a gun to my head for me to pick UMass in a single game. The Minutemen haven’t just been losing for several months now, they’ve been losing ugly. I don’t see a Glock pointed at my forehead, so it’s all BU.
BU 5, UMass 1; BU 4, UMass 0; BU 5, UMass 0

No. 11 Maine at No. 6 Northeastern
Jim’s picks: Even if Northeastern hadn’t swept Maine last weekend, it would be impossible to pick against them this weekend given how strong the Huskies have been in the second half.
NU 5, Maine 3; NU 4, Maine 1; NU 4, Maine 1
Dave’s picks: Here’s another series where I think the underdog has just about a zero chance. I’d be picking a Northeastern sweep, too, if not for the six-game deficit. But since I’ve got to make up some ground, I’ll go with the Black Bears catching the Huskies overconfident in game one.
Maine 3, NU 2; NU 5, Maine 1; NU 4, Maine 1

No. 10 New Hampshire at No. 7 Merrimack
Jim’s pick: For some reason, I don’t see UNH rolling over and dying easily in this series. But I also don’t see them winning at Lawler Rink. Thus, I’m going with the sweep.
MC 3, UNH 2; MC 4, UNH 3; MC 4, UNH 2
Dave’s picks: The Wildcats may have a lot to do with my six-game deficit. I kept believing and kept believing and kept (mostly) believing. So let’s see if they can get past their recent struggles and win me back a couple of those games. These last two series do have a legitimate chance of going either way.
UNH 4, MC 3 (OT); UNH 3, MC 2 (OT); UNH 5, MC 4 (OT)

No. 9 Vermont vs. No. 8 Connecticut
Jim’s pick: This is the only series I see an upset occurring. And while this might take three games for the Catamounts, I’ll pick a sweep so as to not get the Game 1-2 split incorrect.
UVM 3, UConn 2 (OT); UVM 2, UConn 1 (OT); UVM 2, UConn 1
Dave’s picks: Jim has certainly outfoxed me on this one. If he’d chosen any first-two-game-split this weekend, I’d have pounced on the opportunity to pick the opposite way. Instead, I’ve got to pick the opposite way in all three games here, which I’m not unhappy with at all. This series should have a razor thin margin of difference between the two teams, so give me UConn all the way, winning on the strength of its special teams.
UConn 3, UVM 2 (OT); UConn 2, UVM 1; UConn 3 UVM 2 (OT) 

In the end, BC and Providence stand out among the best

A five-team race late in the season became a three-team race in Hockey East’s final weekend. And in the end, though Boston College captured the top seed in the playoffs, the Eagles and the Providence Friars ended up atop of the league. That leads the three things I learned this weekend.

1. Eagles and Friars reign supreme

The odds of a co-championship heading into the final weekend seemed somewhat likely. Still it took many things aligning which at the end did. Boston College wrapped up their share of the title on Friday with a 3-1 win over UMass-Lowell. And the Eagles also clinched the top seed after winning the season series with the Friars. But Providence, which beat Massachusetts on Friday, knew a win on Saturday combined with a BC loss would earn the Friars a share. Once UMass-Lowell won the back end of the series, 3-1, and PC routed UMass, 6-0, co-champs were created, meaning each can claim to be the best after the Hockey East regular season.

2. Lots of crazy endings settled Hockey East’s positioning

Lowell’s win gave Providence a share of the regular season title. Notre Dame’s 1-0 win (and a 39-save performance by goaltender Cal Peterson) over Boston University gave Lowell the final first-round bye and forces the Terriers to host UMass next weekend. Merrimack’s 1-0 win over Vermont earned the Warriors home ice in next weekend’s first-round. And, most surprisingly, given New Hampshire’s 4-1 lead through two periods over Connecticut, the Huskies unlikely come-from-behind 5-4 overtime victory gave UConn its first home playoff series in Hockey East in the team’s second year in the league. If you missed Saturday night in Hockey East, particularly between the hours of 8:00 and 9:30 P.M. ET, you missed a lot.

3. There is a lot of concern over the bottom of Hockey East

Maine and UMass finished 11th and 12th, respectively, in Hockey East and each team ended the year in forgettable fashion. The Black Bears lost seven of its last eight league games, including falling 5-3 and 7-1 to the same Northeastern team they will face in the first round. UMass was winless in its last 18 league contests, its last Hockey East win coming in a weekend sweep of UConn on November 6 and 7. Now the Minutemen have to travel to BU in the opening round of the playoffs, trying to find a way to contain the Terriers offense. Though it is always popular to talk about the strength of Hockey East, top to bottom, Maine and UMass simply have not supported that theory much of this season.

Hockey East picks – Feb. 26-27

The regular-season is coming to an end and thanks to calling the Merrimack/Maine split correctly last weekend, I maintain my four-game lead over Dave with four weekends of play remaining.

Jim last week: 7-3-1
Jim to date: 165-59-36
Dave last week: 7-3-1
Dave to date: 161-63-36

The picks below are made according to series with each writer’s first pick referring to Friday and the second the pick for Saturday

Boston College vs. UMass-Lowell (Friday at BC, Sat at UML)
Jim’s pick: I think this series will be a split, so I will simply go the home-ice route here.
BC 3, UML 1; UML 3, BC 2
Dave’s pick: I’m going with a BC sweep. The Eagles have yet to lose in 2016, and though I think the River Hawks will give them a tough time, I see Lowell falling short.
BC 4, UML 2; BC 3, UML 2 (OT)

Vermont at Merrimack
Jim’s pick: These points are so crucial to each team’s home ice fate next weekend. I see another split, just not sure which way to go.
MC 4, UVM 3; UVM 4, MC 2
Dave’s pick: I going to go with another sweep where Jim has picked a split. Since the dawn of the new year, the Catamounts have only lost to Top 10 Hockey East teams – BC, Notre Dame, and Providence. So even on the road, I think they’ve got a great shot at a sweep.
UVM 3, MC 2; UVM 3, MC 2

Boston University at Notre Dame
Jim’s pick: Obviously the powers that be made up a pretty even schedule for the last weekend, as I’m picking another split.
ND 5, BU 3; BU 4, ND 3
Dave’s pick: I’m going with another sweep, this one dictated by home ice. I’d be picking differently if this were back at Agganis.
ND 4, BU 3; ND 4, BU 3 (OT)

Maine at Northeastern
Jim’s pick: This one might end up a split, but I can’t go against Northeastern the way it is playing right now.
NU 4, Maine 2; NU 3, Maine 1
Dave’s pick: No offense to the Black Bears, but I don’t think this will be close, especially on the road.
NU 4, Maine 1; NU 4, Maine 1

New Hampshire vs. Connecticut (Fri. at UNH, Sat. at UConn)
Jim’s pick: I was impressed with how UNH played last weekend against BU, but still think that is only good enough for a split.
UNH 4, UConn 2; UConn 2, UNH 1
Dave’s pick: Looks like I’m picking all sweeps this weekend. UNH has had its ups and downs, but I think they’re the better club, albeit by a slight margin.
UNH 4, UConn 2; UNH 3, UConn 2 (OT)

Providence vs. Massachusetts (Fri. at UMass, Sat. at PC)
Jim’s pick: This is the only series I see as an easy sweep to call. And even that statement isn’t overly confident this time of year.
PC 4, UMass 2; PC 5, UMass 2
Dave’s pick: I am going to be overly confident, although I sure hope that the Friars, fresh off their sweep of Notre Dame, don’t follow suit.
PC 4, UMass 2; PC 5, UMass 1

Irish eyes are no longer smiling at Notre Dame

It looked as if the Notre Dame Fighting Irish might be headed to their first Hockey East regular season title, in just year three in the league, heading into last weekend. And for about 53 minutes on Friday, there was plenty of reason to believe that might happen. That changed quickly and leads the three things I learned this week.

1. Providence’s rally spells doom for the Irish

A 2-0 lead for Notre Dame on Friday late in the third period made it seem like Providence’s hopes for a regular-season title were over and the Irish might be in good position to win its first Hockey East championship. But two goals late in the third and an OT game-winner, followed by a more complete performance and win on Saturday gave Providence the sweep and has turned Notre Dame’s title hopes upside down. Yes, technically, Notre Dame can still finish first, but with the Friars playing a struggling Massachusetts team this weekend, it’s hard to think Notre Dame will pass Providence, let alone first-place BC.

2. Northeastern stays incredibly strong in second half

The Huskies remain so hot. And, despite the fact Northeastern will have to host a first-round series and then travel for the quarterfinal if it survives. But Northeastern is definably the one team every club should want to avoid in the second half. Within Hockey East, Northeastern last lost on December 6 against Boston College and has posted a 13-2-3 record over the last 18 games. After beginning 1-11-2, the current mark of 14-13-5 might be the biggest miracle in college hockey this season.

3. The PairWise remains strong for Hockey East

There is plenty of time for movement, but right now, Hockey East remains in a cat bird’s seat in the PairWise. As it has for weeks, Hockey East has five teams in the top 13 of the PairWise, with Boston College and Providence virtually having locked up their spots in the NCAA field almost a month before selection Sunday. Notre Dame and Boston University are each a couple of wins away from doing the same. The league, as a whole, still has the third-best interconference record behind both the NCHC and ECAC, but at this point it is Hockey East’s strength at the top that continues to control the projected NCAA field.

 

Hockey East picks – Feb. 19-20

Good grief, I only got one game wrong last week but made up no ground on Jim.

Dave last week: 10-1-2
Jim last week: 10-1-2
Dave’s record-to-date: 154-60-35
Jim’s record-to-date: 158-56-35

Friday and Saturday, February 19-20

Because every team except Massachusetts and Massachusetts-Lowell is playing a two-game series against the same opponent, we will list picks for each series together, the first pick being Friday’s game and the second being Saturday. Unless otherwise specified, both games are at the same site.

Merrimack at Maine
Dave’s picks: Wins have been few and far between for both teams, so I’m going with home ice.
UM 2, MC 1; UM 3, MC 2
Jim’s picks: This is a tough one. I can’t imagine a sweep, and know being contrary to Dave makes me vulnerable. But I think Merrimack takes the opener.
MC 3, UM 1; UM 3, MC 2

Notre Dame at Providence
Dave’s pick: This is the marquee match-up of the weekend and seems likely to end in a split. These teams are just too closely matched. But I’m going to gamble on the Irish and hope Jim doesn’t play monkey-see, monkey-do.
ND 3, PC 2 (OT); ND 2, PC 1 (OT)
Jim’s picks: Here I actually match Dave. I think a sweep seems unlikely but at home, I really do believe in Notre Dame (hoping the recent home loss to Boston College was an aberration.
ND 4, PC 2; ND 3, PC 2

Boston College at Vermont
Dave’s pick: Vermont is coming off a three-point weekend at UNH and BC had to settle for the same against Merrimack, but I can’t see the Eagles falling short of a sweep.
BC 4, UVM 2; BC 3, UVM 2
Jim’s picks: Agreed. BC has to win to keep pace with Notre Dame. When Jerry York teams understand the value of the weekend, they usually succeed.
BC 5, UVM 2; BC 4; UVM 2

Northeastern vs. Connecticut (Fri. at UConn; Sat. at NU)
Dave’s pick: The percentages would argue for both teams holding serve at home, but the percentages wouldn’t be factoring in how well Northeastern has been playing. Northeastern sweeps in the Battle of the Huskies.
NU 3, UC 2; NU 3, UC 1
Jim’s picks: I agree with Dave but also argue UConn has the talent to win at home.
UC 3, NU 1; NU 4, UC 2

Boston University vs. New Hampshire (Fri. at UNH; Sat. at BU)
Dave’s pick: Both teams really need these games for playoff positioning, BU to get a first-round bye and UNH to get first-round home ice. The Terriers, however, are playing by far the better hockey, so I’m bypassing any thought of a home-ice split.
BU 3, UNH 2; BU 4, UNH 2
Jim’s picks: Agreed. Though UNH beat Lowell recently, I don’t see them taking anything from the Terriers.
BU 4, UNH 2; BU 3, UNH 1

Massachusetts at Massachusetts-Lowell (single, nonconference game, Fri.)
Dave’s pick: Yes, it’s a rivalry, and yes, Lowell has hit a couple potholes lately, but UMass has been playing so poorly for so long that I can’t see so much as a close game.
UML 5, UMass 1
Jim’s pick: I think it will be closer than Dave, but also believe this one should go to the River Hawks.
UML 4, UMass 2

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