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College Hockey:
Hockey East picks: Feb. 24-25

Jim and I are now in a dead heat, not much different than Hockey East.

Dave last week: 5-3-2
Jim last week: 4-4-2
Dave’s record-to-date: 102-67-16
Jim’s record-to-date: 102-67-16

Here are this week’s picks:

Friday, February 24

Boston College at Providence
Dave’s pick: I may not pick against BC the rest of the year. Eight straight and counting.
BC 4, PC 2
Jim’s pick: Full agreement here. I’m not sure I see a game that I think BC should lose.
BC 3, PC 2

Maine at Northeastern
Dave’s pick: A tough call here. The Black Bears desperately need a win to secure home ice; the Huskies desperately need a win to make the playoffs. There isn’t an outcome that would surprise me.
Maine 3, NU 2 (OT)
Jim’s pick: This, to me, is where Maine turns magical. It seems to be a year of destiny for the Black Bears and this is the weekend that really could kick things off.
Maine 5, NU 3

Massachusetts-Lowell at Merrimack
Dave’s pick: The single toughest pick of the weekend. I’m going with Lowell to extend Merrimack’s winless streak to five games.
UML 3, MC 2 (OT)
Jim’s pick: As much as I want to pick differently than the Ol’ Man, I simply can’t here.
UML 3, MC 1

New Hampshire at Massachusetts
Dave’s pick: In a home-and-home series, I’d opt for the home team each night. But both games this weekend are at the Mullins Center. I’m sorely tempted to pick a UNH sweep, but the Wildcats are 3-8-3 on the road and the Minutemen are 8-3-3 at home. Not to mention that UMass has toppled Maine and BU the last two weekends.
UMass 4, UNH 3
Jim’s pick: Now here is my first point of differentiation. I like a split here but think UNH wins the first.
UNH 4, UMass 2

Boston University at Vermont
Dave’s pick: Unless the shocking events on the police blotter have the Terriers’ heads spinning, this one’s easy.
BU 5, UVM 2
Jim’s pick: I don’t think this is anywhere as easy as Dave says, but still think BU comes out on top.
BU 3, UVM 2

Saturday, February 25

Providence at Boston College
Dave’s pick: The Eagles sweep, putting themselves within two home wins against Vermont of a league title.
BC 5, PC 2
Jim’s pick: Agreed. Another sweep for the Eagles.
BU 4, PC 1

Boston University at Vermont
Dave’s pick: The Terriers ride their special teams to the sweep.
BU 4, UVM 2
Jim’s pick: This one will be closer than you think.
BU 4, UVM 3 (OT)

Merrimack at Massachusetts-Lowell
Dave’s pick: Despite the River Hawks’ loss at Tsongas last weekend to BU, they still have the best home record in the league.
UML 4, MC 3
Jim’s pick: Lowell’s sweep keeps the final weekend very interesting.
UML 3, MC 1

Maine at Northeastern
Dave’s pick: I don’t feel comfortable with this pick, but I’m going with another  sweep, this one for the Black Bears.
Maine 4, NU 3
Jim’s pick: Dave and I have the same discomfort level here.
Maine 3, NU 2 (OT)

New Hampshire at Massachusetts
Dave’s pick: I hate picking splits in series when both games are at the same venue, but I’m going to on this one, knowing full well that when the split goes the opposite way, my 0h-fer will hand the season pick’s title to Jimmy.  I just see UNH rising to the occasion.
UNH 3, UMass 2 (OT)
Jim’s pick: And I will take that title, if things work out my way.
UMass 4, UNH 2 

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  • nationalchamps02

    The Huskies were lucky to be in two close games. Minnesota must have hit 5 or 6 posts throughout the weekend. Not to mention Lucia rotating all 4 lines throughout the whole weekend. The Huskies are no pushover when they are playing at National hockey center. Good Saturday night win to cap off the sweep, and another solid weekend for Patterson.

    • Brian Halverson

      I don’t disagree but you can’t discount SCSU’s goaltending as a significant factor. And don’t forget that Prochno hit the post as square as two round objects can meet late in Saturday’s game. A fraction to the right and that’s a  tie game with a huge momentum shift in a raucous building. It’s all woulda, coulda, shoulda, I know, but, despite how well they played, the Gophers were fortunate too that a bounce or two didn’t go the wrong way for them.

      • Phoenixfyre1313

        Totally true and  spectacular play by Faragher on Saturday night kept a game close that shouldn’t have been.  But as much as the Prochno shot hit the post, so did 3 Gopher shots hit the post or crossbar that night and toss in the non-call where Condon was hooked and slashed on a breakaway that directly led to an SCSU goal and it is fitting that the Gophers won.  SCSU got the bounces that kept them in the game that easily could have been 6-2.

    • WCHA FAN

      5 posts 4 posts 100 posts still no goal quit making excuses.  They are a good team just didn’t play very well this week end

      • Gophersforlife

        Well the kinda did, they doubled the shots of SCSU

  • Mesteveo

    a great weekend for all U of M sports.

  • http://www.collegehockeypulse.com/ mrjakep

    Its nice to have that 5 point lead in the conference but next weekend I would expect that Sandelin is going have his team ready to head to Alaska and get 4 points!  This is going to keep the pressure on MN to keep up the hard work!  

    A five point lead in the WCHA is like a 2 goal lead in a game, you can’t get to comfortable!  The Gophers are in the driver seat, just gotta keep in heading in the right direction!  

    Great weekend for the Golden Gophers!

    • Phoenixfyre1313

      Yes, the Gophers have to keep playing hard.  Trips to Denver and Nebraska-Omaha will not be easy.  The home series are not pushovers either.  Bemidji State is down, but playing everyone tough and Wisconsin is always a heated series.  The Gophers need to keep playing strong everynight to stay where they are!

      • http://www.collegehockeypulse.com/ mrjakep

        This is what I fear most now that they are Ranked #1 in the Nation!  I just hope they don’t fall back on their skates like earlier this year after being in that position!

        • xTEDxTHExREDx

          I believe you are number 2 chief.

          • Gophersforlife

            They just are in the USA Today poll, but only by a little. Bulldogs better kick the crap out of UND. 

  • Tech Fan

    The Mich Tech Huskies have played very well in Minnesota this year – a split at Mariucci arena and now 3 points at AMSOIL.  They deserve a little more recognition that just a bad weekend for the dogs.

    • Phoenixfyre1313

      Tech has to be respected in that they took 3 of 4 points from UMD and split with Minnesota all on the road.

      • http://www.collegehockeypulse.com/ mrjakep

        Teach did get quite a bit of respect in the early part of the year but lost it towards the break!  They sure stood up this weekend and said “Hey remember US!”  great win!  

        Now they sit only one point out from a home playoff series in the WCHA, could end up seeing Tech at the Final Five!  A great turn around from last year, hope to see them in March at the Xcel!

    • Brian Halverson

      You are absolutely right, Tech Fan. When I wrote “no one is
      insinuating the one-point weekend is a sign of anything more than a bad weekend
      for UMD” the point I did a poor job of conveying was that the sky isn’t falling
      in Duluth despite losing three of four points. Although it clearly came off
      that way, slamming Tech was not at all on my mind at the time it was written.

      It was written, not taken, out of context and I can’t fault anyone for
      interpreting my words the way they did, if that makes any sense.

      My choice of headline was not meant to be an indictment of
      Michigan Tech’s talent but an acknowledgment of UMD’s recent success. MTU is
      obviously talented but sometimes two teams play at their very best and one team
      happens to lose while other times it takes two to tango in determining an
      outcome.

      I think there’s no question the Huskies had to have played
      outstanding to be as dominating as they were in those final five periods, but I
      also think it’s unrealistic to think UMD’s play wasn’t a factor. Likewise, I
      find it hard to believe the Huskies played as well as they could in losing 5-2 to
      Northern Michigan the previous weekend and that NMU is simply that much better.

      Anyone close to me will tell you I have been raving about
      coach Pearson since I first spoke to him back in October and admire the way the
      players have bought in so quickly and turned their college careers around.

      Michigan Tech is a good college hockey team, one that anyone
      would be foolish to want to play in the postseason.

      • Brian Halverson

        Wow, sorry about the formatting issue there.

  • After Further Review

    They are both… #1 in the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine poll

  • Heights68

    Jim, BC is playing PC and not BU!!

  • BBear94

    Jim thinks Maine is having a “year of destiny”, but is afraid they cannot win the backside of the weekend versus Northeastern?  Good grief do you read this column before it’s published?!

    • Idontknow87

      Good Call BBear94. Still think Maine shouldn’t be worried about NU?

  • BlacBear Fan

    Come on! Just because the Black Bears lost once to the Minutemen doesn’t mean they are not up to par with BC, BU, UML, and Merrimack. Maine is sitting solidly at an 8th place tie in the PairWise rankings, while Northeastern is tied for 30TH in the PairWise. I pick Maine to get home ice, not because I am a Maine resident and Maine hockey season ticket holder, but because Maine is really coming around. They have an amazing first line with Spencer Abbott, Brian Flynn, and Joey Diamond (who by the way, has learned not to take so many penalties.) Maine has also started to generate scoring outside the first line from a promising freshman class with Cerretani, Higgins, and Parker. Maine can also score on the power play now. They have solid defense; Will O’Neil and Ryan Hegarty. Not to mention sophomore goaltender Dan Sullivan can really play. I wouldn’t count Maine out yet Dave.

    • Joe C

      As a BU alum, I agree that there are FIVE closely-matched teams, BU, BC, Lowell, Merrimack and Maine in no particular order.

      If forced to rationally choose (which is hard for a BU fan to do with respect to BC), I would say that right now, BC is the favorite. After that, the rest of the top five can win out all the way to the Hockey East title to flaming out in the first round of the Hockey East playoffs. All five teams are flawed, but it appears that BC has possibly figured its major flaw, goaltending.

    • TylerDurdenMaine

      you don’t think maybe Diamond is taking fewer penalties because it is near the end of the season and the refs have kinda swallowed their whistles?

    • BBear94

      Yes, the team is playing well, the recent UMass debacle notwithstanding.  And they could conceivably finish anywhere from 2nd through 5th in HEA.

      However, I have to strongly disagree with you re: Sullivan.  He is not a DI-quality goalie and certainly not up to Maine’s standards.  Wait till next year when you get a look at Matt Morris and you’ll see what I mean –

      • TeamOfDestiny12

        WOW!!!!!! Seams like the first positive things we have heard from BBear all season. And there is even an indirect kudos to Tim Whitehead in there in your excitement about his goalie recruit Matt Morris!! And they have some great offensive potential coming up next season too. Maybe the present and future for this team is not so dismal after all. As far as the all important present, BlacBear Fan sums it up pretty well. LETS GO BLUE!! Take care of business on the road tonight!!! Finish strong. 

        • BBear94

          Matt Morris was recruited to Dubuque by Jim Montgomery, where he was in very poor shape – much like Dan Sullivan.  However, aftyer a major committment from Coach Montgomery and Grant Standbrook (yes, that Grant Standbrook) he’s developing nicely.  Nothing to do with Timmay everything to do with Jimmy (and Grant)…

      • Black bears all the way

        Are you stupid? Dan Sullivan not a d1 quality goalie. Ok are we talking about the same dan sullivan that as a freshman broke maine’s record of consecutive shutout time? passing the great jimmy howard? the same dan sullivan that is 17-7-3 rightnow? you are a fool. I agree he has his struggling points, but to say that he is not a d1 goali you are just dumb. he has beat bc, bu, umass lowell. has he been a little shaky sure, but what goalie isn’t?? he beat 2 of the best goalies in the nation ( carr from umass-lowell, and kieran millan from bu) bc’s goalies have struggled this year so I can’t say he beat a better goalie in those games. But before you make such an absurd statement look at the facts fool

        • BBear94

          Wow, easy little fella.  If you can’t handle a differing opinion without acting like a 3rd-grader, then don’t post here –

          Being the nice guy that I am, and very knowledgeable on all things college hockey (haha), I will say this. Sullivan COULD BECOME a DI goalie, if he had someone actually coaching him. David Alexander a goalie coach? Surely you jest…

      • MaineHockeyGuy2

        was lookin at the stats sullivan is not in top-27 for gaa or top-23 for save %.  uscho doesn’t show anymore.  sullivan also tied for 33rd in shut outs so he not in top 50% of goalies in country based on stats. 

        remember king delguidice snow dunham allison michaud howard bishop boy those guys were solid in net we need that type goalie again. hope morris pans out.

  • BlacBear Fan

    BBear 94: Yes, Sullivan may not be D1 quality, but he has played some very good games.

    TylerDurdenMaine: Yes I have to agree with you on that. Did you see Diamond getting the extra minutes for cross-checking the referee? Maybe I stand corrected.

    One of the reasons why Maine lost the Saturday night game is because of the poor Hockey East Officiating. Fyrer and Keenan were not calling obvious penalties, and they were making bad calls against Maine. Of course, Hockey East Officials always know how to ruin a great game. The four Hockey East schools outside of Massachusetts always suffer against teams from Massachusetts because of the refs. Here is a list:

    HATES MAINE
    ———————-
    Head:
     Kevin Shea (overuses the EMBELLISHMENT call)
     Dave Hansen
     Scott Hansen
     Tom Fyrer
     Kevin Keenan
    Linesmen:
     Chris Aughe
     Bob Bernard
     Mark Sullivan

    Fair Referees (All the referees on this list, the Boston schools think are unfair just because the Boston schools are always used to being favored.)
    —————————————————————————————
    Head:
    3. John Gravallese: I might have ranked him a bit higher if he reffed a few more Maine games, always keeps the calls fair and minimal.

    2. Jeff Bunyon: Keeps the calls fair. Also met him in person; a really nice guy.

    1. Tim Benedetto: Really nice guy, keeps the calls fair and minimal for ALL teams.

     

    • Hockeyeastforever99_99

      Jeff Bunyon is an absolute ****, choose your expletive.

      • Emr9008

         BU fans made it seem as if they had paid off Bunyon on Friday night

  • Guest

     Go Warriors!  Beat the River Hacks!

  • BlacBear Fan

    Are you serious?!?!?!?!? Of course, the Black Bears get Kevin Shea and Scott Hansen as referees (read my other post.) Of course, the officials know how to ruin the game, call a penalty on Maine in the final minute, and Northeastern scored on the power play. The officiating is a disgrace to the Hockey East association. I am the last person to criticize officials, but you officials should be ashamed of what you have turned Hockey East into. Other conferences shake their head in disgust at Hockey East officiating. Have you ever wondered why you never see Hockey East officials in the NCAA tournament. They have turned Hockey East into a favoritism game. I’m sorry for anyone who read through my anger, but I am disgusted by the performance by Shea and S. Hansen tonight. Disgraceful.

    • After Further Review

       Ummmmm, HE officials did 2 out of 3 FF games last year, obviously they can’t officiate a game where a HE team is playing.
      I do agree though, the officiating is very suspect at times… read my post a couple of weeks ago after the BC/UNH series.  I am also not one to criticize officiating, but that weekend, I had to post, just as you did tonight.  Very frustrating sometimes.  You are trying to secure home ice and UNH is just trying to get in, every point counts and I look back at that BC series and know they deserved better than a 4-3 loss (2 goals in the final 3+ minutes, last on on a PP with :51 left) and a 3-2 OT loss after a penalty in OT.
      Good luck tomorrow!

  • Jerry York for life

    “Wait until next year”  This seems to be the war cry for Maine and UNH every season. 
    A BC win this afternoon combined with a BU loss would make for smooth sailing to the HE title next friday
    Go Eagles!