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College Hockey:
ECAC Northeast picks: Nov. 23

Momentum can be a funny thing in college hockey. You get a crop of young, eager players who snare a win at long last, and you never know where it might lead. Johnson and Wales hopes it leads to bigger and better things. Who knows; the Wildcats may already be on their way.

After a slumping start to forget — four straight losses out of the box — Johnson and Wales is building a little bit of mojo these days. An impressive 6-4 win over Becker on Nov. 17 fed right into a 5-4 win over Assumption on Tuesday. And all of a sudden, what appeared to be one of the bottom feeders in the ECAC Northeast might be a player, before it’s all said and done after all.

All that said, we do think Johnson and Wales has a tough chore ahead of it. The Massachusetts-Boston Beacons are streaking — they’ve won or played into overtime all of their last four games — and it might just be a case of wrong place, wrong time for the Wildcats. As the two teams meet Saturday in the PAL Cup, we’re going to lean on the Beacons, who have a better body of work. Mass.-Boston 4-3

Let’s take a look at the other action this week in the ECAC Northeast:

SATURDAY:

Salve Regina at Bowdoin
The Polar Bears are 2-0-1 and playing in their own tournament. They have allowed two goals or less twice, and are red hot out of the box. Bowdoin 4-2

Morrisville vs. Curry
Tuesday’s 6-0 loss to Tufts did not sit well with the Colonels, and it definitely helps that Morrisville is winless so far. Bad timing for the Mustangs in this one. Curry 5-1

Becker at Nichols
At 4-1, the Bison have to like where they are at: right at the top of the ECAC Northeast, and surging while other teams may be still finding an identity. With some time to prepare, Nichols will be ready to roll. Nichols 4-1

SUNDAY

Suffolk vs. Bowdoin
Going to continue to ride the home team in their own little holiday dance here. Love what the Rams have been building at Suffolk, but sticking with the Polar Bears in this spot. Bowdoin 4-2

Salve Regina at Colby
The Mules, winless headed into the weekend, are desperate in the early season, and desperate teams often pull off quality efforts at the absolute right times. This might be one of them. Colby 2-1

WEDNESDAY

Western New England at Becker
Many were surprised to see the Golden Bears receive a lot of love in the preseason poll this season. They have been proving those critics wrong ever since. Western New England 6-3

Johnson and Wales at Salve Regina
The Seahawks get it right here, and add to the parity party that is building in the ECAC Northeast. Let the standings logjam ensue. Salve Regina 4-3

THURSDAY

Suffolk at Curry
The Colonels have been up and down early on, but that’s to be expected with a new coach. A few weeks into the process, and with a weeknight home game, T.J. Manastersky’s crew will be rocking. Curry 5-1

Nichols at Wentworth
Beauty of a matchup with two of the league’s power teams. Should be fun, but Wentworth has been a shade inconsistent early on, and that might just end — once and for all — right here. Wentworth 3-2

 Last week: 6-3-1. 

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