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College Hockey:
ECAC East picks: Nov. 30

Look out folks; I might just be getting the hang of this making picks thing. The rally continued last week, as I went 5-0-1 (.917) for the weekend, which brings the season total to 15-4-4 (.739). Just like the performance on the ice, it’s about consistency, so trying to make it three weeks in a row with strong predictive skills is a challenge I am more than happy to take on.

The semester break is approaching, and the games remaining are dwindling, which makes the effort and the points an important endpoint to benchmark the season’s results to date. There are some key match-ups this weekend to take stock of, including some challenging road games for several teams playing well.

Here are this week’s picks:

Friday, November 30, 2012

Norwich at Skidmore
Calling this a trap game might not be fair to Skidmore, but this one follows an emotional come-from-behind win over in-state rival Middlebury in the Primelink final last weekend and precedes the new and growing rivalry with Castleton on Saturday. Coach Mike McShane won’t let the Cadets falter, and the big sheet plays to his team’s offensive firepower. That said, it’s still close. Norwich 4-3

University of New England at Massachusetts-Boston
One of the most difficult things in sports is to beat a team back-to-back. The Beacons took the PAL Cup last weekend with a victory over the Nor’easters in the championship game, and now look to capture two points in the standings with a win at home. Home is the key to this one, as the Beacons hold on against the feisty visitors from Maine. Massachusetts-Boston 4-3

Southern Maine at Babson
The Beavers have won two in a row and would like to continue the streak. The Huskies will present a challenge in a game that is likely to see a lot of pace and shots on goal. The offense is coming together for Babson and is still a work in progress for USM. The Beavers make it three in a row, but not without some drama. Babson 4-3

Saturday, December 1, 2012

New England College at St. Anselm
The travel partner games are always interesting affairs, and this pre-semester break match-up has a history of close, one-goal games over the past few seasons. The Hawks have been off to a good start and come off the strong momentum gained in Tuesday’s 7-0 win over NE-10 foe Assumption. Nick Dries earned the shutout, but won’t see one here against the high-flying Pilgrims. It doesn’t matter, as the win and two points are more important. St. Anselm 4-3

Norwich at Castleton
The first match-up last season went to the Spartans, who are hoping to build some momentum and consistency off their winning the Rutland Invitational last weekend as the host team. Erick Cinotti has been a key in goal for the Spartans, but now faces his biggest challenge in the Cadets, who have had no problems scoring goals. This one will be close checking and physical, and it may be an empty-net goal that provides the final difference on the scoreboard. Norwich 3-1

Southern Maine at Massachusetts-Boston
These teams are very close, and it has been very hard in the conference to come away with four points on a single weekend. The Beacons continue their roll. but expect a seesaw battle that may even end up in overtime. Massachusetts-Boston 5-4

There are just a handful of games left before the semester break, so these points are important in the mid-season grading for every team — drop the puck!

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