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College Hockey:
ECAC Northeast picks: Jan. 18

It’s not often you see a first-place team stuck in a winless streak that covers more than a month.

Welcome to life in the ECAC Northeast.

Western New England (6-9 overall, 4-1 in the league) is indeed in one of those funks, and more than anything else, it’s because the Golden Bears have scheduled up in the nonconference slate. As such, they have lost six straight — including a 5-1 decision to Utica and a 2-0 decision to Assumption this week — and are searching for answers.

However, the good news is that Western New England — record notwithstanding — is still among the most talented teams in this conference, and when the Golden Bears jump back into the league mix on Saturday, they will indeed be defending first place.

That should be enough to light a fire and keep it burning. Western, after all, is just one point ahead of Curry, and just four points away from seventh place. Things are tight in this league, points are precious, and time is slipping away.

Which is exactly why we think Western wakes up this weekend, and takes care of business on Saturday vs. Suffolk. Western New England 5-2

Saturday, Jan. 19

Nichols at Johnson and Wales
Another enticing league match-up, as under-the-radar Nichols looks to keep on chugging. The Bison are just two points out of first place headed into the weekend, and were the first league team to reach 10 wins overall. Road games aren’t easy in this conference — in January to boot — but expect Nichols to bring its “A” game to this one on Saturday, and feel the urgency. Nichols 4-2

Sunday, Jan. 20

Curry at Wentworth
The Colonels are the team looking up at Western New England right now, and have plenty of time to catch up and even take over the top spot. But Wentworth, the preseason pick to win it all, needs a feel-good performance to right the ship here, and could turn around their season at home against a rival on Sunday. Wentworth 2-1

Last week: 2-2; Overall: 20-12-1.

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