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College Hockey:
ECAC East picks: Jan. 25

I am hoping that this past week’s success with the picks is not just a one-week phenomenon. I rallied back with last week’s 5-1-0 (.833) record that clearly shows I can get it right sometimes. The overall season numbers look very strong at 40-14-6 (.717), but I will need to avoid anymore bad weeks if I expect to keep my winning percentage over my targeted 70 percent success rate.

The cream may be rising, or at least trying to rise, in the conference, so let’s see if that helps with the overall picks this week. Home-and-home series between Massachusetts-Boston and Babson should be two great games and two chances for me to screw up my picks. Here are this weekend’s selections.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Massachusetts-Boston at Babson
This weekend series may go a long way in determining the number two seed in the conference come playoff time. That said, there will be a lot of this action that looks and feels like the playoffs are already upon us. Both teams are playing very well right now, but the Beacons seem to like the big games on the road. May be over on goal total, but it is a one-goal game. Massachusetts-Boston 4-3

Skidmore at St. Anselm
The Hawks earned a big split last weekend at home, but will need to better that to confirm they are among the elite teams in the conference this weekend. They can’t be looking ahead to the Saturday match-up with Castleton, because Skidmore can certainly play with anyone. Home team takes the opponent seriously and holds on for two points. St. Anselm 5-3

Castleton at New England College
The Spartans got huge production from seniors Josh Harris and Justin Alonzo last weekend as they swept two games at home to go unbeaten in their last six. Always tough to do it on the road, but a hard-fought win on Friday gives them a chance for another weekend sweep and much-needed points to keep them climbing in the standings. Castleton 4-3

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Babson at Massachusetts-Boston
The likelihood there is some spillover from the excitement of Friday night’s game between these two teams is probably pretty high. The Beavers have demonstrated they like to start quick away from home, and the blueprint for their victory at Norwich might be just enough here to earn two points and split the weekend with their travel partner. Babson 3-2

St. Michael’s at University of New England
The Nor’easters landed sophomore goaltender Colby Drost at the semester break from Niagara, and he has certainly helped solidify the position for Brad Holt’s team. St. Michael’s took the first match-up by a 5-1 score on just 28 shots on goal. Drost should cut that number down enough for the home team to split the season series. University of New England 4-3

Norwich at Southern Maine
It is all about consistent play, and while the Cadets only played one game last weekend, they are just 4-2-0 in their last six games — not the level coach Mike McShane expects from his team. Getting back on a roll will be important down the stretch, so not a lot of tinkering anymore with the lineup. The Cadets are the better team, and show it here. Norwich 6-2

It is hard to believe that January is almost over, and that means the points and position in the standings are really becoming more and more valuable as the number of weekends left dwindles. Time to crank up the intensity — drop the puck.

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