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College Hockey:
NESCAC picks: Feb. 8

Ouch! That is the only thing to say about a 2-3-1 (.417) record last weekend that leaves me with a 41-16-7 (.695) overall record and a big overall percentage drop heading into the final two weekends of the regular season. Just like the games being played, there are no guaranteed picks, no matter where the teams are in the standings. I need to rally back this week and finish strong, and with so much riding on the outcomes, picking winners is not getting any easier.

Here are this week’s selections.

Friday, Feb. 8

Bowdoin at Wesleyan
The top seed is in reach with a couple of more wins for Bowdoin, but the Cardinals will be tough at home and have a lot to play for themselves with nothing decided in the standings. The game will be tight, and may be decided in an overtime session. Bowdoin 3-2

Amherst at Tufts
The Lord Jeffs are sitting in that dreaded five seed spot right now, so even a three-point weekend might not be good enough to move up the standings. It’s all about wins right now, and Amherst isn’t going to go easy on Tufts on the road. Amherst 4-2

Colby at Trinity
Colby may have snuck up on Amherst last weekend on Saturday to steal a point, but don’t expect the Bantams to take the Mules lightly at home. Score is closer than one may think, but it is playoff season, so why wouldn’t it be close? Trinity 2-1

Saturday, Feb. 9

Middlebury at Williams
For both teams, the drive down Route 7 following Friday night’s game won’t be a factor in this one, but timely scoring and strong goaltending will be deciding factors as both teams look to firm up a top-four position in the conference standings. The score and game are very close, and the last one is an empty-net goal. Middlebury 3-1

Bowdoin at Trinity
The battle at the top is just as intriguing as the fight to get in the conference tournament. The Polar Bears can control their destiny and top seed with a win, but it won’t come easy against the Bantams, who want to keep a home ice berth of their own. Bowdoin 3-2

Hamilton at Tufts
The Jumbos suffered a huge setback last weekend against Connecticut College, so desperation will bring out the best in their game. Unfortunately, it isn’t enough for against the Continentals, who want to make sure they are in the postseason. Hamilton 3-2

There are so few games left, which makes the points all that more valuable. Two teams are going to be finished for the season after next week, so this week can go a long way in helping to get in the conference tournament or sealing the deal on the offseason. It is about focusing on the game at hand and scoreboard watching later — drop the puck!

(At time of writing, winter storm warnings have changed and may still alter actual dates and times of games of select NESCAC conference games.) 

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