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College Hockey:
ECAC East picks: Feb. 22

A 3-1-2 (.583) weekend wrapped up the regular season and showcased some of the challenges in picking games right with so much riding on the outcome. The overall season numbers finish at a very respectable 56-19-9 (.720). A pretty solid performance for the regular season is nice, but let’s see if there is any correlation to picking winners in the playoffs.

This is it! It’s win or go home until next year. Here are this weekend’s selections for the quarterfinals.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

No. 7 University of New England at No. 2 Massachusetts-Boston
The fourth meeting of the two teams this season means there should be no surprises in what they bring to the ice in terms of style and ability. The Beacons have not had any playoff success with this current roster, but this is a good time to continue their strong play and start the road toward their goal of three tournament titles this season. Just too much offense for the Nor’easters to handle in this one. Massachusetts-Boston 6-3

No. 6 Skidmore at No. 3 Babson
The Thoroughbreds have had the Beavers’ number this season, so first Babson needs to solve Ben Freiburg in the Skidmore goal.  They won’t get much past him, and the empty-net goal just provides score sheet cushion in what will be a very tight game, despite the speed and skill showcased by both teams. Babson 3-1

No. 8 Southern Maine at No. 1 Norwich
The Huskies have been extremely offensively-challenged by the Cadets in both games this season, where they totaled zero goals and just 21 shots on net in the two regular season losses. Expect more of the same for a team that has a chance to be special in Norwich hockey history, and that is a driver for the focus and execution in this game. Norwich 4-0

No. 5 New England College at No. 4 Castleton
So maybe the easy thing to do would be to pick all of the home ice seeds to advance to next week’s final four tournament. This one makes it tough to do based not only on who is hot and who is not coming into the contest, but the fact that the visitors in both regular season match-ups have been just good enough to take the win away from the host team. Going with recent history repeating itself here by a very familiar score. New England College 4-3

This is what you play the regular season for, so if you aren’t ready to play now, it’s too late to figure it out. It’s the playoffs, enough said — drop the puck!

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