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Weekend picks aplenty

larson alex5 sized Weekend picks aplenty

Sophomore goalie Alex Larson has to be strong this weekend to give Nichols a chance to grab two nonconference wins (photo: Jill Souza).

Our slew of men’s Division III columnists is back in the saddle this week with their weekend predictions.

How will games the next few days shake out? Our people have some ideas…

ECAC East – Tim Costello

The first picks of the second half finished at 3-1-1 (.700), which continues this season’s solid performance at 22-7-4 (.727) overall.

This week finds excitement at Frozen Fenway for two of the nation’s best (played Thursday night) and several other key matchups and I won’t shy away from picking the tough ones. It is just a question of how well I can pick them.

Friday, Jan. 10

University of New England @ St. Anselm

The second half did not start so well for the Hawks, but home ice could be a welcome venue against a very game Nor’easters squad. The Hawks need to get more consistent in their overall game and this weekend’s conference matchups bring that focus to the still young team. St. Anselm 4-3.

Skidmore @ Plattsburgh

The Cardinals fell from the No. 1 perch nationally this week so what better way to send a strong message on their quality of play than a quality win against a strong ECAC East opponent. There is too much firepower and disciplined play from the Cardinals for the Thoroughbreds to run amok on the road. Plattsburgh 5-3.

Norwich @ Massachusetts-Boston

What a weekend with three teams being nationally ranked facing each other. The venue is not a Frozen Fenway locale, but the intensity is just as high at the Clark Center for these teams battling for top spots in the standings. It is a playoff-type atmosphere but the Cadets defense is just good enough to hold off the high-powered Beacons. Norwich 4-3.

Saturday, Jan. 11

Castleton @ Plattsburgh

It’s the back end of the travel partners playing against the leaders from the SUNYAC conference and while this one is close, the home team takes it on the strength of special teams for a weekend sweep. Plattsburgh 3-2.

League leaders or other match-ups are all important points and potential tie-breakers – drop the puck!

ECAC Northeast – Nathan Fournier

Friday, Jan. 10

Manhattanville at Curry

Curry continues to struggle after dropping games last week to Oswego and Wisconsin-Stout. It doesn’t get any easier with Manahattanville coming into town. Manhattanville will be playing its first game of the New Year. They possess a potent power play at 28.6 percent. I expect them to have no problem with Curry in a 5-1 victory.

Hobart at Nichols

This will be a very entertaining game with Hobart playing a very competitive schedule and Nichols off to a strong start. Hobart relies on everyone on the roster to contribute, while Nichols has four guys with ten or more points. Both teams are very good on the penalty kill. I expect this game to be a tight game. I will go with Nichols 3-2.

Western New England at Utica

This should be a very wide-open game with Western New England scoring 44 goals in 12 games with Utica scoring 46 goals in 13 games. Utica is 3-2 at home, while Western New England is 1-3 on the road. I think Western New England doesn’t have the depth as Utica and I have the Pioneers taking this game 5-3.

Saturday, Jan. 11

Curry at Connecticut College

Both teams are looking for wins, so I expect it to be a competitive game. The Colonels will have to try to keep JC Cangelosi in check who has six goals and eight assists in 11 games for Connecticut College. I will go with Curry in a 3-2 game.

Morrisville at Nichols

Morrisville has struggled this season, so it could a trap game for Nichols. The Mustangs have a very good power play at 25.4 percent. Two of their three wins this season have come on the road. I will go with the Bison of Nichols in a 6-4 contest.

Hobart at Salve Regina

The Seahawks will have a tough test against Hobart. They also need a victory as they have lost six in a row. The good news is they return home where five out of their seven wins have come come from. Hobart will be playing their second game in a row. In a high-scoring affair, I will take the Seahawks 5-4.

Canton at Suffolk

Canton is 1-2 against ECAC Northeast opponents this season, picking up a victory over Becker while falling to Western New England and Nichols. This should be a competitive game with Suffolk. The Rams are 3-1 at home, which I expect to help them as they look for their first victory of 2014. Suffolk in a 5-2 contest.

Sunday, Jan. 12

Morrisville at Becker

The Hawks are hoping for a better start in the second half of the season after a rocky first half. They should be ready to go as they wait for Morrisville to roll into town. Cody Edwards is expected to be a leader for Becker offensively. If he can get going, Becker will be a very tough team to play against. At the end of the day, I will take Morrisville in a 4-3 game.

Canton at Curry

Curry will be playing their third game of the weekend. There will be some tired legs for them, but Canton should have some bus legs of their own. It won’t be the greatest game to ever be played, but it will a competitive one. I will take the home team in this one and I predict Curry picking up its second win of the weekend in a 2-1 game.

Monday, Jan. 13

Stonehill at Western New England

Stonehill is a team to be respected and Western New England will have its hands full. They are very good on the penalty kill and have four wins on the road. They also have five guys with 10 points or more. The Golden Bears are 6-1 at home. Western New England will take this game 6-3.

Tuesday, Jan. 14

Western New England at Assumption

Assumption has struggled this season and I believe Western New England should have no problem with Assumption. The Greyhounds have a respectful penalty kill which could frustrate the Golden Bears, if they can’t get their power play going. Western New England takes this one 7-1.

Manhattanville at Nichols

This is will a very good midweek nonconference contest. The key for Nichols is to make sure Manhattanville doesn’t get out to a lead in the first period. The Valiants are 6-0 when they leading after one period. I expect Alex Larson to see a lot of pucks in the game. In the end, I see him backstopping Nichols to a 4-2 win.

Salve Regina at Oswego

The Seahawks play another strong nonconference opponent in Oswego. It will be a good test for Salve Regina heading into in conference play. If Salve Regina can outshoot Oswego, they could have a chance as the are 6-2 when they are outshooting their opponents. Still, I think Oswego will take this game 7-4.

Wednesday, Jan. 15

Stonehill at Becker

Stonehill has offensive firepower that I believe will be tough for Becker to contain. They are very good at closing games with a 5-1 record when leading after two periods. I have Stonehill winning 6-2.

ECAC West – Dan Hickling

Friday, Jan. 10

Western New England (8-5-0) @ No. 8 Utica (9-2-2) – Utica 4, WNEC 2

WNEC is a Jekyll and Hyde bunch — can’t lose at home, can’t seem to win on the road. Utica, which has been ambushed before at home (remember Morrisville?), will not be caught laying back this time.

Saturday, Jan. 11

Hobart (4-4-4) @ Salve Regina (6-7-0) – Hobart 5 Salve Regina 1

Here you have two teams heading in opposite directions. Hobart is fresh off its win against (then) top-ranked Plattsburgh eager to get back into the national picture. Salve is in a free-fall having lost six straight after a 6-1-0 start. No change in trajectories this time out.

MASCAC – Nathan Fournier

Saturday, Jan. 11

Worcester State at Massachusetts-Dartmouth

Both teams have struggled so far this season, but at times, UMass-Dartmouth has been competitive and I believe they will come out on top. If Worcester State can outshoot UMass-Dartmouth, the Corsairs haven’t won a game when outshooting their opponnet. I have the Corsairs winning 4-2.

Plymouth State at Salem State

Even though Plymouth State is traveling to Salem State, I give them the advantage because I think Salem State will have a let down game after playing in Fenway Park. Plymouth State will be hungry for a victory, so I will take the Panthers in a 5-3 victory.

Framingham State at Westfield State

This should be a very good contest. Framingham State is coming off a tough loss to Western New England last weekend. Both teams have four wins in the conference. I think Westfield pulls it off in a 3-2 win.

Tuesday, Jan. 14

Westfield State at Southern New Hampshire

Southern New Hampshire has a strong club and have scored 59 goals and have a 36.1 percent conversion rate on the man-advantage. Westfield will have to tighten up their power play. I will take Southern New Hampshire in a 6-4 game.

Thursday, Jan. 16

Massachusetts-Dartmouth at Framingham State

A game that sees last season’s MASCAC playoff champion and the team that has finally reached their potential this season in Framingham State. I expect it to be a very tight game, but I believe UMass-Dartmouth will get snakebitten in a close game once again. The Rams will take it 4-3.

Salem State at Westfield State

Salem State should be refocused and take on a Westfield team that will be playing their second game in three days. In a tight conference, this game means a lot to both teams who are looking to be one of the top four teams in MASCAC. The Vikings take this one 6-3.

Fitchburg State at Plymouth State

The Falcons of Fitchburg State could climb to the top half of the MASCAC with a victory. They spread their offense over four players who have accumulated 10 or more points this season. Picking up a win over last season’s regular-season champion will be a confidence boast. The Falcons win it 4-3.

MIAC/WIAC – Brian Lester

As we enter the second weekend of January, teams in the MIAC and WIAC find themselves involved in several crossover games.

They are the type of games that provide good tests for the teams from both leagues and can turn out to be launching pads for success in league play or hamper the momentum teams hope to carry back into conference play during the second half.

The delay is over, though. It’s time to take my best shot at predicting the outcomes of this weekend’s games.

Here are the picks. Enjoy your weekend.

Friday, Jan. 10

St. John’s vs. Wisconsin-Sout

The Johnnies enter this game at 6-6 overall and will be looking to take care of business at home. They haven’t been bad offensively, scoring 31 goals on the year, but only two players have four or more goals. Josh Gross and Tyson Fulton have tallied four goals apiece and will be counted on to play well this weekend.

But the big key for the Johnnies is to get the job done on defense behind the play of goalie Saxton Soley. He has allowed 19 goals and has racked up 200 saves on the season. If he plays well, the Johnnies are going to be in a position to win.

Stout has won two of its last three and is 4-8. The Blue Devils seem to have found their footing after losing five consecutive games and they are capable of matching the Johnnies from an offensive standpoint.

Kevin O’Donnell leads the Blue Devils with seven goals. Stout has scored 33 goals in all. But Stout has allowed 37 goals on the year and the play of goalie Corey Koop could make or break Stout’s chances in this game. He has allowed 34 goals and has tallied 378 saves. I’ll give the Johnnies the edge because they are at home. St. John’s, 3-2.

St. Olaf vs. Adrian

The Oles have played a rigorous schedule already, facing off against several nationally-ranked teams, and it doesn’t get much easier playing top-ranked Adrian.

St. Olaf comes in on a three-game winless streak and is 3-8-2 overall. For the Oles to have a shot, Dan Cecka has to be on top of his game offensively. Cecka has racked up seven goals and three assists on the year. The Oles will have to be on top of their game defensively as well. They have allowed 40 goals on the year.

If St. Olaf can steal momentum early, it might have a shot, but it won’t be easy against an Adrian team that is 12-0-1 and ranked No. 1 for the first time in program history.

The Bulldogs have punched 63 goals into the net, including 15 by Josh Ranalli, and have allowed only 16 goals on the season. Adrian simply has too many offensive options to come up short in this one. Adrian 5-1.

Bethel vs. Wisconsin-Superior

Bethel hasn’t had an easy season, sitting at just 1-9-2 on the year, and it has yet to win a game at home. The Royals have been competitive, though, losing six games by a goal, and I expect them to battle hard again on Friday.

Bethel needs to be productive on offense. It has scored only 24 goals on the year, with Brock Rafaelle and Travis Payne tallying five goals apiece. If others can step up around them, the Royals could be in a position to grind out a win.

Superior is only 4-7-2 and has tallied 32 goals on the season. Pat Dalbec and Cody Hotchkin have struck for five goals apiece. The Yellow Jackets have allowed 37 goals, though, while Bethel has given up 40.

The team that takes control early is going to be in good shape and skate to the win. Superior is on a four-game winless streak but I expect them to end that against the Royals. Superior, 4-3.

Wisconsin-Stevens Point vs. Lawrence

The Pointers are No. 2 in the country and 11-1 on the season. They have won their last two games and nail down another win at home.

With 69 goals on the year, Stevens Point will be tough to deal with. Garrett Ladd leads the way with 12 goals and Joe Kalisz has tallied eight goals. Five other players have scored at least five goals, and that balance can be a pain to deal with for any opponent.

If the Pointers are clicking offensively, they are going to be just fine because I don’t think Lawrence will be able to keep pace with their offensive attack.

The Pointers have also been tough on the power play, having scored 14 goals in 52 opportunities. Opponents are just 6-of-58 on the power play against the Pointers.

Lawrence, after all, has struggled to keep opponents off the scoreboard. It has allowed 58 goals on the season and has scored just 36 goals. Blake Roubos leads Lawrence with six goals and nine assists.

Goalie Anton Olsson will be tested for Lawrence, and if he plays his best game of the year, perhaps the Poiners will be upset. I don’t see it happening. Stevens Point, 6-1.

Saturday, Jan. 11

Gustavus Adolphus vs. Adrian

Gustavus is having a pretty good season. The Gusties are 7-3-2 and haven’t lost a game since Nov. 15. It has picked up five wins during that seven-game stretch, but keeping that momentum going won’t be easy against the Bulldogs.

Gustavus has scored 40 goals this season, including eight by Corey Leivermann, and John McLean has racked up 229 saves while fashioning a 2.52 goals against average. Gustavus should be able to hang around, but pulling off the upset will require its best effort of the year. Again, I think Adrian’s offense will be too much to handle. Adrian, 5-2.

Concordia (Minn.) vs. Wisconsin-Stout

The Cobbers are 9-3-1 and have won three consecutive games. Caleb Suderman has been pivotal to Concordia’s success, having scored nine goals and dished out seven assists on the season.

If he has a big game, the Cobbers are going to be in a position to take care of business. Concordia has tallied 43 goals in all and should have the edge offensively against Stout. The Cobbers will also be able to lean on the play of Chris Neamonitis, who has a goals against average of 1.82. If he is on top of his game, the Cobbers won’t have any problems winning this nonconference battle. Concordia, 5-2.

St. Thomas vs. Wisconsin-Superior

The Tommies have a MIAC championship in their sights this season and the last thing they want to do is have that momentum slowed down by a nonconference opponent. St. Thomas is 8-2-2 and has lost only once in its last seven games.

The difference-maker could be goalie Drew Fielding, who owns a goals-against average of 1.64. He has racked up 319 saves on the season and he will make it difficult for the Yellow Jackets to cash in on scoring opportunities.

Plus, the Tommies aren’t bad on offense either. Alex Altenbernd leads the way with six goals, but his teammates are more than capable of stepping up at any given time. I don’t expect St. Thomas to have a tough time picking up another win. St. Thomas, 4-1.

Wisconsin-Eau Claire vs. Lawrence

Eau Claire is starting to find its stride a bit, having won three consecutive games, and this will mark the second time this season the defending national champions have played Lawrence.

The Blugolds earned a 5-0 win in the last meeting and I don’t expect that result to change too much this time around.

Joe Krause leads Eau Claire with eight goals and seven assists and the Blugolds have scored 45 goals as a team while allowing only 25. Offensively, they should be able to overwhelm Lawrence and make it tough for goals to be scored as well. Eau Claire, 4-0.

NESCAC – Tim Costello

The snow storm on New Year’s did raise some havoc with the schedule, including the postponement of Trinity vs. Becker. I still finished at 3-1-0 (.750) for the week and now stand at 15-2-2 (.842) overall. Back into league play this week and everything is up for grabs for just about everyone in the conference.

Here are the picks:

Friday, Jan. 10

Wesleyan vs. Williams

The Cardinals really have shown their balance in scoring across key players like freshman Elliott Vorel, senior Keith Buehler and last week’s conference player of the week, Jay Matthews. Only problem is the Ephs just don’t give up too many goals. In this case, the defense wins out at home. Williams 3-2.

Trinity @ Middlebury

Congratulations to coach Bill Beaney on his 500th win at the school last weekend. He is just 14 wins away from 600 for his overall career and the Bantams would be a big win for his team that looks to continue their current winning streak on home ice. Middlebury 4-2.

Saturday, Jan. 11

Hamilton @ Colby

The Continentals have two big time players in Michael DiMare and Joe Quattrocchi and their leadership will be a big difference maker against a still-maturing Colby squad that is looking for consistency in their overall game. Hamilton 4-2.

Amherst @ Bowdoin

The Polar Bears will need to find their game in high gear to start their move up the standings and beating a team above them is a good way to start move north. Hopefully, the holidays have a healthy lineup paying dividends for the home team. Bowdoin 3-1.

Williams @ Johnson and Wales

The Ephs have had an interesting New Year already with a holiday tournament, date at Frozen Fenway and two tough league opponents right out of the gate. That said, they won’t take J & W lightly on Saturday night on the road. Williams 4-1.

It’s time to see who is going to get hot and who is still on break – drop the puck!

SUNYAC – Dan Hickling

Friday, Jan. 10

Skidmore (6-4-4) @ No. 3 Plattsburgh (10-1-2) – Plattsburgh 3, Skidmore 1

The Cardinals are bound to be feeling a little owly after suffering their first loss of the year last weekend and being toppled from the No. 1 ranking, and on home ice, no less. Skidmore is a solid club, but Plattsburgh will likely be on its full game.

Sunday, Jan. 12

Morrisville (3-8-1) @ Becker (1-9-2) – Morrisville 5 Becker 3

An interconference tilt pitting a pair of victory-starved clubs. Should be interesting. Should be a win for the ‘Stangs.

Holiday tournament happenings

BEANEY2 sized Holiday tournament happenings

Middlebury coach Bill Beaney earned his 500th career win with the Panthers last weekend (photo: Dennis Curran).

There was plenty of excitement in holiday tournaments as nonconference action dominated the first weekend of the New Year to open the second half of the season.

ECAC East

Norwich (9-1-2) hosted and won the Northfield Savings Bank Holiday Tournament over the weekend.

On Friday night, the Cadets shut out the Milwaukee School of Engineering (2-11-0), holding the Engineers to just three shots on goal for the night. Saturday saw another five-goal night with a 5-1 victory over Amherst (7-3-0).

Senior forward Travis Janke (2-2-4) had four points on the weekend and is now tied as the leading scorer for the Cadets with fellow senior Shane Gorman, as they each have a matching 5-14-19 scoring line.

ECAC West

Hobart (4-4-4) takes bragging rights as well as the Buck Supply Winter Classic Championship winners this past weekend as they posted two victories against unbeaten opponents.

On Friday night, Mac Olson was the hero of the evening as he notched the game-winning overtime goal against Williams (5-1-2) nine seconds into the extra period. Saturday night, the Statesmen handed the host team, Plattsburgh (10-1-2), its first loss of the season as they skated to a 3-1 victory over the nation’s top-ranked team.

MIAC

There were only two games in the league for the weekend, with neither ending in a MIAC win.

On Saturday, St. Thomas (8-2-2) fell 5-2 to St. Norbert (11-2-0) in a road contest. St. Olaf (3-8-2) suffered a loss to Wisconsin-River Falls (9-1-1) with a 4-2 score.

NCHA

Adrian (12-0-1) is the only team left in the nation that has yet to suffer a regulation loss this season.

The Bulldogs skated to 6-2 win on Friday against Buffalo State (5-7-3) and then the Bulldogs secured the weekend sweep with a 4-3 win on Saturday. Adrian went 5-for-8 on the power-play on Friday night.

Junior forward Justin Basso shined on the man-advantage as he scored two goals on special teams.

NESCAC

Middlebury (5-3-2) captured the Middlebury Holiday Classic title, which marked head coach Bill Beaney’s 500th win in 27 seasons with the program.

Middlebury downed Neaumann (5-4-3) by a 3-1 count for the milestone win after beating St. Michael’s (1-8-1) 6-2 on Friday night.

Overall, Beaney has 586 wins over 34 years as a Division III head coach, the most wins all-time.

SUNYAC

Oswego (6-2-2) hosted and won the Pathfinder Bank Oswego Classic tournament last weekend and beat Curry 3-0 on Friday night before skating to a 2-2 tie with Utica (9-2-2) on Saturday.

To determine a winner of the tournament, the teams battled through a five-minute overtime before heading to a shootout. The Lakers won the shootout 2-1 to win the tournament.

WIAC

It was a quiet weekend in the WIAC, but a successful Saturday for the league.

Wisconsin-Stout (4-8-0) beat Curry (2-7-1) 3-2 on Saturday night in the Pathfinder Bank Oswego Classic third-place game. On Friday night, the Blue Devils dropped a 4-2 contest to Utica.

Wisconsin-Stevens Point (11-1-0) upended Lake Forest (5-7-0) 4-3 on Saturday, while Wisconsin-River Falls (9-1-1) beat St. Olaf (3-8-2) in a pair of nonconference contests.

Starting off 2014 with predictions

All that is left of the fruitcake is crumbs and memories, Santa is back home resting and the trees and decorations are being put away.

Resolutions have been made and in most cases, already broken.

That said, the men’s Division III conferences get back to work this weekend and our crack staff has returned with its picks for this weekend’s games and contests that go down next week.

ECAC East – Tim Costello

The last week’s picks of the first half finished at 3-0-0 (1.000), which brings this season total to an excellent 19-6-3 (.707). The New Year starts out with some nonconference and tournament action that will definitely challenge my accuracy in the second half.

Here are this week’s picks:

Friday, Jan. 3

Milwaukee School of Engineering @ Norwich

The Cadets host the Northfield Savings Bank Holiday Tournament annually and look to get off to a good start by being not-so-gracious hosts to their visitors from the west. The likely matchup with Amherst on Saturday should be a great one, but the Cadets won’t get caught looking past MSOE. Norwich 5-2.

Nichols @ Skidmore

This non-conference matchup is so close that I should pick a tie, but will give the Thoroughbreds the win based on home-ice advantage and their ability to take advantage of it. The big sheet will challenge both teams to find their skating legs early in the second half following the holiday break. Skidmore 4-3.

Salve Regina @ Castleton

The Spartans host another nonconference foe to open the second half and should not take this ECAC Northeast opponent lightly. Special teams are the likely difference maker in this one with an empty-netter accounting for the final marker. Castleton 5-3.

St. Anselm @ Potsdam

It is a homecoming of sorts for coach Ed Seney at Potsdam in this nonconference game. The Hawks got it going to wrap up the first half and look to extend their current win streak against a quality SUNYAC opponent. Great goaltending and just enough offense are the difference-makers in this one. St. Anselm 4-3.

Neumann @ Southern Maine

Both teams are still looking for the consistency needed to compete at the top of their respective leagues. The Huskies had it going, but floundered a bit to end the first half, so look for a lot of jump against a tough team from the ECAC West to start play in the New Year. Southern Maine 4-3.

Nothing better to ring in the New Year than starting the second half with a win or two – drop the puck!

ECAC Northeast – Nathan Fournier

Friday, Jan. 3

Trinity at Becker

This isn’t a matchup Becker wants to start the second half of the year with Trinity’s strong start. The Bantams’ offense has carried them to a 6-2 record so far. They won’t panic if Becker gets on the board first as Trinity is a perfect 4-0-0 when scored on first. Becker will have a tough time scoring, in my opinion, and will fall 5-2.

Salve Regina at Castleton

The Seahawks will have had 26 days off since they lost 5-1 to Utica. With that bad taste in their mouth, I expect them to come out firing against Castleton. They also need a victory on the road and a nonconference victory. It shouldn’t be a cakewalk as Castleton carries a 6-4-1 record this season. They have offensive depth that could be a problem for Salve Regina, who will squeak out a 4-3 victory.

Nichols at Skidmore

The Thoroughbreds have played strong in nonconference play. They are very strong defensively, only allowing 2.55 goals per game and their penalty kill is shutting down the opponents power play 88.7 percent of the time. Nichols will rely on goaltender Alex Larson, who has been simply outstanding this season. I think Larson will be too much for Skidmore in a tight 3-2 victory.

Curry at Oswego

Curry will have its hands full with Oswego. I don’t believe Curry is at the same level and will have trouble containing the Lakers. Curry will have to get better offensively in the second half of the season. I have the Lakers winning this one 7-1.

The winner of this game will face the winner of Utica/Wisconsin-Stout game on Saturday, while the losers face off the same day.

Saturday, Jan. 4

Nichols at Castleton

This should be a very good and compelling contest. The Spartans have the offensive firepower to put pressure on Nichols’ goaltender Alex Larson. They also feel comfortable at home with a 4-2 record. Nichols can exploit their penalty killing, though, as the Spartans only kill off 71.4 percent of their opponents’ power plays. The Bison power play converts 20 percent of the time. Nichols will take this one 4-3.

Salve Regina at Skidmore

Another good contest. If Salve Regina wants to pick up the victory, it will have to get off to fast start as they are 3-0 when scoring first. They are also 6-1 when outshooting their opponent. Both teams will be facing the second game of a back-to-back. Expect both teams to be a little sluggish and I have Skidmore to come out with a 5-3 victory.

Western New England at Trinity

This should be a very good game between two teams that know how to put the puck in the net. Fourteen of Western New England’s 38 goals have come on the man-advantage, while Trinity has scored 12 times on their 30 total goals. I expect both teams to score at least three goals at least in a wide open game. I will take Trinity in a 7-4 game.

Suffolk at Massachusetts-Boston

A very tough challenge for Suffolk against UMass-Boston to open up the second half of the year. UMass-Boston will have to make sure they aren’t looking ahead to the Fenway Park game against Salem State on Tuesday, as Suffolk could surprise them. The Rams will need a big game from Tim Sprague and Charlie McGinnis. I will take UMass-Boston 6-1.

The winner will face the winner of the Southern New Hampshire-Tufts game, while the losers will face each other in the third-place game of the Codfish Bowl on Sunday.

Tuesday, Jan. 7

Framingham State at Western New England

The Golden Bears are going to be playing in their second game of six games in 10 days. It will be very important for them to rack up wins early in that stretch before they head out to New York to face Brockport and Utica on Jan. 9 and 10, respectively. For Framingham State, they look to continue their momentum from a strong first half of the season. In the end, I will take the Golden Bears as I like their depth in a 4-2 game.

Wednesday, Jan 8

Westfield State at Becker

Westfield State will be looking for their first nonconference win of the season when they travel to Becker. They have the offense to make that happen, but their defense will need to tighten up up as they are allowing 3.55 goals per game. Becker, with only one win on the season, is hoping 2014 will be more kind to them. I will take Westfield in a 5-1 game

Thursday, Jan. 9

Johnson and Wales at Massachusetts-Dartmouth

Johnson and Wales will look to their offensive totals against UMass-Dartmouth. They are at their best when they come out of the gate strong in the first period. UMass-Dartmouth only has two wins on the season when they were leading after one period. If the Corsairs can stop the line of Josh Obregon-Cody Sarmiento-Stefan Brucato, they could have a chance with an upset. I won’t bet on that happening and will take Johnson and Wales in a 7-2 victory.

Wentworth at Plymouth State

I believe the Leopards will have their hands full with Plymouth State. Not too many goal-scorers have emerged in the first half with only two players having four goals so far this season. It’s a game where Plymouth State can build off confidence with a strong defensive effort. I expect Ian McGilvrey and Zack Sarig to lead Plymouth State to a 6-3 victory.

Western New England at Brockport

The Golden Bears continue their road trip against the Golden Eagles. This is a very winnable game for Western New England. Brockport has allowed 52 goals this season in 12 games, so the Golden Bears will be licking their chops. Brockport hasn’t been able to keep games close this season, so expect Western New England to potentially jump on them early. I have Western New England winning this one 8-2.

ECAC West – Dan Hickling

Friday, Jan. 3

No. 9 Utica vs. Wisconsin-Stout @ Oswego – Utica 4, Stout 0

This is the opening tilt of Oswego’s Pathfinder Bank Classic. The question is not the result, but which Pioneer goaltender — senior Nick Therrien or freshman Marcus Zelzer — will get the win.

Neumann vs. Southern Maine @ Middlebury – Neumann 3, USM 0

Knights’ senior goalie Braely Torris spent two years in the nets for USM. Don’t think he wouldn’t love to slam the door on his old mates.

MASCAC – Nathan Fournier

Friday, Jan 3

Wentworth at Salem State

Salem State is coming off a loss to Babson and Wentworth lost to Colby on Thursday. This could be a trap game with a Wentworth squad struggling and Salem State looking at a big matchup with Massachusetts-Boston on Tuesday as part of the Frozen Fenway festivities. I think Wentworth will suprise Salem State and get on a winning track in a game that will feature some offense – Wentworth Leopards win 5-1.

Amherst at Plymouth State

A tough game for Plymouth State coming back from the break. Amherst is the 15th-ranked team in the country. Amherst is only averaging 2.88 goals per game so far this season and Plymouth State has had plenty of offensive shootouts this season. It will be interesting how special teams will play a part in this contest with Plymouth State’s power play at 27.1 percent and the Lord Jeffs’ penalty kill at 89.8 percent. I will take Amherst in a 4-3 game.

The winner will face the winner Norwich-Milwaukee School of Engineering game on Saturday and the two losers will face off also on Saturday.

Tuesday, Jan 7

Salem State at Massachusetts-Boston (at Fenway Park)

What a treat for these two teams to get an opportunity to play at one of the most historic ballparks in the country. The key to this game is to make sure players don’t get awestruck. The team that can keep their emotions in check will probably come out on top. UMass-Boston was clicking offensively in the first half and look to continue the same in the second half. The key for Salem State is to keep the game close as they are 4-1 in one-goal games. I have UMass-Boston in a 5-3 game.

Assumption at Fitchburg State

Fitchburg State eases into the second half of the season with an Assumption squad that has been struggling this season. They are scoring a little over two goals this season. The one positive for Assumption has been their penalty kill this season at 85.2 percent. I believe Fitchburg has too much offense for Assumption to contain and I will go with the Falcons in a 6-2 victory.

NESCAC – Tim Costello

It will be quite a challenge to maintain the picks at the level of the first half that finished at 12-1-2 (.867). Interesting nonconference and tournament action to kick things off in 2014, so here are the picks for this weekend:

Friday, Jan. 3

Plymouth State vs. Amherst

Amherst, hopefully, has healed a few bodies over the holiday break that will add to their depth. Too strong in all three zones for the Panthers, who show they can compete with any top team in the country. Amherst 4-2.

Hobart vs. Williams

The Ephs should get the chance to play against the nation’s No. 1 team, but will need to play solid against a feisty Hobart team that is much better than their record indicates. Frozen Fenway date looming early next week, but the Ephs get the job done in typical close fashion. Williams 3-2.

St. Michael’s @ Middlebury

Hosting your own tournament does put a little pressure on the home team, but not as much as what they put on themselves to get the second half off to a good start. The Purple Knights are winless so far this season and the Panthers keep them that way on Friday. Middlebury 5-2.

Trinity @ Becker

The Bantams should be focused and healthy for this nonconference matchup. After stumbling in the first half against Stonehill, look for Trinity to come out strong early against Becker. Trinity 3-1.

Saturday, Jan. 4

New England College @ Wesleyan

The Cardinals have shown their offensive prowess in the first half and face a team that has won with a lot of different strengths. Expect this game to be physical and a power-play or shorthanded goal to be the difference in the game. Wesleyan 4-2.

No easy ones for anyone to start the second half, so you better be ready to play – drop the puck!

SUNYAC – Dan Hickling

Friday, Jan. 3

No. 2 Adrian @ Buffalo State – Buff State 3, Adrian 2

It’s tough to pick against the second-ranked team in the nation, especially one of the few unbeatens left in the land. But in this case, we will. Buff State has the makings of a very good team, provided all parts of its game is in synch. This could be the night for that.

Hamilton @ No. 1 Plattsburgh – Plattsburgh 5, Hamilton 1

The Cardinals are primed to pick up where they left off before the break when they were clicking on all cylinders. Hamilton, a middle-of-the-pack NESCAC squad, can give the nation’s top-ranked team a good game, but not good enough.

Less can be more as door closes on 2013

Collins EdZ sized Less can be more as door closes on 2013

Geneseo and Nazareth took to the outdoors at Frontier Field in Rochester, N.Y., on Sunday, with Geneseo eking out a 3-2 victory (photo: Dan Hickling).

With the holiday break having begun in earnest, the weekend just past saw little in the way of Division III action.

However, less is often more, and so it was on Sunday in Rochester, N.Y, where No. 14 Geneseo and Nazareth hooked up in what could be called the “Currier and Ives Classic.”

In sum, the teams skated outdoors at Frontier Field as part of Rochester’s 10-day long celebration of hockey.

The game itself lived up to the build up as Geneseo eked out a 3-2 win.

Tyler Brickler scored twice (Nos. 7 and 8) for the Ice Knights, countering two tallies by Nazareth freshman Ben Blasko (4 and 5).

The only action No. 11 Utica saw was at home against the U.S. National Under-18 Team, a tilt the Pioneers won handily 4-1. Four different scorers connected for Utica and freshman goalie Marcus Zelzer turned aside 29 shots offered by the 18s, a team drawn heavily from D-I commits and NHL draft candidates.

St. Scholastica endured the toughest weekend among all USCHO.com ranked teams. The ninth-ranked Saints dropped both of their starts, 3-2 at St. John’s on Friday, then were blanked at home the following night by No. 6 St. Thomas.

Picks to finish out 2013

DSC 8859 Picks to finish out 2013

Can Lawrence keep stringing together wins and celebrate like this after Blake Roubos’ game-winning goal last Saturday against St. Norbert (photo: Paul Wilke)?

It’s hard to believe that the first half is coming to a close, but with that said, there still are some meaningful games this weekend, so let’s see what our columnists have to say about those.

ECAC East – Tim Costello

Last week’s picks finished at 3-2-0 (.600), which brings this season total to a very good 16-6-3 (.700). There is just one more weekend for a few remaining teams and these nonconference showdowns will still have a lot riding on the outcome for morale heading into the break.

Here are this week’s picks:

Friday, Dec. 13

Wentworth @ Massachusetts-Boston

The Beacons really want to end the semester on a roll and haven’t played at home in quite a while, so what better way to head into the break than by sending the home fans home with a fifth straight win? UMB is hitting its stride and not so sure the coach is happy to see the break coming now. Massachusetts-Boston 5-2.

Cortland @ New England College

This pair of games over the weekend is the return end of last year’s visit by the Pilgrims to Cortland for a pair of weekend games. Home team had the advantage last year and the Pilgrims look to repeat the phenomenon with some home cooking of their own against this SUNYAC rival. New England College 4-3.

Saturday, Dec. 14

Plymouth State @ Castleton

The Spartans host another team that wears green and white. However, the visitors from the MASCAC have all they can handle with a Castleton team that seems to need those magical four goals offensively to pick up a win this season. Go one better in this one with the desired outcome. Castleton 5-3.

Cortland @ New England College

Always difficult to beat the same team back-to-back, but the similarities in this game to Friday night’s are scary, including a bookend score that makes the Pilgrims happy to head into the break on a winning streak. New England College 4-3.

Done until after Christmas, so lots of time to rest up. Play hard for just one more weekend – drop the puck!

ECAC Northeast – Nathan Fournier

Buffalo State at Johnson and Wales

Buffalo Stare comes in to Providence for two games this weekend on Friday and Saturday. Johnson and Wales has allowed under two goals per game and its penalty kill has been outstanding at 90.2 percent this season. The Bengals of Buffalo State have been front runners so far this season with a 3-0-2 record when leading after one goal. I believe both games will be close, but I think Johnson Wales sweeps – 4-3 on Friday and 6-4 on Saturday.

Friday, Dec. 13

Wentworth at UMass-Boston

The Leopards seem to be getting it together the last few weeks. They are still having trouble putting the puck into the net and will have a big test against UMass-Boston. They have scored over four goals a game and only allowed a little over two goals a game. With a 2-5-1 record on the road for Wentworth, I will go with the Beacons of Boston in a 6-2 game.

ECAC West – Dan Hickling

Sunday, Dec. 15

No. 14 Geneseo vs. Nazareth – Geneseo 5, Nazareth 2

Home-ice advantage? Not really, because this one will be played outdoors at Frontier Field in Rochester, N.Y. Both teams will be able to draw upon a loud, festive fan base that may be as taken with the occasion than the actual play on the portable ice. That means the result should come down to talent and although Nazareth has some good young building blocks in place, Geneseo’s cast is far deeper. Still, it would be a surprise if anyone came away from this one grumpy.

MASCAC – Nathan Fournier

Plymouth State at Castleton State

The lone game on the schedule in MASCAC is a nonconference game for Plymouth State against Castleton State. This could be a high-scoring affairs as both teams struggle on the penalty kill. Plymouth State has a very good power play and that could be the difference-maker in this contest on Saturday night. I’ll take Plymouth State, 6-4.

MIAC/WIAC – Brian Lester

Well, here we are, just about done with the first half of the season. The final games of 2013 will be played this weekend and I’ve selected a few games to make predictions on.

We shall see how smart I am this week.

Hope everyone enjoys their Christmas and New Year and look forward to resuming the picks in 2014.

MIAC

Friday, Dec. 13

St. Scholastica at St. John’s

The Johnnies are looking to get back on track after dropping two of their last three games. The good new is St. John’s is coming off a shutout win over Augsburg and that momentum should carry over into this week in a key nonconference game. For St. John’s to prevail, goalie Saxton Soley needs to be on top of his game. Soley has a goals-against average of 2.15 and a save percentage of .912. The Saints have a stellar goalie as well in Tyler Bruggeman, who has allowed only eight goals and has stopped 117 shots. I expect this one to be a defensive battle. St. John’s 2-1.

Saturday, Dec. 14

St. Thomas at St. Scholastica

Goaltending could be again as the Tommies feature one of the best in college hockey in Drew Fielding. The Tommies have been playing well all year, sitting atop the MIAC and Fielding has had a lot to do with that success, owning a goals-against average of 1.47. He has three shutouts on the year as well, which ties him for the most in the nation. I like the Tommies to steal a big win on the road. St. Thomas 3-2.

Concordia (Minn.) at Northland

The Cobbers close out December with a two-game road series against Northland. Concordia has played well for the most part, going 2-1-1 in its last four games, and Caleb Suderman will need to have a big game for the Cobbers to thrive on the road. Suderman has scored seven goals and tallied three assists on the season as well. Goalie Chris Neamonitis needs to be sharp as well. He has givein up 19 goals on the year and owns a goals-against average of 1.89. He has racked up 325 saves. Northland is just 2-9 on the season and has dropped four of its last five. Northland has only scored 26 goals and has given up 67. Concordia, which has 29 goals and has allowed only 20, should be effective and get the job done both nights. Concordia 5-2, 6-2.

WIAC

Friday, Dec. 13

Lawrence at Wisconsin-Superior

Superior has been up and down lately, going 2-2-1 in its last five and it needs to take advantage of this home game on Friday night. Superior has to be able to rely on its goaltending duo of Drew Strandberg and Dayn Belfour. The two have combined for 245 saves. Pat Dalbec has to play well, too. He has five goals and four assists and Superior is usually successful when he has a good game. Lawrence has picked up steam, winning its last two, including a 5-4 win over nationally-ranked St. Norbert. I’ll give Superior the edge at home in a game that could go either way. Superior 4-3.

Wisconsin Eau-Claire at Milwaukee School of Engineering

Eau Claire needs to get back on track badly. The defending national champions have lost three of their last five games during a rugged stretch of their schedule and the key to success is going to be getting on a roll offensively. Jon Waggoner and Joe Krause lead the Blugolds with five and four goals, respectively. Those need to play well for Eau Claire to break out of its funk offensively. Eau Claire has seven goals in its last five games. It has 30 goals on the year and has given up 24. Milwaukee School of Engineering is 0-7 at home and has been shut out five times this season. If the Blugolds can attack early and score a couple of early goals, they should be fine against an opponent that has scored only 11 goals and has given up 33. Eau Claire 5-1.

Saturday, Dec. 14

Wisconsin-Eau Claire at Lawrence

I think the Blugolds have the edge on defense and a strong performance by Tyler Green should help Eau Claire nail down this win. Green has a goals-against average of 3.18 and has made 163 saves on the year. Eau Claire 4-2.

Wisconsin-Superior at Finlandia

If you are going on what the numbers look like on paper, this should be a win for Superior. Finlandia is 0-10 on the season and has managed to score only 13 goals while giving up 52. Superior, which has scored 29 goals and has given up 31, is too good on both ends of the ice to not win this game. Superior 7-2.

Weekend shows upsets, consistency, drama

UWSP Ladd sized Weekend shows upsets, consistency, drama

Wisconsin-Stevens Point junior Garrett Ladd helped the Pointers to a big win over Wisconsin-Eau Claire over the weekend (photo: Jack McLaughlin).

The last weekend for many teams entering the semester break saw some great action and still a few more upsets.

Here is a quick recap of some of the key conference action:

ECAC East

League-leading Norwich swept a pair of games at home over Skidmore and cross-state rival Castleton to maintain a slim lead in the conference standings. Chris Duszynski’s second hat trick of the season provided the offensive spark in Saturday’s 6-2 win against the Spartans.

Babson split a pair of games this weekend, stumbling on Saturday against the University of New England, which posted its second conference win by a 3-1 score on home ice. Colby Drost led the way for the Nor’easters, stopping 41 of 42 shots in the win.

Massachusetts-Boston continued its strong play in December by sweeping both games this weekend and moving up to fourth in the standings with games in hand on all the teams above them. After winning at UNE by a convincing 6-1 score, the Beacons won at Southern Maine for the first time in coach Peter Belisle’s tenure by a 3-2 score. Michael Kuhn’s two second-period goals erased a 2-1 deficit and carried the Beacons to the weekend road sweep.

ECAC Northeast

League-leading Salve Regina came back from a 4-0 deficit in the second period against Neumann and forced overtime with a late third-period goal by Marc Biggs before losing in overtime to the Knights, who finished with four power-play goals on six chances for the game.

The overtime loss clearly must have stung the Seahawks as they fell to nationally-ranked Utica on Saturday by a 5-1 score, making their non-conference record 2-4-0 this season.

ECAC West

Neumann followed up its Friday win with a solid 8-4 win over Morrisville where eight players had at least two points and goalie Ben Curley remained unbeaten at 3-0-1 so far this season.

Both Hobart and Manhattanville faced off against NESCAC opponents without much success as Wesleyan beat the Statesmen by a 6-2 score and Trinity, led by John Hawkrigg’s hat trick and Sean Orlando’s four points beat the Valiants by a 6-3 score.

MASCAC

Salem State and Plymouth State helped themselves in the standings with wins over Worcester State and Westfield State. respectively. Ian McGilvrey posted four assists for the Panthers in their win, while two goals apiece from Alex Minter and John Needham led the Vikings, who outshot the Lancers by a 44-13 margin.

MIAC

Gustavus Adolphus won both games against St. Olaf over the weekend. Friday’s 3-1 win was a hard-fought battle where the Gusties made two first-period goals stand up for the win and an empty-net goal by Adam Smyth supplying the final difference. Saturday’s 2-2 regulation and overtime tie was decided on a shootout won by the Gusties 1-0 on a goal by Gustav Bengtson.

NCHA

Adrian moved to the top of the standings with a 6-0 win at Marian. Justin Basso scored just 90 seconds into the game on the way to posting three points for the Bulldogs, who outshot Marian by a 36-13 margin.

St. Norbert was not so fortunate on Saturday night hosting Lawrence. The home team took a 4-1 lead early in the third period only to watch the visitors score four unanswered goals, including the game-winner with just 22 seconds remaining in regulation. Lawrence won 5-4 and moved to 3-5-0 in conference play.

NESCAC

With a tie and a win this weekend, Williams moved atop the league standings with Saturday’s 1-0 shutout at Amherst. Goalie Sean Dougherty outdueled the Lord Jeffs’ Dave Cunningham and Matt Doyle’s third-period goal stood up as the game-winner.

Elsewhere, Tufts and Connecticut College both earned their first wins in league play on the road in Maine on Friday night. Tufts beat Colby 5-2, while the Camels rallied from behind to take a 3-2 win in overtime at Bowdoin. Senior Keith Veronesi scored the game-winner less than a minute into the extra session after Joe Giordano tied it with just over two minutes remaining in regulation.

SUNYAC

In what is always a premium matchup in conference play, league-leading Plattsburgh skated away with a 3-3 tie at Oswego. The game saw both teams surrender one-goal leads and goalie Matt Zawadzki made 35 saves for the Lakers, who tied the game on Mike Wills’ first goal of the season just under two minutes after Plattsburgh had taken a one-goal lead early in the third period.

WIAC

Wisconsin-Stevens Point opened conference play against the defending national champions from Eau Claire and used two third-period goals by Garrett Ladd to open up a tight 2-1 game and provide the visitors with a 4-1 win. Brandon Jaeger moved to 8-0-0 on the season, posting 28 saves in the win.

Pickin’ through the weekend

Brockport cele sized Pickin through the weekend

Will Brockport be celebrating this weekend? (photo: Dan Hickling).

Let’s get ‘er goin,’ gang!

What does our panel of Division III men’s experts see happening this weekend?

ECAC East – Tim Costello

Last week’s picks finished at 3-1-1 (.700), which brings this season total to a very good 13-4-3 (.725).

There is just one more weekend for most teams before the semester break and conference games and points still mean a lot in December.

Here are this week’s picks:

Friday, Dec. 6

Castleton @ St. Michael’s

The Spartans certainly shouldn’t get caught looking ahead to Saturday’s matchup with their other Vermont rival, Norwich. Still looking for consistency and this trip to Winooski may be just what Steve Moffatt’s team needs to get some positive momentum going for the weekend. Castleton 4-2.

St. Anselm @ New England College

This travel partner game always seems to close out the first half for these teams in conference play. While the Pilgrims are off to the better start, anything can happen between these two teams and usually does. Home team won’t let two points get away in this one. New England College 4-3.

Skidmore @ Norwich

The first loss of the season to Wisconsin-Superior, and by shutout no less, is enough motivation to get the offense cranked up against Skidmore. This game could easily go over to the home team, but Matic Martinsek has quietly been very good for Norwich and he is the difference-maker in this one. Norwich 4-3.

Saturday, Dec. 7

Massachusetts-Boston @ Southern Maine

The Beacons, under coach Peter Belisle, have never won at Southern Maine during his tenure at UMB. Last weekend’s PAL Cup championship showed some positive signs for the Beacons and back-to-back weekend sweeps would carry some strong positive reinforcement about effort and results to close out the first half. Massachusetts-Boston 5-3.

Babson @ University of New England

The Beavers have been on a roll other than last weekend’s hiccup at Williams. No worries as Babson quickly refocuses in conference play and continues to lead the way at the top of the standings. Just too much of everything for the game Nor’easters. Babson 4-1.

Points in December means as much as any other time so no reason to take any opponent lightly – drop the puck!

ECAC Northeast – Nathan Fournier

Friday, Dec. 6

Salve Regina at Neumann

Salve starts the meat of its nonconference schedule at Neumann. This should be a wide-open game with both teams knowing how to put the puck into the net. Salve wants to make some noise out of conference and a win over Neumann would help their cause. I think the Seahawks pick themselves up from two losses this past weekend with a 7-4 win.

Canton at Western New England

The Golden Bears will be well-rested having nine days off after their win over Manahattanville on Nov. 26. They get a Kangaroos’ team that has been struggling. I don’t see Western New England having much issue and I see them winning 6-1.

Saturday, Dec. 7

Canton at Becker

Becker is coming off back-to-back losses over the weekend and they look to enter the semester break on a high note. This game could serve as a momentum booster heading into the second half. Their offense has been struggling along. The defense also has been struggling with a 6-0 loss to Assumption. I have them winning, though, 6-3.

Suffolk at Franklin Piece

The Rams are coming off a tough weekend in Maine losing to Colby and Bowdoin. They will need to crack down on taking undisciplined penalties that haunted them in their game against Colby on Sunday. They go on the road once again to face a struggling Franklin Pierce squad. It will be a tough, hard-fought game and I think Suffolk comes out on top 4-2. A win on the road is needed for the Rams.

Stonehill at Johnson and Wales

The Wildcats are coming off a split from last weekend and have a Stonehill team that knows how to win on the road coming in. Stonehill has been putting puck into the net a lot lately, but Johnson and Wales has been stingy on defense. It will be a tight game with Johnson and Wales winning 4-3.

Salve Regina at Utica

The Seahawks will be going into hostile territory on the second night of a back-to-back. It will be good experience for the Seahawks as they continue to build their program. They will need their best effort on the season to steal a win. I think the Pioneers will be to tough to handle for Salve Regina as Utica rolls 7-2.

Southern New Hampshire at Western New England

This should be a very good matchup. The Penmen have played very well on the road this season, but are coming off two losses last weekend and will be hungry. Despite their recent struggles, they still have a strong power play and a good penalty kill. I think Southern New Hampshire wins a 5-4 goalfest.

Tuesday, Dec. 10

Wentworth at Stonehill

The Leopards have been struggling to find the back of the net and Stonehill isn’t a team you want to face when you get goals. With two games remaining before they head to break, two points are almost a must. I think they have a potential to steal a game and I think they will in a 3-2 victory.

Wednesday, Dec. 11

Franklin Pierce at Nichols

The Bison wrap up the first half with Franklin Pierce. On paper, Nichols has the advantage, but it’s certainly a trap game. Alex Larson has also played in every game but one through the first nine contests. You could see him getting the night off and have Patrick Salkind rebound from his only start of the season against Suffolk. I think Franklin Pierce gives Nichols a scare, but the Bison hold on for a 4-2 win.

ECAC West – Dan Hickling

Saturday, Dec. 7

Salve Regina (6-3-0) @ No. 11 Utica (7-2-1) – Utica 4, Salve 3

Still smarting from last week’s ambush by Morrisville, the Pioneers will take it out on another nonconference foe.

Sunday, Dec. 8

Hobart (2-2-4) @ New England College (6-2-0) – Hobart 4, NEC 2

Are, as Bill Parcells used to say, you are what your record says you are? The Statesmen have a chance to prove they are better than just a two-win team.

MASCAC – Nathan Fournier

Saturday, Dec. 7

Fitchburg State at Massachusetts-Dartmouth

Both teams are coming off two losses over the Thanksgiving weekend. The Corsairs have been playing teams tough so far, but aren’t getting the desired results. Fitchburg State has been floating around .500 in conference, but hasn’t found a way to win on the road. I believe UMass-Dartmouth will find a way to hold onto a lead in a 3-2 victory.

Westfield State at Plymouth State

The Owls of Westfield State have played better in conference than out of conference. They also have been putting pucks in the net a lot more in MASCAC play, scoring a goal more per game. Plymouth State has been playing better defensively in conference. It will be a battle, but Plymouth State will take care of business on the road.

Worcester State at Salem State

Both teams have struggled on the man-advantage so far this season, but both have good penalty kills. Worcester State is still looking for that first MASCAC win of the season, while Salem State has played well at home. I believe the Vikings bring more to the table all-around and will skate away with a 5-2 victory.

Wednesday, Dec. 11

Framingham State at Assumption

Framingham State ends the first half of the year in a nonconference game. They have played some decent hockey so far this season and look to carry the momentum into the break. The Rams will need to look to work on their special teams. Assumption, on the other hand, has struggled this year, but is a team that shouldn’t be taken lightly. Framingham wins this one in a 5-3 game.

Westfield State at Stonehill

This has the potential to be an offensive showdown. With it being an out-of-conference game, Westfield will want to get a win on the board outside of MASCAC. It will be good heading into the break for the Owls. This will be Stonehill’s third MASCAC opponent of the season. Westfield pulls it out in a 6-5 contest.

MIAC/WIAC – Brian Lester

I’m not sure if I’m a genius or just lucky.

I guess we could say it’s a little bit of both because heading into this week’s picks, I am 25-2 on the year. If I keep that run of success up, I’m planning a trip to Vegas to cash in on my luck, although by mentioning how well I’ve started, I probably just cursed myself for the rest of the season.

Conference play is in full swing for both MIAC teams and WIAC teams. So without further delay, here are my picks for the weekend games.

<b<MIAC

St. Thomas at Concordia (Minn.)

St. Thomas is atop the conference with a 3-0-1 mark and they are two points ahead of Concordia in the standings. The Cobbers are 3-1 on the year. The Tommies will be challenged playing on the road, especially since they have been off since Nov. 23. But if Drew Fielding continues to play at the level he has, fashioning a 1.36 goals against average through eight games, St. Thomas is poised to get at least one game out of this series. Concordia has been on top of its game offensively, scoring 25 goals on the year, and it hasn’t been bad on defense either, allowing just 14. The Cobbers have also been off since Nov. 23 and feature a solid goalie as well in Chris Neamontis (1.75 GAA). Goals will be few and far between in this series and I’m expecting a split. St. Thomas 2-0 (Friday); Concordia 2-1 (Saturday)

St. John’s vs. Augsburg

The Johnnies and Auggies play a home-and home this weekend and St. John’s will start off playing on the road. The Johnnies are 2-2 in the league and are looking to gain ground in the conference. Tyson Fulton will be looked upon to step up as he has scored a team-best four goals. The Johnnies have 21 goals as a team. With Saxton Soley in goal, St. John’s always has a chance to thrive. Soley has made 132 saves and I expect him to have a solid performance this weekend. Augsburg has yet to lose at home and is 1-0-1 in league play. It has won five consecutive games. Ben McClellan and Nicholas Widing have combined for 12 goals. If those two play well, Augsburg gets at least one in this series. Augsburg 3-1 (Friday); St. John’s 4-2 (Saturday).

Gustavus Adolphus vs. St. Olaf

This is a big weekend for the Gusties, who are currently tied for second with a 3-1 mark. A weekend sweep would be huge, but to get it, it needs to continue being as productive as it has been up to this point. Gustavus has struck for 35 goals and has won four of its last five. It hasn’t lost a game since Nov. 15. Corey Leivermann has scored seven goals and will need another good effort this week. John McLean, who has 188 saves, needs to step up as well for the Gusties, who open this series on the road. The Oles have won two consecutive games and will need to be strong defensively. They have allowed 34 goals. I could see this series being a sweep for Gustavus. Gustavus 4-2 and 3-1.

WIAC

Friday, Dec. 6

Wisconsin-Stevens Point at Wisconsin-Eau Claire

It’s the biggest matchup of the weekend as the two nationally-ranked opponents square off in an early-season showdown. Stevens Point is one of the hottest teams in the nation at the moment, winning eight consecutive games to start the year. The Blugolds, the defending national champions, are 5-2, losing twice to St. Norbert. The Pointers have been explosive, ringing up 50 goals, and opponents have scored only 11. Eau Claire does have the luxury of playing at home, but I’m not sure if it will be able to cool off Stevens Point. This game should go down to the wire. Stevens Point 2-1.

Wisconsin-Superior at Wisconsin-River Falls

Superior is coming off a huge win over nationally-ranked Norwich in New York and momentum seems to be on its side. The Yellow Jackets have been balanced offensively and it has two goalies more than capable of getting the job done in Drew Strandberg and Dayn Belfour. If the Yellow Jackets can play well on defense, they will be in good shape against the Falcons. River Falls is coming off two consecutive wins and this is an opportunity to for the Falcons to make an early statement. River Falls needs Scott Lewan to be strong in goal. He has made 99 saves on the year. While this one could go either way, the edge goes to Superior, 4-2.

Saturday, Dec. 7

Wisconsin-Stout at Wisconsin-Stevens Point

Stout is going to have a hard time winning this game, especially on the road. It has dropped five consecutive games and is 0-3 on the road this season. The Blue Devils, who have scored 21 goals on the year, don’t have the offensive firepower to hang with the Pointers. Stevens Point 5-1.

Wisconsin-Eau Claire at Wisconsin-Superior

This should be a bounce-back game for the Blugolds. I don’t expect a win to come easy, though, and both teams will challenge each other from start to finish. But I can’t see Eau Claire losing two in the same weekend. The edge goes to the defending champs. Eau Claire, 3-2.

NCHA – Katie Carito

So far, picking only conference games had bode well for me as right now, I’m 9-2-0. With a weekend full of conference series ahead, I’m sure that will change. This weekend should serve as a good shake-up in the standings.

St. Norbert versus Lawrence

St. Norbert (9-1-0, 6-0-0) suffered their first loss of the season over the weekend in a nonconference game again St. Scholastica. On Nov. 27, the Green Knights beat Wisconsin-Eau Claire 8-2. Lawrence (2-5-1, 2-4-0) has yet to get on a roll this season, having a win, tie and loss in their last three games. I think St. Norbert will bounce back from their loss and take the sweep in the home-and-home series. St. Norbert 4-1, 3-1

Adrian at Marian

Adrian (9-0-0, 6-0-0) remains the lone perfect team to date in the conference. They were 2:40 away from a loss in Sunday’s game against non-conference Nazareth, but Michael Hoy’s power-play goal forced overtime and Dustin Hebebrand notched the game-winning goal to keep the Bulldogs’ streak alive. Marian (4-7-0, 3-3-0) is coming into the weekend on a three-game losing streak, most recently dropping two close games (4-3, 3-2) at the NCHA/MIAC Thanksgiving Showdown. I have a feeling the Bulldogs are going to enter 2014 without a loss. Adrian 5-2, 3-2

Lake Forest at St. Scholastica

The Foresters (5-4-0, 4-2-0) lost two games against nonconference St. Mary’s with matching 2-1 scores both nights. Lake Forest sits at fourth in the standings with eight points, right behind St. Scholastica, who is currently third with 10 points. The Saints (6-1-2, 4-0-2) played a nonconference game and downed St. Norbert 4-2. They have only suffered one loss this season, to Wisconsin-Superior. I think these teams will split the weekend. Lake Forest 2-1, St. Scholastica 3-2

Concordia (Wis.) at Finlandia

Finlandia (0-8-0, 0-6-0) remains winless on the season, most recently getting swept by Lake Forest on Nov. 22-23. Concordia (3-4-3, 2-2-2) snapped a four-game losing streak on Nov. 29 with a 5-5 tie against nonconference Bethel, before winning 4-2 the next night. I like the way Concordia’s young team has been performing. Concordia 2-1, 5-3

Milwaukee School of Engineering at Northland

I’m not sure how to explain MSOE’s season so far, but the runner-up for the 2012-13 MCHA regular-season title has yet to win a game this season. The Raiders (0-8-0, 0-6-0) dropped two games against Wisconsin-Stevens Point and Wisconsin-River Falls two weekends ago. Northland (1-8-0, 1-5-0) most recently lost a nonconference series against Augsburg. I’m going with a split for these teams. Northland 3-2, MSOE 2-1

NESCAC – Tim Costello

I think I might be getting the hang of this prediction thing as I had a really good week at 4-0-1 (.900), which brings the season total to 12-1-2 (.867).

Here are the picks on what is the final weekend of play this year for most teams:

Friday, Dec. 6

Middlebury @ Amherst

A battle for first place and the big question may be who starts in goal for the Panthers following last weekend’s loss to Plattsburgh in the Primelink final. No question who is between the pipes for Amherst and Dave Cunningham makes enough saves for the win at home. Amherst 4-3.

Williams @ Hamilton

The Ephs can play with anyone, as evidenced by last week’s quality win against previously-unbeaten Babson. Bill Kangas’ team won’t be looking ahead to their rival game at Amherst on Saturday and take care of business, albeit in a close one. Williams 3-2.

Saturday, Dec. 7

Tufts @ Bowdoin

The Polar Bears got the offense on track in the past week and Tufts is a welcome conference foe despite the Jumbos’ win on the road at Castleton. Too much offense and speed for Tufts to keep up at “The Sid.” Bowdoin 5-2.

Hobart @ Wesleyan

The Cardinals have proven they can score, but Hobart plays things very tight and this one probably sees an empty-net goal as the ultimate decider in a close contest. Hobart 3-1.

Trinity @ Manhattanville

The Bantams are back on the road and looking to rebound after a tough 2-0 loss against Stonehill this week. Back to basics for Matt Greason’s team and it all works out against a traditionally tough ECAC West opponent. Trinity 3-1.

Finals for the semester are certainly upon the players but not before some critical games this weekend – drop the puck!

SUNYAC – Dan Hickling

Friday, Dec. 6

Brockport (2-7-1, 1-3-0) @ Fredonia (2-5-1, 2-2-1) – Fredonia 4, Brockport 1

Both teams are trying to figure themselves out before the break. The guess here is that Fredonia will learn a few more things about itself.

Saturday, Dec. 7

Potsdam (2-6-0, 0-5-0) @ Cortland (3-4-3, 3-3-1) – Cortland 5, Potsdam 3

At this stage of the season, the Red Dragons are closer to joining the middle of the SUNYAC pack than Potsdam is.

Thankful for upsets

Dylan Nowakowski CSS sized Thankful for upsets

Dylan Nowakowski and St. Scholastica took down No. 1 St. Norbert last Saturday (photo: CSS Athletics).

Just call it upset weekend.

Two top five teams and another in the top 10 went down as the month of November came to a close in the Division III hockey world. All three teams were unbeaten going into the weekend.

Top-ranked St. Norbert, which just rose to No. 1 last week, was topped by St. Scholastica, while No. 2 Norwich also found itself on the losing end of the scoreboard in a loss to Wisconsin-Superior.

Seventh-ranked Babson, also suffered a loss as it fell to Williams.

Those games and more highlight the look back at the weekend in this week’s blog.

ECAC EAST

Babson fell behind 3-0 to Williams and was unable to rally as it suffered a 3-2 road loss on Sunday.

The No. 7 Beavers suffered their first loss of the year after opening the season with eight consecutive wins.

Down three goals to No. 12 Williams, the Beavers attempted to rally. Connor Berto scored late in the second period and Nik Taslopoulos added a goal to slice the Williams lead to one.

Babson held a 42-28 edge in shots and Jamie Murray made 25 saves.

Babson allowed more than two goals for only the second time this season. It also had its streak of 11 consecutive wins in November that dated back to last season come to an end.

Castleton brought its three-game winless streak to an end Sunday with a 4-3 win over Brockport in the consolation game of the Rutland Herald Invitational.

Charles Bando scored the game-winning goal with 1:02 left in regulation to lift the Spartans to their fourth win of the season. Castleton is 4-3-1 on the year.

The Spartans got a solid game in goal from Erick Cinotti, who racked up 25 saves.

Ross Herzog scored his third goal of the tourney in the victory, while Reid Lesswing and Will Laking also scored goals.

Castleton held a 42-26 advantage in shots.

ECAC NORTHEAST

After racing out to a program-best start of 6-1, Salve Regina has lost its last two, including a 6-2 road loss to Wesleyan on Sunday.

The Seahawks lost 6-3 to Trinity on the road Saturday and after the two weekend losses, the Seahawks are 1-3 on the road.

William Gomolinski and Jonathan Felteau scored the only goals for the Seahawks against Wesleyan, which owned a 46-36 advantage in shots.

Johnson and Wales won the consolation game of the Manchester PAL/Stovepipe tournament on Sunday with a 1-0 win over Southern New Hampshire.

Josh Obregon scored the lone goal for the Wildcats. Cody Sarmiento got credit for the assist.

Joey Ballmer earned his first shutout at the college level as he racked up 30 saves.

The Wildcats were outshot 30-25 in the win, but managed to kill off six power-play opportunities by Southern New Hampshire.

ECAC WEST

Aftter a 3-2 loss to Morrisville State on Friday, eighth-ranked Utica bounced back in a big way as it rolled to a 5-1 win over Connecticut College.

The Pioneers are now 7-2-1 overall on the season and are 5-0-1 on the road.

Louie Educate scored twice for the Pioneers, putting the first two goals on the board, and Steve Zappia finished off the scoring with two goals of his own. Educate pushed his season goal total to four.

Jide Idowu also scored in the win, striking for his first collegiate goal in the second period.

Marcus Zelzer racked up 24 saves and is now 3-0 on the season.

Utica held a 37-25 edge in shots over the Camels.

MASCAC

Eric Defelice scored the lone goal for Salem State in its 1-0 overtime win against Connecticut College on Sunday. It was the third goal of the year for Defelice. Andrew Bucci and Ian Canty were credited with assists on the play as the Vikings improved to 4-3 on the year.

Salem State, which is the only team in the league with an overall winning record, took 27 shots and limited the Camels to 21 shots.

Goalie Ryan Sutliffe improved to 4-1 as he racked up 21 saves.

The last three games for Salem State have all gone into overtime. The Vikings are 2-1 in those games and 4-1 overall in overtime games this season.

Worcester State finished third in the Worcester City Shootout on Sunday as it knocked off Becker 3-2. The Lancers scored a goal in each period en route to the win and won despite being outshot 39-30.

Curtis Martin scored twice, including once in the third on the power play to extend the Lancers’ lead to 3-1. Martin’s goal in the opening period was scored off the power play as well.

Goaltender Drew Case improved to 2-1 as he racked up 37 saves.

Worcester State ended a five-game winless streak with the victory and is now 4-4-1 on the year.

MIAC

St. Mary’s capped a perfect weekend with a second straight 2-1 win over Lake Forest on Saturday. The Cardinals pushed their win streak to three and their overall record to 5-5 behind goals by Dylan Dock and Andrew Ketter.

Ketter became the fourth player over the weekend to score his first goal of the season.

Phil Heinle racked up 30 saves and the Cardinals were tough against the power play, forcing the Foresters to go 0-for-5 on Saturday. Lake Forest was 0-for-7 on the power play Friday.

Gustavus Adolphus didn’t lose on the weekend either, tying Lawrence 6-6 and earning a 2-1 win over Marian on the final day of the NCHA/MIAC Showcase in Appleton, Wis.

The Gusties trailed 2-1 heading into the third period, but scored twice in five minutes as they pushed their overall record to 6-3-1 on the year.

Corey Leivermann scored first and extended his point streak to six games, while Drew Aspinwall came through with the game-winning goal. It was the first game-winner of his college career.

Erik Johnson earned his first college win as he stopped 23 shots in goal.

Gustavus was out-shot 25-24.

NCHA

St. Scholastica pulled off its biggest win of the season as it took down No. 1 St. Norbert 4-2 on Saturday.

It was the 13th-ranked Saints’ first win over a top-ranked team under head coach Mark Wick. Prior to the victory, the Saints were 0-3 against the No. 1 team in the land.

Chad Golanowski scored twice in the victory, while Brandon Millin and Keegan Bruce also scored goals. The Saints were outshot 41-27, but it mattered little as they found a way to get the job done.

Colin Rundell earned the win in goal as he racked up 39 saves.

The game, played in Wausau, Wis., was sponsored by the Marathon County Youth Hockey Association and the proceeds from the game went to benefit rink improvements at Marathon Park.

No. 5 Adrian continued its winning ways as it took down Fredonia 7-2 on Saturday. With the win, the Bulldogs have positioned themselves for a rise in the poll this week because of the upsets above them.

Seven players scored goals for Adrian, which scored three times in a span of 2:42 to snap a 1-1 tie and take the momentum for good.

The Bulldogs held a 40-22 edge in shots and were 3-of-5 on the power play. Shelby Gray, Josh Ranalli and Brett Pinkerton all scored power-play goals for the Bulldogs, who improved to 8-0 on the season.

James Hamby won his seventh game of the year as he made 22 saves.

SUNYAC

Plattsburgh put the finishing touches on its fourth PrimeLink Great Northern ShootOut championship with a 3-1 win over Middlebury on Saturday.

The second-ranked Cardinals held a 26-21 edge in shots over the 15th-ranked Panthers and scored all of their goals in the opening period.

Connor Gorman, Dakota Mason and Michael Radisa all scored goals for the Cardinals and goalie Mathieu Cadiux racked up 20 saves as he earned MVP honors in the tournament.

The victory by the Cardinals delivered their first championship since 2010. The Cardinals have won all four of their titles on their home ice.

WIAC

Wisconsin-Superior was the lone conference team in action and it capped its weekend at the PrimeLink Great Northern ShootOut with a stunning 3-0 win over second-ranked Norwich on Saturday in the consolation game.

The win comes on the heels of a 4-1 loss to third-ranked Plattsburgh on Friday.

Superior is the first team from the western part of the country to a win game in the shootout. Prior to its victory, western teams were 0-11 in the event.

The Yellow Jackets got two goals from Pat Dalbec and one from Cody Hotchkin, while Dayn Belfour earned his first shutout win in goal for Superior, which handed Norwich its first loss of the season. He stopped 27 shots and improved his record to 2-2.

Writers go head to head this weekend

And away we go on Black Friday with our Division III predictions for this weekend.

With many conference crossover games, it’ll be interesting to see how our columnists fare against one another with these picks. A little internal competition? You bet!

Off and running…

ECAC East – Tim Costello

A 2-1-2 (.600) weekend brings the season overall record to 10-3-2 (.733) and a weekend upcoming that poses some serious challenges for accuracy with Thanksgiving tournaments and interesting nonconference battles.

Here are the picks:

Friday, Nov. 29

Middlebury vs. Norwich

The Primelink always is among the best in Thanksgiving hockey and when these two Vermont rivals get together, the action and intensity are palpable. Neither team has an ‘L’ on their record yet this season, but one team gains their first in what some may call an upset. Not a low-scoring affair, which helps the Panthers. Middlebury 5-4.

Saturday, Nov. 30

Johnson and Wales vs. Massachusetts-Boston

The first round of the PAL/Stovepipe Tournament may just be the tonic the Beacons need to jumpstart their potent offense. This was the first piece of hardware won last year by the Beacons and coach Peter Belisle would very much like to repeat as champions. Need to focus and take care of business in the first round and do just that. Massachusetts-Boston 6-2.

University of New England vs. Southern New Hampshire

The other half of the PAL/Stovepipe preliminary round finds the host meeting a burgeoning ECAC East rival seen before in this tournament. UNE has shown some early success this season and will make the final an all-ECAC East affair with a closely-contested victory. UNE 4-2.

Tufts vs. Castleton

The Rutland Herald Invitational won’t be taken lightly by the host school that is looking to rebound after a challenging weekend with two of the best teams in conference play. Tufts has played several games on the verge of a timely play or goal to win, so Castleton will need to play hard for the full 60 minutes. This one may need an extra five minutes, but the home team prevails. Castleton 4-3.

Fitchburg State vs. Skidmore

The Thoroughbreds again host their own invitational event with the opening round game against Dean Fuller’s Falcons from the MASCAC conference. The big sheet should help the home team and enable Skidmore to play for the coveted trophy on Sunday. Skidmore 5-2.

Playing for hardware always provides some additional motivation – drop the puck!

ECAC Northeast – Nathan Fournier

Saturday, Nov. 30

Salve Regina at Trinity

Salve Regina starts a stretch of nonconference games with Trinity. It could be an offensive showdown with the Seahawks averaging over four goals a game and the Bantams averaging 3.50 goals a game. The game could come down to special teams with Salve Regina’s power play converting once in every four chances and Trinity’s penalty kill at 76 percent. I will take Trinity in a 5-4 shootout.

Wentworth at Wesleyan

I think Wentworth is glad to reach some nonconference games with a slow start in conference. Offense has been the issue with them with three games of scoring just one goal in their first eight games. They did win a 1-0 game, however. Wesleyan on the other hand are 2-2 so far, but have scored five goals in all four games. If the goal-scorers are still hot, I will take Wesleyan in this contest.

Suffolk vs. Bowdoin in Waterville, Me.

Suffolk has had a good season so far, but I think Bowdoin has too much skill and depth to lose this contest. While this game will be going in officially as a neutral site game in the record books, the Rams are 0-2-1 in away games this season. They are also have been frontrunners this season going 2-0-0 when leading after one period. When they are trailing after one period they are 1-2-1. Bowdoin comes away with a 4-2 victory.

Johnson and Wales vs. UMass-Boston in Hookset, N.H.

This will be Johnson and Wales’ second nonconference game of the season. Both offenses have shown they can score so far this season. I like Johnson and Wales as they have been able to contain the opponent’s offense. I think their goals-against will rise a little after this game as they win the game 6-4. The winner will face the winner of the UNE/Southern New Hampshire contest.

Becker vs. Assumption in Worcester, Mass.

This game should be a defensive game with both teams just barely scoring two goals a game. Becker has been struggling on the penalty kill, only stopping the opponent’s power play 69 percent of the time. Assumption has only scored four goals on the power play in six games, so something will have to give. I will take Becker in a 3-2 game. The winner will face the winner of Worcester State/Nichols.

Nichols at Worcester State

If there’s any team in the nation that’s excited for a nonconference game, it’s Worcester State. They won their first three games of the year in nonconference play and haven’t won a game since then in conference play. Careful for what you wish for because Nichols has been solid so far in every aspect of the game. I expect that to continue with a 5-1 victory. The winner faces the winner of Becker/Assumption. I believe both teams will come away with a win against whoever they face on Sunday.

Sunday, Dec. 1

Wentworth at Trinity

I think Wentworth will be able to get it together for Trinity. They are coming out of their rut and if they can get the goaltending, they can skate with Trinity. I will take Wentworth in a 4-2 victory.

Salve Regina at Wesleyan

First one to 10? I wouldn’t surprised if that did happen with these two offenses. Going in, Salve Regina needs to keep pressure on the gas pedal because Trinity has lost an 8-5 shootout to Hamilton. The Seahawks, on the other hand, haven’t won a game away from the friendly confines of Portsmouth Abbey. I will take Salve Regina 7-5.

Suffolk vs. Colby in Brunswick, Me.

It will be a tough weekend for Suffolk as they will be facing a young, but hungry Colby squad. I think it will be a close game. If Sulfolk can jump on Colby early, I like their chances. I will take Suffolk in a 2-1 game.

Wednesday, Dec. 4

Southern New Hew Hampshire at Nichols

The Bison will face their first of two Division II schools as they welcome Southern New Hampshire to town. This could be a trap game for them and may give Alex Larson a rest and give Patrik Salkind another chance in net. I will take Nichols in a 5-3 game.

ECAC West – Dan Hickling

Saturday, Nov. 30

No. 8 Utica (6-1-1) @ Connecticut College (0-4-0) – Utica 7, CC 2

Utica has a penchant for winning the close ones. No such heroics will be needed in this one.

Sunday, Dec. 1

Nazareth (1-6-1) @ U.S. Under-18 Team – Nazareth 3 U-18s 2

Nazareth is much better than its record shows and may rise to the challenge of beating a strong national squad.

MASCAC – Nathan Fournier

Saturday, Nov. 30

Massachusetts-Dartmouth at Colby

This is a very intriguing matchup with UMass-Darmouth supposed to be one of the contenders in MASCAC and Colby a team that can play with big dogs. If the Corsairs can figure out their special teams, it could a long day for the Mules. I will take UMass-Dartmouth in a 6-3 contest, pulling away in the third period.

Fitchburg State at Skidmore

The Thoroughbreds have depth and multiple lines that can score. They like to get a lot of shots on goal in the first period. The Falcons are getting it done with their young players as their top five scorers are either a freshman or sophomore. I think Fitchburg State will go into New York and surprise Skidmore 5-4.

Nichols at Worcester State

If there’s any team in the nation that’s excited for a nonconference game is Worcester State. They won their first three games of the year in nonconference play and haven’t won a game since then in conference play. Careful for what you wish for because Nichols has been solid so far in every aspect of the game. I expect that to continue with a 5-1 victory. The winner faces the winner of Becker/Assumption. I believe both teams will come away with a win against whoever they face on Sunday.

Sunday, Dec. 1

UMass-Dartmouth at Bowdoin

The two teams met eight months ago in the first round of the NCAA tournament. The Corsairs will be looking for some redemption from their loss in the tournament. The Polar Bears will be ready and I they they will be able to work out some of their kinks in their game. I will take Bowdoin in a 4-2 contest.

Salem State at Connecticut College

The Vikings have struggled so far this year allowing over four goals per game despite having 188 shots on goal this season. They have only allowed 147 shots by their opponents. Connecticut College has had a tough start to the season, losing their first four games. Salem State has had more game action, so I will take them to win a 6-2 game.

Tuesday, Dec. 3

Stonehill at Framingham State

The Rams have been much more competitive this season, so you can’t count them out. For a team like they are who are trying to rebound from a dismal season, they are getting contributions from everyone in the lineup. They will need to be able to stay out of the box and tighten up defensively if they want to win consistently. Stonehill has a decent offense and stays out of the box. so I will take them in a 4-3 victory.

MIAC/WIAC – Brian Lester

It’s another crossover week for teams in the MIAC as teams are participating in a showcase with the NCHA in Appleton, Wis.

Meanwhile, a very light schedule is on tap in the WIAC as Wisconsin-Superior is the only team in action. It takes on

Plattsburgh State Friday in the PrimeLink Great Northern Shootout. The Yellow Jackets will battle Middlebury or Norwich in the finale of the prestigious event.

So without hesitation, here are my picks for the week. And hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving.

Friday, Nov. 29

St. Olaf vs. Marian

One of the biggest challenges for St. Olaf will be winning away from home. The Oles are 0-4 in true road games and 0-2 on neutral ice. The Oles have just one win and need to generate more offense to be successful. They have just 14 goals while allowing 31. Tough to win games when the scoring stats aren’t in your favor. Marian has won four of its last five and has tallied 26 goals while giving up 21. Tyler Klein has eight of those goals. Marian 5-3.

Lake Forest vs. St. Mary’s

The Cardinals did gain some confidence from earning a series split with defending league tournament champion St. John’s and it will be interesting to see if they build on the momentum. St. Mary’s needs Bobby Marx and Bobby Thompson to thrive offensively, but they also need Christian Gaffy to be on top of his game in goal. Lake Forest has won its last two games and has come through with nine power-play goals. The Cardinals can’t allow Lake Forest to be in man-advantage situations.

St. Mary’s 4-3.

Gustavus Adolphus vs. Lawrence

The Gusties have played well, winning three consecutive games, and that bodes well for them heading into the weekend. They have been very productive on offense, racking up 26 goals, and have spread the wealth behind 38 assists. If that continues, and the defense plays well in front of John McLean, Gustavus has a great chance of continuing its streak. Lawerence has been up and down, but has gotten a lot of scoring from Huck Saunders, who has tallied four goals. Anton Olson is giving up 2.92 goals per game. If the Gusties can strike early, they will be fine. Gustavus 5-2.

Saturday, Nov. 30

St. Olaf vs. Lawrence

St. Olaf has struggled offensively. Lawrence isn’t much better. But the Oles will find a way to steal one on the weekend. St. Olaf, 3-2.

Gustavus vs. Marian

This is a game between two teams that have been on a roll. It should be entertaining and close. I give Gustavus the edge. Gustavus 4-3.

Bethel vs. Concordia (Minn.)

The Royals desperately need a win, but winless on the year, including two losses on neutral ice, this game might not be the place to find its first win of the season. They simply have to be more effective on offense. They have scored only 14 goals and three of those players have accounted for 10 of those goals. Mitch Hughes has led the way with four goals on the season. Concordia has struggled, too, losing its last four. But it has been a little more effective on offense this season. Concordia, 4-2.

WIAC

Superior at Plattsburgh

The Yellow Jackets are making a long trip to New York. They have been good on the road, though, winning two of three, but it’s going to take a heck of an effort to knock off Plattsburgh. The Yellow Jackets have been balanced on offense and have racked up 42 goals. They need to be balanced Friday to be successful. Plattsburgh has yet to lose and has only tied once. Going to be tough to take down the Cardinals on the road. Plattsburgh 5-3.

NESCAC – Tim Costello

This week was a respectable 4-1-0 (.800), bringing the season average to 8-1-1 (.850), but whether in a tournament or facing top-flight nonconference opponents, this week poses many challenges to maintaining the high percentage of successful picks made this season.

No guarantees, but here are the weekend’s picks:

Saturday, Nov. 30

Suffolk vs. Bowdoin

The Colby-Bowdoin Classic finds Bowdoin looking for more consistency than its current record indicates. After the emotional weekend of the longstanding rivalry with Colby, the Polar Bears get back to basics and their winning ways against the Rams from the ECAC Northeast. Bowdoin 4-1.

Amherst @ Babson

This is one of the marquee matchups of the weekend and the two teams in many ways are mirror images of each other. Great balance, strong defense and goaltending and good special teams on both benches, so who blinks first? Actually would like to pick a tie in this one, but both teams know how to make big plays at the right time. I am picking the home team by an eyelash. Babson 2-1.

Wentworth @ Wesleyan

The Cardinals had a tough weekend on the road last week in conference play, so they will be looking to rebound against the Leopards, who are still seeking some overall consistency to their game. First line for Wesleyan is deadly and their prolific scoring continues. Wesleyan 5-2.

Salve Regina @ Trinity

The conference leaders from the ECAC Northeast venture to Hartford looking to benchmark how good their game is against a quality opponent on the road. Trinity is off to a good start and Benjamin Coulthard makes life difficult for the visitors in shutting down their offense in net. Trinity 4-2.

Utica @ Connecticut College

The ECAC West leaders visit the Camels, who are looking to break through with a quality and winning performance. Yes, a little “puck luck” would certainly help the home team in this matchup, but even that isn’t enough against what Utica brings in their game. Utica 5-3.

The matchups this early are truly a Thanksgiving treat – drop the puck!

SUNYAC – Dan Hickling

Friday, Nov. 29

Wisconsin-Superior (3-4-0) @ No. 3 Plattsburgh (6-0-1) – Plattsburgh 6, Superior 1

The Cardinals will use this tilt as a Primelink Shootout tuneup before facing either Norwich or Middlebury (both ranked) the next night.

Saturday, Nov. 30

Fredonia (2-4-1) @ No. 5 Adrian (7-0-0) – Adrian 4, Fredonia 2

Fredonia, making a westward swing to face one of the nation’s strongest squads, should prove to be a learning experience for the youthful Blue Devils.

Rivalries being renewed across the country

Lanza Photo Rivalries being renewed across the country

Colby captain Nick Lanza picked up a hat trick last weekend against Bowdoin as the two teams split (photo: Alex Shehata/Maine Hockey Journal).

Here’s what happened this past weekend across the country in Division II and Division III circles:

NESCAC

The rivalry between Colby and Bowdoin resumed this weekend and the two teams earned a split. The Polar Bears went up to Waterville, Maine, on Friday night and earned a 3-1 win over Colby. Ollie Koo, Jay Livermore and Harry Matheson all scored for Bowdoin, while Geoff Sullivan scored for Colby. On Saturday night, the Mules earned the 4-2 victory down in Brunswick, Maine, on Nick Lanza’s hat trick. EJ Rauseo also scored for Colby. Kendall Culbertson and Matt Rubinoff scored for Bowdoin.

Two teams ranked in last week’s USCHO.com Division III Men’s Poll, Williams and Amherst, were also in action. Williams earned a 5-2 victory over Connecticut College on Friday night, getting goals from five different players. On Saturday night, Williams earned a 4-1 win over Tufts behind Craig Kitto’s two goals. Amherst earned a 3-1 win over Trinity on Saturday night with Brian Safstrom picking up a power play and shorthanded marker. Sunday, Amherst picked up a 4-1 victory over Wesleyan.

ECAC East

Norwich earned three points on the weekend, starting with a 2-2 tie with St. Anselm. Paul Russel and Shane Gorman scored for Norwich. Joe Tebano and Kevin Vanous scored for St. Anselm. On Saturday, Norwich’s offense came to life with a 6-2 victory over New England College. Travis Janke had a goal and two assists, while Shane Gorman had a goal and an assist. Nick Pichette, Chris Duszynski and Anthony Flaherty also scored. Jesse Ostring and Garrett Brazzier scored for New England College.

Babson earned a pair of 2-1 victories over Skidmore and Castleton. Friday at Skidmore, Nik Tasiopoulos and Mike Vollmin scored. Thomas Park scored the lone goal for Skidmore. Saturday against Castleton, Mike Driscoll and Matt Furley scored, while Bart Moran scored for Castleton.

ECAC Northeast

Salve Regina leads a tightly-bunched ECAC Northeast and picked up a 4-1 victory over Western New England in what was supposed to be an offensive showdown Saturday night. Trace Redman, Cameron Gaudet, Jonathan Felteau and Peter Gintoli scored for the Seahawks. Dan Monahan picked up the lone goal for Western New England.

Nichols, the other team with only one loss this season, picked up a 3-1 victory over Johnson and Wales Saturday night. Sean Fleming, Joe Sposit and Daniel Bufis scored for the Bison. Eddie Patterson scored for Johnson and Wales.

Wentworth picked up a 1-0 victory over Curry while Becker and Suffolk skated to a 3-3 tie.

ECAC West

The matchup of the weekend in the ECAC West was the two games between Utica and Hobart, which didn’t disappoint. Friday night, the two teams skated to a 3-3 tie. Pete LaFosse, Rob Morton and Kevin Kiristis each scored for the Pioneers. Hobart responded with goals from Robert Sovik, Bo Webster and Keith Clarke. Saturday night, it was a 3-2 thriller in overtime that went to Utica. Adam Graff had two goals, including the game-winner, and an assist. Jide Idowu also scored. Webster and Terrance O’Neil tallied for Hobart.

Elsewhere, Neumann and Manhattanville faced each other in a game where defense was apparently optional in Neumann’s 7-4 victory. Collin O’Neil had two goals. Kajon McKay, Ryan Luiten, Shane Topf, Chris Bournazos and Shayne Morrissey also scored for Neumann. Louie Balzano had two goals for Manhattanville, while Adam Young and Anthony Luzzi also scored.

MASCAC

Westfield picked up two wins this past week after a slow start to the season. Thursday, Westfield defeated Fitchurg State 6-4. Tyler Prendergast had two goals in the victory with teammates Jackson Leef, Taylor Murphy, Vincent Perrault and Dan Loughlin also scoring. Jake Martin, Max Lorenzen, Ryan Connolly and Cameron Synder scored for Fitchburg State. Saturday night, they squeaked out a 3-2 victory over Massachusetts-Dartmouth. Dalton Jay had two goals and an assist, while Josh McCully scored the game-winner. Shaun Walters scored both goals for UMass-Dartmouth.

In other MASCAC action, Salem State also handed UMass- Dartmouth a heartbreaking loss on Thursday, coming out on top with a 4-3 victory. Fitchburg State earned a 5-2 victory over Framingham State. Worcester State and Framingham State ended in a 3-3 tie. Plymouth State defeated Worcester State on Saturday 5-3.

MIAC

St. Thomas swept the weekend with two wins over St. Olaf. On Friday night, St. Thomas needed a shootout to beat St. Olaf 3-2 (officially a 2-2 tie). Alex Altenbernd and Steve Sorensen scored for St. Thomas. St. Olaf picked up goals from Peter Lindblad and Marc Richards. Saturday, it was a 3-0 victory with Altenbernd scoring twice and Drew Fielding making 30 saves in the victory.

Augsberg’s offense was clicking with 9-2 and 7-3 victories over Northland. Ben McClellan had four goals and two assists in Friday night’s 9-2 win. He also had two assists on Saturday. On Saturday, B.J. McClellan had two goals and an assist. St. John’s earned a split with St. Mary’s. After Friday’s 4-3 victory, St. John’s dropped Saturday’s game 3-2.

NCHA

Clash of the Titans faced off in a nonconference matchup as St. Nobert welcomed Wisconsin-Eau Claire to town. St. Nobert handed Wisconsin-Eau Claire their first loss of the season with a 5-2 victory. Pijus Rulevicius, Michael Hill, Erik Cooper, Brandon Hoogenboom and Mason Baptista scored for St. Nobert. Jon Waggoner scored twice for the Blugolds. On Saturday, St. Nobert defeated Wisconsin-Stout 5-2. Chris Rial provided two goals, while Cooper, Baptista and Joe Perry also scored.

St. Scholastica had two nonconference games this past weekend. They opened the weekend with a 4-3 victory over Stout. Dave Williams and Keegan Bruce each provided the lone assist on the others’ goal. Chad Golanowski and Paul Marcoux also scored for St. Scholastica. Wisconsin-Superior came to town on Saturday and came away with the 3-2 victory. Bruce and Josh Hansen scored in the loss.

Northeast-10

Southern New Hampshire earned two victories this past weekend. On Tuesday, they defeated Franklin Pierce 5-1 behind a two-goal effort by Joe Collins. John Humphrey, Steven Berry and Zach Lubinski also scored. The lone goalscorer for Franklin Pierce was Bryan Colella. On Saturday, Berry got the game-winning goal in the 3-2 victory over Assumption. Jay Sylvia and Dane Caracino also scored. Nick Mattiello scored twice for Assumption.

Stonehill earned a 6-2 victory over Canton. Richard Harris had two goals and Bryan Rooney, Kevin Aufiero and Bill Carey also scored for Stonehill.

SUNYAC

Plattsburgh continues to roll with a weekend sweep of Morrisville. Friday night, the Cardinals put seven goals on the scoreboard from seven different players. Alex Jensen had a goal and two assists, while Dillan Fox and Ryan Farnan each had a goal and assist. Luke Baleshta, Connor Gorman, Mark Constanine and Adam Scuglia also scored. Zach Bake picked up the lone goal for Morrisville. Saturday, Gorman had a goal and three assists. Barry Roytman, Jensen and Fox picked up the other goals. Joe Santino, Ryan Marcuz and Marc-Antone Chaput scored for Morrisville.

Oswego and Geneseo met Friday night with Geneseo coming out on top with the 7-4 victory. Justin Scharfe had two goals for Geneseo, while Connor Anthoine, Jonathan Sucese and Matt Solomon had a goal and assist. AJ Sgaraglio and Zach Vit also picked up goals in the win. Mike Montagna, Brandon Adams, Andrew Barton and Chris Waterstreet scored for Oswego. Saturday, Geneseo defeated Cortland 7-4, while Oswego defeated Brockport 4-0.

WIAC

Wisconsin-Stevens Point picked up two victories with a 6-1 win over the Milwaukee School of Engineering on Friday and a 2-0 win over Marian Saturday. Garrett Ladd and Evan Dixon had a goal and assist Friday night. Kyle Brodie, Joe Kalisz, Kyle Heck and Lawrence Corneller also tallied a goal Friday night. Kalisz had both goals Saturday night in the win over Marian.

After dropping a 5-2 decision to St. Nobert on Friday night, Wisconsin-Eau Claire ended the weekend on the road with a 7-0 victory over Concordia (Wis.). Jon Waggoner had two goals and an assist, while Charles Thauwald also had a pair of goals. Brian Nehring, Joe Krause and Jason Eddy added the other goals. Jay Deo stopped 29 shots to earn the shutout.