Atlantic Hockey Picks 2/4/11

Last week: 4-3-4
On the season: 80-47-20 (.612)

This week features home-and-home series with one exception – it’s a long commute between Rochester and Colorado Springs.

Air Force at Rochester Institute of Technology – These games are usually close with 14 of the last 18 meetings decided by two goals or less. Air Force holds a 9-8-1 advantage in those games, but RIT is 6-2 against the Falcons at Ritter Arena. That said, I’m thinking split. RIT 3, Air Force 2; Air Force 4, RIT 3.

Holy Cross vs. American International – Both teams swept their opponents last weekend, setting up an interesting series. Holy Cross won 3-2 in the only other meeting between the teams this season. I’m picking the Crusaders to win a close road game on Friday and then get a victory on home ice on Saturday. Holy Cross 2, AIC 1; Holy Cross 4, AIC 2.

Connecticut vs Army – UConn won the first meeting between the schools this season 2-3 back in October. The Black Knights host on Friday, and, assuming there’s not still too much ice at Freitas Forum, the action moves to UConn on Saturday. Again, I’m going with the home team(s). Army 4, UConn 2; UConn 5, Army 4.

Mercyhurst vs. Niagara – The Purple Eagles are very tough at home, so that’s an easy call. But what about Saturday? The Lakers are 1-6-1 all-time against Niagara, but I think they rally for the split. Niagara 4, Mercyhurst 2; Mercyhurst 4, Niagara 3.

Sacred Heart vs, Bentley – I’m thinking that the Pioneers’ woes continue. Bentley 4, Sacred Heart 1; Bentley 3, Sacred Heart 2.

Robert Morris vs. Canisius – This is a Thursday-Saturday series and the Golden Griffins have already held serve by winning 5-4 last night. I think the Colonials come back with a win on Saturday. Robert Morris 3, Canisius 2.

Guest Analyst

This week’s guest analyst is Matt Garver, who played three years at RPI before tranferring to RIT for his senior season in 1998. Here are his unedited comments. Matt gives us bonus picks all the way to the NCAA tournament.

Thank you for having me as your guest analyst Chris.  I will start by saying that I quit gambling long ago because I am no good at picking winners.  Now that I have laid out my excuse for losing to Lerchy before we have even started, here are my picks.

Holy Cross vs. AIC

In front of 17 fans (including the press box) AIC will squeak out a tie after Holy Cross comes out flat.  They tie 2-2 Friday night.  Holy Cross wakes up on Saturday night at home and wins big, 5-1.

UCONN vs. Army

Speaking from personal experience, Army is a tough place to go play.  They will be physical and have ZERO quit in them.  Army wins Friday night in a tough game, 3-2.  UCONN will rebound on Saturday night, skating to a 4-1 victory at home.

Sacred Heart vs. Bentley

Sacred Heart is just not very good this year.  Their losing streak continues this weekend.  Bentley sweeps 3-1 and 4-2.

Mercyhurst vs. Niagara

Simply put, I just do not like Mercyhurst.  There are many reasons for my feelings, some personal, some being rivalry related.  Without going into depth about that baggage, Niagara sweeps.  Honestly this is probably the only time I will ever be happy giving Niagara a sweep.  Niagara 5-4 and 3-1.

Robert Morris vs. Canisius

Robert Morris is one of the best 4 teams in the AHA.  I see no way that they lose in a crucial game.  Robert Morris wins at home 5-3.

RIT vs. Air Force

The Ritter is such a cool place to have played.  Great fan support and the crowd is right on top of the rink.  In 1998-1999 we were 15-0 at The Ritter.  Since that season RIT is 135-40-13 at home.  Many of those losses came during the transition period to Division I, 20 losses in a three year span.  Those are the positives.  RIT plays a man down for 1/3 of their games this season.  This is just not going to work against the top end teams in the league.  Air Force comes east and wins on Friday night 3-2, handing Madalora his 1st loss of the season.  RIT rebounds on Saturday night winning 3-2 in a huge game.

RIT, Niagara, Robert Morris, and Air Force.  One of these teams will represent the AHA in the NCAA’s.  RIT takes too many penalties and simply has a terrible time with Niagara.  I pick Niagara to win the AHA tourney and go to NCAA’s this year.