Welcome to the first edition of the picks for the 2011-2012 season.
Friday, October 7
Air Force at North Dakota (Icebreaker Tournament) – It’s a homecoming for Air Force captain Paul Weisgarber, a former North Dakota Mr. Hockey award winner in high school. The Falcons will put a scare into the Fighting Sioux, but I think the hosts come out on top. North Dakota 3, Air Force 2.
Robert Morris vs. Colgate (Maverick Stampede) – There won’t be much atmosphere at the early game, but I like the Colonials in what should be an entertaining game for those that come early. RMU 5, Colgate 4.
Mercyhurst at Nebraska-Omaha (Mavericak Stampede) – There are two AHA teams in Omaha, looking to avoid playing each other, unless it’s in the championship game. I’m picking against that. UNO 4, Mercyhurst 2
Saturday October 8
Niagara at Rochester Institute of Technology – The Tigers have not beaten the Purple Eagles since both were in a D-III league in 1997. I think RIT gets the monkey off its back. RIT 3, Niagara 2.
Union at Army – Army is tough to beat at home, but Union has too many weapons. The Dutchmen are 13-0-1 against the Black Knights dating back to 1992. Union 4, Army 2.
Friday, October 7 and Saturday October 8
UConn at Bowling Green – I’m picking a split, with Bowling Green coming out on top Friday and the Huskies rebounding on Saturday. BGSU3, UConn 2; UConn 4, BSGU 3.
American International at Michigan Tech – These teams have never played each other, and both coming off last-place finishes in their leagues. I’m giving Tech the home-ice edge, however. MTU 3, AIC 2; MTU 5, AIC 3.
Bentley at Michigan – This is another first-ever meeting. Michigan beat up on Niagara last Tuesday thanks to winning the goaltending battle. I think the Wolverines match as well against Bentley. Michigan 4, Bentley 1; Michigan 4, Bentley 2.
Sacred Heart at Minnesota – And yet another first-time meeting. The Pioneers are coming off a disappointing season and this is a tough place to try to get back on track. A win here would be a huge first step, but I don’t think it’s going to happen. Minnesota 4, Sacred Heart 1; Minnesota 4, Sacred Heart 3.
Boston College/Michigan State vs. Air Force – I think Air Force drops this game regardless of the opponent.
Colgate/RMU vs. Mercyhurst – In an All-AHA title or consolation game, I”m going with RMU. I’m picking the Lakers to lose to Colgate if they happen to square off.
Mercyhurst/UNO vs. RMU – See above on a potential RMU/’Hurst game. I think UNO wins this tournament, so I’m picking the Mavericks to defeat Robert Morris if that matchup occurs.
Wednesday, October 12
Holy Cross at Quinnipiac – The Crusaders will get a tuneup Friday with an exhibition against New Brunswick. This game opens a string of six straight games for the Bobcats against AHA teams. I’m picking the Crusaders to win on the road. Holy Cross 3, Quinnipiac 2.