Hockey East picks: October 21-27

Plenty of upsets last week led to equally poor picks records for both Dave and me.

Jim last week: 6-6-1
Dave last week: 6-6-1
Jim’s record-to-date: 11-10-2
Dave’s record-to-date: 12-9-2

Here are this week’s picks:

Friday, October 21

Massachusetts at Boston College
Jim’s pick: BC rebounded nicely from last Friday’s hiccup and I would count on the Eagles to keep rolling.
BC 4, UMass 1

Dave’s pick: Have to agree with Jim. The Eagles and it won’t be close.
BC 4, UMass 2

Northeastern at Merrimack
Jim’s pick: Merrimack on home ice? Lately that’s been a no-brainer.
MC 4, NU 2

Dave’s pick: I’d take Merrimack here, home or away.
MC 3, NU 2

Minnesota-Duluth at Providence
Jim’s pick: The defending national champs may have a rough record early but they’re a better team than the Friars.
UMD 3, PC 1

Dave’s pick: The Friars are on pace for a 34-0 season! Break up the Friars!  Duluth is on pace to go 9-25! The Bulldogs stink! An easy choice.
UMD 4, PC 3

New Hampshire at St. Cloud State
Jim’s pick: Neither team has been explosive thus far, but I think home ice advantage prevails

Dave’s pick: One UNH goal in three games? One goal? Total?

Vermont at Minnesota
Jim’s pick: Early test for the Cats and it’s hard to believe they’re ready to beat the Gophers on the road.
Minnesota 6, UVM 3

Dave’s pick: The Gophers swept Duluth last weekend and enter the weekend 4-0.  By contrast, the Catamounts have only an exhibition loss to the U-18 team under their belts.  Uh-oh.
Minnesota 4, UVM 2

Saturday, October 22

Boston College at Northeastern
Jim’s pick: No upsets here. Eagles continue to fly.
BC 4, NU 1

Dave’s pick: Agreed. Eagles all the way.
BC 4, NU 1

Holy Cross at Boston University
Jim’s pick: AHA had its upset on Tuesday. Don’t see it happening at BU.
BU 4, HC 2

Dave’s pick: If this is an audition for the Crusaders joining Hockey East, they stay put.
BU 4, HC 1

Connecticut at Merrimack
Jim’s pick: See above. Merrimack rolls.
MC 5, UConn 1

Dave’s pick: A few years ago, this would have been close. Not anymore.
MC 4, UConn 1

Minnesota-Duluth at Providence
Jim’s pick: Night two will make for a tighter game, but still see the Bulldogs coming out on top
UMD 3, PC 2 (OT)

Dave’s pick: Yeah, it is strange predicting that the 1-3 team will sweep the one with a 2-0 record — and on the road, no less — but I’ve got to see a bit more from Nate Leaman’s crew before I believe.
UMD 3, PC 1

New Hampshire at St. Cloud State
Jim’s pick: Wildcats finally get off the schneid.

Dave’s pick: I can’t believe that I’m picking the Wildcats to open the season 0-5, but their early-season trips to WCHA rinks have been unkind of late.

Sunday, October 23

Vermont at Minnesota
Jim’s pick: It’s rare there is a night off in a two-game series as is the case here, but I don’t know if that will help the Cats.
Minnesota 4, UVM 3

Dave’s pick: The Gophers go to 6-0 while the Catamounts fall to 0-2. A tough trip to open the season.
Minnesota 5, UVM 2


  1. RIT could be in first place in terms of total points, thanks to two extra games played, but Air Force will be in first in terms of win percentage. But, that’s hard to see through the orange-and-black goggles.

  2. There was a lot to like about Saturday evening. The hockey helmet division delivered a clean sweep to the ugly/football helmet division.

  3. Credit where credit is due. The Spartans now have TWO sweeps this season. That is the most in at least four seasons. The boys played the best they have all season. Looked good. But one glaring problem I saw: Over 5 minutes (both games combined) of PSU having an empty net, and no MSU EN goal. That is a problem.
    So now, On (to) Wisconsin. You like the play on words there Wisco?

    • Decatur I was actually a little more upset with MSU being obsessed with getting the ENG, given the situation. If it were a 6×6 situation (5 on 4 skaters) there’s a little less room for PSU to set up shop on potential tying goal. But as it was a 5×5, MSU should have chipped it out into the neutral zone, instead of icing it (4 times in 2 minutes?), which resulted in some really tired legs before the final buzzer.

    • If that is your largest problem, you are doing well. Remember when the other teams pulls their goalie it is not necessary to score, just not let the opposition score.

      • True Sat. BUT there was no cohesive effort to work the puck down ice and put it in. Just random length of ice clears which did no good.

        • I didn’t see the end of the Saturday game as I was at the Minnesota/Michigan game. I generally think that trying to score on the open net is overrated and that more emphasis should be put on keeping the puck out of your own net rather than scoring, but I agree with you that just icing the puck repeatedly is not a good defensive strategy.

          • Decatur and Sat, you got Hildebrand or Wilcox in net and you are in a bind – or even think you are – ice it…Whatever it takes to get the “W”…

          • I agree – You are much better off keeping the puck out of your zone. Why ice it? All it does is give the opposing team a faceoff in your end and a chance to score. If an open net chance comes up, take it. Get it into the neutral zone or their defensive zone.

  4. So much for the big sheet of ice won’t be a factor for MI theory. They are gifted offensively, but their deficiencies on defense were magnified on the big sheet.

    • It wasn’t a factor at all. Are you stoopid? Did ya see all the empty seats? TONS! I suppose you will start with ‘we only recruit in MN’ thing now?

      • Really? How so? What does empty seats have to do with my comment? I made it pretty clear that Michigan’s defense was exposed on the big sheet, as it has most of the year.

          • You need to give me more of a hint that you are being sarcastic. Since you have always been pro-Gophers, I was wondering where all that negativity came from. I guess the joke’s on me.

    • Brian, did you hear that there will be renovations to Mariucci soon to replace the cooling system and rumor has it that they are going to remove the Olympic ice sheet and replace it with a standard 185X85 hockey sheet, so they of all things can add more seats. Stupid move, if they go through with it.

      • That rumor is double-sided. One side you alluded to and the other says they will replace the cooling system and continue with an Olympic sheet as the logistics of additional seats is too expensive.

        Not that we have a say in the matter but, like you, I’d rather keep the Olympic sheet. It highlights the skills (skating, puck movement, speed, etc….) Lucia recruits. Don’t change a good/great thing.

      • I agree with your posting about leaving the olympic sheet at Mariucci. Isn’t the standard North American ice hockey rink size 200′ x 85′ ? (not 185 x 85).

        • You may be right. I know that there is a lot of variation on the length between 185 and 200, but the width is generally 85 on the standard sheet. In any case I don’t think that it would benefit the Gophers or improve the quality of the game from a fan standpoint to reduce the size in any way.

  5. Mn finally put a series together. I don’t know what Lucia/Guentzel did to get them to play defense, but I hope they can keep it up. They have relied on Kangas too long and he was not playing with any confidence. Good time for playoff push. Not a lot of pairwise points but a chip and a chair looks good now.

    • Lucia and Guentzel had very little to do with it. The difference was Wilcox. The Gophers scored the same number of goals that they did when they went to Yost for the weekend. The difference was that Wilcox did not give up 7 questionable goals as he did that weekend in January. As Wilcox goes, so do the Gophers.

      • Partially disagree — lots to do with Wilcox. But also think the gophers looked more interested in playing defense, more aggressive, more willing to take the body, less willing to tolerate shenanigans in front of Wilcox. Overall, I think entire teams picked up on defense —- but do agree, Wilcox looked sharper than he had recently….

        • What did you do to get exiled? Bonaparte II? Solzhenitsyn II?

          If the exile stemmed from cheering for the Badgers…..please don’t share.

        • I agree with Exiled. They are playing better team defense. Not turning the puck over in their own zone, not leaving guys open in the slot, being more aggressive. It was as if Wilcox couldn’t shake off a mistake. If he left a fat rebound or let in a softy, he was fighting the puck all night.
          Better defense gives goalies more confidence and they play better. Better goaltending means more wins. More wins brings more confidence. Maybe they just needed a magic feather or Susan Sarandon’s underwear.

        • I understand your statement and believe in the first half that there were some major defensive lapses with the 3 new defensemen being rotated in the lineup the SCSU game was a good example of Wilcox being hung out to dry, but with Collins sort of assuming that 6 Dman role in the second half I have more more than happy with the defensive play, when Skeji has been in the lineup. Since the new year. I honestly believe it has Wilcox letting in squeakers or atypical goals as opposed to major defensive gaffs. I do however, think that there have been some team defensive breakdowns that have been to blame, the Friday night game against Wisconsin at Mariucci comes to mind.

  6. So since there was a huge article about offense last week and save for the Gophers 6 goals on Friday night, there was very little of it last weekend, I suspect that we will see a huge article about defense and goaltending this week, correct?


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