ECAC Northeast/MASCAC picks: Nov. 4

The ECAC Northeast schedule kicked off Wednesday with Johnson and Wales’s 3-2 win over Stonehill, as Jeremiah Ketts and Justin Decowski scored a pair of second-period goals to help the Wildcats rally to win their season opener. The MASCAC season opens with five games from Friday to Tuesday, all nonconference games, but among the season openers are a handful of ECAC Northeast-MASCAC crossover games, which shouldn’t surprise, given the geographic proximity of the two conferences.
Hobart at Salve Regina, 7 p.m. Saturday
Salve Regina coach Andrew Boschetto explained that his program deliberately scheduled a strong nonconference slate for the 2011-2012 season, which includes games against three teams ranked in’s preseason top 15. Hobart will play its second road game in two days when it faces Salve Regina in Rhode Island.
Pick: Hobart 5-2
Curry at Neumann, 2 p.m. Sunday
The ECAC Northeast champion Colonels travel to Aston, Pa., where they will face the Knights of the ECAC West. Neumann opened the season October 23 with a 5-1 loss to Division I Princeton in an exhibition/scrimmage. Curry’s first challenge of the season? Win in an unfamiliar arena. Five of Curry’s first eight games are on the road.
Pick: Curry 5-4
Plymouth State at Southern New Hampshire, 7 p.m. Saturday
Plymouth State opens the season against the Penmen of the Northeast 10 conference; in its season opener October 29, Southern New Hampshire lost 14-2 at Potsdam. The Penmen trailed 2-1 after the first period, but allowed eight goals in the second.
Pick: Plymouth State 7-2
New England College at Fitchburg State, 7 p.m. Tuesday
By the time these two teams face off, New England College will have two games under its belt (Friday at Babson and Saturday at Massachusetts-Boston). Fitchburg State is coming off a season in which it won the MASCAC tournament championship, 6-5, in overtime – Fitchburg and Salem State combined for 11 goals on 62 shots in the conference title game.
Pick: Fitchburg State 4-1
ECAC Northeast-MASCAC crossover games
Western New England vs.Westfield State, 4 p.m. Friday (MassMutual Center, Springfield, Mass.)
This is the first of three games Western New England will play on neutral ice before it opens its ECAC Northeast schedule November 17 at home against Wentworth. WNE-Westfield State will play for the fourth annual Falcons Cup, which will be a warm-up to Friday’s American Hockey League game between the Adirondack Phantoms and the Springfield Falcons.
Pick: Western New England 5-3
Salem State at Wentworth, 7 p.m. Monday
Two of each league’s favorites meet Monday in a game that will pit a pair of offensive-minded teams against each other. Last season, the Vikings of the MASCAC averaged 4.3 goals a game while the Leopards of the ECAC Northeast averaged 3.9 goals a game. But with a nucleus of returning players from last season, including junior forward Skylur Jameson (20 goals, 15 assists), Wentworth holds the edge.
Pick: Wentworth 4-3