ECAC Northeast/MASCAC picks: Feb. 17

In the ECAC Northeast, playoff positioning will come down to the final day of the regular season — Saturday. Entering Thursday’s slate of games, two points separate first-place Curry (20 points) from third-place Nichols (18 points), with Wentworth sandwiched into second place with 19 points.
Johnson and Wales and Western New England are tied for fourth with 16 points, while Becker brings up the rear with nine points and will enter the ECAC Northeast playoffs as the sixth seed.
A handful of games remain Saturday and Tuesday for the MASCAC’s seven teams, and the conference’s regular-season schedule ends Tuesday.
I finished 2-2-2 last week in my picks, bringing my season total to 45-25-11.
ECAC Northeast
Johnson and Wales at Curry, 4:35 p.m. Saturday
First place and home-ice advantage throughout the ECAC Northeast playoffs could be on the line for the Colonels. Johnson and Wales, however, needs a win to stay in contention for home-ice (fourth place) in the quarterfinals. The Wildcats enter the weekend tied for fourth in the ECAC Northeast, and the second half of the season has been a roller coaster. In its last four games, Johnson and Wales is 1-2-1 and has scored 15 goals — 10 coming in a win February 8 over Western New England. Curry 5-2
Nichols at Western New England, 7:15 p.m. Saturday
Nichols has won eight of its last nine games, and with a win Saturday, Nichols can sew up third place in the ECAC Northeast — the Bison hold the tiebreaker with Johnson and Wales, having won both regular-season games against the Wildcats. Western New England has won four of its last five games, and can earn fourth place (and a home quarterfinal playoff game) with a win, combined with a Johnson and Wales loss. Nichols 4-3
Becker at Suffolk, 4:35 p.m. Saturday
Becker ended a four-game winless streak with a 6-5 overtime win Wednesday against Salve Regina, and will enter the ECAC Northeast playoffs as the league’s sixth seed. Suffolk, meanwhile, hasn’t won a game since November 5 — a 4-1 win over Becker in Becker’s season-opening tournament — and has lost 21 consecutive games. Becker 3-2
Massachusetts-Dartmouth at Plymouth State, 6 p.m. Saturday
Plymouth State entered the week on a four-game winning streak, with a one-point lead over Salem State for first in the MASCAC. Massachusetts-Dartmouth was winless in three games prior to Thursday’s game at Fitchburg State, but the Corsairs and Plymouth State are two of three MASCAC teams with winning overall records, joining Salem State. Plymouth State 4-2
Fitchburg State at Westfield State, 5:35 p.m. Saturday
Westfield State entered the weekend one point ahead of Framingham State with 10 points for sixth in the MASCAC, while Fitchburg State entered in fourth, two points behind Massachusetts-Dartmouth. Prior to Thursday’s game against Massachusetts-Dartmouth, Fitchburg State looked to end a three-game winless streak. Fitchburg State 4-2
Worcester State at Salem State, 7 p.m. Tuesday
In fifth place and two points ahead of Westfield State in the MASCAC standings, Worcester State needs not just wins, but points, in order to maintain its spot. Still, the Lancers need to rebound from Saturday’s 4-3 loss to last-place Framingham State, a game they lost despite outshooting the Rams 37-25. Salem State 3-1