ECAC Northeast/MASCAC picks: Feb. 24

Finally — the postseason is upon us. For the 12 teams remaining in the ECAC Northeast and MASCAC — six from each conference — they’re living by the adage “one day at a time,” because at this point in the year, one day and one game are the difference between continuing and ending the season. Both the ECAC Northeast playoffs and the MASCAC playoffs open Saturday with four quarterfinal games (two in each conference) and continue next week with the conference semifinals.
It’s an abbreviated set of picks this week, as the conference tournaments are about to begin. (Fewer teams = fewer games.) I finished 4-1-1 last week — Suffolk beat Becker 8-4 to earn its first win since Nov. 5 — and enter the postseason 49-26-12.
ECAC Northeast
Johnson and Wales at Western New England, 1:45 p.m. Saturday
Johnson and Wales, the fifth seed in the conference tournament, has boasted offensive firepower throughout the season, including the nation’s leading scorer in Jeremiah Ketts (20 goals, 33 assists), but the Wildcats struggled to create consistency in the second half of the season. Johnson and Wales went 6-6-2 in January and February, and was winless in its final three regular-season games. Western New England, the fourth seed in the tournament, created momentum late in the season by finishing 4-1-1 in February and leapfrogged to fourth place — despite two regular-season losses to Johnson and Wales. Western New England, 4-3
Becker at Nichols, 2:40 p.m. Saturday
Nichols, the third seed in the ECAC Northeast tournament, joins Wentworth as the ECAC Northeast’s hottest team entering the playoffs; the Bison were unbeaten in nine of their last 10 games (8-1-1) to close the regular season, including a 4-1 win Feb. 4 against Becker. Nichols’ Louie Educate led the nation’s freshmen in scoring with 24 goals and 14 assists in the regular season. Korby Anderson leads Becker, the sixth seed, with 13 goals and 17 assists, but the Hawks ended the regular-season struggling, as they won one game in their final six contests. Nichols, 5-2
Worcester State at Fitchburg State, 4 p.m. Saturday
Worcester State, the fifth seed in the MASCAC tournament, went 2-4 in February in conference games, and closed the regular season Thursday with a nonconference game at Assumption. The Lancers averaged 2.54 goals a game (sixth in the seven-team MASCAC), and leading scorer John Calahane finished with seven goals and 13 assists. Fitchburg State, the fourth seed, won the season series with Worcester State 2-1, and junior forward Trevor Lawler leads the Falcons with 11 goals and 16 assists, for sixth in MASCAC scoring. Worcester State 4-3
Westfield State at Massachusetts-Dartmouth, 4:30 p.m. Saturday
Westfield State, the sixth seed, won only four conference games, but went 3-2-2 in the final month of the regular season, including a 5-4 overtime win against Salem State and a 1-1 tie with Massachusetts-Dartmouth, the third seed in the MASCAC tournament. Massachusetts-Dartmouth senior forward Mike Owens is tied for third in the nation with Johnson and Wales’ Jeremiah Ketts with 20 goals in the regular season, and the Corsairs have the No. 4 power-play in the nation (29 for 101, 28.7 percent). Massachusetts-Dartmouth 5-3


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