NESCAC picks: Jan. 11

The first picks for 2013 look very promising, as a 6-2-1 (.722) record opened the new calendar year to improve to a 22-10-6 (.658) overall record. The percentage is moving closer to the desired 70 percent success rate, but I am not there yet, so let’s see if I can be accurate two weeks in a row.
This week is another mixed bag with some league games, nonconference match-ups, and bitter rivalry games. Last week went well with the bonus picks, so I will again be picking some games through next Tuesday. Eight games on my slate this week, and that includes some marquee match-ups. Here are this week’s selections.
Friday, January 11, 2013
Skidmore at Williams
The Ephs really like to play them close, and Skidmore may want that too after Tuesday’s 7-6 thriller with Western New England that saw seven goals in just the third period. That’s more than the last two games for Williams. This is a one-goal game, because the Ephs play them that way, but an empty-netter is the final marker. Williams 4-2
Middlebury at Plattsburgh
The first match-up between the two teams in the Primelink Tournament saw the Panthers win on neutral ice by a 3-2 score. This one is a home game for the Cardinals and that is the difference in swinging the decision away from the visitors, who lost another close rivalry game to Norwich this week. Plattsburgh 3-2
Tufts at Amherst
Orr Rink is a tough place to play for most visiting teams, and Amherst is not going to be very lenient this week after splitting last weekend’s match-ups with Bowdoin and Colby. It’s back to basics for the Lord Jeffs and a tidy effort and two points on Friday night. Amherst 3-1
Saturday, January 12, 2013
Trinity at Bowdoin
Can you say trap game? This one has all the makings of such a game, but this Saturday game and this particular opponent will keep the home team focused against a Trinity team who can play it very close and low-scoring. This one is pretty tight until the third period. Bowdoin 4-2
Tufts at Hamilton
The Jumbos could use a win, but the Continentals have been pretty good at home and playing very tight hockey in their building.  This one is likely low-scoring, but Hamilton scores just enough to capture the win and climb in the NESCAC standings a bit. Hamilton 3-1
Wesleyan at Colby
Colby has been oh-so-close in many games this season, and this game really isn’t any different. Wesleyan could really use the points on the road. There isn’t a lot of margin for error here, but the visitors behind Keith Buehler get it done. Wesleyan 3-2
Tuesday, January 15, 2013
Tufts at Wentworth
I really am not picking on Tufts, but after a road trip to Amherst and Hamilton, the Tuesday night game against a pesky Wentworth squad is not what the Jumbos need. The home team should be better rested, and that is worth a goal and the difference in this one. Wentworth 4-3
Connecticut College at Curry
Curry may still be on a high from their trip west to Wisconsin and winning the Yellowjacket Tournament, whereas Connecticut College was not so up after its appearance at the Northfield Bank Tournament at Norwich. Goaltending has straightened out for Curry between Joe Dawson and Derek Mohney, and either will be the difference in this one for the home team. Curry 4-3
It’s all about points on the weekends to move in the standings. The number of weekends is counting down, so the incentive to win is now to build momentum. The drive in the second half is on — drop the puck!