Last Week: 5-4-2
On the Season: 104-49-22 (.656)
This Week’s Picks:
Friday, Feb. 1 and Saturday, Feb. 2
Bentley at Niagara – This is the final weekend of East-West pod play in the AHA, which means Bentley is the last team to see the Purple Eagles this season. After this, Niagara plays its second and third games against West pod teams. This is a classic matchup of offense (Bentley is first in the league at 3.61 goals per game) against defense (Niagara is second in fewest goals allowed at 2.21). The No. 17 Purple Eagles are putting a fifteen game home unbeaten streak on the line, and I think it stops here. Bentley wins Friday; Niagara wins Saturday.
American International at Air Force – The all-time series stands at 22-1-1 in favor of the Falcons. AIC’s win came the last time it played in Colorado Springs (2010). The Yellow Jackets can certainly steal a game here, but Air Force is playing very focused hockey right now. Air Force sweeps.
Army at Mercyhurst – Army is winless in its last five games, falling from second place to seventh over that span. Mercyhurst has established a pattern since the new year began: lose Game One of a series and then win Game Two. I think the Lakers break that mold this weekend and come away with four points. Mercyhurst sweeps.
Connecticut at Rochester Institute of Technology – A good matchup of a team clicking offensively, especially on the power play (RIT), but struggling defensively vs. a squad having some problems scoring goals but getting solid netminding (UConn). I think that results in a split. UConn wins Friday; RIT Saturday.
Sacred Heart at Robert Morris – The Pioneers are still winless, and we’re into the part of the season where teams are extremely focused, so Sacred Heart isn’t likely to benefit by a letdown by an opponent. I don’t think Robert Morris gives SHU an opening, especially at home. RMU sweeps.
Saturday, Feb. 2 and Sunday, Feb. 3
Holy Cross at Canisius – I think this will be the most entertaining of the weekend, pitting teams separated by two points in the standings. Holy Cross was just 3-3 conference play in January but clings to third place. Canisius was 3-2-1 over the same span and sits in sixth. I think a sweep by either is unlikely. Canisius wins Saturday; Holy Cross on Sunday.
Tuesday, Feb. 5
Mercyhurst at Robert Morris – This is the final “game in hand” of the season. After this contest, all 12 teams will have eight games left. The teams play a home and home series the final weekend of the season. I’m picking RMU to pick up the “extra” two points at home. Robert Morris wins.
Feel free to chime in by posting your picks in the comments and follow me on Twitter @chrislerch for updates throughout the weekend.