NESCAC picks: Feb. 22

So, my final regular season picks finished at 4-2-0 (.667). Admittedly I would have never predicted the outcome of the 10-5 Trinity win over Bowdoin in Monday’s make-up game, so I am hoping to really get it right for the playoffs. My overall record finished at 48-19-8 (.693), so I missed the 70 percent target and will need to be perfect in the playoffs to end up there for the season.
Here are the selections for the quarterfinals games, where frankly just about anything is possible.
Saturday, February 23, 2013
No. 6 Wesleyan at No. 3 Trinity
The book on playoff success is great goaltending, solid defense, and timely scoring, and both these teams can lay claim to having the key ingredients needed to win. Wesleyan’s Beuhler is the offensive trump card in this game, but Trinity’s Coulthard is the defensive trump card that could make it all moot. It went to overtime last weekend, and guess what, it probably is this weekend too. Trinity 3-2
No. 5 Middlebury at No. 4 Amherst
The Lord Jeffs have owned the Panthers over the past two seasons, winning the last five meetings, most in dramatic come-from-behind fashion. Those are confidence killers to a young team that hasn’t yet put all the pieces together and now faces an experienced playoff foe on the road. Panthers goaltending has been too inconsistent to go very far in the tournament — make it six in a row for Amherst. Amherst 4-2
No. 7 Colby at No. 2 Williams  
Colby has been playing some better hockey since being lambasted by the Ephs, 9-2, a few weeks ago. The Ephs have been getting it done in playoff-style hockey all season, so a close game isn’t going to bother them much in terms of handling the pressure. Sean Dougherty has been one of the league’s best in goal, and Williams’ young defense has matured nicely. Ephs seniors are on a mission. Williams 4-1
No. 8 Hamilton at No. 1 Bowdoin
Sometimes a late-season loss is just the wake-up call a team needs to regain focus and intensity for a strong playoff run. Not that the Polar Bears needed much motivation, but losing 10-5 to Trinity on Monday may be just what coach Terry Meagher can use to make sure that the number one seed takes care of business and stays at home to host the final four next weekend. Too much speed and too many healthy bodies for Hamilton to deal with. Bowdoin 6-2
Nobody is thinking about next week. If you are, you may be going home early. The teams are so closely matched, anything can happen — drop the puck!