Atlantic Hockey Picks Oct. 11-17

Last Week:
Dan: 1-2
Chris: 2-1

On the season:
Dan 1-2 (.333)
Chris 2-1 (.667)

This Week’s Picks

Friday, October 11th:
Army at Penn State
Dan:For all the confusion this week as to if Army would even get to play in this game, Penn State’s been marching to this day for three years.  Penn State 3, Army 1.
Chris: There would have a been a lot of hype leading up to the opening on Penn State’s $80 million Pegula Arena anyway, but the Government Shutdown kept Army’s participation up in the air until just a few days ago. I think Penn State comes out flying. Penn State 4, Army 1.

Air Force vs. Alaska
Dan:Air Force tied the Nanooks last year after not playing Jason Torf for the first period.  Had Torf played the whole game, I’m pretty sure the Falcons would’ve won.  Alaska returns enough to compete, but I’m going Air Force.  Air Force 2, Alaska 1.
Chris: The Falcons have been dealing with the same uncertainty as Army, so I think they’ll be happy to just play. I like the Nonooks in a close one.  Alaska 2, Air Force 1.

Sacred Heart at Massachusetts-Lowell
Dan: Massachusetts-Lowell is a preseason favorite to win the national championship.  Sacred Heart, while starting to improve, is not.  Lowell 6, Sacred Heart 0.
Chris: The Pioneers are thrown into the fire right away, opening against the No. 1 team in the nation. I doubt they’ll win, but a good showing will set the tone for a better season. Lowell 5, Sacred Heart 1.

Mercyhurst at Minnesota
Dan: If Mercyhurst wants to be a championship contender, it starts with a win opening the Big Ten era for the Gophers.  But I just think Minnesota is too big, too strong, and too talented.  Minnesota 4, Mercyhurst 1.
Chris: The numbers are not on Mercyhurst’s side. The Lakers are winless in 14 previous season openers as a Division I program. Their last and only meeting against Minnesota was in the 2003 NCAA tournament, a 9-2 Gopher win. Laker coach Rick Gotkin has often joked that his team was so mismatched, he asked for his time out in warmups. I think this one will be closer, but not close enough.Minnesota 4, Mercyhrust 2.


Saturday, October 12th:
Canisius at Niagara
Dan: The storylines running through this game are thick and bold.  Niagara’s the resident big dog, knocked off by the team that would eventually win the league title.  Canisius wants us to believe they are a big dog in their own right.  Goaltending wins it.  Canisius 3, Niagara 2.
Chris: The first AHA conference game of the season is a blockbuster. These rivals pick up where they left off, with Canisius upsetting the top-seeded Purple Eagles in the playoff semifinals last season. I think Canisius wins the rematch. Canisius 4, Niagara 3.

Holy Cross at Boston University
Dan: Holy Cross sells everyone on not rebuilding so much as reloading.  But this David Quinn’s first game, and I’ve seen first hand how hungry the Terriers are becoming.  BU 3, Holy Cross 1.
Chris: I think this will be a down year for the Crusaders compared to their last two seasons, but a strong showing here could prove me wrong. BU 3, Holy Cross 1.

Michigan at Rochester Institute of  Technology
Dan: RIT beat Michigan last year, and Michigan hosts Boston College on Thursday.  That adds up to an 0-1 Michigan team coming in steaming mad and hungry for a win.  Michigan 4, RIT 1.
Chris: The Tigers sold out their homecoming game (10,466) for the fourth consecutive year, but so far they’re 1-1-1 in those contests, and haven’t faced an opponent this strong. Michigan 5, RIT 1.

Rensselaer at Sacred Heart
Dan: RPI is the preseason favorite to win ECAC, a league that sent two teams to the national title game last year.  That’s enough for me. RPI 4, Sacred Heart 1.
Chris: This one’s at Bridgeport, which should help RPI. The Milford Ice Pavillion’s a tougher place to play for visiting teams, especially if they haven’t been there before. RPI 5, Sacred Heart 1.

Air Force at Alaska-Anchorage
Dan: UAA is going to surprise a few people this year in the new WCHA.  I’m not sure if this is an upset or not, but I’m taking the Seawolves  UAA 3, Air Force 2.
Chris: I think Air Force is the better team, and can overcome the home-ice advantage by the Seawolves. Air Force 3, UAA 2.

Clarkson/New Hampshire vs. Mercyhurst
Dan: Mercyhurst’s first win is going to ride on who they’re playing.  I don’t think they can beat UNH, but if it’s Clarkson?  The Lakers can’t lose if they want to supplant Niagara atop the league.  UNH 3, Mercyhurst 1; Mercyhurst 3, Clarkson 1.
Chris: I was going to take Mercyurst if it plays Clarkson, but that was before the Golden Knights swept Niagara last weekend. I’m picking either UNH or CU to win this one. UNH 4, Mercyhurst 2 or Clarkson 3, Mercyhurst 1.


Friday, October 11th and Saturday October 12th:
Bentley at Nebraska-Omaha
Dan: Bentley always puts a scare into teams when they go on the road; they led Michigan two years ago and did it again last year.  But UNO will come back and take both games.  UNO 4, Bentley 1; UNO 4, Bentley 2.
Chris: UNO and Bentley are both picked to finish around the same place in their respective league standings, but the new NCHC is obviously stronger top to bottom. UNO 3, Bentley 1; UNO 4, Bentley 2.

Robert Morris at Lake Superior
Dan:Lake Superior comes across like a sneaky good team in the WCHA.  Robert Morris is a sneaky good team in the AHA.  It’ll come down to goaltending, where LSSU returns a two-player tandem, but I still think Robert Morris steals one.  LSSU 3, RMU 1; RMU 2, LSSU 1.
Chris: Robert Morris was an excellent 5-1-1 in non-conference games last season, and I think should earn a split here despite breaking in some new goaltending. LSSU 3, RMU2; RMU 3, LSSU 2.


Tuesday, October 15th:
Ferris State at Mercyhurst:
Dan: I feel like Mercyhurst is getting a raw deal on an aggressive out-of-conference schedule.  I keep picking against them, but I know they’re a good team.  Ferris State 4, Mercyhurst 2.
Chris: The Lakers don’t play many non-conference games at home, so that will be a plus. But Mercyhurst has never been especially strong at home, and Ferris looks to be very tough this season. FSU 3, Mercyhurst 2.


Wednesday, October 16th:
Bentley at Sacred Heart
Dan: This is the first true test for Bentley after a disastrous end to last year.  Bentley 4, Sacred Heart 1.
Chris: Bentley needs to get off on the right foot in league play, and Sacred Heart needs this even more. I think this will be closer than expected. Bentley 2, Sacred Heart 1.