Atlantic Hockey Picks Nov. 1-3

Last Week:
Dan: 6-6-3
Chris: 9-3-3

On the season:
Dan: 27-16-5 (.615)
Chris: 31-12-5 (.698)

This Week’s Picks

Friday, Nov. 1 and Saturday, Nov. 2:
Canisius at Miami
Dan: Canisius proved they have the capability to upset a team when they took out Denver last week.  The talent is there, and this is a trap weekend for Miami.  If Miami overlooks Canisius, one of these games is going back to Buffalo.  That would be the gutsy pick, and honestly, I’m not sure I want to take it.  The smart pick is Miami, regardless of how close this will be.  Miami sweeps
Chris: Canisius had a big non-conference last weekend and No. 6 Miami has to be careful not to take the Golden Griffins for granted after two tough weekends with North Dakota and Providence to open the season. In four previous meeting the RedHawks have outscored Canisius 23-3. These games will be closer, but I think Miami comes through. Miami sweeps.

Friday, Nov. 1st and Sunday, Nov. 3:
American International at Michigan State
Dan: AIC got pummeled when they played Providence, but they switched up goalies and picked up a conference win against Sacred Heart.  Even if Ty Reichenbach plays over Ryan Kerpan, I think MSU is looking at this with a sense of urgency to reestablish what they hope they can be.  Michigan State sweeps.
Chris: This series takes a break on Saturday thanks to the Michigan-Michigan State football game. These are must-games for the Spartans, who are 1-3. Their first five games of the season are all against teams from Massachusetts, and  I think they’ll even their record here. Michigan State sweeps.


Friday, Nov. 1:
Sacred Heart at Holy Cross
Dan: This is one of those weird games where it’s going to be hard to predict.  Holy Cross hasn’t won a game, but everyone they’ve played is nationally ranked.  Of course Sacred Heart is 2-3, but they a) got beaten handily by RPI and b) just lost to AIC.  I’ll leave it up to my trusty Magic 8 Ball.  Holy Cross wins.
Chris: I wouldn’t have thought that the Pioneers (2-3) would have two more wins than the Crusaders (0-5) at this point. If the Crusaders aren’t motivated for this one, they’ll be in trouble. I like them to get their first victory of the season. Holy Cross wins.

Air Force at Rochester Institute of Technology
Dan: This is going to be one of my fun highlighted games of the week.  Air Force and RIT is a rivalry that I usually circle on the calendar just because of the history when these two teams both ranked at the top of the league.  RIT will be up for this, but Air Force is clicking early.  Later this year, I’ll have RIT splitting in Colorado, but this is a game Air Force wins.
Chris: These teams always play each other close, and the home team wins the majority of the time, especially the Falcons. That’s the pressure on RIT – the other two meeting between these squads will be in Colorado Springs, where the Tigers have won just once in conference play. But the Falcons are playing great hockey already. I wish I could pick a tie, but I’ll go with the home team. RIT wins.

Bentley at Merrimack
Dan: The Bentley offense had its best showing since the win over UNO when they threw the kitchen sink at Harvard.  The problem?  They ran into a goalie that they just couldn’t beat and got shut out.  The Falcons haven’t started 1-6 since 2001-2002, but with Army on Saturday, this game is in a really tough spot.  It’ll be close because Bentley’s defense is vastly improved, but Merrimack wins.
Chris: Another tough non-conference test for Bentley. Despite being just 30 miles apart, this is the first meeting of the teams in their respective Division I eras. After putting up six goals in their season opening win over Nebraska-Omaha, the Falcons have scored just seven times since over a five game stretch. Merrimack is a good defensive team, and that gives the Warriors the edge. Merrimack wins. 

Army at Connecticut
Dan: Even though Matt Grogan was absolutely fantastic in the comeback tie against Union, my attention is on the UConn offense against Army goalie Rob Tadazak.  He’s very quietly holding his own among some elite company in the AHA.  I think Tadazak has the potential to keep this one very close, so don’t sleep on the Black Knights.  UConn wins, though.
Chris: Army has played just two games so far, and struggled to score goals as expected. Huskies goalie Matt Grogan was sensational last weekend, making 47 saves in a 2-2 tie with Union. I think he’ll shut down the Black Knights. UConn wins. 

Penn State at Robert Morris
Dan: This one will get nasty.  Penn State is quickly gaining a reputation of a team that plays physical-to-the-point-it’s-on-the-edge.  Robert Morris has a compete level that’s always through the roof.  Sparks are gonna fly.  Robert Morris wins.
Chris: This is shaping up to be a nice rivalry between Keystone State programs. Robert Morris is tough at home, but if Penn State can learn to stay out of the box, I think they’ll win this game. So assuming less penalties, Penn State wins. 


Saturday, Nov. 2:
Bentley at Army
Dan: Brian Riley and Ryan Soderquist joke every time they play each other that they’re suited for each other’s home rink.  Army’s disciplined, physical style is good for the small Bentley ice, and Bentley’s fast, athletic style is good for the large Tate Rink ice.  This is in Army, so I’m taking Bentley to get off the schneid.  Bentley wins.
Chris: Army is a usually a better team at home, but I like Bentley to get its first league points of the season. Bentley wins.

Air Force at Mercyhurst
Dan: Mercyhurst’s schedule is designed for this game.  They had a rough start with brutal opponents, and they did so with the intent of being battle-hardened for the league slate.  They’re the preseason favorite to unseat Niagara/Air Force at the top.  If they want to head towards that company, they better win this game.  There’s more to prove for them than Air Force.  Mercyhurst wins.
Chris: I think this is the game of the weekend in Atlantic Hockey. Both teams are expected to finish at or near the top of the standings. It’s a bigger game for Mercyhurst for the same reason RIT needs to take points against the Falcons on Friday – the other two games between the Lakers and Falcons are at Air Force. Mercyhurst has Friday off and Air Force does not. That and home ice give the Lakers a slight edge. Mercyhurst wins. 

Sacred Heart at Connecticut
Dan: UConn should start clicking soon, and as they warm up, teams will start catching up to the faster yet weird start to the season.  Things will even out by the time Christmas hits.  I love Sacred Heart, I really do.  But as teams get settled into their seasons, they’re going to find that they’re not quite there.  They’ll beat teams in their division, but that’ll come later in the year.  Right now, though, there’s too much talent in Storrs to keep up.  UConn wins.
Chris: In a battle of Nutmeg State teams, I like a deeper Huskies squad on home ice. UConn wins.