Atlantic Hockey Picks Dec. 20-30

Last Week:
Dan: 3-0-2
Chris: 2-1-2

On the season:
Dan: 79-34-12 (.680)
Chris: 79-34-12 (.680)

This Week’s Picks

Friday, Dec. 20:
Providence at Army
Dan: This is one of those games where PC fans have to worry that their team doesn’t take Army too lightly.  That said, I think the Friars will be just fine.  Providence wins.
Chris: This the only one out of 14 games to be played over the next 10 days that will be held in an AHA rink. But that alone won’t be enough for the Black Knights to knock off the No. 5 Friars. Providence wins. 


Friday, Dec. 27:
Penn State vs.Robert Morris (Three Rivers Classic)
Dan: Penn State won the first meeting of the year, 5-4, in a game featuring 93 shots.  That said, they also barely beat Sacred Heart and were swept by Air Force.  These two teams seem to produce instant classics, and I’m guessing this is the time for the Colonials to start righting the ship.  If RMU loses, I’m vowing to quit my jinx and never pick them again.  RMU wins.
Chris: RMU won this tournament last season, but I don’t see that happening this time. I’m picking the Nittany Lions in a close game. Penn State wins. 


Saturday, Dec.28
Robert Morris vs. Bowling Green/Boston College (Three Rivers Classic)
If RMU wins, then they’ll likely draw Boston College, who is playing BGSU in the “York Bowl” in the first round.  If that happens, consider the Penn State game a Pyrrhic victory.  Regardless who they play, I’m picking against The Sons of Schooley, but Holy Cross ruined any chance of catching the Eagles napping.  Boston College beats RMU or Bowling Green beats RMU
Chris: I’m expecting this to be the consolation game, and I’m expecting the Colonials to play Bowling Green. But you never know. I’m picking Boston College to defeat RMU, or RMU to beat Bowling Green. 

Holy Cross vs. Bentley (Frozen Fenway)
Dan: Both teams are planning huge alumni events for the game, and the atmosphere should be great for the first ever AHA game at Frozen Fenway.  The Falcons are dressing in the Red Sox locker room; consider Branden Komm the Bentley Big Papi for his flair for dramatic, game-winning, heart-stopping saves this year.  Holy Cross, though, hasn’t lost a season series in this rivalry since 2009 and held a 2-1 lead into the third before Bentley won in OT in their first meeting.  Bentley wins.
Chris: Outdoor games are more difficult to pick, because weather conditions can dictate a style of play that may favor one team over another. But Bentley’s on such a roll right now that I’d pick them even if the game were played in a parking lot.  Bentley wins.

Canisius vs. Massachussetts-Lowell (Catamount Cup)
Dan: On neutral ice, anything can happen.  If the Griffs win, it’ll announce loudly that their title defense is just getting warmed up.  But UML is 10-2 in their last 12.  Mass-Lowell wins.
Chris: An upstart RIT squad beat two ranked teams to win this tournament two years ago, and there’s no reason why Canisius can’t do the same thing. But I think the 10th-ranked River Hawks won’t be taking the Golden Griffins lightly. Mass-Lowell wins. 

Saturday, Dec 28 and Sunday, Dec. 29
Mercyhurst at Ohio State
Dan: Despite being in first, the Lakers are 2-6-1 in non-conference play.  The Buckeyes are 8-4, including six straight against the league.  Ohio State sweeps.
Chris: Ohio State has been good at home this season (7-3) and is 6-0 against AHA competition so far, but think the Lakers get a split here. Ohio State wins Saturday; Mercyhurst wins Sunday.


Sunday, Dec. 29
Sacred Heart at Connecticut (UConn Holiday Classic)
Dan: I’m going to miss when UConn hosts a holiday tournament and an eastern pod teams plays a league game in the first round.  UConn wins.
Chris:This tournament game, played at The XL Center in Hartford, counts as a league matchup. I’m going with the Huskies to win despite them giving up the home ice advantage. UConn will have to get used to playing in Hartford, where the Huskies will play all of their home Hockey East games next season. UConn wins. 

Holy Cross at Yale
Dan: It’s a bummer that Holy Cross will have a physical, emotional game in the league on Saturday and the defending national champions on Sunday.  Yale struggled into break, losing to Dartmouth and tying Harvard.  But this will be a good progression back to play for the Elis after playing the Russian Red Stars on Friday.  Yale wins.
Chris: The Crusaders have a quick turnaround, going from Fenway Park to the Whale at Yale the following day. I’m going with the No. 11 Bulldogs on home ice. Yale wins. 

Air Force vs. Northeastern (Ledyard Bank Classic)
Dan: Stop Kevin Roy, and the rest becomes infinitely easier.  Northeastern still has a 3.32 GAA.  Air Force wins.
Chris: Another ranked foe stands in the way of an AHA team (The Huskies are No. 16 in the poll). But I’m sticking with the Falcons in this neutral-ice contest. Air Force wins. 

Canisius at Vermont (Catamount Cup)
Dan: Vermont was on a roll until their last game, sweeping UMass and Maine before losing to NU.  Mario Puskarich is turning into the freshman find of the year, especially since their other highly-coveted freshman, Brady Shaw, is in a funk.  Vermont wins.
Chris: This “tournament” features a pre-determined lineup, so the Golden Griffins will play the host Catamounts no matter how they fare against Lowell the day before. I’m going with the home team. Vermont wins. 


Monday, Dec. 30
Sacred Heart vs. UMass/Quinnipiac (UConn Holiday Classic)
Dan: I don’t think it will matter, but I think Sacred Heart is better suited for a matchup with UMass.  Quinnipiac’s system is designed to kill opposing offenses.  UMass or Quinnipiac win.
Chris: I think Quinnipiac will defeat UMass in the first round, so the Pioneers will most likely face the Minutemen in the consolation game In either case, I think SHU finishes fourth. UMass or Quinnipiac wins. 

UMass/Quinnipiac at Connecticut (UConn Holiday Classic)
Dan: I really hope this is UMass-UConn because that’s one of those great “other sports” rivalries that would translate great into hockey.  The basketball rivalry is getting a shot in the arm thanks to the surge of the Minutemen.  Why can’t hockey do the same?  UMass wins.  If it’s Quinnipiac, well then that’s just lame.  Quinnipiac wins.
Chris: Sticking with my predictions, this would mean a Quinnipiac-UConn championship, and I’m going with the No. 8 Bobcats. Quinnipiac wins. If it’s a UMass-UConn matchup, UConn wins. 

Air Force vs. Providence/Dartmouth (Ledyard Bank Classic)
Dan: There is no reason why Providence should lose to a Dartmouth team that apparently forgot how to play hockey this year and is 2-10 after going 15-12-5 last year.  For Air Force’s sake, I don’t know what to hope for.  Providence wins if they play the Friars.  Air Force wins against the Big Green.
Chris:  If my prediction holds up, the Falcons will play the Friars  in the title game. I think Providence wins that matchup. In the event the Falcons are paired with the host Big Green, I like Air Force to win.