Atlantic Hockey Picks Jan. 3-5

Last Week:
Dan: 10-4
Chris: 10-4

On the season:
Dan: 89-38-12 (.683)
Chris: 89-38-12 (.683)

This Week’s Picks

Friday, Jan 3 and Saturday, Jan 4:
Air Force at American International
Dan: AIC lost nine in a row to go into their break, while Air Force hasn’t lost since November 29th.  They’re 2-0-3 over their little stretch, and even without Jason Torf or Ben Carey, they should be fine for this weekend.  Still, this comes with an uneasy feeling for their future.  Air Force sweeps.
Chris: The Yellow Jackets have been idle since Dec. 14 and the Falcons are coming off a championship weekend at Dartmouth, where they defeated two ranked teams to win the Ledyard Bank Classic. Despite the reported loss of goaltender Jason Torf to injury, I’m going with the hot hand. Air Force sweeps. 

Mercyhurst at Army
Dan: This is a doppelganger to the Air Force-AIC series.  A league titan comes east to play a team struggled with the first half of the season.  Army did go 2-2 into the break, including a shutout of Canisius, but Mercyhurst is too strong in comparison to the rest of the league.  Mercyhurst sweeps.
Chris: Army is another team that took the Holidays off, while Mercyhurst concluded its non-conference schedule at 2-8-1 after getting swept at Ohio State. But the Lakers still rule the roost the Altlantic Hockey (tied with Bentley but ahead in winning percentage), and I have to go with them here. Mercyhurst sweeps. 

Niagara at Bentley
Bentley is one win away from tying their longest winning streak at five.  Brett Gensler is one goal away from tying the Division I goals record after breaking the Division I points record earlier in the year.  Meanwhile, Niagara is winless in their last six, allowing over three goals per game.  Bentley sweeps.
Chris: If there are any doubters left about Bentley, they’ll have to come around if the Falcons sweep here. Which I think they will. Bentley sweeps. 

Canisius at Holy Cross
Dan: Holy Cross had an emotional weekend last weekend but lost both games.  Still, they played remarkable hockey against both Boston College and Air Force.  Canisius has lost their last three, but two of those were to UMass-Lowell and Vermont, both of whom are ranked.  Canisius wins on Friday.  Holy Cross wins on Saturday.
Chris: Both teams were 0-2 last week and looking to rebound. I’m going with the Crusaders, who hung in there with Bentley and Yale. Holy Cross sweeps.

Rochester Institute of Technology at Connecticut
Dan: UConn has been wildly inconsistent, getting beat badly by Sacred Heart in the league game first round of their own holiday tournament in Hartford but holding a sweep over Niagara and a consolation game win over UMass-Amherst.  RIT, meanwhile, hasn’t lost since November 22nd, and owns the fifth longest unbeaten streak in the nation (tied with Wisconsin).  And I’m a big fan that destiny is setting in for an RIT-Bentley collision course next week.  RIT sweeps.
Chris: This is a big series for both teams, which come in tied for third with identical conference records (5-3-1). RIT is 3-4-1 at UConn since joining the AHA, including splits in their last three visits to the Freitas Ice Forum. Taking into account that the Huskies have been hot and cold in league play so far makes another split the safe pick. UConn wins Friday; RIT wins Saturday.

Saturday, Jan. 4 and Sunday, Han. 5
Robert Morris at Sacred Heart
Dan: Robert Morris lost a couple of one-goal games in the Three Rivers Classic, meaning they’ve now lost 10 of their 12 L’s by one or two goals.  Sacred Heart beat UConn but lost to Quinnipiac in a game where they were outshot 54-12.  SHU didn’t get a shot on goal in the second period and were outshot, 35-3, over the second and third combined en route to a 5-0 loss.  They won’t have that this weekend, but I’m still taking the Colonials.  Robert Morris sweeps.
Chris:Both goalies (RMU’s Shafer and SHU’s Vazanno) got quite a workout last weekend making 91 and 78 saves respectively in holiday tournament play. Is it too early to say these are must-win games for the Colonials, who have just one win in their last nine games? I’m going with a split here. Sacred Heart wins Saturday; Robert Morris wins Sunday