Hockey East picks – Jan. 24-25

I’ve closed to within three after being down by five a few weeks ago. Here’s hoping I pick up two more this week.

I’m making some risky picks, so if they don’t work out, I’ll just claim my anesthesiologist got to me early.

Dave last week: 10-3-2
Jim last week: 9-4-2
Dave’s record-to-date: 108-58-22
Jim’s record-to-date: 111-55-22

Here are this week’s picks:

Friday, Jan. 24

Massachusetts-Lowell at Providence
Dave’s pick: The only sane pick in this home-and-home series is to go with the home team each night. But when have I ever been called sane? My gut tells me that Lowell’s strong stretch run begins this weekend. And from an analytic side, I think that Lowell’s league-best defense and Providence’s league-worst power play proves to be a toxic combination for the Friars.
UML 2, PC 1 (OT)
Jim’s pick: I’m actually going to go with Dave on this one. Lowell’s defense has been pretty incredible in recent weeks. The question is whether or not the offense can come alive. I think it can.
UML 3, PC 1

Vermont at Boston University
Dave’s pick: BU has the league’s worst team defense ranking? (Other than UMass, no other team is even close.) Say it ain’t so.
UVM 4, BU 2
Jim’s pick: This BU team is so damaged by injuries that I can’t pick for them even at home.
UVM 3, BU 2

Northeastern at Notre Dame
Dave’s pick: The Huskies have been playing well and are 7-3-1 on the road, but I think Notre Dame’s second-half push begins here. The Irish are also 11-3-1 at home.
ND 3, NU 2
Jim’s pick: As strong as Northeastern has been, I think home ice matters a lot in this series.
ND 3, NU 2

Maine at New Hampshire
Dave’s pick: Insane pick number two: I’m going with the Black Bears despite their 0-7-2 road record. I just like the way they’ve been playing, other than that loss to BC (and I give everyone a Get-Out-Of-Jail-Free card against the Eagles).
Maine 3, UNH 2 (OT)
Jim’s pick: Here is where Dave and I will disagree. UNH will be as hungry as imaginable after the way last weekend went at home against Union. Not to say that Maine won’t be hungry, but home ice is my deciding factor.
UNH 3, Maine 1

Merrimack at Massachusetts
Dave’s pick: I was all set to instinctively go with a home-team split in this series, but I can’t get over UMass losing at home to a 6-15-1 AIC team while the Warriors were splitting with fourth-ranked Quinnipiac. Is this Insane Pick Number 3? Especially since it means I’ve gone with the road team on four of the five Friday night contests?
MC 2, UMass 1
Jim’s pick: I think UMass can come out with a win here. If I’m wrong, I let Dave right back into this race. If I’m right, it’s lights out!
UMass 3, MC 1

Saturday, Jan. 12

Vermont at Boston University
Dave’s pick: Sorry, but I’m not picking BU until the results change, especially when matched against a 12-8-3 Vermont team that has a winning road record.
UVM 4, BU 3
Jim’s pick: I can’t say it any better myself.
UVM 3, BU 1

Providence at Massachusetts-Lowell
Dave’s pick: I’m going with the River Hawks sweeping for the reasons mentioned above. But I wouldn’t be shocked at any outcome in this series.
UML 2, PC 1
Jim’s pick: Lowell has been a better road team than a home team this season. And though I like Providence for the split, I’ve had such bad luck calling splits that I’ll go out on the limb with a River Hawks sweep.
UML 3, PC 2

Northeastern at Notre Dame
Dave’s pick: Is it me or is this an exceptionally brutal week for picks? I’m going with the Irish sweep even though the Huskies have proven me wrong before.
ND 3, NU 2
Jim’s pick: I’m not picking splits, right? Well, maybe not.
NU 4, ND 2

Massachusetts at Merrimack
Dave’s pick: Finally, a pick I have total confidence in.  Uh-oh. I know what that means.
MC 3, UMass 1
Jim’s pick: Merrimack does play well at home. And another split pick. Kill me now.
MC 4, UMass 1

New Hampshire at Maine
Dave’s pick: I just can’t figure out UNH. It’s utter insanity to pick Maine to sweep a team as good as the Wildcats, but this is my week of insanity.
Maine 3, UNH 2
Jim’s pick: Okay, make that three split picks in a row. Honestly, my gut say tie here, but that will never be my pick.
Maine 4, UNH 2

Boston College at Penn State
Dave’s pick: I’d bet the ranch on this one.
BC 6, PSU 1
Jim’s pick: As Dave said, bet the ranch, particularly the way that BC’s offense is clicking right now.
BC 5, PSU 1