Atlantic Hockey Picks, Feb. 6-11

Last Week:
Dan: 5-5-2
Chris: 6-4-2

On the season:
Dan: 119-58-19 (.656)
Chris: 119-58-19 (.656)

This Week’s Picks

Thursday, Feb. 6 and Saturday, Feb. 8:
Canisius vs. Niagara
Dan: Niagara is capable of beating anybody on any given day.  So’s Canisius.  They’re in a dead heat in the standings, and both teams have one major standout success with one major standout drawback.  I’m going to give the edge to goaltending in this series, though, and pick the Griffs.  Canisius sweeps.
Chris: This one’s a tossup since both teams have been inconsistent all season. One point separates them in the standings and I expect these games to be close as well. They’ve had success in each other’s barns but I’m going with the home team in each game. Niagara wins Thursday;  Canisius wins Saturday.


Friday, Feb. 7 and Saturday, Feb. 8:
Robert Morris at RIT
Dan: Every year, one team towards the top of the standings has an unfortunate hole in its game exploited while another team starts slow and trends up with unabashed fire.  This year, these are those two teams.  RMU sweeps.
Chris: These are teams moving in opposite directions: RIT has won just twice in its last 11 games, while RMU has only one loss in its last ten contests. I think those trends will continue. RMU sweeps.  

Mercyhusrt at Air Force
Dan: Air Force needs these points a lot more than Mercyhurst, and the Lakers are coming off three hard-earned points at home against second place Bentley.  I think Air Force takes a game in this one, but there’s no way anyone can take Mercyhurs to be swept.  Air Force wins on Friday; Mercyhurst on Saturday.
Chris: The Falcons really need these games if they want to stay in the hunt for a first-round bye. As dominant as Mercyhurst as been this season, I think Air Force earns a split here, especially if Jason Torf returns in net. Mercyhurst wins Friday; Air Force wins Saturday.  

Army vs. American International
AIC is within three points of its first ever first round home series.  In front of them are a Holy Cross team that’s good but beatable and an RIT team in free fall mode.  I’m going to buy in on the Yellow Jackets now and laugh at everyone later when someone is playing in Springfield in the first round.  AIC sweeps.
Chris: The Black Knight have fallen off the pace and are already eliminated from the possibility of a first-round bye. They certainly can defeat the Yellow Jackets, especially at home on Saturday, but AIC is playing well and I think it takes both games. AIC sweeps. 

Holy Cross vs. Sacred Heart
Dan: Both teams need a sweep in this series in order to give themselves a good chance at a first round home series, and the question remains as to who wants it more.  Last year, when SHU was 0-26-2, they beat and battered Holy Cross to start a 2-1-2 stretch of hockey.  I’m going with the Pioneers in this one.  Sacred Heart sweeps.
Chris: Both teams have the capability of finishing in the top eight (Holy Cross is one point out; Sacred Heart is four). A split would hurt both, but that’s what I think will happen. I’m going with the home team in each game. Sacred Heart wins Friday; Holy Cross on Saturday.

Bentley vs. Connecticut
Dan: Bentley and UConn are virtual doppelgangers of each other.  Both have solid offenses capable of rolling out multiple lines, both have good defenses anchored by tremendous goaltenders.  I have a feeling we’ll one day see Matt Grogan against Branden Komm in an AHL rink sooner rather than later.  Nobody will be surprised if UConn wins, but Bentley won’t soon forget last year’s 9-0 shellacking in Storrs late in the year.  Bentley sweeps.
Chris: Bentley played well enough last weekend to sweep Mercyhurst but had to settle for a single point. I think the Falcons get all four this weekend against a strong UConn team. These will be great games, but Bentley sweeps.


Tuesday, Feb. 11:
Connecticut at Providence
Dan: Coming off an emotional series with Bentley, I can’t see the Huskies taking out the Friars, no matter how badly PC has played the last month.  Expect the Friars to hand the AHA its 65th non-conference loss this year.  Providence wins.
Chris: This is the final regular season non-conference game for the league, which has been a less-than-impressive  15-64-5 so far. I think the 8th-ranked Friars end things on a down note for the AHA. Providence wins.