Atlantic Hockey Picks, Feb. 21-22

Last Week:
Dan: 9-3-0
Chris: 8-4-0

On the season:
Dan: 134-66-21 (.654)
Chris: 134-66-21 (.654)

This Week’s Picks

Friday, Feb. 21 and Saturday, Feb. 22:

Rochester Institute of Technology at Air Force
Dan: The bad karma bus is steamrolling through Rochester these days.  They’re hurt, they’re struggling, and they’re getting beat badly by teams.  If RIT were at home, maybe I’d take them for a point, but they won’t win going west with Air Force fighting for a bye.  Air Force sweeps.
Chris: Even in seasons when the Tigers have been near the top of the standings, RIT has struggled at Cadet Ice Arena (2-9-1). With RIT still plagued with injuries and struggling, I’m picking the Falcons to grab four points.

American International vs. Holy Cross
Dan: Both teams can pretty much clinch home ice with a sweep, which is exactly why it won’t happen.  AIC is 4-8 at home and 5-5-1 on the road, so I’m picking the Yellow Jackets to win on the road.  But Matt Ginn won’t let Holy Cross lose both games this weekend.  And I’m keeping up the pressure on AIC to get word out for this team – if you get home ice in the playoffs, do whatever you can to pack the OIC.  That said, Saturday’s game is at the MassMutual Center in Springfield, so hopefully there’s a good turnout.  AIC wins on Friday.  Holy Cross wins on Saturday.
Chris:  The teams are tied for the eighth and final home ice position. It will be interesting to see how the Yellow Jackets respond in their final four games as they look to make history and host a playoff series at the Olympia Ice Center. I’m going with the home team in each game, which means a Holy Cross win on Friday and an AIC victory on Saturday.

Connecticut vs. Army
Despite long odds against them every day in the stat column, I think Army is good enough to win a game and mark it down – they’re winning one of their last four.  But I can’t take them logically.  So I’ll just wait for them to prove me wrong and then use 20-20 hindsight to say, “Told you so.”  UConn sweeps.
The Black Knights are locked into 12th place and look to play spoiler against the fourth-place Huskies, who would receive a first-round bye if the season ended today. I think that’s sufficient motivation for a UConn sweep.

Bentley vs. Sacred Heart
Dan: Ryan Soderquist told me this week that his Falcons were going to put extra emphasis on blue collar hockey against a Sacred Heart team that beat them 3-1 earlier in the year.  Maybe I’m a homer, but I think Bentley gets their four points, seals up a bye, and heads to the playoffs as a potential favorite to win it all.  Bentley sweeps.
Chris: Sacred Heart is much improved over last season and has done a good job staying in the mix for home ice – they’re three points out of eighth place with with four games to play. But I like Bentley to keep place in its quest for the regular season title. Bentley sweeps.

Robert Morris vs. Canisius
Dan: Robert Morris finally lost a game when Niagara beat them 5-3 last weekend.  That said, they’re still only one point out of that last playoff bye spot, and you probably won’t find a team in the league with the same compete level as the Colonials.  I’ve been on the RMU bandwagon since day one, and I’m not jumping off now, even if it means I start kissing them with that jinx again.  RMU sweeps.
Chris: Canisius has been the most difficult team for me to pick this season. They’ve been consistently inconsistent. Robert Morris saw its record nine-game unbeaten streak come to an end last weekend, and it will be interesting to see how the Colonials respond. What will happen? When in doubt, I go with the home team. RMU wins Friday; Canisius on Saturday,

Mercyhurst vs. Niagara
Dan: The Lakers rebounded from a bad sweep at Air Force to beat up on RIT last week.  The Purple Eagles are hitting their stride, going 5-1-1 in their last seven games and moving closer to sealing up the sixth slot.  This is going to be a fun weekend, and I think Niagara might have enough in the tank to take points from the Lakers and catch the first place team napping at home.  For that reason, I’m going to make my customary bold move and go with a split.  Niagara wins on Friday.  Mercyhurst on Saturday
Chris: The Lakers are closing in on their first AHA regular season title, leading Bentley by two points with four games left. Niagara is tough to beat at home and I wouldn’t be surprised with a split, but my gut tells me Mercyhurst is going to come out of this weekend with four points and set the stage for a down-to-the-wire final weekend. Lakers sweep.