Hockey East picks – Dec. 27 – 31

In the handful of contests last week, I doubled my lead over Jim.  (Somehow, that sounds a lot more impressive than saying my lead went from one to two games.)

I could complain that I would have widened that lead even more if I’d picked the New Hampshire – Maine split the other way, but I’ll take the extra margin and do my best to shut up.

Dave last week: 4-2-0
Jim last week: 3-3-0
Dave’s record-to-date: 87-40-11
Jim’s record-to-date: 85-42-11

Here are this week’s picks:

Frozen Holiday Classic (Bridgeport, CT)

Saturday/Sunday, Dec. 27/28

Massachusetts-Lowell vs Sacred Heart 
Dave’s pick: Sacred Heart stunned the River Hawks a year ago on banner-raising night, but that ain’t happening again.
UML 5, SH 1
Jim’s pick: I think this game has the chance to be closer, but still think Lowell will come out ahead.
UML 4, SH 2

Union vs Connecticut
Dave’s pick: Union hasn’t been dominating the ECAC, but it’ll be good enough to advance to the finals.
Union 4, UConn 1
Jim’s pick: Again, I think Dave’s margin here is a little off but I can’t disagree with the result.
Union 3, UConn 2

Championship/Third-Place Games
Dave’s pick: I’m taking Lowell over all comers, and UConn over Sacred Heart.
UML 3, Union 2; UML 4, UConn 1; Union 3, SH 1; UConn 2, SH 1
Jim’s pick: If Lowell and Union go head-to-head in the title game, that is the marquis matchup. But the first games back from break are always unpredictable.
UML 4, Union 3; UML 4, UConn 2; Union 4, SH 1; UConn 3, SH 1

Florida College Classic (Estero, FL)

Sunday/Monday, Dec. 28/29

Miami vs Notre Dame
Dave’s pick: I’ve been a little too optimistic about the Irish this year, so this time I’m going with Miami.
Miami 3, UND 2
Jim’s pick: Tough game to pick, but I might as well be a little different than Dave.
UND 4, Miami 3

Championship/Third-Place Game 
Dave’s pick: A match-up with 3-17-0 Lake State will be a cakewalk for Notre Dame, nostalgia notwithstanding; Cornell will be a lot more interesting. It’s a win either way.
UND 5, LSSU 1; UND 3, Cornell 2
Jim’s pick: I agree with Dave on Lake State – no problem for their ex-coach’s squad. But Cornell is another story.
UND 4, LSSU 1; Cornell 4, UND 3

Catamount Cup (Vermont)

Sunday, Dec. 28

Providence vs Massachusetts 
Dave’s pick: These two teams are going in opposite directions. No contest.
PC 4, UMass 1
Jim’s pick: Providence had things rolling into break. Did the days off hurt?
PC 3, UMass 2

Air Force at Vermont
Dave’s pick: This one would be lopsided at any venue. Even more so in the Catamounts’ barn.
UVM 5, AF 1
Jim’s pick: I don’t think Dave gives Air Force enough credit. But I don’t give them enough credit to squeak out a win.
UVM 4, AF 2

Monday, Dec. 29

Air Force vs Massachusetts
Dave’s pick: The second-round matchups are predetermined; I’m going with the Minutemen in a close one.
UMass 3, AF 2
Jim’s pick: I have never liked pre-determined field tournaments, but this one does mean UVM and UMass don’t have to meet again (met twice at end of November). I actually think Air Force can pull out a win in this one.
AF 4, UMass 3

Providence at Vermont
Dave’s pick: I was going to pick the Friars until I saw that the Catamounts are undefeated at home. I’m still mightily tempted, but I think home ice wins out. Barely.
UVM 2, PC 1 (OT)
Jim’s pick: Have to agree here. UVM at the Gut is an impressive team. Though this is an impressive matchup.
UVM 3, PC 2

Tuesday/Wednesday, Dec. 30/31

New Hampshire at Omaha 
Dave’s pick: The Wildcats are struggling and Nebraska-Omaha is 10-4-2. Unfortunately, I don’t think UNH comes out with more than a point.
UNO 4, UNH 3; UNO 3, UNH 2
Jim’s pick: Especially on the road, I have to agree with Dave. I will pick a sweep for the Mavericks, but should UNH come away with three or four points, this could be the turnaround this club needs.
UNO 3, UNH 1; UNO 4, UNH 2