Atlantic Hockey Picks, Jan. 2- 4

Last week:

Dan: 5-3
Chris: 7-1

On the season:

Dan: 66-42-15 (.598)
Chris: 74-34-15 (.663)


This Week’s Picks:

Friday, January 2 and Saturday, January 3
American International vs. Army
Dan: Army enters this game after really showing some guts against the Russian Red Stars. Down 2-0 after one, Zak Zaremba scored twice to help West Point stake a 3-2 lead. Maksim Nikolaev scored to tie it late, but I think the game will really help Army get back on their legs before the start of the season. AIC is coming off an incredibly long road trip to Clarkson, where they lost the game late, 4-3. This is going to be a fun weekend, and I’m calling for a split with the home team winning each night. Friday’s in West Point, with Saturday in Springfield.Army wins on Friday. AIC wins on Saturday.
Chris: Both teams are coming off good efforts, and I too am thinking split, in the same order. Army wins on Friday; AIC on Saturday.

Air Force at Holy Cross
Dan: Huge weekend matchup as Air Force attempts to put the bad taste of the first half to bed against the league’s second best team. The Falcons’ high powered offense sputtered against Bentley last month, and they cannot have that happen against a Holy Cross defense that’s downright nasty.Holy Cross sweeps.
Chris: Air Force is really struggling and Holy Cross is coming off a penalty-filled loss to Yale. Falcons coach Frank Serratore has told me that the Hart Center is one of the toughest places in the league to play, and I think that will be the case this weekend. Holy Cross sweeps.

Niagara at Sacred Heart
Dan: I’m very high on the Pioneers, but I also think Niagara is much better than their last place record indicates. This series starts six in a row on the road for a Niagara team that has to go to Connecticut, Colorado, and North Dakota in consecutive weekends. They win this weekend, but that’s a lot of travel to be wary of later this month.Niagara sweeps.
Chris: This is a tough series to pick. It’s cliche’ to say that both teams are better than their records, but I think either is capable of taking four points this weekend. I think it will be a split, with Niagara winning on Friday and SHU coming back on Saturday.

Canisius at Maine
Dan: Maine has been less than expected this year, going 4-13-1 and winning only once since the calendar turned to November. A big part of their problem is goaltending, which isn’t good news since Canisius averaged three goals per game over their last four games before the break. Over that time, the Griffs went 2-1-1. I think they go up to Orono and take this weekend.Canisius sweeps.
Chris: I think these games are more important to Maine, who is struggling and will be under a lot of pressure to win at home before returning to conference play. Maine sweeps.

Ohio State at Mercyhurst
Dan: Mercyhurst went into the break on absolute fire, going 6-2-2 after November 1st. Along the way, they beat Colgate and Robert Morris while tying Bentley and Canisius. But it’s hard to judge how they’ll do against Ohio State, a team hovering around .500 but with a decidedly tougher schedule. Both of these games will be played at the Erie Insurance Arena to benefit The Warming Center for the Mental Health Center of Northwest Pennsylvania. Mercyhurst wins on Friday. Buckeyes win on Saturday.
Chris: Hopefully this series will draw well and games at the downtown rink will become an annual event. I too like a split with Mercyhurst winning on Friday and Ohio State on Saturday.

Massachusetts-Lowell vs. Rochester Institute of Technology
Dan: UMass-Lowell enters the Mariucci Classic up in Minnesota at 12-3-3 overall, fourth in the nation in scoring offense. They were ninth in the nation in the last poll. Even if RIT’s defense can hold the River Hawks at bay, I don’t think their 32nd ranked offense can keep pace. UML wins.
Chris: The Tigers return to the scene of one of their program-defining wins, defeating the Gophers in the first round of this tournament in 2007, just RIT’s third year at the D-I level. I don’t think they will fare as well this time around. Lowell wins.

Saturday, January 3

Rochester Institute of Technology vs. Merrimack/Minnesota
Dan: Pick your poison for the Tigers here – either they get the nation’s sixth best offense in Minnesota or they draw the ninth best defense in Merrimack. If it’s Merrimack, look out for the Ruby-Tirronen goalie matchup; it’ll be a great watch. That said, this is a much tougher tournament now than it looked back in September. RIT loses regardless of opponent.
Chris: RIT is the only non-ranked team in the field and I’m going with the odds here. RIT loses to either Minnesota or Merrimack.

Saturday January 3 and Sunday, January 4
Robert Morris vs. Bowling Green
Dan: If you’re not a fan of the outdoor game, look away. I’m pretty excited to see what happens outside in Toledo on Saturday, especially since RMU has an outside chance still at an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament. They absolutely can’t lose another non-conference game, though. I predicted the computers wouldn’t fall in their favor, though, which means a loss here contributes to the debate. Bowling Green wins on Saturday. RMU wins on Sunday.
Chris: Saturday’s game will be outdoors at Fifth Third Field in downtown Toledo. Sunday the action will shift to RMU’s 84 lumber Arena. I’m going with a split with the home team coming out on top. Bowling Green wins Saturday, Robert Morris on Sunday.


  1. Look BC has been a great program for the last 15 years but they aren’t the only ones. Denver with back-to-back titles, MN with back-to-back titles is much more impressive in my opinion. Also in the last 15 years North Dakota has been to 8 and in the last 7 they have been to 5. So BC isn’t the only good program and that is what a lot of these articles are starting to sound like.

  2. “BC is in a stronger position from a team perspective”

    Yeah, that’s why BC is tied with New Hampshire for 4th in the pairwise and Nodak is 6th. BC has 17 wins, UND has 16. Both have 8 losses. I don’t see how BC is in a stronger position from a team perspective. Unless I’m just not understanding what you are saying.

  3. In it’s most simple terms, Hobey voting is not unlike Heisman voting, which ends up usually with votes for players coming from the region that player plays in, unless there is a transcendent clear-cut majority. As it stands right now, nobody in the ECAC or Hockey East is really putting up a strong challenge against Gaudreau, despite the efforts of Carey, Flanagan and Gensler (which should not be minimized) while players like Knight, Kristo, and/or Walters could split the western contingent of votes of those out there who haven’t bought into the Gaudreau arguments.

    Still plenty to see, but yes, as of right now it’s a Gaudreaubey Baker for him to lose or someone to catch on fire and steal.

  4. unless gaudreau’s production falls off a cliff, i’d be comfortable placing a wager the hobey will go to him. leblanc (SCSU) has put up good numbers, but i’ve watched him play and he doesn’t control a game like gaudreau, knight or bjugstad. knight is good enough, but his off-ice distractions will probably rule him out. (and if it doesn’t go to him, they’re certainly not going to give it to kristo, the 2nd best player on UND). walters is an interesting case. but as go the (UNO) mavericks post season, so goes his shot at hobey. bjugstad may end up the best pro of the hobey bunch, and though he can control a game even when he doesn’t score, he simply doesn’t have the numbers. and then there’s the hartzell kid from quinnipiac. he makes a compelling case (and a feel-good story) as one of the top goalies in the nation for the current no 1, but….my money is still on gaudreau.

    • Leblanc has played with 2 freshman on his wings for 20 games this season, after Hanowski went down with an injury. If he would have played with Hanowski all year he would have a lot more points this year. After those games those two freshman were both top five in the nation in scoring how can that not be production and controlling a game. I would like to see somebody else in the nation do that and also going against teams number one lines. Must not have watched him enough. Also want to add one more thing, I’m sure Drew is the only one out of these guys thats going to actually graduated with degree.

      • Really he is the only one that will get his degree? How do you figure that? What a stupid comment. How about you stick to commenting on what you know. And since you appear to know nothing at all about anything just shut up.

        • What kind of degree is your boy Corban Knight getting?? Phy. Ed., Ex.
          Sci. & Wellness!! Can you even get a job with that in the real world. I mean they have to take a class on rest and relaxation where all
          they do is sleep. #Whatajoke

          • You must be confused, knight isn’t “my boy”, maybe you think the icon is for und, look closer it is the Blackhawks. I just like college hockey man. There is no way that what his degree is in is relevant to is or any conversation that I have ever seen on this blog.

            The best players at the top programs (MN, BC, UND, DU, ETC) are not there for the college degree and thats okay. i hope they take advantage of the situation and get a degree but honestly that is now what they are there for. They are there to work on their game and get to the next level—very similar to the alabama football programs of the world.

            And to answer your question I bet that is just the type of degree that someone that wants to coach in the future might go after. I would guess there are a lot of guys in college hockey getting very similar degrees.

          • Also if Leblanc is your boy, he is getting his degree in educational math and a minor in coaching. Diffentiation degrees with. Pretty much the same thinking in mind, if I don’t make it at the next level I can teach and coach.

          • He is going to make millions in the NHL. He’s the best face Off man the NCAA has seen in years and he passes so beautifully…HELLO POWERPLAY

  5. I am watching Vermont UNH on the CBS national game of the week. They have been counting down the best ten college players of the last ten years. I am a BU guy but for this countdown to have Nathan Gerbe at #10 and Colin Wilson at #7 is just wrong. MAYBE if you are talking in terms of pro prospects. But Gerbe was SPECIAL in the way Gaudreau is special. I hate to admit it but BC and their Merry Smurfs have dominated college hockey. Gerbe was FEARED and had to be accounted for every shift he was on the ice … Wilson took periods off, no doubt was a gifted talent in his two years at Agganis, and put up big numbers during his final year, but I would argue was not even the MVP forward of that National Title team. Jason Lawrence scored more big goals in big situations than Wilson did. I think my appreciation of Wilson has been tarnished by the Charlie Coyle legacy as their games were similar, and that is not fair to Wilson..

    Still, like I said, i am NO DOUBT a BU man, but to say Wilson was a better Collegiate player than Gerbe is heresy.

    • As a BC man, I agree. Wilson always had more talent than Gerbe, but it was Lawrence who was the catalyst of that BU title team (and Milian in net), but people forget that Gerbe carried that BC team to a title on his own during that tournament, more or less being a one-man show and tour-de-force.

      And Wilson is a better pro player than Gerbe. Shhh. People will think we’re traitors though, having reasonable matching opinions.

  6. So two future Big Ten teams, a future NCHC team, and a future Hockey east member. Wonder if the Buckeyes will ever see Miami and Notre Dame on the schedule in the future?

    • I sure hope so! That is the one thing I’m really going to miss about the CCHA is the Miami rivalries with ND, OSU, and Michigan. I really hope the schools are smart and schedule each other in the non-conference games!

  7. JCA, you nailed it and the fundamental flaw in the present pairwise system. It never takes into account good road wins, good road losses and poor home wins and poor home losses. These, I define as:

    Good Road Win: Defeating a team with a better record (%) by 2 or more goals.
    Good Road Loss: Losing to a team with a better record (%) on the road by 1 goal. These should be treated like a tie is today.
    Poor Home Win: Defeating a team with a winning percentage 20% lower than your teams by less than 2 goals.
    Poor Home Loss: Losing to a team with lower winning percentage at home by more than 1 goal.

    Certain teams seem to play 67% – or more – of their games at home and then are claimed to have such difficult schedules. Modifying the win – loss matrix to account for good and poor wins and losses would go a long way to balance a team’s inability to play more than 40% of their games away from home. Another factor that needs to be taken into account is the teams overall win-loss record on the road. As for SOS, the present methods of calculating this are flawed because they do not look at H/A percentages and if 90% of non league games are at home, a conference’s teams might all be “biased” with great records (WCHA) when they’ve stuffed their schedules in the Fall sitting at home while AHA, CHA and ECAC teams have been penalized playing on the road.

    • There used to be a road-win bonus until a few years ago. It was removed, though I don’t know the particulars about that negotiation.

      • I’m sure those from the Minnesota delegation crushed that. I guess we’ll see that again about the same time Minnesota or Michigan play 66% of their games ON THE ROAD….and St. Paul is not a road game.

  8. Ah the cool breezes and the leaves turning, hockey time once again.
    I don’t expect “my” 2013/14 D1 National Champions Union College will fare nearly as well this season. Maybe fourth/fifth in the ECAC and IF they even MAKE the NCAA Tourney, I’ll be happy.
    UC Alum.

  9. The preseason polls are largely meaningless. Who picked Yale in the preseason to win the NCAA championship two years ago? That’s right – nobody. Who picked BU to end up 9th in Hockey East last year and get bounced out of the playoffs in one game? The difference between winning and losing a D-1 Men’s Ice Hockey game gets smaller every year.


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