Hockey East picks: Jan. 2-6

Another week in which I was unable to gain ground on Dave, thus he’ll enter 2015 with a two-game lead.

Jim last week: 7-4-0
Jim to date: 92-46-11
Dave last week: 7-4-0
Dave to date: 94-44-11

Friday, January 2

Connecticut at Massachusetts
Jim’s pick: I really like the way UConn is playing right now and thought they gave UMass Lowell everything it could handle last week. Not sure UMass is that strong, even at home.
UC 4, UMass 2
Dave’s pick: Agreed all the way. I really like the job Coach Mike Cavanaugh has done at UConn.
UC 4, UMass 2

Canisius at Maine
Jim’s pick: I think playing Canisius at home might be exactly what the doctor ordered for a struggling Maine team.
Maine 4, CC 3
Dave’s pick: The Black Bears have fallen to 4-13-1. They need wins wherever they can be found.
Maine 3, CC 2

St. Lawrence at Northeastern
Jim’s pick: I’m not sure which is the stronger team here, so I’ll go with the Huskies on home ice.
NU 3, SLU 2
Dave’s pick: Since opening the season 0-8-1, the Huskies have won five of seven and four of the last five.
NU 4, SLU 2

Mariucci Classic (Minneapolis, Minn.)

RIT vs. UMass Lowell
Jim’s pick: River Hawks continue to play some pretty decent hockey.
UML 5, RIT 2
Dave’s pick: Decent? First place in Hockey East and ninth in the country? I’d call that wickid good.
UML 4, RIT 1

Merrimack at Minnesota
Jim’s pick: This is easily Merrimack’s toughest out-of-conference opponent this year. And I just don’t think the solid first half is enough to pick the Warriors in this one.
MN 5, MC 3
Dave’s pick: Yeah, sorry, Warriors fans. I’d be picking a loss even if it were in your barn.
MN 5, MC 2

Ledyard Bank Classic (Hanover, N.H.)

Brown vs. Boston College
Jim’s pick: My only concern here is BC’s absences due to the World Junior tournament. Still, I think the Eagles will have enough to get past a 3-8 Brown team.
BC 5, Brown 3
Dave’s pick: I think those absences (especially Thatcher Demko’s) could turn this one into a nail-biter, but I agree with Jim. Brown doesn’t have enough to knock off the Eagles.
BC 3, Brown 2

Saturday, January 3

Union at Boston University
Jim’s pick: Without Eichel, I’m concerned a bit about BU. But Union didn’t show me much against Connecticut or Sacred Heart last weekend.
BU 4, Union 2
Dave’s pick: Union’s recent struggles were eye-opening. Maybe it was just holiday rust, but maybe not. I think this is a game BU’s “other stars” rise to the challenge, showing they aren’t just a bunch of second bananas.
BU 3, Union 1

Canisius at Maine
Jim’s pick: Even though I think Canisius is a good enough team to earn a split, I’ll give Maine the home ice benefit of the doubt.
Maine 4, Canisius 3 (OT)
Dave’s pick: Maine hasn’t inspired confidence this season, but I’m going to be a Hockey East homer on this one.
Maine 3, Canisius 2

St. Lawrence at Northeastern
Jim’s pick: I’m pretty sure Dave will call this pick the Hockey East homer in me.
NU 3, SLU 2
Dave’s pick: Not at all. In Northeastern’s recent wins, they’ve toppled nationally ranked Providence and Minnesota. I think the Huskies are the better team and they’re at home, to boot.
NU 4, SLU 2

Colorado College at Providence
Jim’s pick: This might be the easiest pick of the weekend with two teams headed in different directions.
PC 5, CC 1
Dave’s pick: Agreed. Colorado College has fallen on very tough times.
PC 4, CC 1

Vermont at Yale
Jim’s pick: Even though they lost at home to Providence, I’m not picking against Vermont right now.
UVM 3, Yale 2
Dave’s pick: I think this will be very close, especially on the road, but Vermont has earned my pick until proven otherwise.
UVM 3, Yale 2 (OT)

Mariucci Classic (Minneapolis, Minn.)
Championship/Consolation games
Jim’s pick:
With two Hockey East teams in this field, there are a lot of scenarios to pick here. But long story short is I believe the Gophers win their tournament on home ice.
MN 3, UML 2; MC 3, RIT 1; UML 4, MC 2

Dave’s pick: I’ve been loathe to pick against the River Hawks, but Minnesota on its own ice is just too tough a challenge.
MN 3, UML 2 (OT); MC 2, RIT 1; UML 4, MC 1

Ledyard Bank Classic (Hanover, N.H.)
Boston College at Dartmouth
Jim’s pick:
I actually think that the World Junior losses will do in BC in this pre-determined opponent tournament.
DC 4, BC 3
Dave’s pick:
Although goaltending could be a problem with Demko away, not to mention issues with depth, I still think the Eagles squeak this one out, even on hostile ice.
BC 3, DU 2

Sunday, January 4

Colorado College at Providence
Jim’s pick: Providence completes the sweep at home.
PC 4, CC 1
Dave’s pick: No contest.
PC 5, CC 1

Tuesday, January 6

Yale at Northeastern
Jim’s pick: Though I think NU can win two games vs. ECAC opponents to begin the year, Yale won’t be number three.
Yale 4, NU 2
Dave’s pick: Yale may be 7-3-2, but I still think the hot Huskies prevail on their home ice.
NU 3, Yale 2 (OT)

Colorado College at Connecticut (Bridgeport, Conn.)
Jim’s pick: The Huskies continue solid play to start the second half.
UC 3, CC 2
Dave’s pick:  I’ve been too impressed by the Huskies this year to pick a 3-11-1 team to beat them.
UC 3, CC 1