Atlantic Hockey Picks, Feb. 20-21

Last week:

Dan: 6-3
Chris: 7-2

On the season:

Dan: 112-65-24 (.617)
Chris: 121-56-24 (.662)


This Week’s Picks:

Friday, February 20 and Saturday, February 21
Bentley at Army
Dan: With their win last week over Sacred Heart, Bentley tied its longest win streak ever as a Division I program. They can win their sixth straight on Friday at Tate Rink. In this week’s USCHO poll, they garnered a program-record six votes. They can sew up a quarterfinals home series if they play well enough this weekend. If I were a betting man, I’d be taking a long hard look at the Falcons as a dark horse in the AHC playoffsBentley sweeps.
Chris: I’ll be paying close attention to Bentley, which has a history of downturns at the end of the season and postseason. Army took two points from Canisius last weekend and can certainly do the same at home against Bentley. But I’m picking the Falcons to find a way to take four points and clinch a bye.

Canisius vs. Mercyhurst
Dan: Canisius is allowing a league low 2.17 goals per game in conference play this season. Since the start of 2015, they’ve given up just 17 goals, an average of 1.55 per game. These are the 81st and 82nd meetings in a long-standing rivalry with the Lakers dating back to before either program was Division I. Canisius is 5-1-1 in their last seven. I think Mercyhurst is too strong to be swept, so I’ll take the home team in both games. Mercyhurst wins on Friday. Canisius wins on Saturday.
Chris: Both teams are looking to claim a bye this weekend, with Mercyhurst hosting on Friday and Saturday’s contest at Buffalo’s HarborCenter. I’m going with a hunch that the Lakers will come out on top in a pair of close games.

Air Force at Niagara
Dan:Air Force is one point out of the last first round bye, four points back of a second round home series. They’re also one point up on Holy Cross. That razor thin margin will impact Niagara the biggest; if the playoffs started today, the Purple Eagles would go to Colorado. If Air Force passes the Tigers, Niagara instead goes to RIT. An Air Force bye would be a huge win for a program having an uncharacteristically up-and-down season.Air Force sweeps.
Chris:Niagara is going to spoil someone’s party before all is said and done, but I don’t think it happens this weekend. Air Force sweeps.

Robert Morris at Rochester Institute of Technology
Dan: These are HUGE points for RIT, but Robert Morris is in position to clinch the regular season championship. Derek Schooley isn’t the type of coach to take his foot off the accelerator, so I’m taking the Colonials to win at least one. That said, the Tigers are a team nobody really wants to deal with right now. RMU wins on Friday. RIT wins on Saturday.
Chris: The fifth-place Tigers are faced with the toughest remaining schedule: first-place Robert Morris this weekend and second-place Mercyhurst the next. All four games are at home for the Tigers, but I don’t think that will be enough, especially this weekend against an RMU team that needs two points to lock up its first regular season title. Robert Morris sweeps.

Holy Cross vs. Sacred Heart
Dan: The Crusaders are flailing, going 3-9 in their last 12. They’re running into a Sacred Heart team that’s been on fire lately. Last Friday’s loss to Bentley was the first since January 17, but if you watched that game, you wouldn’t have seen the Pioneers as the worse team at all.Sacred Heart sweeps.
Chris:This will be a good series against an SHU offense that can put up points and a stingy Crusaders defense. Holy Cross allowed only three goals last weekend to RIT but had to settle for a split. I’m thinking something similar happens here with the Pioneers hosting on Friday and Saturday’s game at the Hart Center. SHU wins Friday; CHC wins Saturday.


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