Hockey East picks – Feb. 20-23

Another atrocious week picking for me means I have pretty much handed Dave the title.

Jim last week: 5-6-1
Jim to date: 136-76-21
Dave last week: 7-4-1
Dave to date: 142-70-21

Friday, February 20

UMass Lowell at Boston College
Jim’s pick: This one will seem like I am going out on a limb right here, but the impressive offensive performance by Lowell last Saturday combined with BC’s defensive struggles last weekend make me believe in the River Hawks.
UML 5, BC 4
Dave’s pick: I’m still not convinced that the River Hawks are out of their funk. When going 1-1-1 against last-place UMass constitutes good news, that makes me stick with Old Reliable. (That’s a reference to BC having lost only three times since the end of November, not a quip about Jerry York’s age.)
BC 5, UML 3

Notre Dame at Boston University
Jim’s pick: Yes, both teams are coming off a loss, but I simply think BU is the better team.
BU 4, ND 2
Dave’s pick: Looking at the two teams’ records before that last loss shows why I’m going BU all the way.
BU 4, ND 2

Northeastern at Maine
Jim’s pick: With the Huskies offense clicking the way it is, can you really pick against them?
NU 5, Maine 2
Dave’s pick: Maine has been hot and cold; Northeastern, red-hot.
NU 4, Maine 2

Massachusetts at Providence
Jim’s pick: One thing we’ve learned about UMass is that it is a good team on home ice. This game is on the road, which makes the pick a bit easier.
PC 4, UMass 2
Dave’s pick: I’ll agree with Jim on the pick, but I’m not sure how 5-10-1 constitutes being a good team at home. PC picks up the first two points of a must-sweep weekend.
PC 5, UMass 1

New Hampshire at Connecticut
Jim’s pick: Even on home ice, I don’t feel sure picking UConn until it shores up its defense. Allowing 25 goals in four games (and one was a shutout) while scoring just three has me worried about this Huskies team.
UNH 3, UConn 1
Dave’s pick: UNH has been splitting weekends with some very good clubs; UConn has mostly been getting clobbered. I’m not sure if the Huskies can get back on track before the playoffs.
UNH 4, UConn 1

Merrimack at Vermont
Jim’s pick: The Catamounts may have only earned a split last weekend but I think they are playing better hockey.
UVM 3, MC 2
Dave’s pick: With five straight losses and only one win in its last nine, Merrimack has hit the skids in a serious way. Vermont hasn’t matched its first-half success, but still looks like a clear favorite.
UVM 3, MC 1

Saturday, February 21

Notre Dame at Boston University
Jim’s pick: The Terriers finish off the sweep and clinch the top overall seed in the playoffs.
BU 4, ND 2
Dave’s pick: The Terriers have been a model of consistency. They haven’t lost two straight all year.
BU 5, ND 2

Northeastern at Maine
Jim’s pick: It will be a close one but I still expect NU to come out on top.
NU 3, Maine 2 (OT)
Dave’s pick: I think the sweep will come easier than that. The Huskies have been playing as well as anyone.
NU 4, Maine 2

Providence at Massachusetts
Jim’s pick: This one in Amherst, I think I’m actually going to go against common wisdom and pick the Minutemen.
UM 3, PC 2
Dave’s pick: I don’t care what the venue is, Providence is simply a much, much better team. If the Friars can’t sweep the league’s last-place team, how far are they going to go?
PC 4, UMass 2

Connecticut at New Hampshire
Jim’s pick: UNH finishes a much-needed sweep to keep hopes alive for first-round home ice.
UNH 4, UConn 2
Dave’s pick: Agreed. In three of the Huskies’ last four games, they’ve been outscored 25-2.
UNH 5, UConn 1

Merrimack at Vermont
Jim’s pick: Another pick for a weekend sweep. And Vermont’s hopes for a first-round bye get a lot better.
UVM 2, MC 1
Dave’s pick: Agreed, once again, for all the reasons I mentioned above, plus this coming in Vermont’s barn.
UVM 3, MC 1

Monday, February 23

63rd Beanpot (Boston, Mass.)

Harvard vs. Boston College
Jim’s pick: Even a few weeks delayed, this is a huge game for the PairWise for both teams.
BC 4, HU 3
Dave’s pick: Two weeks ago, I was picking Harvard, but the Crimson have fallen on harder times. Yes, they took three of four points last weekend, but before that they lost four straight and six of seven.
BC 4, HU 2

Boston University vs. Northeastern
Jim’s pick: I picked the Huskies two weeks ago when the game was snowed out. Nothing that has happened since has changed my mind.
NU 3, BU 2
Dave’s pick: I’m sticking with BU, but readily acknowledge that this one could go multiple overtimes.
BU 3, NU 2 (2OT)