Atlantic Hockey Picks, Feb. 26-28

Last week:

Dan: 4-3-3
Chris: 1-6-3

On the season:

Dan: 116-68-27 (.614)
Chris: 122-62-27 (.642)

 

This Week’s Picks:

Thursday, February 26
Bentley at Sacred Heart
Dan: When these teams met a couple of weeks ago, we were treated to one of the games of the year, a low-scoring goaltender’s duel at Bentley that was tied through two periods. I think we’ll have more of the same in this one. The Pioneers ALWAYS play Bentley hard, but I think the Falcons are just hitting their stride a little bit too hard these days. Bentley wins.
Chris: Bentley has slightly more to play for than Sacred Heart. The Pioneers know they will end the regular season in eighth place and host Army in a fist-round playoff series. The Falcons have clinched a bye and a quarterfinal playoff series, but can finish between second and fourth. I’m going with the Falcons to win.

 
Friday, February 27 and Saturday, February 28
Canisius at Air Force
Dan: Chris dropped a stat this week that Air Force is 9-5-1 at home this season but just 4-13-3. Whether it’s travel, the altitude, or both, that’s enough to sway me for at least one game. Air Force wins on Friday. Canisius wins on Saturday.
Chris: Air Force is close to playing itself out of a first-round bye, while Canisius has one sewn up. The Griffs have had some success in Colorado Springs including a stunning upset in the 2013 quarterfinals. Like Dan, I like them to win at least one of these games. Air Force wins on Friday, Canisius on Saturday.

Army vs. American International
Dan: This is a weekend with a deceptive amount riding on it – the Yellow Jackets need to assure themselves still of finishing 10th, and then hope the right chips fall in the right place to end up with a road trip to Holy Cross instead of Air Force. I think they control their own destiny and get it done. AIC wins on Friday. Army wins on Saturday.
Chris:Army has been a .500 team for the past month while AIC hasn’t won since Jan. 2 (against, coincidentally, the Black Knights). Despite being locked into ninth place regardless of outcome, I like Army to sweep.

Robert Morris vs. Niagara
Dan: With the first seed clinched, do the Colonials rest some of their players? More importantly – would it matter? This is more about RMU being good than it is about Niagara being currently in 11th. That RMU isn’t in the running for an at-large bid to the tournament is a crime. RMU sweeps.
Chris: Robert Morris had a nine-game unbeaten streak snapped last Saturday and is looking to go into the postseason with some momentum. So despite Niagara’s recent improvements, I’m picking Robert Morris to sweep.

Mercyhurst at Rochester Institute of Technology
Dan: This is a HUGE MONSTER of a weekend between the Lakers and Tigers from the Gene (I don’t know if that’s what it’s called, but that’s what I’m going with). The fourth and fifth seeds hang in the balance, as does the sixth potentially. Let the playoffs begin in Rochester, which coincidentally is where they’ll end in a few weeks. RIT sweeps.
Chris: This is the most critical series of the weekend in terms of what’s up for grabs. Both teams are battling for the final two first-round byes. The Tigers need three points to leap over the Lakers into fourth place, while Mercyhurst can still finish as high as second or as low as sixth. Mercyhust is a better team than what it showed last weekend, and I think it gains at least a split with the homestanding Tigers. Mercyhurst wins Friday; RIT wins Saturday.

 
Saturday, February 28
Holy Cross at Bentley
Dan: Ahhh nothing like a good old fashioned rivalry game to finish the season. A couple of years ago, the season ended with these guys facing each other, and there were 32 penalty minutes in one of the most exciting games I’ve ever seen in person. I’m picking the Falcons again here. Bentley wins.
Chris: If RIT loses on Friday, Holy Cross will still be in the running for a first-round bye with a win. But I think Bentley is rolling right now and will win what should be a highly entertaining game.

33 COMMENTS

  1. The list of top goalies *has* to include Kyle Hayton. Sure, his GAA isn’t down there with Charlie Finn and Colin Stevens, but his save percentage is identical to Stevens’ — .939 — while he’s faced nearly 50% more shots than Stevens has, and he has two shutouts vs. Stevens’ one.

  2. Any time you can cram 2,000 fans in an atmosphere-less building for one of your sport’s signature weekends, you’ve gotta do it (looking at you Cincinnati)

    • Actually the announced attendance of 11,000 for the two sessions in 2014 (if that is the weekend you’re referring to) was not that far off from the actual turnstile count, a rarity in sports nowadays. There were far more than 2000 people in the building for both sessions in the 2014 regional. Granted, the place seats 3 times as many people, but let’s be fair and accurate about the crowd. The ticket prices for this regional were also the most reasonable prices I have seen for this tournament in more than a decade.

  3. But seriously, coaches and fans and crying about keeping it “fair” by not going to campus sites – and yet the bracket integrity is usually the first thing to go out the window when they determine where the 16 teams play

    • So?

      It’s not like the bracket is a perfectly reliable measure of relative team strengths. It has biases in the assumptions it makes and priorities it favors. So defenestrating “bracket integrity” by moving teams around /within a 4-team band/ is simply an acknowledgement that the differences between team #11 and team #12 really aren’t all that clear-cut.

      • But they’re already going to do it anyway to boost attendance. Was Providence playing 2 miles from campus at the DD Center this year not a “home game”? Was UND playing in front of a raucous crowd an hour from their arena not a “home game”? So you already have homes games essentially already but then you have places like Cincinnati and Albany that are usually duds.

    • The problem has been the committee has not always preserved bracket integrity even while claiming it is the overriding concern, so ” keeping things as they are” is not good enough. The committee continually tries to tinker in an effort to serve two masters, bracket integrity AND attendance. Give up on this because it isn’t working. Either leave the tourney at 4 neutral sites and seed it strictly along PWR lines, or go back to home sites for all games before the FF.

  4. Maybe if they did regional sites at cities that weren’t completely boring then they’d generate more fans. Why are we having tournaments in Tampa, Chicago, and Philly when no one goes out to their HOME NHL teams when they aren’t winning, yet these people have never even heard of college hockey?

    Keep in the New England and Great Lakes (yeah, I guess that includes Minnesota) hockey belts, with the occasional trip to Denver.

    • I don’t live in any of these cities, but do you really think Chicago, Philly, and Tampa are “boring?” I’ll give you Tampa as less exciting, but Florida weather/beaches in early April more than make up for it. The other two cities are two of the biggest in the country and hardly qualify as “boring” in my opinion.

      On top of that, you say it should remain in New England or the Great Lakes without conceding that Chicago is the pretty much in the heart of the “Great Lakes hockey belt.” What other cities are you including in that area besides apparently St. Paul? Detroit, Milwaukee, Cleveland?

      Plus, the article is about regional sites, not Frozen Four sites. Tampa, Philly, and Chicago have never held a regional, so that point is moot; and, when Tampa and Philly held the Frozen Four, attendance was not a problem at all.

  5. They just need to go to two super Regionals, one in the east and the other around the Great Lakes. Games could be played on Thursday/Saturday and Friday/Sunday. Also agree the Finals should be in at least a State that has College Hockey. Florida gone, Washington D.C. gone, For know just rotate the Final 4 to Boston, New York, Pittsburg, Detroit, Minneapolis/St. Paul, and Denver.

    • dking, did you go to the Frozen Four when it was in Tampa last time? In my opinion, it was one of the better Frozen Four experiences in recent memory. You have Detroit on your list, yet the last Frozen Four in Detroit was downright awful. Granted it was at Ford Field, but it was terrible. I’d take a FF in Tampa in a heartbeat over Detroit (and probably Pittsburgh for that matter, although I thought the Frozen Four there was quite good).

      • Yes I went to the Frozen Four, I’m a big time Ferris State Bulldog. But how many students got to go to that game, how many fans for the State of Michigan got to go to that game, How many schools in the state of Florida have a D1 school. If a state is not going to support having a D1 hockey program they should not be making money off a sport they do not even support.

    • I agree on the Super Regionals – Couldn’t disagree more on the Frozen Four. It’s a great way to showcase the game to places like Tampa and Chicago – places that could become college hockey hotbeds. They almost always sell out the Frozen Four no matter where it is

      • Can I tell me one school in Florida that’s looking to move into D1 hockey, can you name one school that even has a good Club team in Florida.

  6. Lets see, Albany, Worcester, Providence, or Manchester. These will be 2 of the 4 eastern sites. I love it when they have it in Albany and there 815 people there.

    • But at least it’s “fair”, right! IMO college hockey is random enough – look at the past few winners – Yale and Providence were 4 seeds. Not that it’s not a great story but #1 seeds being rewarded after 35 games of great hockey with a home game doesn’t make it a slam dunk win. However, it does give them a SLIGHT advantage and at least ensures that one of your sport’s signature weekends is going to be at worst respectable attendance instead of a morgue like Albany.

  7. they seem to be concerned with money and attendance all the time for the regionals. I wonder if they would try to go to 4 venues that made them the most money. even if it would be 1 in the east and 3 in the west.

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