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.