On the season:
Dan: 1-1 (.500)
Chris: 1-1 (.500)
This Week’s Picks:
Friday, October 9 and Saturday, October 10
Mercyhurst at Bentley
Dan: As much as Ryan Soderquist talked about Bentley putting the past behind them, the Falcons have to open the season in the exact same way their playoff run ended – at home against Mercyhurst. In the interest of starting anew, though, I’m going with the host Falcons, who open the year with more returning chemistry and an identity more intact than the visiting Lakers. Bentley sweeps.
Chris: In the first conference series of the season, Mercyhurst returns to the scene of the crime, where they stole a quarterfinal series win over the favored Falcons. The Lakers are coming off a wild split against Colgate, and but I think Bentley will be very motivated to get four points. Bentley sweeps.
Quinnipiac vs. Holy Cross
Dan: Quinnipiac built the prototype of an ECAC powerhouse, posting 20-win seasons every year since 2011-2012. That’s a tall order for the Crusaders, who are opening the season at home for the second straight year. Quinnipiac sweeps.
Chris: Holy Cross hosts on Friday; Quinnipiac on Saturday. Holy Cross begins the post-Matt Ginn era, and it may take a while to adjust to that. Quinnipiac sweeps.
Denver vs. Air Force
Dan: If the preseason prognostications are correct, Denver fans are in for another solid season. They bring back a bulk of their offense, a unit that can really fly. That’s going to be a problem for Air Force’s youth, which will need to mature quickly if it wants to pick up victories. Denver sweeps.
Chris: Air Force coach Frank Serratore referred to No. 5 Denver (where he used to coach) as “The Evil Empire.” They usually have their way with the Falcons, and this pair of games to open a rebuilding year at Air Force, will be an uphill battle. Denver sweeps.
Friday, October 9
Boston College at Army West Point
Dan: This is a return match from when Army traveled to BC two seasons ago and lost at Conte Forum, 11-0. BC is the preseason #1 team in the nation with a group of ultra-talented freshmen, solid defenders, and a goaltender who may be the best in the nation. Army will be improved, but this is going to be a really tough draw. BC wins.
Chris: What a great way for the Black Knights to kick off their season, squaring off against the preseason No. 1. I think things will be close for a period or two, but ultimately go the Eagles’ way. BC wins
Rochester Institute of Technology at Clarkson
Dan: A technology school meets an engineering school. I haven’t decided if I want to bust out my abacus to figure out who wins this one. RIT wins.
Chris: I think RIT may be the better team, but Clarkson has had so much success against the Tigers (9-0-2 in the last 11 meetings) and Atlantic Hockey in general (7-0-1 the past two seasons) that they’ll be a confident bunch, especially on home ice. Clarkson wins.
Niagara at St. Lawrence
Dan: Maybe it’s because I’m from Boston and don’t get out much, but I thought these schools were closer together than they are. The road trip from Niagara to St. Lawrence would take you from my hometown to Philadelphia. The Purps’ gift when they get to Canton? A team that won 20 games last year. SLU wins.
Chris: St. Lawrence was a surprise last season but they won’t be sneaking up on anyone this year. I like them to get off to a good start on home ice. SLU wins.
Sacred Heart at Union
Dan: This is a fantastic first test for the Pioneers, widely regarded as a team truly ready to start making the jump. They take on a Union team needing to replace its leading scorer and its starting goaltender. I’m going out on a limb and taking SHU to shock the Dutch. SHU wins.
Chris: I’m intrigued to see how Sacred Heart opens what could be a breakout season. They have knocked off some good teams in the past, but I think they come up short on the road. Union wins.
Saturday, October 10
Penn State at Canisius
Dan: Canisius seems to find ways to always be competitive in league play, but they’ve struggled to win non-conference games. The Griffs only won one game each year for the past three seasons. Penn State wins.
Chris:This is another example how a combination of a nice new arena (Harborcenter) and the Big Ten’s need for nonconference games translate into a quality game in an AHC barn. Unfortunately I think the home ice advantage won’t be enough in this case. Penn State wins.
Niagara at Clarkson
Dan: After falling to SLU a night ago, I think Niagara feels things out with some changes for the second night. I think they’ll be competitive, but I’m still taking the Knights. Clarkson wins.
Chris: Like Dan, I think this will be a close game, but in the end, the Golden Knights will find a way to pull out a victory. Clarkson wins.
Rochester Institute of Technology at St. Lawrence
Dan: After picking up a win over Clarkson the night before, I think RIT keeps it close but ultimate can’t take a weekend sweep of the North Country. SLU wins.
Chris: The Tigers defeated the Saints last season in the opening game at RIT’s Gene Polisseni Center. Different venue and a different result this time. SLU wins.
American International at New Hampshire
Dan: UNH was a very good team once they figured out their goaltending situation last year. Daniel Tirone finished the year with a 2.14 GAA and .924 save percentage. That’s bad news for the Yellow Jackets. UNH wins.
Chris: UNH is heavily favored in this one, and I think things will go according to expectations. UNH wins.