On the season:
Dan: 63-37-8 (.620)
Chris: 74-26-8 (.722)
This Week’s Picks:
Friday, December 11 and Saturday December 12
Army West Point at American International
Dan: When I talked with Brian Riley a couple of weeks ago, I felt the excitement he had for his team, knowing the season was about to turn the corner. It’s turned around in a big way, with Army winning three of their last four games. They head north to take on AIC this weekend, a team that can get hot with strong goaltending (Alex Murray is a dark horse for me to take over the second half of the season). I’m seeing Army hotter right now, so I’m going with a Black Knight sweep.
Chris:Army is riding the second-best unbeaten streak in the league at a modest four games (3-0-1), and I like them to extend it against the Yellow Jackets, who were shutout in their last two contests. I’m thinking one game will be close (the Black Knights have more than their fare share of those so far), and one won’t, but I’m going with an Army sweep.
Holy Cross at Bentley
Dan: If history proves anything, this series is going to be filled with physical play – lots of it. Last season averaged ten penalties per game between the two teams, and these games are always emotional. Bentley doesn’t make a return trip to Worcester this year, but that might not matter. The teams are 2-2-2 in the past three years at the JAR. Bentley wins on Friday. Holy Cross wins on Saturday.
Chris:While I wish the league had more intense rivalries, this one is up there. These games mark the 59th and 60th meeting between the schools. Holy Cross is the best team in the league right now, and Bentley could be if they can play up to their potential and get an injured Jayson Argue back. No word on that, but I think Bentley has enough to earn a split on home ice. I’m going with the Crusaders on Friday and the Falcons on Saturday.
Niagara vs. Rochester Institute of Technology
Dan: Chris’ outline is a great example of how evenly played this series has been as of late. Since I’m not really sure who could win on what night, I’m going to toss a coin and let that be the deciding factor. Heads it’s RIT and tails it’s Niagara………. RIT sweeps.
Chris:Niagara used to own RIT, before and after they became conference mates. But a couple of down seasons for NU makes this series a tossup. I think RIT is the better team right now, but Niagara is dangerous at Dwyer Arena, where the Purple Eagles have tied Robert Morris and Penn State, took Cornell to overtime and split with Bentley last weekend. Friday’s game in Rochester should go the Tigers’ way, but I think NU reverses things on Saturday. RIT wins Friday; Niagara on Saturday.
Saturday, December 12 and Sunday, December 13
Canisius vs. Robert Morris
Dan: I have a hard time believing either team could go into the semester break with a loss, so I’m going to pick a split here. As Chris notes, the home team is 11-2-1 since the Colonials joined Atlantic Hockey. Robert Morris on Saturday; Canisius wins on Sunday.
Chris:Robert Morris hosts on Saturday before the action shifts to Buffalo’s HarborCenter on Sunday. Both team are coming off road splits last weekend. The home team is 11-2-1 in this series since RMU joined Atlantic Hockey, and I’m going with history. Robert Morris wins Saturday; Canisius on Sunday.