Atlantic Hockey Picks, January 22-26

Last week:

Dan: 3-5-2
Chris: 5-3-2

On the season:

Dan: 86-54-13 (.605)
Chris: 97-43-13 (.676)


This Week’s Picks:

Friday, January 22 and Saturday, January 23
Niagara at Air Force
Dan: Niagara is a much better team than people give them credit for, but Air Force doesn’t lose at home. That’s kind of a trump card I can play every week. Air Force sweeps.
Chris: Niagara’s been outshooting its opponents with not much to show for it, and I expect more of the same in Colorado Springs against a Falcons team that’s been exceeding expectations. Air Force sweeps.

American International vs. Bentley
Dan: Bentley’s lone home win this year in conference came in a 1-0 goalie duel between Alex Murray and Gabe Antoni back in December. In that game, there were zero penalties and 63 shots. Hard to tell if we’ll get more of the same, but expect both teams to go hard this weekend – AIC is 0-3 since taking three points from Canisius and a sweep of Army West Point (ironically coming right after that Bentley game), while Bentley is 3-10-1 since sweeping RIT back in November. I think there’s going to be a palpable tension on both nights for these teams; they both need points. Bentley wins on Friday; AIC wins on Saturday.
Chris: The Falcons host on Friday and the Yellow Jackets on Saturday. I normally pick a split in these home-and-home series, and I think we’ll see desperate hockey between two teams that are struggling. But I like the Falcons to put together a pair of hard-fought wins. Bentley sweeps.

Canisius at Holy Cross
Dan: Canisius is coming a long way from to take on a team that’s firing on all cylinders. Having spoken with David Berard a couple of times this year, I don’t think he lets his team lose sight of what’s in front of them. Holy Cross sweeps.
Chris: I think if Holy Cross can avoid a letdown after two night of war last weekend against Robert Morris, the Crusaders will come through at home. Holy Cross sweeps.

Mercyhurst at Robert Morris
Dan: This is one of those weekends where I see kinds of signs pointing to an RMU sweep. That’s exactly when something weird happens, especially with a Mercyhurst team I’m still pretty high on. In the words of Admiral Ackbar, “it’s a trap!” I’m going to party like it’s 2014 if RMU makes me eat my hat again. Robert Morris wins on Friday; Mercyhurst wins on Saturday.
Chris: I really want to pick Mercyhurst to win one of these games, but RMU is tough to pick against at this point. I think the Colonials will take at least three points, and I’m going with all four. Robert Morris sweeps.

Rochester Institute of Technology at Sacred Heart
Dan: I had a chance to really watch RIT last weekend when they came to Bentley. In a game of highs and lows, they do an amazing job of staying cool under pressure. Top to bottom, I’m starting to feel like they may be the most complete team in the league. Despite how much I’ve been heaping love on Sacred Heart this year, RIT sweeps.
Chris: The Tigers have finally got their offense in gear, and historically the Tigers have done well in Milford. I’m going with an RIT sweep.

Tuesday, January 26
American International at Princeton
Dan: The Princeton strategy is usually simple – sit back on defense, let goalie Colton Phinney do his thing, then capitalize when the other team opens the door. I’ve seen them a couple of times, and there’s something about that strategy I don’t feel is going to work against AIC. AIC wins.
Chris: AIC is struggling at the moment, and I don’t see the Yellow Jackets picking up a road win here. Princeton wins.

Sacred Heart at Connecticut
Dan: In-state rivalries are the best, especially when you have a team from Western Connecticut taking on a team most closely associated with Hartford. I really want to take Sacred Heart because I think this is a good matchup for them (and so I can use a Mets-Yankees analogy for Pioneer athletic director Bobby Valentine), but I’m going with the Huskies in this one. UConn wins.
Chris: Sacred Heart has done well lately against its cross-state rival and former league foe, but I think it’s time for the Huskies to come out on top. UConn wins.