Atlantic Hockey Picks, February 12-16

Last week:

Dan: 5-4-2
Chris: 6-3-2

On the season:

Dan: 100-64-22 (.597)
Chris: 115-49-22 (.677)


This Week’s Picks:

Friday, February 12 and Saturday, February 13
Canisius at Bentley
Dan: Heading into this weekend, one point separates Bentley from seventh-place Canisius. The Falcons need this series in order to shore up some playoff positioning, especially since they don’t have a head-to-head tiebreaker with anyone in front of them. I’m calling for a split, but I’m more anxious about the weather. Wind chill temperatures wil dip as low as -25 (-32 Celsius) on Saturday. At the JAR, a building notorious for absorbing outside conditions, I should be a Dancicle by the third period. Bentley wins on Friday. Canisius wins on Saturday.
Chris: Just one point separates the sixth-place Falcons and seventh-place Golden Griffins, and both are well within striking distance of a first-round bye. Canisius returns to the JAR for the first time since their epic 2014 playoff series, won by the Griffs in three games. I don’t think it will go the same way this time. Bentley sweeps.

Air Force at Holy Cross
Dan: Holy Cross is all of a sudden a struggling team, running into an emotional bunch of Army cadets last weekend. Despite running up front all year, a tough showing this weekend could knock them as far back as fifth place – which would take them out of home ice in the quarterfinals. At the same time, they’re drawing an Air Force team that’s playing lights out lately. I think this is a candidate for series of the weekend, but I’m taking the high-flying Falcons. Air Force sweeps.
Chris: This is another series with huge playoff implications. Air Force sits in second place; Holy Cross in fourth just two points behind the Falcons. Holy Cross is winless in its last six games (0-2-4) while Air Force has gone ten games without a loss (7-0-3). Despite the Crusaders’ home ice advantage, I’m going with momentum here and picking Air Force to sweep.

Mercyhurst vs. Niagara
Dan: If Air Force opens the door, Mercyhurst could charge into fourth place. With just two home games left in Erie, I think the Lakers find a way to win on Friday before returning home for a win on Saturday. Mercyhurst sweeps.
Chris: These are big games for the Lakers, who sit in fifth place, just two points out of fourth. Niagara showed signs of life with a sweep of AIC last weekend, but will face more of a challenge here. I think the Lakers find a way to get all four points.

American International at Rochester Institute of Technology
Dan: AIC hasn’t won since they picked up their third straight victory in a streak back on January 2nd. They’ve been getting closer, but they draw a Tiger team that’s lost only twice since early December. The defending champs are rounding into postseason form. RIT sweeps.
Chris: I expect a couple of streaks to continue here: AIC is winless in its last 12 games and RIT hasn’t lost in its last 14 contests against the Yellow Jackets. So I’m going with an RIT sweep.

Army West Point at Robert Morris
Dan: I’m a sucker for a good story, and I really think something weird happens when emotion focuses a team’s energy. Army West Point took three points from Holy Cross and can really send a statement with points this weekend. I think they pick up a win and start to position themselves for a run at their first home playoff games since 2011. Robert Morris wins on Friday. Army West Point wins on Saturday.
Chris: Army West Point is playing its best hockey of the season, unbeaten in its last five games. But RMU, currently in first place by three points over Air Force, can take some big steps here towards its second consecutive regular season title. So I’m going with a sweep by the Colonials.

Tuesday, February 16
Massachusetts-Lowell at American International
Dan: UMass-Lowell is in for a rude awakening when they depart Tsongas Arena, with its Jumbotron and cushioned seats for the Olympia Ice Center, a rink that might be colder than the JAR on Saturday. It’s a dangerous situation for UML, coming out of what’ll be a physical series with BU, and a loss could knock them to the wrong side of the Pairwise Rankings. That in and of itself should get them the win, but don’t count out AIC to make a couple of waves. UMass-Lowell wins…but it’s closer than you think.
Chris: This game is a great pickup for the Yellow Jackets, hosting the 11th-ranked River Hawks. But Lowell, which plays Boston University twice this weekend, could be firmly on the NCAA tournament bubble by Tuesday, and will be motivated to avoid a misstep. Lowell wins.