Atlantic Hockey Picks, February 24-27

Last week:

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

On the season:

Dan: 109-72-26 (.589)
Chris: 122-59-26 (.652)


This Week’s Picks:

Wednesday, February 24
Bentley at American International
Dan: This game is incredibly critical to the rest of the weekend. If Bentley wins, they’ll need only a tie against Army West Point to assure themselves of home ice in the first round. If they tie or AIC wins, the Falcons will need two points against the Black Knights. On the flip side, AIC can finish 10th with a win but will finish 11th with a tie or loss. I’m taking Bentley to win in a tight game.
Chris: This is AIC’s final game of the regular season, but Bentley has more to play for here, so I’m going with the Falcons to win.

Friday, February 26 and Saturday, February 27
Bentley vs. Army West Point
Dan: Bentley is the only team with three games this weekend, so there’s a lot that’s going to hinge on how they play on Wednesday night. Army West Point, meanwhile, is one of the hottest teams in the league. If Bentley is able to stop the bleeding of a three game losing streak against AIC, I think they have a real chance to win at Tate Rink and wrap up home ice. Army West Point can still clinch home ice if Sacred Heart falters, so I’m taking the road team in each game. I think they’re playing each other next weekend in Watertown. Bentley wins on Friday. Army West Point wins on Saturday.
Chris: If either or both of these teams survive the first round, I think they’ll give their quarterfinal opponents all they can handle. Here, I’m going with Bentley on Friday and Army on Saturday.

Robert Morris vs. Canisius
Dan: Robert Morris knows what’s at stake this weekend, needing only one point to clinch the league’s top seed. But I know they want to be pumping on all cylinders into the playoffs, meaning they aren’t taking a night off. Canisius losing opens the door for Sacred Heart to finish sixth, and I don’t think they want to leave that to chance. Again, I’m taking the road teams. RMU wins on Friday. Canisius wins on Saturday.
Chris: Like Dan, I think RMU will take care of business on Friday, and then I expect a winning effort by Canisius, which will have more to play for the following night. So it’s Robert Morris on Friday and Canisius on Saturday.

Holy Cross vs. Sacred Heart
Dan: I’m on record saying this is the series of the weekend. Sacred Heart hosts on Friday against a Crusader team that posted a 10-game unbeaten streak earlier this year. But Holy Cross is 4-3-4 down the stretch, which leaves a chance SHU could take it to them. Breaking out of a funk last week is huge for the Pioneers, who I predicted would be a sleeper team come playoff time. I’m going with Sacred Heart to shock us all and take four points.SHU sweeps.
Chris: These teams are separated by 10 points in the standings, but I have them on equal footing heading into this weekend. SHU is coming off a sweep of Canisius (and giving RMU all it could handle the week before) while Holy Cross has been a .500 team lately. So I’m going with a split. Sacred Heart wins Friday; Holy Cross on Saturday.

Mercyhurst vs. Rochester Institute of Technology
Dan: Nick Amato’s had two weekends against the league’s bottom two teams to get ready for this series. A Mercyhurst sweep means the Tigers would go on the road next weekend, but if it means the team gets healthy, I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad thing. Amato’s played his heart out, and the team’s been ultra resilient in front of him, but I think the Lakers’ offense is too potent. Mercyhurst sweeps.
Chris: RIT’s Goaltending is the unknown in this series. Will Nick Amato, called up from RIT’s club team at the beginning of the season as a practice goalie, but pressed into play due to injuries to the Tigers’ two main netminders, find some magic against the Lakers? Amato went 2-1-1 against AIC and Niagara, but Mercyhurst presents a stronger challenge. In any case, and despite the Lakers’ lack of success against the Tigers recently, I’m going with a Mercyhurst sweep.

Air Force at Niagara
Dan: Air Force comes east with a chance to finish first and the inside track to finishing second. Someone’s going west in two weeks to face a team that’s going to be incredibly tough to beat. Air Force sweeps.
Chris: Just like AIC-Bentley, I’m going with the team that has more to play for. Avoiding the basement is certainly motivation for Niagara, but a home-ice quaterfinal (as well as a very outside chance at the regular season title) means more for Air Force. I’m going with a Falcons sweep.



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