Atlantic Hockey Picks, February March 4-6: First Round Edition

Last week:

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

On the season:

Dan: 114-76-28 (.587)
Chris: 128-62-28 (.651)


This Week’s Picks:

Friday, March 4, Saturday, March 5 and Sunday, March 6 (if necessary)
Atlantic Hockey Tournament
First Round
Best-of-Three Series

American International at Army West Point
Dan: I had the chance to see Army last weekend for two games. They’re big, physical, and tough. They like to bruise and bang, and they have incredible depth scoring. They also have a goalie who is a) capable of stealing them a weekend and b) capable of getting hot. That indicates them as a Cinderella sleeper pick in this year’s tournament. Army West Point sweeps.
Chris:  Despite AIC winning the two regular season meetings between the schools, Army is playing much better hockey since then and AIC isn’t. I’m going with a Black Knights sweep.

Sacred Heart at Bentley
Dan: It’s the postseason, which means the chatter about Bentley’s playoff results will happen, especially if they run into struggles. But there’s a reason we picked them to finish in the top three of the league to start the season, and although I think this is a bad matchup for the Falcons, I think they can pull it out. That said, Sacred Heart is the one team who is going to give them fits and starts for an entire series, having always (and I mean always) played tough at the JAR. At least one of these games is going to overtime, and the goalies are going to steal the show. I’m picking the Falcons, but I still think the Pioneers have a 50-50 toss-up shot at winning the series. This will be a shining example of what hockey playoffs are all about. Bentley in three.
Chris: Both teams are struggling right now, but I think this will be a dynamite series. Fate hasn’t been kind to the Falcons at the JAR the past couple of postseasons, but I think they find a way to advance. Bentley in three.

Niagara at Canisius
Dan: Rivalries always have a way of making playoff postseason series a little weird, and both teams are backing into the playoffs. Canisius won their way into home ice when they swept Bentley, but they really backdoored their way into the #6 seed after both Bentley and Sacred Heart failed to overtake them. I’m going to agree with Chris here, but I don’t necessarily think this is as easy to pick as people might think. Canisius in three.
Chris: The local rivals square off in the postseason for the first time since 2013, when both teams made the NCAA tournament. Canisius has knocked Niagara out of the tournament twice, both times as the lower seed. This time the Purple Eagles are the underdogs. I think this will go the distance. Canisius in three.