On the season:
Dan: 122-77-28 (.599)
Chris: 136-63-28 (.660)
This Week’s Picks:
Friday, March 11, Saturday, March 12 and Sunday, March 13 (if necessary)
Atlantic Hockey Tournament
Bentley at Robert Morris
Dan: Based on our preseason picks, this is actually an incredibly marquee matchup (we had Bentley finishing third behind first place RMU). Beyond that, this is a test of the Rubin jinx. If I pick RMU, I could be picking them solely to jinx them and get the team I work for through to Rochester for the first time since 2009. If I pick Bentley, then there’s the no respect card about picking against the top seed – also, I think that makes me a “wikkid homah.” So I’m divesting this pick to my wife, who says Robert Morris in three.
Chris: It used to be that the early playoff rounds were automatic in Atlantic Hockey, but in recent years they’ve been a minefield for top seeds. That said, I think RMU is motivated to get back to Rochester and will if they don’t overlook a Bentley team that they dominated earlier in the season. Robert Morris in two.
Canisius at Air Force
Dan: Based on my conversation with Dave Smith this week, I really believe Canisius is the one team best suited to make that trip west and upend the Falcons. But, like Chris points out, Air Force exceeded expectations all season long, and their home ice advantage needs to count for something. Otherwise, nobody would bring it up or try to disprove that it exists. I think Canisius pushes this one to the brink, but I think the Falcons get it. Air Force in three.
Chris: The last two times Canisius made it to the AHC Championship game, they were the 7th seed in the tournament, as they are now. One of those times was in 2013, when the Golden Griffins won a quarterfinal series at Air Force. But the Falcons have exceed expectations all season. Why stop now? Air Force in two.
Army at Holy Cross
Dan: I really can’t wait for this series. Army West Point is buoyed by a deep offense and tremendous defense/goaltending. Holy Cross is a great defensive team built around a team style. If anyone wants to watch a great series, this is it. Underlying storyline – Holy Cross basketball beat Army in the Patriot League tournament in basketball en route to winning the championship. Army West Point gains revenge here. Army in three.
Chris: This might be the most entertaining series of the weekend, despite the defense-first approach both teams take. Every year there’s at least one team that gets hot at the right time and makes a deep run in the playoffs, and I think that’s Army this time out. I’m taking the upset in a series that I expect to go the distance. Army in Three.
Rochester Institute of Technology at Mercyhurst
Dan: There’s one thing I fear in picking RIT is that they aren’t quite all the way back. Even though they’re getting healthier, I just feel like it’s too much for them to overcome. Had this series been played in Rochester, it would be one thing. But I’m picking the Lakers to advance with a little bit more postseason “Mercyhurst Magic.” Lakers in two.
Chris: This is a rematch of last year’s championship game. The teams split their season series with each sweeping on the road. I expect three close games here and with RIT getting several players back from injury, I think that will give the Tigers a boost. RIT in three.