Atlantic Hockey Picks, October 14-18

Last week:

Dan: 8-2-1
Chris: 7-3-1

On the season:

Dan: 8-2-2 (.750)
Chris: 7-3-2 (.666)


This Week’s Picks:

Friday, October 14 and Saturday, October 15
Northeastern vs. Bentley
Dan: Bentley’s sweep of Northeastern shocked the college hockey establishment last year. It’s also an interest underwrite for the Huskies, who went onto capture the Hockey East championship. Friday’s game will have a distinct advantage for Bentley, who opens their final full season at the venerable JAR, and I think that the gritty nature of that rink can provide a surprise or two. Bentley wins on Friday, Northeastern on Saturday.
Chris: With several non-conference games again on the schedule, it will be interesting to see if the league can keep the momentum going and pick up some more non-league wins. In this case, I agree with Dan. Northeastern will be taking nothing for granted after getting swept last season. I think the teams will split with Bentley winning at home on Friday and Northeastern returning the favor on Saturday at Matthews Arena.

Friday, October 14 and Sunday, October 16
Air Force at Arizona State
Dan: Arizona State is intriguing, but after the Falcons won a trophy last week, I think they hold serve. Interesting to note that these games will be played at Gila River Arena – the home of the NHL’s Arizona Coyotes. Air Force sweeps.
Chris: Air Force is flying high after winning the IceBreaker tournament and making the Top 20 for the first time since 2012. I think the Falcons keep it going and sweep.

Friday, October 14
Sacred Heart at Army West Point
Dan: In a rematch from last week, the Black Knights host the Pioneers for a second time. I think Sacred Heart keeps this one closer, but Army is pistol hot to open the season (pardon the pun). Army West Point wins.
Chris: This is a strange series, spread across consecutive Fridays. Sacred Heart lost the first meeting but comes back to Tate rink having beaten Merrimack last Sunday. I think this one will have a different outcome. Sacred Heart wins.

Union at American International
Dan: Union opens the MassMutual Center era for the Yellow Jackets, who are looking for their first ever win against the Dutch. They’ve had success against AIC, scoring no less than four goals and tallying six or more in five of their seven prior meetings. Everyone knows I have a soft spot for AIC, but I’m taking Union in this one. Union wins.
Chris: While it would be great to the Yellow Jackets to pick up a win in their new home, I think the Dutchmen will spoil the party. Union wins.

Penn State at Mercyhurst
Dan: In a huge early season non-conference game for the Lakers, they’ll play the Nittany Lions for the first time ever in the Erie Insurance Arena for the Snowtown Throwdown. With eight of their ten top scorers returning, it’s hard to overlook one of the league’s most traditional teams. I think the Lakers can pull this one out, but it’s not going to be easy. Mercyhurst wins.
Chris: It’s always tough to predict games like this early in the season. Penn State has a pair of games under its belt (a split with St. Lawrence) so I’m going with the Nittany Lions. Penn State wins.

Canisius at Alaska
Dan: 4,064 miles separates Buffalo from Fairbanks. If you were driving it, that’s approximately 66 hours in the car. On the bright side, at least the sunset and sunrise times aren’t within an hour of one another. Alaska wins.
Chris: While the competition won’t be as tough for the Golden Griffins, it’s still a tough trip to the Last Frontier. I’m going with the host Nanooks. Alaska wins.

Saturday, October 15
Providence at Holy Cross
Dan: When I talked to him this week, David Berard complimented the rest of the league on their big non-conference wins. He then reiterated how his team desired to add to that total. They get a great opportunity at the DCU Center against Providence (his alma mater and former employer), but in a one game series, I know how hard it is to beat a team that talented. Providence wins.
Chris: Holy Cross hosts two ranked Hockey East schools over consecutive Saturdays, starting with the No. 11 Friars. Like Dan, I’m going with the favorite. Providence wins.

Connecticut at Rochester Institute of Technology
Dan: Go crazy, Rochester! It’s Brick City Homecoming weekend. Blue Cross Arena is going to be blanketed in orange. If this game sells out, can we dye Chris’s hair orange? Asking for a friend. RIT wins.
Chris: Orange might be an improvement for my gray that’s spreading at an alarming rate, Dan. RIT coach Wayne Wilson probably added a few grey hairs of his own watching his team blow a four-goal lead to Robert Morris last Saturday. RIT should respond with a better effort, but I think UConn comes away with the victory. UConn wins.

Union at Sacred Heart
Dan: Union opens their second Atlantic Hockey arena of the weekend when the Pioneers return home to debut their tenure at Webster Bank Arena. As much as I have a soft spot for AIC, I might have a softer spot for Sacred Heart. I love the way they play, and I love their attitude. I think they’ll give Union a run for their money, just like they did a year ago in their 1-1 tie. But I also can’t pick ties, so in a coin flip type game, I’m picking with zero confidence. Union wins.
Chris: When Union scheduled these games, it expected to be playing AIC at the Olympia Ice Center and Sacred Heart at the Milford Ice Pavilion. Instead both schools have new homes in AHL rinks. I think SHU will be a contender this season, but I’m going with the visiting team here. Union wins.

Canisius vs. Alaska-Anchorage
Dan: The Seawolves were outscored 10-1 last weekend, losing to Minnesota before dropping a 4-1 decision to their hated rival Nanooks. After playing Omaha on Friday, I think they pick one off in what will wind up being a defensive battle. Alaska-Anchorage wins.
Chris: On paper, this is a better matchup for Canisius, and I think they’ll be acclimated by Saturday. Canisius wins.

Tuesday, October 18
Niagara at Mercyhurst
Dan: Put this one in your back pocket. I have a feeling there will be some solid midweek fireworks. Mercyhurst wins.
Chris: Niagara was a much better team on Saturday in a tie with Holy Cross vs. Friday’s 8-2 Crusaders romp. I think they’ll be somewhere in the middle here, but not enough to pick up a road win. I’m going with the Lakers at home. Mercyurst wins.