Atlantic Hockey Picks, November 18-23

Last week:

Dan: 7-2-1
Chris: 6-3-1

On the season:

Dan: 38-27-11 (.572)
Chris: 41-24-11 (.612)


This Week’s Picks:

Friday, November 18 and Saturday, November 19
Mercyhurst at Bentley
Dan: I woke up on Thursday in the Caribbean on my annual anniversary vacation (blame my wife for a wedding date in the middle of the season). It was 85, sunny, and humid. The sun blasted off the ocean – and I boarded a flight so I could come home to the JAR. Kudos to Mercyhurst for their Thursday meal choice of the Chateau in Waltham (a local institution with the greatest toasted ravioli I’ve ever had) but leaving 85 and humid for the inevitable -85 degrees? That’s priceless. Bentley sweeps.
Chris: Both teams are struggling. Mercyhurst has lost four of its last five, while Bentley is 0-2-2 in its last four. I’m picking the Falcons to break through on home ice. Bentley sweeps.

American International at Canisius
Dan: I really like AIC, and wins this weekend would establish them as a breakout team this year. A split would be great, with three or more points making them pistol hot and officially the league’s hottest team (at least in my eyes). I’m buying on the Yellow Jackets to win at least one, but since I can’t figure out which night, I’m going to pick Canisius to sweep. I’ll have a close eye on this series all weekend long. Canisius sweeps.
Chris: This is the most intriguing series of the weekend for me. AIC could get on a roll with a strong showing here – in their last four contests, the Yellow Jackets took three points from Holy Cross and fought Bentley to a pair of ties. Canisius has played a killer schedule so far, and really need these home points as they go into another tough stretch in December and January. Given AIC’s penchant for draws, I wouldn’t be surprised to see another one (or two), but I’m going with the home team. Canisius sweeps.

Army West Point at Rochester Institute of Technology
Dan: It’s a great reflection of a program’s state when they can be favored over the defending league champions and fly completely under the radar. The Army machine rolls this weekend after Branch Night out at West Point. Army West Point sweeps.
Chris: The Tigers are slumping and Army West Point has shown so far that it’s a legit contender for a regular season title thanks in part to the play of goaltender Parker Gahagen. Two weeks ago RIT was stoned by a hot goalie on home ice (Charles Williams from Canisius) and I think history repeats. Army West Point sweeps.

Niagara at Sacred Heart
Dan: I’m sure everyone is pretty sick of hearing how much I like Sacred Heart, so I’ll spare the details why and just pick them. Sacred Heart sweeps.
Chris: Niagara picked up its first win of the season on Tuesday, so they’re looking to keep things going. Sacred Heart has just one win in its last seven games, but played some stiff competition over that span. I like them to rebound at home. Sacred Heart sweeps.

Air Force at Western Michigan
Dan: John Saunders is, was, and remains one of my favorite sportscasters of all time. A founding member of the Jimmy V Foundation, he was a staple in my household for his work with The Sports Reporters. His death in August left a giant void in the profession, and he’s one of those people who still has a giant impact. From 1974-1976, he was on the Western Michigan roster. All due respect and apologies to Air Force, I’m picking this one from the heart since I might not have another chance. John – this is for you. Western sweeps.
Chris: A long time ago, in a galaxy far far away…Air Force coach Frank Serratore was a goalie at Western Michigan. After two seasons he transferred to Bemidji, but that makes WMU the only school to boast two Atlantic Hockey coaches as former players (Robert Morris coach Derek Schooley is an alum). Did I mention Western is ranked No. 18 right now and coming off a split with No. 1 Minnesota-Duluth? I think Western sweeps.

Tuesday, November 22
Sacred Heart at American International
Dan: I’m echoing Chris’s thoughts that AIC is making themselves at home in the MassMutual Center. See my earlier point about them picking up steam. AIC wins.
Chris: AIC will play three games next week, starting with this one with the Pioneers. I’m think the Yellow Jackets are starting to feel at home at the MassMututal Center, and that will translate into a win for AIC.

Wednesday, November 13
Rochester Institute of Technology at Mercyhurst
Dan: Let’s see how many Thanksgiving/hockey cliches I can fit in this game. In a long, storied history, RIT will hope their bird isn’t cooked (1) when they head up to Erie. Look for a lot of cranberry saucy mitts (2) to move the puck like gravy (3) as ancient rivals look to stuff each other (4). Now that everyone’s rolled their eyes at me, just know I expected more (and better) out of myself. Mercyhurst wins.
Chris: This Thanksgiving Eve contest is the 63rd meeting between the schools dating back to their Division II/III days. RIT has had some success at the MIC including a playoff Quarterfinal sweep last season. I’m going with an RIT win.


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