East picks: Dec. 1

Hard to believe but the calendar has turned to December already and that means there are just a couple of weekends left before the semester break and a chance for teams to celebrate the holidays feeling good about themselves with a couple of wins to close out the first half. I am feeling pretty good about another solid week of picks as the Thanksgiving holiday action saw me finish at 6-2-0 (.750) for a second consecutive week. That brings the season total to 21-10-1 (.672), which continues the move toward a targeted 70 percent success rate.

I’m looking to keep the momentum going again this week so here are the picks.

Friday, December 1, 2016

Westfield State at Stonehill
The Owls have been very productive offensively, led by senior Jackson Leef. Their last outing against Franklin Pierce was a low-scoring affair, but don’t expect this one to mirror last week’s 2-1 loss. Westfield State 4-2

Fitchburg State at Massachusetts-Dartmouth
When you play a bend-but-don’t-break type of game, the key to success is cashing in on your opportunities. The Corsairs have already played six one-goal games and four have been by scores of 5-4, with three in the win column. Make it five and four but without an overtime this round. Massachusetts-Dartmouth 5-4

Saturday, December 2, 2016

Massachusetts-Boston at Norwich
The Cadets are coming off a high from the Primelink tournament, while the Beacons righted the ship with a quality road win over Utica. Three contenders all playing each other this weekend means someone has a chance to make a first-half statement about being number one in the conference. Special teams are the difference in this one. Massachusetts-Boston 3-2

Hobart at Skidmore
Another terrific nonconference match-up with an up and coming Thoroughbreds squad taking on a veteran Hobart team in a two-game weekend series. This one is going to be fast but low scoring. Can see a split but Friday night goes to the visitors and maybe even in overtime. Hobart 3-2

Colby at Bowdoin
Throw out the records in this timeless rivalry game where bragging rights among the alums and student bodies are infinitely more important than their current position in the standings. That said, the Mules are off to their best start in several seasons and last weekend’s overtime loss to Geneseo only fuels the fire against their biggest rival. Colby 4-3

Sunday, December 3, 2016

Salve Regina at Johnson & Wales
This battle for Rhode Island has always offered some tension and adrenaline-driven hockey, but the real battle may be between goaltenders Blake Wojtala for the Seahawks and Joey Ballmer for the Wildcats. Salve Regina has given up two goals or less in five of its first eight games, so J&W is going to have to net three to have a chance. Salve Regina 4-1

Morrisville at Oswego
The Lakers have it all going, outscoring opponents by a 37-10 margin with exceptional special teams and goaltending. Morrisville might be hoping for some rust since Oswego has been off since Nov. 19, but hope is not a strategy. Oswego 5-2

Geneseo at Buffalo State
These two teams can absolutely light up a scoreboard and I may be better off picking an over/under on goals in the game vs. a winner and score. Like the visitors by just a goal, and maybe an empty-netter to ice it. Geneseo 5-3

There are lots of intriguing match-ups and long-time rivalry games with significant implications in the standings this weekend, so the energy and emotion levels are going to be high as the first half winds down. “Drop the puck!”

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