This is it for the first half for all but two teams. Travel partner games, key conference matchups, and some interesting nonconference games abound on the schedule. This is the last chance to end the first half on a good note and close out the first half with some positive momentum before the holidays. For the third consecutive week, this past weekend’s action saw me finish at 6-2-0 (.750) for yet another solid picks week. That brings the season total to 27-12-1 (.688), which continues the trend upward following my disastrous picks of week two.
Have completely gone off the reservation this week by picking all visiting teams, so here are the picks.
Thursday, Dec. 8
Babson at Curry
The Colonels have been lighting up the scoreboard while the Beavers have been struggling to find goals. Key to this one is who scores first, as Babson plays much better with the lead and they get it here, barely. Babson 3-2
University of New England at Plymouth State
Other than the Mullin line at Neumann, is there a better trio right now than the B-F-F line at UNE? The Fleurents have been putting up big numbers with linemate Dylan Bengston and they are the difference in this key conference matchup. UNE 5-4
Friday, Dec. 9
Massachusetts-Boston at Wentworth
The Beacons left Vermont with just one point after earning a tie with St. Michael’s, so they will be hungry to get back on track against a Leopards team that is still looking for a higher level of consistency. Too much offense from the Beacons in this one. Mass.-Boston 5-2
Geneseo at Plattsburgh
Another great rivalry game to close out the first half as the Knights try to solidify their position behind Oswego and a young Plattsburgh team looks to continue the maturation process against an always tough traditional foe. Knights get it done in a close one. Geneseo 3-2
Hamilton at Middlebury
Two teams going in opposite directions right now, and that should scare Hamilton into avoiding being the victim for Middlebury’s first win of the season. The Continentals have it all clicking from the crease on out and Evan Buitenhuis will make sure there is no upset here. Hamilton 4-1
Saturday, December 10, 2016
Wesleyan at Stonehill
Hey coach Potter – TRAP GAME ALERT!! These end-of-semester nonconference games have not worked out well for the Cardinals over the past few years, so to put the icing on the cake for what has been a good first half, Wesleyan needs to get a good start on taking down the Skyhawks. Wesleyan 4-1
Salem State at Endicott
The North Shore (of Boston) battle finds these teams playing a home-and-home series separated by the semester break. Endicott has found its groove, while Salem State is still tweaking its game to get it where coach Bill O’Neill wants his team to be. Expect some offense between these two teams and special teams are the difference. Salem State 5-4
Oswego at Buffalo State
A road win for the Lakers against one of their true competitors for the top spot in the SUNYAC would send a strong message as to why they are number one in the country and in the league. Too much balance and depth for Oswego for the Bengals to overcome, but it is close. Oswego 5-3
Games with a cause
Also a reminder that many of the schools throughout the season host awareness and/or fundraising events for charitable endeavors that touch the school, community, or program in some meaningful way. Recently, we have seen “Pink the Rink” events, “Teddy Bear Tosses,” local military recognition nights, and, of course, Movember Foundation events that sought out donations or creating awareness around specific causes.
Just this week, Nichols College announced that the program had raised over $6,400 to support the Movember Foundation, led by the fundraising efforts of freshman Nicholas Mangone, who individually raised more than $1,000. As junior Scott Cuthrell noted, “As a team, we strive not only to be better hockey players, but better people as well. Raising money for something bigger than hockey is a great step in the right direction.”
Like Nichols, many programs are committed to worthy causes. Case in point is the DHC Night for Cancer Awareness hosted by Potsdam this Saturday when the Bears host Geneseo.
The Bears program has been affected over the past few years with several losses, including forward Anthony Proteau in 2010, coach Chris Bernard’s father-in-law, Darrell Hampton (DHC was his company with acronym re-purposed for Determination, Humor and Courage), and now current player Sean Kacerosky, whose early diagnosis, surgery, and treatment currently have him in remission and returned to the team this season to start his junior year.
If you are in the area, please support the Potsdam event and enjoy some great hockey to go with the awareness event. Likewise, support your local teams and their endeavors for the communities that they all are very much a part of.
It is the season for giving, so if you are at a rink where a charitable event is happening in concert with the game, I hope you will consider participating and/or donating.
Over and above the humanitarian events, will this week add more drama to the already crazy season on the ice? Count on it! “Drop the puck!”
Thanks to Nichols SID Peter Divito for the Movember Foundation results and quotes.
Correction: This Monday’s D-III East Recap incorrectly noted Buffalo State handing Geneseo their first loss in SUNYAC play. Geneseo had suffered their first defeat on Nov. 5 to Oswego by a 5-3 score.