Atlantic Hockey Picks, January 5-7

Last week:

Dan: 9-4-1
Chris: 10-3-1

On the season:

Dan: 72-48-18 (.587)
Chris: 78-42-18 (.630)

This Week’s Picks:

Thursday, January 5 and Friday, January 6
Army West Point vs. Bentley
Dan: No fewer than four people have asked me which rink will be colder – Fenway or the JAR. Temperatures for Boston on Thursday will be in the 20s and clear skies. It’s a picture perfect day. Translation? The JAR is probably colder. As for the actual games, I think the big game feel suits this rivalry, but playing the next day is going to be that much tougher to sustain momentum. That means a split will happen. I’ll take Bentley at Fenway but Army to win on Friday.
Chris: Thursday’s game is part of the Frozen Fenway event, while Friday’s contest is at the JAR. I will leave Dan to quip about which may be colder. Army West Point is really clicking right now, and I’ll think they’ll take at least three points. Since we don’t pick ties, I’m going with a Black Knights sweep.

 

Friday, January 6 and Saturday, January 7
Niagara at Holy Cross
Dan: The amount of purple on the ice will be enough to fill the Hart Center twice over. Holy Cross sweeps.
Chris: Niagara made this trip last season and was swept, including a heartbreaking 3-2 overtime loss when the Crusaders erased a 2-0 Purple Eagles lead. Holy Cross, always tough at the Hart Center, has stumbled a bit on home ice over the last few series, but I think they rebound here and am predicting a Crusaders sweep.

Air Force at Mercyhurst
Dan: This is one of those underrated rivalries that always has an impact on the standings. The Falcons picked right up where they left off with a sweep of Sacred Heart last weekend, while Mercyhurst finished third in the Mariucci Classic. This should be a fantastic weekend of hockey, but I’m taking the Falcons by a beak..er..nose. Air Force sweeps.
Chris: These teams didn’t meet in the 2016 calendar year. Historically, neither has gained much momentum against the other – the all-time series has the Falcons with a 15-13-3 advantage. No team has won more than two consecutive games against the other since Air Force joined the league 10 years ago. Mercyhurst won the last game between the schools back in November of 2015, but Air Force is rolling right now and I think the Falcons will sweep.

Sacred Heart at Rochester Institute of Technology
Dan: RIT went from being the hottest team in Atlantic Hockey (five game winning streak) to a slumping team into break with three straight losses. I think they’ll come out and rebound this weekend with some good old fashioned home cooking. RIT sweeps.
Chris: RIT holds a 13-1-1 record against SHU in their last 15 meetings, although the Pioneers are 1-1 against the Tigers at the Polisseni Center. But I’m thinking the Tigers are going to shake off three straight non-conference losses and claim four points at home.

American International at Robert Morris
Dan: Robert Morris is actually a sub-.500 team in weekends after the Three Rivers Classic, having only swept a weekend of wins once – the year they finished fourth in their own tournament. I think that’s something to keep in mind as the Yellow Jackets descend into town. I’m taking RMU to sweep but I don’t feel good about it.
Chris: The Yellow Jackets are coming off a historic win, a 3-0 shutout of crosstown rival Massachusetts. But RMU continued to make history themselves by winning the Three Rivers Classic for the second straight year and for the third time in five years.  I’m looking for the Colonials to keep things rolling with a home sweep.

St. Lawrence at Canisius
Dan: SLU hasn’t been very good on the road this year, but they also haven’t played road games relatively close to home. I’m pretty sure Penn State classifies as the closest road trip. I like them to get into the win column against a Canisius team that will be a big factor in AHC play down the stretch. SLU sweeps.
Chris: With so many great goalies in the league this season, Canisius netminder Charles Williams, a grad-student transfer from Ferris State, has flown a bit under the radar. He’s been a difference-maker for the Golden Griffins and gives them a chance to win every night. But despite SLU’s less-than stellar road record (2-4-3 vs. 8-2-1 at Appleton Arena), I think the Saints will win a couple of low-scoring games. SLU sweeps.

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