On the season:
Dan: 80-49-20 (.604)
Chris: 85-44-20 (.638)
This Week’s Picks:
Friday, January 13 and Saturday, January 14
Canisius at Air Force
Dan:Since Atlantic Hockey went to 11 teams (and summarily dropped divisional pod scheduling), Canisius has played annually at Air Force but has not been swept in the regular season. They’ve split season series each of the past two years, but the Falcons did pick up a sweep at home in last year’s postseason. The cadets are pistol hot, so I’m picking them, but don’t be shocked if the Griffs take some points in Colorado.Air Force sweeps.
Chris: I talked with Air Force coach Frank Serratore this week and he commented on how well Canisius plays when the Golden Griffins come to the Air Force Academy. But the first-place Falcons are clicking on all cylinders right now. I’m going with an Air Force sweep.
Mercyhurst at Army West Point
Dan: The Black Knights are all of a sudden in need of a good weekend, but they draw a Mercyhurst team that doesn’t sweep and rarely gets swept. Seriously. They’ve split every weekend except for one, which was last week’s losses to Air Force. I think that trend will continue. As for Army, don’t hit the panic button. Every team hits a lull at some point, and they’ll pull out of this stretch. Army wins on Friday. Mercyhurst wins on Saturday.
Chris: Army West Point coach Brian Riley will coach against sons Jack and Brendan, both on the Mercyhurst roster. I’m thinking that all the Rileys will get a win, with Army winning on Friday and Mercyhurst on Saturday.
Rochester Institute of Technology at American International
Dan: RIT is 13-1-2 in their last 16 games against AIC and 28-4-3 lifetime against the Yellow Jackets. Despite being noticeably tougher and taking that very obvious first step forward, AIC has one win since the calendar turned to December – and that came in a non-conference game against UMass. RIT sweeps.
Chris: AIC can and has stolen points from RIT, and I don’t think you can even use the term “steal” anymore as the Yellow Jackets have shown they don’t need their goalie to stand on his head to win games. That said, RIT is smarting from a lackluster performance against Sacred Heart last weekend and I think the Tigers will rebound here. RIT sweeps.
Bentley at Niagara
Dan: The Falcons are 1-5 lifetime out in WNY, with their only win coming on the back end of a weekend series last season. Having never swept the Purple Eagles, this becomes a tougher weekend to pick in light of history. But I can’t ignore that Niagara is in danger of having one of those years. With two wins overall, they’ve played ten games that were decided by three goals or more, losing nine. With Bentley’s offense and power play seemingly turning the corner, the door’s open for a first. Bentley sweeps.
Chris: Dwyer Arena isn’t the house of horrors it used to be for visiting teams (the Purple Eagles had a pair of 22-game unbeaten streaks there in the past decade) and I think Bentley is starting to get on a roll. I’m looking for the Falcons will get at least three points, so I’m picking a Bentley sweep.
Holy Cross at Sacred Heart
Dan: The key to this series is for the Pioneers to keep games close; they’re 3-2 in one-goal games but 4-11 in games decided by two or more. That key, however, plays right into the strength of the Crusaders, who are 4-0 in one-goal games. I don’t think Holy Cross gets another four-point weekend, but we can’t pick ties either. Holy Cross sweeps.
Chris: Sacred Heart mixed things up a bit last weekend, breaking up its dominant line of Minello, Danforth and Jasper. It worked on Saturday with the Pioneers racking up five goals against RIT. SHU had gone the previous seven games without scoring more than three goals. Holy Cross is known for its stingy defense but is allowing three goals a game so far, more than usual. I’m going with a split, with Holy Cross winning Friday and SHU winning Saturday.
Tuesday, January 14
Army West Point at American International
Dan: Army heads to Springfield to even off a one-game series back in December. The Black Knights won that game, 1-0, and I don’t see why they won’t head back home with a victory before they host Royal Military College next weekend. Army wins.
Chris: As I said before, despite its record, AIC is playing some good hockey. But I think the Black Knights will prevail here. Army West Point wins.