Weekend picks: Feb. 24

Colonial

Becker at Canton
Becker won this postseason meeting last year thanks to goalie Madison Rigsby, so I have to give them the benefit of the doubt and assume they can do so again. I’ll pick Becker to win. Becker 2-1

Johnson & Wales at Stevenson
I have to pick Stevenson’s offense and experience over the youth in net for Johnson & Wales. The future is bright for them, but I think Stevenson wins out here. Stevenson 3-1

ECAC West

Buffalo State at No. 4 Elmira
Buffalo State has been on a roll to end the season and has been giving teams across the conference fits, but I just don’t know that anyone has what it takes to upend Elmira. I think they make it close, but expect Elmira to advance. Elmira 4-2

Utica at No. 1 Plattsburgh
Utica outlasted Oswego 5-3, but I think this is the end of the line for them. It’s not easy to beat the Cardinals at any time, but with the short turnaround, their odds are even smaller. I expect Plattsburgh to take this. Plattsburgh 6-2

MIAC
Gustavus Adolphus (17-5-3, 13-2-3), Augsburg (18-7, 14-4), and Concordia (Minn.) (14-8-3, 11-5-2) are the top three seeds, in order, and receive a bye into the semifinals, which are to be played Saturday at 2 p.m. Augsburg hosts Concordia and Gustavus Adolphus will host the winner of the quarterfinal that will be played Friday.

Hamline at St. Thomas
Hamline did well to make its first postseason in nearly a decade, but they slumped near the end and are coming up against a St. Thomas team that did nothing but improve over the final few weeks. St. Thomas 4-2

Concordia at Augsburg
Augsburg is at home and defense usually wins the day. With a stellar team defense this season backed up by even more stellar goaltender in Rebecca Sonnek, it’s hard to pick against the Auggies. Augsburg 4-2

St. Thomas at Gustavus Adolphus
Gustavus has impeccable goaltending, strong defense, and extra rest. I don’t see St. Thomas overcoming that. Gustavus Adolphus 5-2

NCHA
The top four teams qualify for the tournament in the NCHA. They play a two-game series. If they split, a 20-minute mini-game is played to determine a winner. If the mini-game is tied after 20 minutes, sudden-death overtime will determine the winner.

The semifinals will take place on Friday and Saturday.

Marian at No. 2 Adrian
Adrian is undefeated in conference play. That won’t stop here. Adrian 6-2, 5-1

St. Scholastica at No. 7 Lake Forest
The Forresters have had incredible production from a young offense this season and are a force to be reckoned with. Lake Forest 4-1, 5-1

NEHC

Plymouth State at No. 5 Norwich
Plymouth State ended the regular season losing to Norwich and I don’t see this going any different. Norwich is just too strong. Norwich 6-2

Southern Maine at Manhattanville
Manhattanville has never lost to Southern Maine at home. Difficult to overcome that kind of history. Manhattanville 4-2

Salve Regina at Massachusetts Boston
I’m tempted to pick an upset here. Salve Regina finished the regular season well and looks well-positioned for the postseason. I have a lot of faith in UMass Boston, but like picking a few upset specials, so I’ll pick Salve Regina to win. Salve Regina 4-3

University of New England at Castleton
This one’s a toss-up. When in doubt, I always pick the home team. Castleton 5-4

NESCAC

Wesleyan at No. 6 Middlebury
Middlebury closed out strong and Wesleyan stumbled down the stretch. Middlebury swept during the regular season and the same should happen here. Middlebury 4-0

Williams at No. 10 Connecticut College
Connecticut College owned this match up in the regular season and I don’t see that changing. They’re strong in the postseason and just have too many pieces for Williams to find answers to. Connecticut College 3-1

Bowdoin at Hamilton
Maybe the closest pairing we’ll see all weekend. One bad or lucky bounce is likely to decide this one. I’ll pick Hamilton after they finished the season so strong, but neither result should surprise. Hamilton 5-4

Amherst at Trinity
Amherst’s super-stingy defense wins this one out. Amherst 2-0

WIAC

Wisconsin Superior at No. 3 Wisconsin-River Falls
I don’t see anyone slowing down the Wis.-River Falls offense until at least the final weekend of the postseason. They’re a literal force and few teams are going to have answers. Wis.-River Falls 6-1, 5-2

Wisconsin-Stevens Point at Wisconsin-Eau Claire
The WIAC is so interesting this year. Wis.-Eau Claire has had Wis.-River Falls’ number, but Wis.-Stevens Point has had Wis.-Eau Claire’s. I could see these two splitting this series, but I think it’s Wis.-Eau Claire that will ultimately move on. Wis.-Eau Claire 5-3, Wis.-Stevens Point 4-2, and Wis.-Eau Claire wins the tiebreaker.

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