On the season:
Dan: 121-71-31 (.612)
Chris: 131-61-31 (.657)
This Week’s Picks:
Friday, March 3 – Sunday, March 5
Atlantic Hockey Tournament
First Round – Best of Three Series
#9 Sacred Heart at #8 Bentley
Dan: There is virtually no way under any circumstances that this series doesn’t go three, and when it’s done, everyone, including everyone in the stands, press box, snack bar, and staff room, will need an ice bath. At least one of these games is going to overtime. For the final time, the postseason goes to the JAR, and it’ll once again be a series befitting the gritty atmosphere it provides. Bentley in three.
Chris: Do these teams every play an unexciting game? They’re always physical, hard fought affairs. That’s why I think this series will go the distance. Bentley in three.
#10 American International at #7 Mercyhurst
Dan: There’s a part of me that really wants to tempt fate and pick AIC. The Yellow Jackets played great last weekend, and I think they’re peaking with the right attitude at the right time. They’re totally unfazed by going on the road, and they already have a measure of success against the Lakers. But if the Lakers are on upset alert, then you really can’t bet against them. The most common pick is always the one that doesn’t happen. This is definitely the starting point of AIC’s future success, though. Mercyhurst in two hard-fought, close games.
Chris: I am tempted to pick the Yellow Jackets, which gave Army West Point all it could handle last weekend. The Lakers come into the postseason on a three-game losing streak, but I think they will turn things around on home ice. Mercyhurst sweeps.
#11 Niagara at #6 Rochester Institute of Technology
Dan: The two-time defending league champion, RIT should have the respect befitting a team that just simply knows how to win. Even with the injuries, that accounts for a measure of respect earned rather than given. On the flip side, I’ve been saying – completely unfounded and without talking to anybody – that Niagara was just waiting for the postseason because the season wound up the way that it did. They get a chance to regroup and refocus, which I think helps them out immensely. But the Tigers are the champions until someone can say otherwise. RIT sweeps.
Chris: The three postseason games played between these teams in their Division I eras were all one-goal affairs, with two needing overtime. Both squads have lost key players to injury, with Niagara especially decimated. The Polisseni hasn’t been a friendly home to the Tigers, who are just 5-11 there this season. Even as a low seed, Niagara has forced Game Threes for the past two seasons, pulling off an upset of Holy Cross in 2015. Factoring all that in, I’m picking RIT in three.