Hockey East picks: First round – Mar. 10-12

Stick a fork in me; I’m done. I’m down five games to Jim and am picking first this week so he can play the Four Corners offense, mimicking my choices, and leave me with nothing but three contrarian picks next week.It’s a move I employed a year or two ago and was deservedly called gutless by a prominent Hockey East personality. So Jim shouldn’t be taken to task if he repays that move.My only hope is that he realizes he’s a better person than I am and behaves appropriately (wink).Jim last week: 7-2-0Dave last week: 6-3-0Jim to date: 158-87-32Dave to date: 153-92-32We will pick each series in order. Regardless of our picks in the first two games, we will each pick all three games.No. 10 New Hampshire at No. 1 UMass LowellDave’s pick: Sorry, UNH fans. I’m desperate, but not desperate enough to pick against the River Hawks. They’re a team that has it all, save the glamour of a nationally recognized superstar. Not even Tyler Kelleher can stop this train.G1: UML 4, UNH 2; G2: UML 5, UNH 3; G3: UML 5, UNH 2Jim’s pick: I agree with Dave here not just on his picks but also on the fact that these games are going to be close. I think people look at the last game between the two, an 8-2 win for Lowell, and think this is a slam dunk. Last weekend proved to me that UNH has excellent goaltending.G1: UML 3, UNH 1; G2: UML 3, UNH 2; G3: UML 5, UNH 2No. 8 Northeastern at No. 2 Boston UniversityDave’s pick: I expect BU to win this series, most likely in two games, but definitely in three. The difference in goaltending and team defense is just too significant. But that’s the safe pick and I need to go in the opposite direction from Jim if he does the (wink, wink) honorable thing.G1: NU 4, BU 3; G2: NU 5, BU 4; G3: NU 3, BU 2 (OT)Jim’s pick: First off, I feel I owe the readers the picks that are in my gut, not the ones that will win me a picks contest. I actually am confident this goes three games. And then it is a toss-up. That said, I think that Boston University emerges.G1: BU 4, NU 3; G2: NU 4, BU 2; G3: BU 4, NU 2No. 6 Vermont at No. 3 Boston CollegeDave’s pick: If Jim and I were tied, I’d pick the Catamounts in the first game, the Eagles in the second, and the Cats in an overtime thriller in the third. But picking a split is the safe choice, so give me Vermont in all three.G1: UVM 3, BC 2 (OT); G2: UVM 2, BC 1; G3: UVM 3, BC 2 (2 OT)Jim’s pick: Again, you’re getting my actual pick here. I just don’t like the way BC is playing right now and feel like the Eagles season may be over. G1: UVM 4, BC 3 (OT); G2: UVM 2, BC 1 (OT); G3: UVM 3, BC 2 (OT)No. 5 Providence at No. 4 Notre DameDave’s pick: This series feels like a coin flip with the exception of Cal Petersen. Normally, I’d go with Notre Dame in three, but I’m going to guess that Jim picks the Irish so I’ll happily go in the other direction.G1: PC 2, UND 1; G2: PC 3, UND 2; G3: PC 2, UND 1 (OT)Jim’s pick: And Dave guesses wrong again. I’m actually picking Providence to win this series. They’ve been such a successful postseason team under Nate Leaman. Add to that their ability to play with a lead, I think they can get past Notre Dame.G1: PC 4, UND 2; G2: PC 2, UND 1; G3: PC 3, UND 1