Atlantic Hockey Picks, March 10-12

Last week:

Dan: 6-2Chris: 6-2

On the season:

Dan: 127-73-31 (.617)Chris: 137-63-31 (.660)

This Week’s Picks:

Friday, March 10 – Sunday, March 12 Atlantic Hockey TournamentQuarterfinal Round – Best of Three Series#11 Niagara at #1 CanisiusDan: I never thought Niagara would be here, but since they are, they need to be taken seriously. I looked back over some of the major upsets of #1 seeds in the past seven years or so, across multiple conferences, and I couldn’t find a tying thread outside of a goaltender that played poorly at the wrong time. So if Charles Williams can enjoy a good weekend, Canisius will be onto Rochester. Then again, it’s a rivalry so throw predictions out the window. Canisius sweeps.Chris: Niagara has had some postseason success in recent years despite having a very low seed. In the past three seasons, the Purple Eagles have pulled off two upsets and almost a third. I wouldn’t be shocked to see NU force a Game Three, but I’m still going with the top-seeded Griffs to sweep.#8 Bentley at #2 Air ForceDan: Bentley has never beaten Air Force in the postseason, but they also haven’t met since 2009. In ’08, Air Force registered a sweep before eliminated their eastern counterparts in ’09 in the semifinals in Rochester. In recent history, Bentley’s had success at Cadet Ice Arena, going 4-2-2 in their last eight games in Colorado. There’s also a national component to this game since Air Force is inside the bubble but squarely on it. Series at places like St. Cloud State and Boston College are anxiously watching it. As for the series itself, it’s going to boil down to which team gets the right goaltender. Shane Starrett has been steady all season with a .922 save percentage, but Jayson Argue has proven he can win the big game with a game-changing save. I’m going for the upset. Bentley wins in three.Chris: The Battle of the Falcons resumes. For two weeks, Air Force has had to sit on a heartbreaking last-minute loss that cost the Falcons the regular season title. I think they’ll be raring to go, and despite Bentley’s ability to push this to three games and possibly pull off the upset, I think Air Force will sweep.#7 Mercyhurst at #3 Army West PointDan: There are few teams I want to see win the championship more than Army West Point. They have what I believe is one of the best goaltenders in the country in Parker Gahagen, and they’re big, strong, and physical. I love their style, and it would cap a wire-to-wire run that’s had them entrenched in the top of the league since the opening salvo was fired. To do it, though, they have to go through a Mercyhurst team that’s a little bit of a matchup nightmare. The Lakers are deep and are capable of playing the physical game in their own right. I’m still taking West Point, but expect these games to be back-and-forth, close affairs. Army West Point in three.Chris: This is my upset special. Mercyhurst has been consistently inconstant this season, and the Lakers’ upset changes will hinge on their ability to put together two complete games over a three game span against an Army team that was a goal away from the championship game last year. Rick Gotkin’s teams find a way to get to Rochester year in and year out, and I’m predicting it will happen again. Mercyhurst in three.#5 Holy Cross at #4 Robert MorrisDan: Holy Cross won their way into fifth place, but I’ve been wrong about Robert Morris literally all season long. They have the top three scorers in the entire conference, and it’s not even really that close. Even though defense typically wins in the postseason, I can’t bet against a high-flying team like them. I like Holy Cross’ chances in this series because I really liked what I saw a couple of weeks ago, but I’m taking the Colonials in a series that will probably feature one blowout and one overtime game. Robert Morris sweeps.Chris: The seedings indicate that this will be the most evenly contested of the four quarterfinal series, but I have a feeling that RMU is going to come out on top and will need only two games to do it. Robert Morris sweeps.