Atlantic Hockey Picks, March 17-18

Last week:

Dan: 7-2
Chris: 7-2

On the season:

Dan: 134-75-31 (.623)
Chris: 144-65-31 (.665)

This Week’s Picks:

Friday, March 17
Atlantic Hockey Tournament
Semifinals
#4 Robert Morris vs #1 Canisius
Dan: This game is as tough as any to pick on the weekend. Charles Williams could be on his way to the Hobey Baker Award, while Robert Morris’ Francis Marotte is the type of goaltender who will give everyone fits for four years. The Colonials’ offense didn’t miss a beat this year, and their top line is by far, in my opinion, the best in the league. After solidly beating Holy Cross last week, I think they’re primed for a big weekend. Robert Morris wins.
Chris: This game pits two teams with offensive firepower and great goaltending. Canisius puts its 17 game unbeaten streak on the line while RMU has won five in a row. Canisius is looking to be the first team to win the regular season and playoff titles since Air Force in 2012. Only three times since the championships moved to Rochester in 2007 has the top seed won it all, and with that in mind I’m going for an upset pick. Robert Morris wins.

#3 Army West Point vs. #2 Air Force
Dan: Both coaches downplayed that they’re playing each other in the postseason to me this week, and it wasn’t just coachspeak. Regular season matchups mean more as “service academy rivalry games” than this game does in that respect; both teams see this game as an incredibly tough hurdle standing between them and the conference championship game. At some point, I think it’ll flare up on the ice, but otherwise, expect a hard-fought game between two very talented teams. Despite just downplaying it, it’s great to see military academies, which are unique to Atlantic Hockey, make it to Rochester. It’s a shame someone has to go home, but I’m going with the upset as the Black Knights knock the Falcons out of the national tournament. Army West Point wins.
Chris: I’ll start by mentioning that the venue for the Atlantic Hockey Championship is commonly referred to as Blue Cross Arena, but the building’s official name is the Blue Cross Arena at the Rochester War Memorial, recognizing the service of area veterans. It’s an appropriate venue for this game between two service academies. The teams have met at BCA once before, in the 2007 title game, won by the Falcons, 6-1. History is on the side of Air Force, which is 10-1-3 vs. Army West Point in their last 14 meetings. That one loss was this year, but the Falcons took the season series 3-1. All the games this season have been close, and I expect this one will be too. But in the end, I’m going with Air Force, who always plays well at Blue Cross Area (10-2 all time). Air Force wins.

 

Saturday, March 18
Atlantic Hockey Tournament
Championship
Army West Point/Air Force vs. Robert Morris/Canisius
Dan: Since I can’t win the picks championship, I’m entitled to be a little bit bold here. I’m entirely impressed by Robert Morris’ ability to avoid a downswing after we all wrote them off. I think Derek Schooley proved himself one of Atlantic Hockey’s best coaches in doing so, and I see them as a factor for years to come. But I love what Brian Riley’s done at West Point in building his team up to this point, and I think it’s worth taking a flyer on seeing what they can do on the national radar. Army West Point wins.
Chris: I’ve clinched my three-peat as picks champion against Dan, so I can afford to use my final pick of the season to go with my heart and not necessarily my head. If I’m right about my semifinal picks, it will come down to the Falcons and Colonials, and sets up the possibility of both teams making the NCAA Tournament if RMU wins. So I’m going with that. Click here for the scenario that makes this happen and try out your own using our PairWise Predictor.

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