East picks: Oct. 27

This is the week of total excitement for D-III teams. Playing teams with different color uniforms and having scores count. Coaches aren’t quite sure what they have yet and how all the pieces will come together, but that is what they are about to find out with real game action at hand. Picking games this early in the season is a bit of a lucky event, since I have no idea how some the freshmen will contribute and adjust to the college game. So anyway, here we go with picks across a variety of interesting nonconference games — let the fun begin!

Friday, Oct. 27

Plymouth State at No. 6 Endicott
Two teams with strong aspirations of winning their conferences, MASCAC and CCC respectively, so expect a high-energy game that the home team takes with the benefit of an empty-net goal to seal the win on opening night. Endicott 4-2

No. 10 Hobart at Elmira
The teams are familiar foes coming out of the ECAC West days, but now play under different league banners for the first time. The Statesmen can play fast, up-tempo offensively and tight defensively, and will probably showcase both, but this game is still just a one-goal game. Hobart 3-2

Massachusetts-Dartmouth at Curry
The Colonels and Corsairs go way back to the ECAC Northeast days as rivals and the games were always close and entertaining. Curry plays very well at Ulin Arena, and that is the difference in this one as they eke by the Corsairs. Curry 3-2

Fredonia at No. 14 Utica
The “Aud” is a tough place to play for any team, and the Pioneers love their home-ice advantage and playing to a packed house. Fredonia will be will tough, but Utica has more depth and experience and a better power play. Utica 5-2

Bryn Athyn at St. Anselm
The Lions are the new kids on the block, and coach Andrew Burke has every intention of them being competitive from game one. First game behind the bench for the Hawks’ Jim Tortorella in quite some time, and he gets to see a close onew that may need an empty-net goal to decide the final score. St. Anselm 4-2

Saturday, Oct. 28

Castleton at Wentworth
It must be something in Vermont that two goaltenders are wearing “C’s” for their team. Actually, it is about leadership, and Ryan Mulder has provided that from the crease for all his tenure with the Spartans. He is the difference in a road win for Castleton. Castleton 4-3

Nazareth at No. 12 Geneseo
Opening home game for the Knights, who will be looking to get the locals excited about this year’s team by coming out fast and hard against Nazareth. Too much firepower from Geneseo, but it takes a third-period goal or two to break open a close contest. Geneseo 5-2

Stevenson at Morrisville
Another UCHC vs. SUNYAC contest, but in this one I am going with the visitors, only because Mike Davis has a history of scoring big goals and does late here to lift the Mustangs. Stevenson 5-4

The road to Lake Placid begins in earnest, and with Halloween just around the corner, we will soon find out if coaches think this weekend was a trick or a treat.

As always, I borrow the famous sign-off from the Boston Herald’s great sports columnist, John “Jocko” Connolly; thanks for letting me borrow it. It is the opening weekend: “Drop the Puck!”

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