Atlantic Hockey Picks, November 10-11

Last week:

Dan: 5-5-2
Chris: 6-4-2

On the season:

Dan: 28-24-9 (.533)
Chris: 33-19-9 (.615)

This Week’s Picks

Friday, November 10 and Saturday, November 11
Sacred Heart at American International
Chris: Both teams have shown flashes of brilliance and determination this season, and if both show up at that level, it’s going to be a heck of a series. I’m leaning towards SHU to sweep.
Dan:This is my pick for series of the weekend. Both teams are trending upwards, and both teams play hardnosed, gritty styles of hockey. Both are steadily improving programs that are making Atlantic Hockey a true top-to-bottom conference. There are two major keys for this series: 1) Sacred Heart’s offense against AIC’s goaltending and 2) AIC’s special teams. Big Red’s been peppering nets, and I think the offense is a little bit stronger than what AIC can match this weekend. But the great equalizer is if the Pioneers wind up in the box; the Yellow Jackets are one of the better teams I’ve seen this year in man-up situations. Sacred Heart sweeps an absolute thriller of a weekend.

Air Force at Holy Cross
Chris: Air Force coach Frank Serratore has said that the Hart Center is one of his least favorite places to play, as the Crusaders are especially tough there. Holy Cross holds a 4-2-5 record against the Falcons at home over their last 11 meetings in Worcester . And yes, that’s more ties than wins for either team. In all, nine of 30 meetings between the Crusaders and Falcons have ended in a draw. Since we don’t pick ties, I’m going with a Holy Cross win on Friday and an Air Force victory on Saturday.
Dan: Air Force hasn’t been swept in a conference regular season series since losing four straight to Robert Morris and Sacred Heart back in 2014. They promptly pounded AIC for a 9-3 and 3-1 victory. I think this Falcon team is ready to come east with something to prove, which is bad news for a Holy Cross team that’s very quietly putting together solid numbers. Air Force sweeps.

Canisius at Mercyhurst
Chris: This rivalry between the schools, which are separated by about 100 miles of I-90, goes back to their days in the Division III ECAC West. If the games were in Buffalo, I’d probably go with a Canisius sweep, but I think the Lakers will win on Friday, and Canisius on Saturday.
Dan: My annual complaint about scheduling’s inexact science – this is the only time these teams will meet this season. They’ve met 86 times, including 65 at the Division I level where Mercyhurst only holds a two-game advantage. We need to figure out a way to get permanent rivals on the schedule.Mercyhurst wins on Friday. Canisius wins on Saturday.

Army West Point at Niagara
Chris: At the beginning of the season, this series probably wasn’t circled on many calendars, but these teams will be squaring off for supremacy in the league standings. The first-place Black Knights lead Niagara by a point, but the Purple Eagles have three games in hand. Fresh off a sweep of Air Force, I think Army puts together two great games and sweeps on the road.
Dan: Niagara is 5-2-1 overall and 4-0-1 in league play. Win this weekend, and I’ll start hunting for that crow Chris and I will need to eat for picking them to finish last. Army West Point sweeps.

Robert Morris at Rochester Institute of technology
Chris: Unfortunately for RIT, it looks like Robert Morris is getting its scoring groove back on. After scoring five, five and four goals in its last three series, RMU put up eight last weekend against a good Holy Cross defense. Factoring in RIT’s difficulty at home over the past few seasons, I’m going with a Robert Morris sweep.
Dan: Why do I feel like RIT is flying under the radar this year? The Tigers are 3-1 in AHC play after splitting last weekend with AIC – and that loss came in overtime. Logan Drackett’s .908 save percentage in league play will be put to the test this weekend by an RMU team that I think is poised for an offensive breakout. I can’t pick ties, but since I have no idea who wins on what night for the split, I’m going with the home team by default. RIT sweeps.

Friday, November 10
Bentley at Merrimack
Chris: I think this one comes down to home ice, and unfortunately for the Falcons, this one’s not at the JAR. Merrimack wins.
Dan: Despite playing as Northeast-10 Conference rivals in Division II, the D1 hockey programs have only met twice before, with the Warriors winning at home in 2013-2014 and at the JAR in 2015-2016. Bentley’s enjoyed success against Hockey East, winning at least one game in eight of the last 10 seasons. I think they’ll enjoy the trip up to North Andover, and I think this is where things will start turning around for a Falcon team that’s been battle-tested early by conference play. Bentley wins.

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