East picks: Nov. 24

Hopefully everyone is enjoying their fill of good food, family, and friends over this Thanksgiving holiday weekend, maybe even adding a bit of Black Friday fun to the agenda to get some exercise after Thursday’s feasting. Last weekend, I didn’t quite feast with my picks, but I definitely had a solid set of results, going 5-2-1 (.688) which brings the season total to 21-8-3 (.703). This weekend brings seven holiday tournaments and some interesting nonconference matchups. See my summary of tournaments below along with this week’s picks, including select first-round games from each of the tournaments on tap. As is the case with Thanksgiving, I am overindulging on picks with a couple of extra this week.

Friday, Nov. 24

Primelink Great Northern Shootout at Middlebury

No. 7 Norwich vs. Plattsburgh
This year’s participants include the hosts from Middlebury, Lawrence from the west, and two great rivals in this profiled game. The Cardinals have struggled early, while the Cadets are still looking for a complete 60-minute game. Expect the rivalry to bring out the best in both teams, with the Cadets needing an empty-net goal to seal the deal. Norwich 5-3

WYSB Catamount Radio Invitational at Castleton

Brockport vs. Tufts
The opening round games find the host school playing King’s, while SUNYAC meets NESCAC in the other game. Tufts has only played three games on the season, while Brockport has played a handful more, which will be a factor in the outcome. It will be close, but special teams make the difference for the Golden Eagles. Brockport 4-2

No. 15 Salve Regina vs. Morrisville
The newly ranked Seahawks go on the road and play the Mustangs at a neutral site, The Aud in Utica, and find they have their hands full with a spirited Morrisville team. The Seahawks have been explosive offensively behind forward Jack Billings and will need a fast start to set up a road win. Salve Regina 4-3

Saturday, Nov. 25

Binghamton Devils Tournament

Nichols vs. Amherst
This tournament is new on the calendar this season and features Framingham State vs. Cortland in the other first-round game. The Bison and Mammoth feature a pair of terrific goaltenders in Colin Brennan and Connor Girard, who will keep this a low-scoring affair. Fans might get some bonus hockey to decide the victor. Amherst 2-1

Bowdoin/Colby Face-off Classic at Colby

No. 9 Massachusetts-Boston vs. Colby
This tournament features both Maine schools playing against each of the invited guests with the best record determining the winner of the event. Bowdoin will face-off with St. Anselm in the early game on Saturday, while the late game will feature two high-flying offenses in the Beacons and the Mules. Fans will get their money’s worth in this one as the Beacons behind Colin Larkin get it done. Massachusetts-Boston 5-3

Steve Hoar Memorial Classic

Bryn Athyn vs. Becker
The tournament honoring the late coach also features Fitchburg State and Stonehill at the new Worcester Ice Center. The hosts face a Lions team that has quickly found their game, winning four in a row after two opening weekend losses. Coach Andrew Burke will have his team ready to play and eke out a hard-fought win. Bryn Athyn 3-2

Skidmore Invitational

Canton vs. No. 10 Hamilton
The host Thoroughbreds will be looking to break into the win column against a difficult Fredonia squad, while the Kangaroos will try to find an answer to a Hamilton team that plays a complete 200-foot game for 60 minutes. The Continentals continue to build on their 1-0-1 opening weekend. Hamilton 4-1

Manchester PAL Stovepipe Tournament

Western New England vs. Southern New Hampshire
The hosts open the afternoon action coming off their first two wins of the season, where they scored a combined 15 goals. Expect the offensive fireworks to continue for the Penmen, who will need all the goals to get to the championship game. Southern New Hampshire 6-5

Sunday, Nov. 26

Franklin Pierce at No. 5 Trinity
The Bantams proved they can win the close ones in rallying for a pair of wins over Tufts and Conn College last weekend to open the season. The Bantams won convincingly over Nazareth on Tuesday, so don’t expect coach Greason’s troops to take the Ravens lightly. Trinity 5-1

No. 11 Endicott at Salem State
The North Shore backyard brawl finds two teams looking to build on winning streaks. The Gulls have won six in a row, while the Vikings downed Southern Maine early in the week to halt a four-game losing streak. Everything is going right for the Gulls, and they keep their streak intact with a balanced attack. Endicott 5-2

Nothing like some holiday tournament hockey to get you off the couch after a filling Thanksgiving feast. If you are nearby, go enjoy the great D-III action and maybe even burn off a few calories in the process — “Drop the Puck!”

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