Atlantic Hockey Picks, December 8-9

Last week:

Dan: 6-4
Chris: 5-5

On the season:

Dan: 49-44-14 (.523)
Chris: 55-38-14 (.579)

This Week’s Picks

Friday, December 8 and Saturday, December 9
Mercyhurst at American International
Chris: Mercyhust won three of four meetings last season, including a sweep in the first round of the Atlantic Hockey tournament last season. I’m tempted to pick a split and wouldn’t be surprised if it happens, but I’m going with a Mercyhurst sweep.
Dan: AIC only has one win in its last five games, but it came against Niagara. I think playing at home will make up for the fact that Mercyhurst usually plays very well against them. The early start on Friday will help. AIC wins on Friday, Mercyhurst on Saturday.

Canisius vs. Niagara
Chris: These “Battle of the Bridge” games are intense no matter what, but they’re all the more important this season with newly-ranked Niagara and Canisius occupying first and second place in the conference. Friday’s game is at Niagara with the action moving to HarborCenter on Saturday. I’m going with the home team each night. Niagara wins Friday, Canisius wins Saturday.
Dan: I love a good rivalry, and I’m a sucker for this one, which is underrated up in the WNY area. This is all of a sudden a huge weekend for points as well, with the teams sitting first and second in the league. Niagara’s been rolling, and I really like their team right now. I’m taking the Purps, but I have a feeling these teams will meet again with bigger stakes. Niagara sweeps.

Rochester Institute of Technology at Providence
Chris: These are the final non-conference games of the regular season for RIT, which is winless (0-3-1) so far against non-league opponents. I don’t expect that to change on the road against the ninth-ranked Friars. Providence sweeps.
Dan: I don’t think RIT will win this weekend, but there’s no complaints readily available if they find themselves driving home with Caserta Pizza in tow. Providence sweeps.

Penn State vs. Robert Morris
Chris: Friday’s game is at downtown Pittsburgh’s PPG Paints Arena, with Penn State hosting Saturday’s contest. It’s good to have these teams back on each other’s schedule after Penn State decided to stop participating in the Three Rivers Classic tournament beginning last season. The Nittany Lions are undefeated in their last six games and moved into the USCHO poll at No. 18. I think they’ll keep it going with a Penn State sweep.
Dan: Don’t sleep on this series as a rivalry. The first year of the Three Rivers Classic saw a near-sellout, packed-house at the Igloo (I know that’s not the name of it, but I love the old Penguins’ arena), and RMU won it. The long layoff after the Bentley series will give them a good chance to refocus, and I think they’ll bring some wood to the Nittany Lions. That said, I still think Penn State takes the wins. Penn State sweeps.

Friday, December 8
Army West Point at Merrimack
Chris:The Black Knights beat (then) No. 17 Colgate last weekend, and I think they’ll keep it going against the Warriors. Army West Point wins.
Dan: Army West Point comes up to Massachusetts with some mojo back after last weekend. Merrimack, meanwhile, hasn’t won since November 10. Army West Point wins.

Saturday, December 9
Bentley at Dartmouth
Chris: I picked against the Falcons against Brown and was wrong on that one. I’m not making that mistake again, especially with the Falcons flying high in recent weeks. Bentley wins.
Dan: Thompson Arena is one of my favorite arenas in ECAC, and Hanover is perfect this time of year. Too bad there’s going to be about 3-6 inches of snow on the ground at some point in New England. Bentley wins.

Yale at Sacred Heart
Chris: Yale has won four of the five meeeting between the schools, including a 4-1 win at the Whale last season. I don’t think a change of venue will make a difference. Yale Wins.
Dan: Connecticut turned red earlier this year when Sacred Heart beat UConn. I don’t think it happens again. Yale wins.

Army West Point at New Hampshire
Chris: While I think Army will best Merrimack on Friday, I think they’ll have to settle with a road split. New Hampshire wins.
Dan: UNH has a distinct advantage up on Lake Whitt because the Olympic-sized rink is so much bigger than teams are used to. It’s also the first piece of their weekend before they play Merrimack on Sunday. That’s bad news for the Black Knights, who have their game against the Warriors the night before. UNH wins.

Holy Cross at Union
Chris: The Crusaders win their share of non-conference games, but I don’t think that will be the case here. Union wins.
Dan: I like Holy Cross, but Union is beating everyone not named Clarkson these days. Union wins.