East picks: Jan. 18

Stop the world I want to get off!! They say that even a blind squirrel can find an acorn, and so too it must be true that one week of the season I would get it right and have a perfect week. Yes, I write proudly that my picks last week finished at 10-0-0 (1.000), including the Babson win over Hobart and the right night for Buffalo State to take down Elmira. Overall, I vaulted to 58-25-4 (.690) on the season, so time to not get greedy but pick wisely and see if we can add yet another good week back-to-back. Here are the picks as the regular season kicks into high gear for all the conferences.

Thursday, Jan. 18

Western New England at Johnson & Wales
The CCC has been very competitive all season, and don’t let the records of the teams fool you on the level of competition that will happen between the Golden Bears and the Wildcats. Going with the home team, but with an empty-net goal to put the win away. Johnson & Wales 4-2

Fitchburg State at Framingham State
The battle of the FSU’s is usually hotly contested. The Falcons from Fitchburg probably have just too much depth for their acronym sharing opponents from Framingham, and that leads to a somewhat comfortable win. Fitchburg State 5-2

Friday, Jan. 19

Elmira at Manhattanville
Last weekend wasn’t great for either team, but Elmira got a split at Buffalo State where the Valiants dropped a pair of games to Williams and Nichols. Home ice and league points have the Manhattanville back in the win column. Manhattanville 3-2

No. 8 Geneseo at Buffalo State
This is a tough place to play for the Knights and most in SUNYAC, but to stay at the top with Oswego, they are going to have to find a way to pull out a win against a tough Bengals team. Offense is the difference in this one for the visitors. Geneseo 4-3

No. 2 Endicott at Nichols
The first-place Gulls will have their hands full with an experienced Nichols team that has played well in front of goalie Colin Brennan. The hosts are less than gracious, but like most games this season, Endicott finds that late goal to get the win. Endicott 3-2

Saturday, Jan. 20

No. 5 Oswego at No. 9 Utica
The Lakers are the odd team out in the SUNYAC schedule, but certainly are not taking a night off against the Pioneers. This one will be a playoff-caliber game, and the visitors eke one out courtesy of a revamped power play chipping in when it counts. Oswego 4-3

Williams at Colby
The Ephs have righted themselves after a four-game losing streak around the break, but will be challenged in Waterville by Sean Lawrence and the opportunistic Mules. Things are tight at the top, and these two points are important for both teams. Williams finds a way led by forward David Italiano. Williams, 3-2

No. 15 Hobart at No. 11 Norwich
The Cadets saw the results of two other close competitors knocking off Hobart last weekend and certainly would like to put more distance between themselves and the Statesmen. Home ice does matter for Norwich, which gets yet another great game from Braeden Ostepchuk for the overtime win. Norwich 3-2

The second half is flying by, and the battles in conference play are hotly contested with every point having great import for teams looking to separate themselves from their nearest competitors and improve position in the standings. It is past the middle of January, and the stretch run has begun in earnest — “Drop the Puck!”