East picks: Jan. 25

What is that expression? I think I just went from the penthouse to the outhouse relative to my picks this past weekend! After a week of perfection, I strayed severely the other way and finished with a miserable 1-3-4 (.313) record last weekend, where surprise results abounded. That brings the season total to 59-28-8 (.663), which is still far below my goal of a 70 percent success rate. The contests don’t bring much relief this week, but I must do better. Here are this week’s selections.

Thursday, Jan. 25

No. 11 Salve Regina at No. 4 Endicott
Another critical weekend series in the CCC that features two strong teams. The Gulls got caught up by Nichols in the first game last weekend, but that was on the road. The Seahawks have certainly been up for all ranked opponents, and Blake Wojtala will keep it close. This one might be a tie, but think the Gulls find a way in OT. Endicott 2-1

Framingham State at Plymouth State
TRAP GAME ALERT!! The Panthers best not take the Rams too lightly or they will lose out on some key conference points. The home team has been very good defensively of late, so expect the offense to create a comfortable cushion. Plymouth State 5-2

Friday, Jan. 26

Post at Stonehill
While the results haven’t always been there, the effort since the break has Post playing much closer hockey games, and this one will not be easy for the hosts from Stonehill. Looking for a home-team flourish in the third period to collect a hard-fought win. Stonehill 3-2

Bryn Athyn at No. 7 Utica
The Pioneers are not going to look past the newcomers on the schedule with every win building momentum in the second half. Just too much talent and depth for the home team in this one, as Utica will get a surge from the favorable crowd at “The Aud.” Utica, 4-1

No. 5 Oswego at Morrisville
The Lakers needed an extra-attacker goal in the final minute to earn a tie at Utica last weekend, while the Mustangs took a pair of games from Potsdam. It would not be in Oswego’s best interest to look past Morrisville, who will give them a difficult time. Oswego 3-2

New England College at No. 13 Hobart
Two teams that both took weekend sweeps last weekend in important NEHC matchups now face each other, and something will have to give. The Pilgrims have quietly flown under the radar for a lot of teams, but that will not be the case for a Hobart squad that wants to re-establish their winning home-ice advantage. This one comes down to special teams in the final five minutes. Hobart 3-2

Saturday, Jan. 27

No. 12 Norwich at No. 10 Massachusetts-Boston
The Beacons and Cadets both lost games last weekend they would like to have back. Lots of talent on the offensive side for the home team that will put goalie Braeden Ostepchuk to the test. Secondary scoring will be the difference in this one that may need some bonus hockey to decide. Norwich 4-3

Amherst at Wesleyan
The Cardinals split last weekend, while Amherst took two points from travel partner Hamilton and carried that momentum in a non-league win over Babson on Tuesday night. Both teams are in need of points, but the visitors’ advantage in special teams is the difference here. Amherst 3-2

No. 8 Geneseo at Plattsburgh
The Cardinals had last weekend off after a strong 7-2 win over Wesleyan on Jan. 16. Hopefully, the extra rest will help them in what should be a fast-paced offensive game where both goaltenders will be tested often. The Knights have tightened things up defensively since the Northfield Bank tournament, so expect the typical one-goal game between these two fierce rivals. Geneseo 3-2

St. Michael’s at Southern New Hampshire
The Purple Knights want to stay at the top of the NE-10 standings, but will need a strong effort against a Penmen team that has shown balanced scoring from the likes of Chris Moquin, Brett Strawn, and Artem Efimov-Barakov (AEB). Chris Johnson and Tim Decker have been strong in goal, so look for the visitors to eke this one out. St. Michael’s 3-2

The final weekend in January is here so less than a month remains, and the sense of urgency for points is now elevated in every league — “Drop the Puck!”