Hockey East picks: Feb. 23-24

I remain a game behind Jim despite a stellar week.

Dave last week: 7-2-0
Jim last week: 7-2-0
Dave’s record-to-date: 125-79-25
Jim’s record-to-date: 126-78-25

Here are this week’s picks:

Friday, Feb. 23

Maine at Boston College 
Dave’s pick:  The Eagles win convincingly to clinch at least a share of the regular season title.
BC 4, Maine 1
Jim’s pick: I thought the 5-0 loss for Maine was strange last weekend. That said, even if this game is closer, BC should win.
BC 4, Maine 2

UMass Lowell at Merrimack
Dave’s pick: Lowell still has an outside opportunity to get to 5th place. Merrimack has a shot at either the cellar or hosting in the first round, a gigantic incentive. I’m this close to going with the Warriors, but I just can’t do it.
UML 3, MC 2 (OT)
Jim’s pick: Same here. I feel like Merrimack takes points from this weekend, but I’m still picking the River Hawks, a team playing decent home but not getting results.
UML 4, MC 3

New Hampshire at Northeastern
Dave’s pick: The Huskies keep the pressure on, hoping BC falters. The loss insures the Wildcats will be on the road for the playoffs.
NU 4, UNH 1
Jim’s pick: Huskies will find a way to keep rolling.
NU 5, UNH 2

Vermont at Boston University
Dave’s pick: The Terriers wrap up a first-round bye while Vermont teeters on the playoff-home-ice cliff.
BU 4, UVM 2
Jim’s pick: This is where Dave and I disagree. Take away last weekend vs. Northeastern, UVM has played really strong hockey down the stretch.
UVM 3, BU 2

Saturday, Feb. 24

Maine at Boston College 
Dave’s pick: The Eagles seal the deal, taking sole ownership of the regular season crown along with the top playoff seed. Maine finishes its feel-good regular season on a downer, losing five of six while still holding onto playoff home ice.
BC 5, Maine 2
Jim’s pick: BC completes a solid Hockey East regular season and will need to remain hot in hopes of winning the tournament to earn an NCAA bid..
BC 4, Maine 3

Vermont at Boston University
Dave’s pick: Fourth place isn’t what BU was shooting for this year, but it’s what the Terriers will get. Meanwhile, the Catamounts will cling to their home ice berth by virtue of the three teams below them also getting swept.
BU 3, UVM 2
Jim’s pick: I see this weekend as a split with BU winning to clinch fourth place.
BU 4, UVM 2

Providence at Massachusetts
Dave’s pick: Providence won’t finish first, but will close out the schedule on a high note. UMass, however, will end an oft-promising regular season on a 3-8-1 sour one.
PC 4, UMass 1
Jim’s pick: Friars remain pretty hot down the stretch and enter the playoffs with momentum.
PC 3, UMass 2

Merrimack at UMass Lowell
Dave’s pick: Lowell uses a sweep of the Warriors to get rid of some of the bad taste–though only some–from losing four straight.
UML 4, MC 2
Jim’s pick: Norm Bazin says he wants his team playing well heading into the playoffs. Two wins will certainly help the team’s confidence.
UML 4, MC 2

Northeastern at New Hampshire 
Dave’s pick: The Huskies leapfrog Providence into second place. For UNH, it’s a 1-13-5 closing mark since early December. Ouch!
NU 4, UNH 3
Jim’s pick: I’d like to think UNH would give their coach a victory in his final regular season game. But alas, they’re not strong enough for the Huskies.
NU 5, UNH 4