D-III East weekend picks Nov. 29

Cedric Hansen of Oswego (Oswego Athletics)
Cedric Hansen will lead Oswego against a tough Brockport squad. (Oswego Athletics)

I love the holiday tournament season, and while much of the cream rose to the top last weekend, it is still the upset that grabs our attention when scoreboard watching. As we go back to league play, there are some great rivalry games and contending team matchups this weekend. Yes, the calendar is turning to December, but there are still important points to be had. Last weekend’s feast of picks finished with an 11-3-0 (.786) record, which brings the season totals to 34-11-5 (.730). Let’s hope I can keep the positive momentum going. Here are this week’s picks.

Thursday, Nov. 29

Worcester State at Massachusetts-Dartmouth
Both teams could use a conference win, so expect this one to be physical and close checking for 60 minutes or more. Expect the stars to shine, especially Jonathan Ruiz for UMD and Mike Moran for the Lancers, who finds more of his late-game magic. Worcester State 3-2

Friday, Nov. 30

Brockport at No. 3 Oswego
The Golden Eagles are 7-1-1 and looking for a statement win in the SUNYAC, while the Lakers would certainly like to take the home win and two more points. The Lakers shouldn’t be looking past Brockport for Saturday’s date with Geneseo, and Ed Gosek and a raucous home crowd make sure they don’t. Oswego 3-2

No. 15 Hobart at Massachusetts-Boston
It’s back to business for both teams in NEHC play, and the Beacons will want to refocus after last weekend’s first-round loss in the Manchester PAL/Stovepipe Tournament. There is definitely an empty-net goal involved in this one and likely some other special teams’ goals, as both teams are close at even strength. UMass-Boston 4-2

No. 10 University of New England at Nichols
The Nor’easters have been an offensive powerhouse with scoring sprinkled across multiple highly talented lines. They are going against a strong defensive Bison squad that plays well at home, but I think the visitors have something special late to pull out a win. University of New England 4-3

Elmira at Lebanon Valley
The UCHC has been a roller coaster this season, and both teams have turned it on for games already this season. Consistency has been somewhat hard to find, so I’m going with the home team here in yet another close conference battle. Lebanon Valley 4-3

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Franklin Pierce at Southern New Hampshire University
While a shootout loss in your own tournament may be tough to swallow, the Penmen must be pleased with their level of play against two strong nonconference opponents last weekend. There are lots of positive things to build off of, including the stellar play of Kurt Gutting in goal. Southern New Hampshire 5-2

Plymouth State at Westfield State
The Panthers have been showing balanced scoring, good team defense, and solid goaltending from Evan Morelli in racing off to a fast start. Thirteen different players already have scored for PSU, and that depth will be hard for the Owls to match. Plymouth State 5-2

Fredonia at Plattsburgh
Nothing like building off a tournament win to keep the momentum going, in this case for Fredonia. Plattsburgh looks to regroup after back-to-back losses in the Primelink Great Northern Shootout and pick up some points on home ice. Plattsburgh 3-1

Amherst at No. 11 Trinity
The Bantams are off to a great start to the season and have been very stingy defensively, surrendering just six goals in their first five games. Amherst has needed to hit the three-goal count to record a win so far this season. Look for Trinity to hold Amherst down just enough for the win. Trinity 3-2

It is hard to believe that there are just a couple of weeks remaining in the first half, so every team is looking to improve and ramp-up the energy level heading into the break. Valuable points are out for the taking. “Drop the Puck!”