Atlantic Hockey Picks: October 17-19

Last week:

Dan: 14-2
Chris: 10-6

On the season:

Dan: 16-6-1 (.717)
Chris: 12-10-1 (.543)

This Week’s Picks

Thursday, October 17
Merrimack at Holy Cross
Chris: The Crusaders knocked off Providence last week and have two more games against Hockey East competition this weekend. In this one, I’m looking for a Holy Cross win on home ice.
Dan: Leave it to me to lay a Rubin jinx on Providence last week. As for Merrimack, last week’s loss to Wisconsin was a case of a game derailing after it was going very well. They scored three goals in two minutes’ time before the wheels blew off the wagon. I don’t necessarily think the 11-goal output is a true indication. So I’m going with Merrimack to win this one.

Friday, October 18 and Saturday, October 19
Robert Morris at Army West Point
Chris: Both teams are coming off strong showings last weekend: the Colonials with a sweep of Bentley and the Black Knights defeating Union and UConn. I expect a low-scoring series that could go either way, so I’m going with a split.
Dan: Brian Riley talked about goaltending as the key to Army’s bounceback this year. Early returns are showing how good this team can be. If this were in Pittsburgh, I’d pick against them, but I’m agreeing with Chris here. It’s a split.

Niagara at Minnesota
Chris: Niagara opens its season with a tall order against the Gophers at Mariucci. I wouldn’t be surprised with a split, but my gut tells me it’ll be a Minnesota sweep.
Dan: Niagara is my preseason pick to win the league, so I think they can hang with Minnesota. But it’s also opening weekend at Mariucci after a split against Colorado College that should’ve been a sweep. Minnesota sweeps.

Arizona State at Air Force
Chris:The Falcons gave Notre Dame all that it could handle last weekend, and look to build off that in its first home series. I’m picking a split.
Dan: Arizona State is in for a rude awakening when it goes up to the altitude. The dry, desert air is nothing like playing at 7,000 feet, and after the way Air Force played on the road last weekend, I’m going to pick a daring and absolutely not crazy pick here. Air Force sweeps.

Friday, October 18
American International at Sacred Heart
Chris: This is the first of four meetings between the teams this season. Both are picked to finish at or near the top of the standings, and they kick off conference play against each other. I’m picking the road team here. AIC wins.
Dan: For some weird reason, I think AIC played Sacred Heart four times last year for the first time since the new schedule went into effect. Don’t quote me on that though. Because of geographic proximity, it’s easier to slot these teams into one-off games since both play in AHL buildings. In the one-offs last year, AIC won each. I’m going with AIC based on that.

New Hampshire at Bentley
Chris: Bentley ran into a hot goaltender last weekend, handily outshooting Robert Morris but coming away empty. The Falcons always play Hockey East teams tough, but I think UNH pulls this one out.
Dan: There is no such thing as a Hockey East team that should feel comfortable playing Bentley, and I think the Falcons make me feel like an absolute nugget for missing this game on Friday. Shame on one of my best friends for getting married during hockey season (even though I got married in the middle of November). Bentley wins.

Saturday, October 19
Holy Cross at Northeastern
Chris: In its third straight game against Hockey East competition, I’m picking the Crusaders to drop this one against a No. 15 Northeastern team that knocked off UMass last weekend. Northeastern wins.
Dan: Northeastern is one of those teams that is turning into a machine. There’s a system that gets them to anywhere between 18-25 wins because they can handle games like this one. Of course I said the same thing about Providence. Northeastern wins.

Canisius at Rensselaer
Chris: RPI coach Dave Smith coaches against his old team and former assistant Trevor Large. RPI has show signs of improvement so far this season, and I like them to pull this one out on home ice. RPI wins.
Dan: RPI had a really good stretch at the end of last year where it picked off wins against Colgate and Princeton and tied Union, Cornell and Dartmouth. Coming off a win over UConn, I think Friday’s rematch at HFH against the Huskies will dictate a lot about this game. RPI wins.

Merrimack at Rochester Institute of Technology
Chris: RIT routinely sells more than 10,000 tickets to its annual Brick City Festival game, played at the Blue Cross Arena in downtown Rochester. I think the large crowd will spur the Tigers on to a win.
Dan: There’s not enough orange in the world to describe how Blue Cross Arena will feel on Saturday night. RIT wins.