Hockey East picks – Oct. 17-19

In the first full week of making Hockey East picks, Dave simply kicked my butt. Neither of us picked the upsets (though I had a split in the UMass Lowell/Minnesota Duluth series – unfortunately I picked the reverse split losing both). We’ve picked just 22 games and I’m already four games back. Not sure when, if ever, those will get made up.

Dave last week: 10-5-1
Jim last week: 7-8-1
Dave record-to-date: 16-5-1
Jim record-to-date: 12-9-1

Thursday, October 17

Merrimack at Holy Cross
The Warriors have struggled out of the gate, and though goal scoring showed up last Saturday, scoring five goals against Wisconsin, Merrimack allowed 11. At the same time, Holy Cross has started strong including an upset of then-No. 6 Providence in overtime.

Dave: Holy Cross 5, Merrimack 4
Jim: Holy Cross 4, Merrimack 2

Friday, October 18

Connecticut at Rensselaer
Last Saturday, RPI earned a 5-3 win in the first-game of a home-and-home with UConn (albeit separated by six days). UConn hasn’t looked good out of the gate and RPI has performed maybe a little better than some expected. Is this the game where RPI might falter and UConn finally gets in the win column?

Dave: RPI 3, UConn 2
Jim: UConn 4, RPI 3

New Hampshire at Bentley
The Wildcats earned a road win and tie against Miami last weekend, a solid start for a team with high expectations. Bentley on the other hand lost two league games out of the gate against Robert Morris. Home ice might be just what Bentley needs, though UNH showed last weekend the road doesn’t bother them.

Dave: UNH 3, Bentley 2
Jim: UNH 4, Bentley 1

Saturday, October 19

Holy Cross at Northeastern
These are two teams that have started the year strong. Northeastern twice won at Union, 2-1, and then beat Massachusetts on Tuesday, 3-1. Playing three games in five days is tough for an NHL team, forget about a college squad. So coming away 3-0-0 and allowing just a goal a game should be a very positive statement for the Huskies.

Dave: Northeastern 4, Holy Cross 2
Jim: Northeastern 3, Holy Cross 1

Merrimack at RIT
This is RIT’s annual Homecoming game and isn’t played on campus at its usual home rink, rather downtown at what is expected to be a sold-out Bleu Cross Arena. The 10,000-plus screaming fans should make this a great atmosphere. Merrimack could win this one but would need to be considerably better than they’ve shown to date.

Dave: RIT 4, Merrimack 2
Jim: RIT 5, Merrimack 2

Weekend series: Friday/Saturday, October 18-19

Providence/Vermont at St. Lawrence/Clarkson
The Friars and Catamounts will be travel partners for a visit to the always difficult trip the North Country. The trip is an easy one for Vermont, though a hike for Providence. Clarkson started strong last weekend taking a win and tie against Michigan. St. Lawrence earned a weekend split with Mercyhurst. These are certainly winnable games for Hockey East in the non-league battle but will certainly be tough tests.

Dave: Providence 6, St. Lawrence 2
Jim: Providence 4, St. Lawrence 3
Dave: Clarkson 3, Vermont 2
Jim: Vermont 3, Clarkson 2

Dave: Providence 4, Clarkson 2
Jim: Clarkson 3, Providence 2
Dave: Vermont 3, St. Lawrence 2
Jim: Vermont 2, St. Lawrence 1

Colgate at UMass Lowell
Yet another Homecoming, for the River Hawks this one last two nights. They are coming off an impressive weekend split at Minnesota Duluth and returning home where they are already 2-0-0 on the season. They’re facing a Colgate team that has struggled out of the gate going 0-3-0 and scoring just two goals in three games.

Dave: UMass Lowell 6, Colgate 2; UMass Lowell 5, Colgate 1
Jim: UMass Lowell 4, Colgate 1; UMass Lowell 2, Colgate 1

Northern Michigan at Boston University
The Terriers have played just a single game but that was a seven-goal offensive explosion against Union two weekends ago. Northern Michigan split last weekend with Michigan State. What that tells us? Well, its difficult to be sure. But we know that Boston University has high expectations this year and might have the offensive firepower up and down the lineup to back those expectations up.

Dave: BU 4, Northern Michigan 3; BU 3, Northern Michigan 2
Jim: BU 5, Northern Michigan 2; BU 4, Northern Michigan 3

Boston College at Denver
Last weekend was an early statement weekend for the Eagles. A team that a one point hadn’t won a non-league game in more than two years knocked off Wisconsin and Colgate to start the season. At the same time, Denver has been red hot on an extended road trip sweeping Alaska before traveling to Michigan for a few off days, then earning two wins at Lake Superior. Which of these teams – if not both – will come away from this weekend with a blemish on their schedule?

Dave: Denver 4, BC 3; Denver 3, BC 2
Jim: BC 4, Denver 2; Denver 3, BC 1

Maine at Quinnipiac
The Black Bears responded well to a 7-0 opening game loss with a two-game sweep of Alaska-Anchorage. Goal scoring wasn’t as much of a problem. But there could be a problem lying ahead. Two games at Quinnipiac, a tough place to play and a team that last weekend swept a very good AIC team. Is this a place we might see a road upset?

Dave: Quinnipiac 5, Maine 2; Quinnipiac 4, Maine 1
Jim: Quinnipiac 4, Maine 0; Quinnipiac 3, Maine 1

Union at Massachusetts
Massachusetts looks to rebound from a midweek 3-1 loss at Northeastern, a game in which the UMass power play struggled. But they’re facing a Union team which, itself, has struggled in the opening weekends. The Union defense was much improved last weekend, allowing just two goals a game to Northeastern. But the Dutchmen mustered just a single goal each night.

Dave: UMass 5, Union 1; UMass 5, Union 2
Jim: UMass 4, Union 2; UMass 2, Union 1