Hockey East picks – Dec. 28-30

 (Tim Brule)

It was a very light schedule the week prior to the holidays. But that didn’t mean I couldn’t gain a game on Dave.

Jim last week: 2-0-0
Dave last week: 1-1-0
Jim to date: 70-42-16
Dave to date: 74-38-16

Holiday Tournaments – Sat. and Sun., Dec. 28-29

At least this weekend, both tournament involving Hockey East teams, the Catamount Cup in Vermont and the Ledyard Bank Classic at Dartmouth are predetermined fields. Regardless of results on Saturday, the all teams will only face two of the three other teams in the field.

Determining a champion can often be difficult. Ideally, the two teams who win on the first night were the predetermined pairing on the second night, as was the case when UMass Lowell and Penn State faced off over Thanksgiving in the Turkey Leg Classic.

When that’s not the case, figuring out a champion can be difficult. Goal differential is often a determining factors as can be most goals scored. So let’s get in the holiday spirit and run up the score on an opponent!

Ledyard Bank Classic (at Hanover, N.H.)

Saturday: Connecticut vs. St. Lawrence

Jim’s pick: UConn 4, SLU 2
Dave’s pick: UConn 3, SLU 1

Sunday: Connecticut vs. Dartmouth

Jim’s pick: UConn 3, Dartmouth 2 (OT)
Dave’s pick: UConn 3, Dartmouth 2

Catamount Cup (at Burlington, Vt.)

Saturday: Providence vs. Lake Superior; Union at Vermont

Jim’s picks: PC 5, LSSU 3; UC 3, UVM 2
Dave’s picks: PC 4, LSSU 2; UC 2, UVM 1

Sunday: Providence vs. Union; LSSU at Vermont

Jim’s picks: PC 5, UC 2; LSSU 4, UVM 1
Dave’s picks: PC 5, UC 2; LSSU 2, UVM 1

Sunday, December 29

American International at Maine
AIC was the favorite to win Atlantic Hockey coming off their first NCAA tournament appearance where they reached the regional final. But the first half left the Yellow Jackets with ground to make up in the conference and the need for solid performances to return to the NCAA tournament. Maine was hit or miss first half, but excellent at home.

Jim’s pick: Maine 4, AIC 2
Dave’s pick: Maine 4, AIC 3

New Hampshire at Army
The hit-or-miss first half for UNH featured a road loss to Atlantic Hockey’s Bentley, while Army was easily the biggest surprise in Atlantic Hockey, remaining healthy the entire first half to surge to the top of the league standings. The biggest question for UNH is what team will show up? The team that beat Boston College or the team that had a few bad losses along the way.

Jim’s pick: Army 3, UNH 2
Dave’s pick: UNH 3, Army 2 (OT)

Massachusetts at Rensselaer
UMass will begin the second half without the services of standout freshman defenseman Zac Jones, as he participates in the IIHF Under-20 World Championships for Team USA. That will have an impact to the blueline, but there is plenty of scoring up front to account for the loss against and RPI team lost five-of-seven heading into break.

Jim’s pick: UMass 4, RPI 1
Dave’s pick: UMass 4, RPI 2

Sunday and Monday, Dec. 29-30

Minnesota Duluth at Merrimack
The Bulldogs, two-time defending national champion, began the year number one in the nation. And despite slipping, there first half had more highs than lows. The same can’t be said for Merrimack, which at times showed some scoring punch but rarely enough to win games.

Jim’s pick: UMD 4, MC 2; UMD 3, MC 2
Dave’s pick: UMD 5, MC 1; UMD 4, MC 1