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: 2-0-0Dave last week: 1-1-0Jim to date: 70-42-16Dave to date: 74-38-16Holiday Tournaments – Sat. and Sun., Dec. 28-29At 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. LawrenceJim’s pick: UConn 4, SLU 2Dave’s pick: UConn 3, SLU 1Sunday: Connecticut vs. DartmouthJim’s pick: UConn 3, Dartmouth 2 (OT)Dave’s pick: UConn 3, Dartmouth 2Catamount Cup (at Burlington, Vt.)Saturday: Providence vs. Lake Superior; Union at VermontJim’s picks: PC 5, LSSU 3; UC 3, UVM 2Dave’s picks: PC 4, LSSU 2; UC 2, UVM 1Sunday: Providence vs. Union; LSSU at VermontJim’s picks: PC 5, UC 2; LSSU 4, UVM 1Dave’s picks: PC 5, UC 2; LSSU 2, UVM 1Sunday, December 29American International at MaineAIC 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 2Dave’s pick: Maine 4, AIC 3New Hampshire at ArmyThe 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 2Dave’s pick: UNH 3, Army 2 (OT)Massachusetts at RensselaerUMass 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 1Dave’s pick: UMass 4, RPI 2Sunday and Monday, Dec. 29-30Minnesota Duluth at MerrimackThe 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 2Dave’s pick: UMD 5, MC 1; UMD 4, MC 1