In the words if the immortal Jim Carrey: “So you’re sayin’ there’s a chance?”
Sure, I entered last weekend with an eight-game deficit to Dave, but an 8-2-0 mark was good enough to gain two games and slowly chip away at the lead.
Realistically, though, I have about as much chance as Jim Carrey’s character did in “Dumb & Dumber.”
Jim last week: 8-2-0
Dave last week: 6-4-0
Jim to-date: 102-65-23
Dave to-date: 108-59-23
Friday, February 7
Merrimack at Boston University
There is a faction of people who believe that the most dangerous game for the teams who are about to play in the Beanpot championship occurs on the Friday in-between the two Beanpot Mondays. For BU, that game is against 10th-place Merrimack, which could be a blessing or a curse. If this was a battle for first place, you might get your players to focus. But you’re taking on a team you should beat in a game that could be equivalent to Merrimack’s Stanley Cup final. This could be the ultimate trap game.
Jim’s pick: BU 4, MC 3
Dave’s pick: BU 4, MC 1
Northeastern at Maine
The trap game scenario I described above shouldn’t be an issue for Northeastern which is in a heated battle to get back into a home-ice position and has to head on the road to play a team in ahead of them, Maine. Add in the fact that Maine hasn’t lost at home this season, this becomes even more of a task for the Huskies.
Jim’s pick: Maine 3, NU 2
Dave’s pick: Maine 3, NU 2 (OT)
UMass Lowell at Boston College
If UMass Lowell has a hope of returning to the top of Hockey East, that battle begins on Friday against a Boston College team that is playing well. BC and UMass stand tied atop the standings and though Lowell is just two points behind, a loss places them four behind the Eagles and could further complicate things if the River Hawks hope to get home ice in the playoffs. Entering Friday in a four-way tie for third, any bumps in the road for Lowell and they could drop quickly.
Jim’s pick: UML 3, BC 2
Dave’s pick: BC 4, UML 3
Friday and Saturday, February 7-8
New Hampshire at Vermont
New Hampshire should be a desperate team coming off two losses to Connecticut and will play two games that, in concept, they should win against a Vermont squad looking for its first Hockey East win. But Vermont also is in a unique situation where head coach Kevin Sneddon is no longer fighting every game to keep his job after his announced he will step down at the end of the season. Maybe this team plays more carefree hockey and pulls of an upset?
Jim’s picks: UNH 5, UVM 1; UNH 3, UVM 2
Dave’s picks: UNH 3, UVM 1; UNH 4, UVM 2
Providence vs. UMass (Fri. at UMass; Sat. at PC)
This is a heavyweight tilt that could be a key two-game series when we’re sorting out the final standings come March. The UMass offense has struggled of late, scoring just one goal in its last three games. Providence, on the other hand, is looking for more shutdown defense as they have allowed four goals in two of their last three games. The question is, which, if either can breakthrough.
Jim’s picks: PC 3, UMass 2; PC 3, UMass 2
UMass 3, PC 2; PC 3, UMass 2
Saturday, February 8
UMass Lowell at Merrimack
What once was a great rivalry has somewhat diminished in recent years as they two Merrimack Valley teams square off on Saturday. Both teams should be desperate, particularly Merrimack if they fail to take points from BU on Friday. If either team comes away empty this weekend, their hopes – Lowell’s for home ice or first place; Merrimack’s to make the Hockey East playoffs – take a major hit.
Jim’s pick: UML 4, MC 1
Dave’s pick: UML 4, MC 2
Monday, February 10
68th Beanpot Tournament (TD Garden, Boston)
With Boston University and Northeastern each reaching the finals, you have two teams that, over the last half-decade have watched their Beanpot fates turn upside down. Northeastern is looking for its third-consecutive title, something never accomplished in the program’s history. BU, on the other hand, is looking to avoid a five-year title drought, that coming after the Terriers won just once in the 2010s decade.
The consolation game, though likely not well attended, still has a lot of significance as Harvard is much in needed of a win against a quality opponent like BC if it is to have any chance at an NCAA at-large bid.
Jim’s picks: BU 4, NU 3; BC 4, HU 2
Dave’s picks: NU 5, BU 4; BC 4, HU 3