Hockey East picks: Feb. 14-15

I picked up a game on Jim to extend my lead to seven games. There still, however, is plenty of time to blow this lead

Jim last week: 6-4-0
Dave last week: 7-3-0
Jim to date: 108-69-23
Dave to date: 115-62-23

Friday-Saturday, February 14-15

Merrimack vs. Boston College

This looks like the ultimate of mismatches. David vs. Goliath. Buster Douglas vs. Mike Tyson. My willpower vs. a slice of pizza.

Merrimack vs. BC looks like every bit as much of an underdog, but hope remains for the Warriors. First off, the Eagles were mired in a 1-3-1 slump until they possibly came out of it with a 7-2 win over Harvard in the Beanpot consolation game. Is BC back full force? We’ll find out. Second, Merrimack proved just last Friday that it can be a giant-killer when it beat a BU team bound for the Beanpot championship game, 5-1.

Dave: BC 5, MC 3; BC 6, MC 2
Jim: BC 4, MC 2; BC 5, MC 2

UMass Lowell vs. Northeastern
Lowell is coming off a four-point weekend, while Northeastern took the Beanpot championship. (Spare me the “tie” official designation. A three-peat is a three-peat.) So there’s no advantage in momentum. Northeastern needs the win more since it’s sitting in ninth place, albeit with a game in hand or two. But Lowell has the top winning percentage in the league and would love to keep it that way.

Dave: UML 4, NU 3; NU 3, UML 2
Jim: UML 4, NU 3; UML 3, NU 2

Connecticut at Maine
UConn has four straight league wins, albeit with two nonconference losses sandwiched in. Maine, however, has won five straight, including two at BC, with no albeits involved. Even more importantly, both games this weekend are at Alfond Arena, where the Black Bears are 10-0-2. The key matchup will be Maine’s power play (19.2 percent) vs. UConn abysmal PK (69.1 percent), second worst in the country.

Dave: Maine 4, UConn 3; Maine 5, UConn 2
Jim: Maine 5, UConn 3; Maine 3, UConn 1

Providence at Vermont
Providence looks suddenly vulnerable with three straight losses and four of five. Based on winning percentage, the Friars are the ninth-place team and could easily end up that way if this weekend goes awry. However, they are playing Vermont, an opponent that cures all ills. There are three-game losing streaks and then there are oh-for-the-season losing streaks.

Dave: PC 4, UVM 1, PC 4, UVM 1
Jim: PC 3, UVM 1, PC 3, UVM 2

New Hampshire vs Boston University
The Wildcats had been 5-1-1 in 2020, including 3-of-4 points from first-place UMass, before getting swept by UConn. Whether they’d gotten swollen heads back to size last weekend or just were fortunate to face winless Vermont, UNH got back on track with a sweep. BU’s a tough team to figure out. It can beat BC and take Northeastern to Beanpot overtime, but also get embarrassed by Merrimack, 5-1. Home, where UNH is 10-4-1 and BU is 7-4-4 should decide.

Dave: UNH 4, BU 2; BU 3, UNH 2
Jim: UNH 3, BU 2; BU 3, UNH 2