This week in college hockey, D-III East: Playoff Preview

Matthew Cuce leads a potent Elmira offense in search of a win over Nazareth to open the UCHC playoffs (Photo by Elmira Athletics)

There isn’t much time for teams to transition from the regular season mindset to playoff mode but for teams in the CCC, SUNYAC and UCHC, the playoff journey starts on Tuesday and Wednesday with first round games. Here is a quick preview of the games on tap as teams pursue their all-important conference championships.

The quarterfinal round features games between No. 3 Curry and No. 6 Wentworth as well as No. 4 Salve Regina and No. 5 Nichols.

Wentworth @ Curry
The Colonels were 2-0-0 against the Leopards in the regular season winning by scores of 6-3 and 4-3 in overtime. Curry is 7-2-1 in their last ten games while Wentworth is just 1-7-2 over that span. Curry doesn’t want to get surprised by Wentworth’s ability to score goals so expect a fast start from the home team. Look for Curry to move on to the semifinals and a matchup with Endicott.

Nichols @ Salve Regina
This game is very intriguing for a number of reasons. The Seahawks are 2-0-0 against Nichols this season and the wins were part of a 0-9-0 start for the Bison. Over their last ten games, Salve Regina is just 4-6-0 and last weekend was their first two game win streak in well over a month. Nichols is 7-1-2 in that same span with their sole loss coming to Curry in overtime on Friday breaking a 12-game unbeaten streak. Important history fact – Nichols last won a title as the No. 5 playoff team and the seniors remember the road it took. Look for a Nichols vs. University of New England semifinal this weekend.

The quarterfinal round features games between No. 3 Buffalo State and No. 6 Potsdam as well as No. 4 Brockport and No. 5 Plattsburgh.

Potsdam @ Buffalo State
The teams split the regular season series with each team winning as the visitor. The Bengals are 5-4-1 in their last ten games while the Bears are 4-5-1. Potsdam won the last matchup 2-1 in overtime. Expect this one to be another close one that could feature some overtime hockey but this time the home team gets to advance and face Oswego on the weekend.

Plattsburgh @ Brockport
The battle of the birds should be an interesting game featuring a number of key seniors on both rosters. Brockport took the regular season series 2-0-0 with wins by 4-1 and 3-1 scores. Over their last ten games the Golden Eagles are 6-3-1 while the Cardinals are just 3-5-2. That said the three wins are a streak right now for Plattsburgh who seem to have found their game in the nick of time. Jimmy Poreda could be the difference her for the visitors and who wouldn’t want to see a classic rivalry like Plattsburgh at Geneseo on Saturday.

The quarterfinal round features games between No. 3 Stevenson and No. 6 Neumann as well as No. 4 Elmira and No. 5 Nazareth.

Neumann @ Stevenson
The Mustangs won both games in the regular season by 6-3 and 6-1 scores. Over their last ten games the Mustangs struggled a bit at 4-4-2 while Neumann is 5-5-0. The key may be the home-ice advantage as Stevenson is 7-2-1 at home against conference foes and it is always better for the visitors to have to make the long bus ride. Stevenson advances in a close game to face Wilkes this weekend.

Nazareth @ Elmira
Elmira won both games in the regular season and is 7-3-0 in their last ten games. Nazareth is just 3-6-1 in their last ten including a stinging loss over the weekend to King’s. It’s going to be hard for the Golden Flyers to slow down the line of Powell, Ford and Cuce and staying out of the box will be crucial to slow down the home team. Elmira not looking past Nazareth but will face Utica in the semifinal round this weekend.

Will get more in depth on my picks this weekend for the remaining leagues moving into quarterfinal and semifinal action. This is going to be great!!