Hockey East picks – Feb. 27-29

 (Tim Brule)

Well, I think we can officially forget about the race for first in the picks battle – Dave will take it when all is said in done. I can’t with integrity even pick opposite of him enough to gain much ground. So I give a hat’s off.

Last week was awful. Some upsets combined with reverse guessing on a home-and-home split for me (UMass/UML) puts me nine game behind. But the actual individual results for both of us was disappointing for this late in the season.

Jim last week: 3-6-1
Dave last week: 4-5-1
Jim to date: 116-79-25
Dave to date: 125-70-25

Thursday, February 27

Merrimack at Boston College
The Warriors are coming off their best weekend of the year, a two-game sweep of Providence that was highlighted by a shutout on the road on Friday night. Still, Boston College has been playing its best hockey of late and with two wins this weekend will clinch the regular season Hockey East title. That makes it a little difficult to bet against the Eagles in this one.

Jim’s pick: BC 4, MC 1
Dave’s pick: BC 5, MC 2

Friday & Saturday, February 28 & 29

Massachusetts vs. UConn (Fri. at UConn, Sat. at UMass)
There is no doubt that UConn is the surprise team of the second half, even overtaking Maine for that honor. The Huskies have taken themselves from the possibility of missing the playoffs into a battle for home ice. They will play a UMass team that knows it has an uphill battle if it is to capture its second straight regular season title, but still needs wins to clinch a home ice spot.

Jim’s picks: UConn 3, UMass 2; UMass 4, UConn 2
Dave’s picks: UMass 4, UConn 3, UMass 5, UConn 3

Northeastern at Vermont
Other than a win at the Beanpot, which means nothing in the Hockey East standings, the second half has been frustrating at time foe Northeastern. If there has been a weekend the Huskies circled on their calendar to get points, it’s this one. But they’ll be facing a UVM team that a week ago stole a point (and easily could have had two) against a very good Maine team on the road. I promise this Catamounts team will go out with a bang, not a wimpier.

Jim’s picks: NU 3, UVM 2; UVM 3, NU 2
Dave’s picks: NU 4, UVM 2; NU 2, UVM 1

New Hampshire vs. UMass Lowell (Fri. at UML, Sat. at UNH)
The River Hawks are trying to sweep a weekend series to help lock up home ice (not to mention help their PairWise position), but will face a New Hampshire team that is fighting for its playoff life. When all is said and done, you have to wonder which team will play with more desperation knowing that so much is on the line in these two games.

Jim’s picks: UNH 4, UML 3; UML 2, UNH 1
Dave’s picks: UML 3, UNH 2; UML 4, UNH 3 (OT)

Saturday, February 29

Boston College at Boston University
The traditional rivalry battle, while not deciding a championship this late in the season, could have major implications. BC could have a chance at locking up the league championship. And Boston University is in a battle to possibly grab home ice and is looking for points after a lost weekend against Connecticut. This should be a typical battle in one of college hockey’s greatest rivalries.

Jim’s pick: BU 4, BC 3
Dave’s pick: BC 4, BU 2

Maine at Providence
This is a strange home-and-home series that will be stretched out over two weekends. These two teams actually met on the first day of the hockey season with PC winning, 7-0. The tables have turned since then and Providence desperately needs a win and Maine needs to win to lock up home ice (who would have thought that back in December!) Will home ice play a role in this? Tough to tell.

Jim’s pick: PC 3, Maine 2
Dave’s pick: Maine 3, PC 2 (OT)