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This year’s crop of Christmas/New Year’s tournaments bring several intriguing matchups, and I’m impressed by the number of Western teams that are coming east to participate. Five of the seven tournaments have a Western team in the mix.

Let’s take a look at the seven tourneys on tap:

Salem State Tournament

When: December 27 & 28

Who: Salem State (host), Worcester State, Johnson & Wales, Bowdoin

Outlook: Look for Bowdoin to come out on top over the host Vikings in the finals.

Codfish BowlWhen: December 28 & 29

Who: Mass-Boston (host), Fitchburg, So. New Hampshire, Suffolk.

Outlook: This tournament is the oldest in D-III, currently in its 43 year. I like the home team to defeat Southern New Hampshire in the finals.

St. Michael’s Invitational

When: December 29 & 30

Who: St. Michael’s (host), Concordia (MN), Neumann, Becker

Outlook: Neumann is the class of the field here, and should win their second tournament of the year (the Knights claimed the title of the Rutland Invitational over Thanksgiving). Believe it or not, Neumann will have just nine regular season games left after this weekend.

Pathfinder Bank Oswego Classic

When: December 29 & 30

Who: Oswego (host), Amherst, St. Norbert, Curry

Outlook: This is the strongest tournament of the bunch, featuring the reigning national champions and the current Number One team in the nation. If they meet in the title game, it will be a rematch of last year’s national semifinal.

Cardinal Classic

When: January 4 & 5

Who: Plattsburgh (host), Tufts, Trinity, St. Scholastica.

Outlook: The Trinity-St. Scholastica game is a tossup, but I like the host Cardinals to beat either in the finals.

Times-Argus Invitational

When: January 4 & 5

Who: Norwich (host), Mass-Dartmouth, Babson, St. Olaf.

Outlook: Look for Norwich and Babson to meet in the finals, a rematch of last season’s ECAC East semifinals. This time I think the Cadets will come out on top.

Middlebury Holiday Classic

When: January 4 & 5

Who: Middlebury (host), Brockport, Skidmore, Lake Forest

Outlook: Not a very challenging field for the Panthers (the other three teams have a combined record of 9-15-6), who should make the home fans happy with a tournament championship.

And then on to the meat of the season – check back for updates as we head towards Lake Placid.