The season gets underway Friday night, and there are already some key games early in the schedule to focus on. Everyone wants to get off to a good start and earn those all-important points in the standings that always seem to matter at the end of February when playoff seeding is finally determined. Here are my picks for the opening weekend among some select match-ups.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Castleton at Southern Maine
The experience favors the visitors, while the big rink favors the home team. Look for experience and focus to win out here, as the Spartans have more depth and balance upfront and the defensive game to stifle the young Huskies on opening night. Castleton 5-2.

Babson at St. Anselm
This game truly could go either way, and will be as close as the score indicates. Expect the special teams to be the difference in this one, and Nik Tasiopoulos to make an auspicious debut for Babson, which finds a way to hold off the pesky Hawks. Babson 4-3.

Massachusetts-Boston at New England College
Both teams really are young, and both coaches probably aren’t sure about what to expect on opening night. The Beacons have a lot of talent on the roster, and with a few in-game adjustments, coach Peter Belisle’s team finds away to steal two points in the season opener. Mass.-Boston 5-4.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

St. Michael’s at Norwich
The home opener for the Cadets is not what St. Michael’s needs to open league play, but the schedule is what the schedule is. Norwich doesn’t take anyone lightly, so look for an up-tempo game that features lots of offense; unfortunately for St. Mike’s, it’s mostly for the Cadets. Norwich 6-1.

Skidmore at Southern Maine
Both teams like playing on the big rink, so this is likely to be the proverbial track meet. That said, don’t look for a high-scoring shootout. It’s still opening weekend of the season, so there is a lot to be figured out for players and match-ups. Really think this could be a tie, but there is something about that five minutes of overtime. Skidmore 3-2.

Enjoy a full slate of games and some high-quality college hockey — drop the puck!