One weekend of games under our belt and already the levels of competitiveness and separation among the teams are very small. Figuring out line combinations and line-ups are still a work in progress for most teams along with the all-important levels of effort and focus.

“We are still getting our heads around playing a full 60 minutes,” said UNE coach Brad Holt. “That can be the difference in winning and losing in this league.”

I opened the season with a 3-2-0 (.600) record last week, so will look to drive those numbers north in terms of winning percentage this week. Here are my picks for the upcoming weekend

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Massachusetts-Dartmouth at Babson
This nonleague game is the season opener for John Rolli’s Corsairs, and a game that Babson would like to chalk up as their first victory of the season after a 0-1-1 opening weekend. Last year, the Beavers went winless in nonleague competition, so setting a new trend will be foremost in their minds against a quality opponent. Expect this one to be low-scoring and tight checking, but the advantage goes to the team with a game or two under its belt already. Babson 4-3

Friday, November 9, 2012

St. Anselm at Castleton
It’s an interesting match-up following a great opening weekend for St. A’s and a lost opportunity for Castleton, which lost two points at UNE. This one will be a physical contest, so expect to see some penalty minutes on the score sheet, and likely some power-play goals will be the difference in this one. Castleton 5-3

University of New England at St. Michael’s
The teams are very different, with experience wearing the home uniforms in this match-up. Both teams won at home to split the regular season games last season, but UNE comes in on an emotional high and would like one more game to enjoy that before the balloon pops at Norwich on Saturday. UNE 4-2

Saturday, November 10, 2012

NEC at Castleton
The Pilgrims might be the sacrificial lambs in the Spartans’ approach to focusing on playing two strong games on the weekend and not taking any opponent lightly. Message received by the team from coach Alex Todd, and Castleton takes care of business. Castleton 6-2

Massachusetts-Dartmouth at Massachusetts-Boston
It’s another nonleague contest to close out the week’s picks. The Beacons only play once this weekend, while their opponents come off a Thursday match-up with Mass.-Boston’s travel partner, Babson. Surely coach Peter Belisle will be in the stands in Wellesley somewhere taking notes on his Saturday opponent.It’s another close one, and maybe even an OT tie. No, I will pick a winner here. Massachusetts-Boston 4-3

The match-ups are all intriguing and the games are sure to entertain — drop the puck!