In the opening week, I went 3-2-2 (.571) on my picks, so hopefully we can improve with some interesting games against nontraditional opponents.

Just one weekend of games in the books and the stakes get raised for many teams focused on opportunities to host hardware in some of the best four-team, weekend tournaments anywhere in college hockey. There are lots of nonconference match-ups to be had during the post-turkey hangover this weekend. So if you are not bowled over by the abundance of football on virtually every sports channel, try hitting the rink and checking out some of the best in D-III hockey.

Here are my picks heading into the Thanksgiving tournaments; I am focusing on the first round games. Let’s face it — if I am wrong on the front end, predictions for fictional championship or consolation games really don’t matter — so here are the picks.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Middlebury at Plattsburgh

This game between two arch-rivals is the front end of the Primelink Tournament hosted by Norwich this season. Middlebury always comes in having just started its season, as compared to the Cardinals, who have five or six games under their belt. None of that matters much when these two teams play each other, and it will be a close, see-saw battle on Friday. Plattsburgh 4-3

Gustavus Adolphus at Amherst
Who knew that Jack Arena had taken up coaching soccer? After all, in three games this season, the Lord Jeffs have three clean sheets to open the post-Jonathan La Rose era. Gustavus Adolphus came out of the gates fast, but has struggled over the past three weeks, and this is not the team you want to struggle against. It could be four in a row for Sir Jack’s defense. Amherst 3-0

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Salve Regina at Bowdoin
The Polar Bears are off to a quick 2-0-1 start, but won’t be taking the Seahawks lightly after edging the University of New England by a score of 4-2 on Tuesday night. It’s a showcase for all facets of their game at “The Sid.” Bowdoin 5-0

Suffolk at Colby
There really is no place but up for Blaise MacDonald’s Mules, who lost a heartbreaking overtime game to Southern Maine on Tuesday night. The team has played well, but not quite well enough to capture their first “W” of the season. Suffolk is a sight for sore eyes, and Colby gets one in the win column. Colby 4-1

Sunday, November 25, 2012

SUNY-Canton at Trinity
When you are an independent team, you play anywhere there is an opening in the schedule, and the Kangaroos have certainly bounced around New England to open their season. The Bantams are still in fine-tuning mode, and this is the perfect game to tweak a few parts of the game for the better. Trinity 5-1

Stonehill at Wesleyan
The Cardinals lost an overtime thriller to Massachusetts-Dartmouth on Tuesday, so that isn’t sitting well on their palate, despite the holiday menu. The Skyhawks may be a bird of prey, but their youth is a liability against Wesleyan, which gets back to basics in a complete 60-minute win. Wesleyan 4-2

There’s lots of great action so be sure to pack a sandwich, or two — drop the puck!