Well here we are – Week 1 and what a schedule to open the season with great conference and nonconference matchups on the schedule, starting with Game 1 of the season.
I will be picking four games a week and will not avoid the most challenging matchups in an attempt to make my record look good. Expecting some “friendly” competition with my partner from the West, Brian Lester, and at the end of the season, we will see who has bragging rights for the prognostication record this season.
Here are my picks for the East in week one:
Friday, Oct. 30
Nichols @ Norwich
What a game to open the season for both incumbent champions from their respective conferences. Looks like the ultimate matchup of superior offense vs. superior defense in front of a sold-out crowd in the raucous Kreitzberg Arena. Not likely to be any first game jitters for either team, but home ice matters here – Norwich 3, Nichols 2.
Oswego @ Geneseo
Two contenders in SUNYAC open the season looking to build great momentum from a key conference game. Oswego brings the firepower to challenge some inexperienced goaltending for the home team. This one will likely be decided by which team handles the puck in their own end and limits Grade A scoring chances better – Oswego 4, Geneseo 2.
Hobart @ Babson
Another heavyweight matchup on opening night finds ECAC West meeting ECAC East. Hobart coach Mark Taylor is looking for his team to have a better start than last season, but will be challenged on the road by a strong Babson team led by All-American goaltender Jamie Murray. Don’t expect a lot of scoring in this one – Babson 2, Hobart 1.
Salve Regina @ Manhattanville
Two teams that are looking to showcase their ability to compete at the top of their respective conferences matchup in this opener to the season. The Seahawks are the better team on paper, but that all goes out the window once the teams step inside the glass – Salve Regina 5, Manhattanville 2.
It is a long way to March, but each and every game can have an impact on where teams end up in the end. Great matchups abound as all but a couple of conferences open play in D-III. As the legend John Connolly says, “Drop the Puck!”