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MASCAC joins the fray this week with conference games and therefore the Thursday night pick to start the weekend.

Last week saw a 2-1-1 (.625) record in the opening week of predictions. Didn’t pick any cupcakes in the first week and this week continues the trend in finding four key matchups in the East.

Here are my picks for the East in Week 2:

Thursday, November 5

Salem State @ Westfield State
Two teams that are expected to challenge Plymouth State at the top of the MASCAC standings face off to start conference play. The Owls showed off their offense in a nonconference game last weekend and they will need it if they want the same result against the Vikings. Salem State 5, Westfield State 4.

Friday, November 6

Neumann @ Elmira
This is a key ECAC West matchup between two teams that feel an imperative to get off to a good start. Neumann scored 15 goals in its opening weekend and likely will find them harder to come by against an experienced Elmira squad. If I could pick a tie I would, but give the home team the goal margin. Elmira 4, Neumann 3.

Buffalo State @ Potsdam
Potsdam looks to continue its winning ways in the matchup of SUNYAC teams and the early-season momentum continues for the Bears who will be having other teams take notice of the successful launch to the campaign. Game is still close and an empty-net goal probably provides the final margin. Potsdam 4, Buffalo State 2.

Saturday, November 7

Massachusetts-Boston @ Massachusetts-Dartmouth
This is a nonconference matchup that goes way back in years and games between the two state schools. The Beacons have been the more talented team in recent years, but should not take the Corsairs lightly, particularly with their offensive talent. Hetland Rink is a tough place to play for UMD opponents, but the Beacons have too much experience in this one. UMB 5, UMD 3.

Great rivalries in and out of conference abound early in the season, so picking just four games is more than a challenge. Boosting confidence and momentum in the young season is crucial, so look for some great hockey to be played in these and all the other match-ups across the region – drop the puck!