Pivotal matchups this week among prospective challengers for league titles are headlining the schedule. While it may be early in the campaign, there is nothing like sending a message to your biggest rival and taking an important two points.
Last week saw a 3-1-0 (.750) record, which brings the season to 5-2-1 (.688), which is just below my targeted 70 percent success rate.
Here are my picks for the East this week:
Thursday, November 12
Endicott @ Salve Regina
Both teams were pre-season contenders, yet neither has produced the results in early games that has them contending at the top of the standings just yet. Endicott has often outplayed their opponent, but hasn’t broken through in the win column – yet. Endicott 2, Salve Regina 1.
Friday, November 13, 2015
Plattsburgh @ Oswego
This is a rivalry that continues to be a battle for supremacy in the SUNYAC conference. Plattsburgh is out of the gate with a fast start and chasing Potsdam, while Oswego is still finding its game. Sometimes a rivalry game helps to get a team going and this time, it’s the visitors – Plattsburgh 3, Oswego 2.
St. Anselm @ Norwich
Two hard-fought wins in Maine keep the Cadets unbeaten and atop the standings, but the Hawks come in with a little swagger after last weekend’s sweep over Castleton and Skidmore. Kreitzberg has never been kind to the visitors and this week could be more of the same if 5-on-5 play doesn’t improve for St. Anselm – Norwich 4, St. Anselm 1.
Saturday, November 14, 2015
Plymouth State @ Salem State
This is a rematch of last season’s conference championship game that went the Panthers way. Home ice is on the Vikings’ side and momentum is, too, after shutting down a talented Westfield team last weekend – Salem State 5, Plymouth State 3.
Hobart @ Utica
The ECAC West is already a dogfight with teams knocking each other off early and often. Hobart showed why they are among the favorites last weekend by winning at home against two challenging opponents, but the road has not been so kind to the Statesmen early in the eseason. This time the rink location doesn’t matter – Hobart 4, Utica 3.
Early position in the standings is being fought for every night but there is always something about playing a big rival – drop the puck!
Another week of making hockey game predictions has arrived. I’ll give it my best shot to be correct on the games I pick.
Here goes nothing for the West.
Gustavus Adolphus vs. St. Thomas
The Tommies (1-1-2) are looking to build momentum
after a tough start. Thomas Williams and Chris Benson should help provide that, with each scoring three goals already this year. Joe Morris will need a big performance between the pipes. He owns a 2.39 GAA. The Gusties (1-1-2) come in sitting in a similar situation. They have had a tough time defensively, allowing three or more goals three times, and will need to shore up that defense against the Tommies. Chris Amsden and Erik Johnson have split time in goal. Tim Donohue leads the offense with two goals and an assist. St. Thomas, 4-2 and 3-1.
St. Mary’s vs. Bethel
The Cardinals (1-2-1) are hoping to put together
a win streak over the weekend in his home-and-home series. Jay Heinle has come up big for St. Mary’s, striking for three goals while Jared Johnson has been a solid playmaker, dishing out three assists. The Royals (0-3-1) are hoping to get their first win. Offensively, they haven’t been bad, scoring at least two goals in every game, but they have allowed 16. Peter Barral leads the offense with two goals and two assists. This one likely ends in a split. Bethel 4-3, St. Mary’s 5-4.
Wisconsin-Stevens Point at St. John’s
The Johnnies (0-3-1) are still searching for their first win and have managed only three goals in their last three games. Kevin Becker and Neal Smith are the leading goal scorers, coming up with two apiece, and Becker has also tallied two assists. Saxton Soley will need a strong performance in goal against the high-powered Pointers. He has allowed 13 goals this year. Stevens Point (4-0) is unbeaten and ranked second in the nation. The Pointers feature two of the league’s top scorers in Joe Kalisz and Logan Lemirande. Kalisz has tallied four goals and three assists while Lemirande has come up with two goals and five assists. Stevens Point has scored 25 goals in all. Stevens Point 5-2.
Hamline at Wisconsin-River Falls
The No. 12 Falcons are led by Mitch Kontny, who has come up with three goals and four assists. Joe Drapluk has been solid as well, racking up two goals and four assists. Brandon Zurn leads the league in goals (7) and points (11) and will need to be at his best for this road showdown against the Falcons. Teammate Charlie Adams is having a stellar year as well, tallying four goals. He ranks second in the league in points with eight. The Pipers (2-0-2) have yet to lose a game and River Falls (2-1-1) has lost once. This should be one of the better matchups of the weekend and go down to the wire. Hamline, 3-2.
Adrian vs. Marian
It will be tough to slow down the Bulldogs (3-1), who have one of the best offenses in the nation and have won three in a row. Sixth-ranked Adrian has scored a league-best 22 goals, with Mathew Thompson coming through with five goals to go along with four assists. Kyle Brothers has punched in four goals and has tallied five assists. The defense has given up only nine goals with Tyler Parks and Kevin Entmaa splitting time in goal. The Sabres (2-2) have scored 13 goals, including two apiece by Tanner Pagendam, Gianni Mangone and James Mathias. Marian has used two goaltenders as well in Mike Gudmandson and Mike Baldwin, who have combined to allow only eight goals. Baldwin has the top save percentage in the conference at .952. Adrian 5-2 and 4-2.
St. Scholastica vs. Lake Forest
The 13th-ranked Saints (1-0-1) hit the road for a pair of games against the Foresters. St. Scholastica is led by Keegan Bruce, who has struck for a pair of goals. Tyler Bruggeman has had a strong start at goaltender, giving up just four goals en route to going 1-0-1. This weekend series will be the first time St. Scholastica has played on the road this year. Lake Forest (1-3) will aim to make a statement and get itself back on track after losing its last three, including two against St. Norbert. The Foresters are paced by Billy Kent, who has scored twice. Leo Podolsky is 1-2 in three starts and will put Lake Forest in a position to win with a strong performance. Lake Forest, 3-2, St. Scholastica, 4-2.