The good news is there are still a few weekends to start making some solid picks, including that outright upset.
The bad news is it is getting harder and harder to pick those upsets as the stakes get higher in the second half for all of the teams.
The picks for last week missed out on a couple of upset opportunities as well as some surprising nonconference results leaving me a the .500 mark at 3-3-1 (.500) for the weekend. That brings the season record to 28-19-7 (.594), which has me holding steady just below the 60 percent success threshold.
It’s time to buckle down and get some positive momentum going.
Here are my picks for the East this week:
Thursday, Jan. 14
Plymouth State @ Massachusetts-Dartmouth
Dare I go back to the scene of last week’s crime? I don’t expect the Panthers to take a resurgent Corsair squad lightly in this conference matchup. Hetland Arena is a tough place to play, but coach Craig Russell needs just to point to last Thursday at Curry for all the motivation his team needs to maintain their conference leadership – Plymouth State 3, UMD 2.
Friday, Jan. 15
Hobart @ Curry
The thought of a trip to Martha’s Vineyard during the summer months is truly a vacation dream. Going there in mid-January will make it that much easier to focus on the hockey to play in the first Vineyard Classic. Hobart has just too much firepower for the feisty Colonels in round one – Hobart 5, Curry 1.
Elmira @ Salve Regina
The other opening round matchup for the Vineyard Classic finds both teams playing well after the break, so anything goes. Based on last week, the Soaring Eagles should be wary of the second period where the Seahawks scored eight times in two games last week. Four for the game is good, but not quite enough – Elmira 5, Salve Regina 4.
Babson @ Massachusetts-Boston
The Beacons have created some distance between themselves and Babson and Norwich chasing them atop the standings. This weekend’s home-and-home series with their travel partner could go a long way in helping them towards a first regular-season title. The Beavers always play well at the Clark Center and aren’t going away anytime soon – Babson 3, UMB 2.
Buffalo State @ Johnson and Wales
The long bus ride is so much better when the game outcome comes out in a positive way. The Bengals may be catching the Wildcats at an opportune time as they are still trying to find their stout defensive game – Buffalo State 4, J & W 3.
Saturday, Jan. 16
Hamilton @ Connecticut College
The Continentals have been getting great goaltending and balanced scoring while playing a solid three-zone game. Expect much of the same here against a determined Camel squad that keeps it close at home – Hamilton 3, Conn College 1.
Becker @ Wentworth
This ECAC Northeast game features a couple of teams that when they get it going can play some really good hockey and that consistency is what both teams are looking for. No time like the present to pick up a couple of important points in the standings – Wentworth 5, Becker 4.
The games may be all about momentum building and not just the two points in the standings – drop the puck!