At A Glance:
Last week’s record: 5-2
Overall Record: 34-18-1
Over-.500 weeks: 5/7 (.714))
This Week’s Picks*:
*All games are subject to change.
Wednesday, January 6
Sacred Heart vs. Air Force
The Pioneers’ weekend series against Bentley was postponed, and Air Force stayed out east after its series against Niagara last weekend before playing Mercyhurst this week. That enabled the two teams to schedule a one-off league game after their series was postponed earlier this year. The game, which is at Niagara’s Dwyer Arena, is the first neutral site league game in, well, possibly ever, but it’s a good matchup for a dormant SHU roster against a struggling Air Force team. Maybe this is the juice needed to kickstart the Falcons, maybe this is the game that fires the Pioneers into the second half of the season. Either way, it’s three points on the line. Sacred Heart wins.
RIT at Canisius
Another three game series, RIT is looking to rebound from its sweep loss at Robert Morris this past weekend. I like the Tigers to get back on track, but Canisius just looked so strong in its series against Mercyhurst. Given the weekend home-and-home, I think it’s logical to take the team with the hotter goaltender right now before the weekend splits the series (teaser alert). Canisius wins.
Thursday, January 7
Robert Morris at Niagara
For all the complaints about the weirdness in the Atlantic Hockey schedule, Robert Morris is humming along with barely a scratch against its record. I foresaw this happening because Derek Schooley is the perfect steward for a mature roster in a division against teams fighting for improvement and upper-echelon spots. I have no reason to believe things will slow down for the Colonials, who should make their push for a national tournament bid evident by the middle of the month. RMU wins.
Thursday, January 7 and Friday, January 8
American International vs. Army West Point
A three-game series against AIC and Army West Point is a treat for this time of year since it will feel like a playoff atmosphere between the two rosters and very well could be something we see later in March. The Yellow Jackets are undefeated and hold a perfect record in Atlantic Hockey so far, which is a little surprising given the schedule madness. Their ability to manage the obstacles is, like RMU, a showing from a mature team, and I think they take this weekend. AIC sweeps here.
Friday, January 8 and Saturday, January 9
Air Force at Mercyhurst
I think a good chunk of my prediction weighs on what happens with Air Force in the game against Sacred Heart on Wednesday night. I can’t fathom the Falcons entering a January series with a winless record, and I think there’s way too much talent to keep this team down for very long. I also think Mercyhurst is vastly improved. If Air Force gets its wheels moving against the Pioneers, the traction should roll into Erie. Otherwise, I think the Lakers are in rebound mode from their series against Canisius. They’re another team too talented, this year, to lose four straight. Split this series.
Canisius vs. RIT
The day break between Wednesday and this series will be a big deal, and as I mentioned earlier, call this weekend a split.
Saturday, January 9 and Sunday, January 10
Niagara at Robert Morris
See above about Robert Morris. It’s really difficult to beat a team three times, but the day off makes this feel like a separate series altogether. I think Niagara forces at least an overtime game out of this, and I’ll go so far as to call it a split because of the difficulty in sweeping three in a row. Split.
Sunday, January 10
Army West Point at AIC
If AIC takes nine points, it’s a stranglehold on the top of the league. The day off is a major boost here. AIC wins.
Wednesday, January 13
St. Lawrence at Niagara
St. Lawrence will be coming out of a three-game series against Colgate over the weekend with two home games, but the three days off will help recharge its batteries in time for the Niagara series. I also think SLU needs this game more to tinker with its team because it’s the only non-conference series the team will play this year. A rematch is scheduled for late January. SLU wins.