Hockey East Picks (10/25-10/28)

Posted by: Mike McMahon

Last Week: 4-3-1
Season Record: 4-3-1 (.571)

Thursday

St. Cloud State at Boston College
BC is struggling, as we know. On the flip side, St. Cloud State has been choking the life out of their opponents thus far, posting a 4-0 record and outscoring opponents 18-5. BC’s top-end talent is on the younger side, whereas St. Cloud is led by a top junior class.
Pick: St. Cloud State 4, Boston College 2

Friday

Merrimack at UMass
The Mullins Center is always a tough place for Merrimack to play. Going back through my 13 years of covering the Warriors, I’m not sure I can remember more than two or three solid road games down there. The travel is tough — it can be as much as a three-hour ride on a Friday — and the building rarely has energy.
Pick: UMass 3, Merrimack 1

Maine at Connecticut
The Black Bears need to get back on track after an ugly road trip to Minnesota Duluth, but they’ll have to do it on the road. UConn has wins over RPI and Army, but was thrashed by Providence and also fell to Quinnipiac. I have a feeling Maine finds a way to get back in the win column, and goaltender Jeremy Swayman will lead the way.
Pick: Maine 3, Connecticut 0

Northeastern at UMass Lowell
Looking at all the teams in Hockey East, these might be the two teams we know the least about. Northeastern is still trying to find its new core after losing so much talent last season and UMass Lowell has Tyler Wall back in form, but it needs more consistent scoring. The home-ice edge gives the River Hawks a win on Friday.
Pick: UMass Lowell 3, Northeastern 2

Providence at Boston University
BU needs some home cooking, heading into this Providence game 0-3 to start the season. BU was outworked against Merrimack on Saturday night, and Providence will make the Terriers work again. The Friars are also licking their wounds after letting a game against Sacred Heart slip away. I’m going with the more-experienced Friars here.
Pick: Providence 4, Boston University 2

Saturday

Maine at Connecticut
It’s really hard to sweep teams on the road. This weekend represents UConn’s first home games of the season, and the 3 p.m. start on Saturday is a little odd for college hockey players. UConn is used to it though, often playing games at times like this to accommodate the Hartford Wolfpack. UConn finds a way to earn the split, despite Swayman once again playing well for Maine.
Pick: Connecticut 2, Maine 1

Massachusetts at Merrimack
Since 2014, UMass and Merrimack have essentially traded wins, excluding a couple of ties. Just like Friday, I think the home team has an advantage here. In an early-season home-and-home last season, UMass pumped Merrimack 4-0 on Friday before the Warriors came home and outworked the Minutemen to a 5-3 win on Saturday. Home ice has been huge in this series, and I expect it to continue. Also, Merrimack’s Homecoming is on Saturday and the game will be sold out. It will be a rocking atmosphere for the home team.
Pick: Merrimack 4, UMass 2

Vermont at New Hampshire
Someone has to win, right? Both of these teams are struggling out of the gate, despite Vermont’s win over Michigan (look at the shots in that game). UNH is finally home after two weekends on the road, and Mike Souza gets his first win as UNH head coach.
Pick: UNH 2, Vermont 1

St. Cloud State at Northeastern
Traveling to Lowell and then coming home to face St. Cloud is a tough task for Northeastern. St. Cloud completes the Hockey East sweep and heads back to the NCHC with some bragging rights.
Pick: St. Cloud 4, Northeastern 1

UMass Lowell at Bentley
This won’t be an easy game for the River Hawks. Bentley lost to Merrimack 1-0 earlier this season and then lost and tied AIC (both in OT) last weekend, and those games were on the road. Bentley can score — they have eight goals in their last two games — but they’ll be up against one of the hottest goaltenders in the league in Tyler Wall, assuming he starts. This could also be a game where Norm Bazin gives Christoffer Hernberg a look, though. I’m going out on a limb and predicting a Bentley win.
Pick: Bentley 3, UMass Lowell 2

Sunday

Vermont at Brown
The Catamounts’ bus continues south after a game at UNH on Friday and they’ll get back in the win column against the Bears. This will only be Brown’s second game, and they’re lacking scoring.
Pick: Vermont 5, Brown 2

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