Choice of hockey games D-III Est – December 29, 2021 – College hockey

Middlebury’s Antoine Belisle and his teammates are on the hunt for their first win as they host their New Years tournament (Photo by Will Costello)

The New Years holidays always bring action to the D-III tournament, and this year some interesting ground can be found including the University of Rhode Island in the Codfish Bowl and Augsburg traveling east to play against Oswego. I’m not sure how the players stayed in shape and kept their advantage over Christmas, so it will be a challenge to pick the winners even in the first round matches with a pair of intriguing non-conference games. The final first-half picks were less than stellar at 7-5-0 (.583), bringing the overall record to 46-30-6 (.598), so it’s time to update the New An in the results column. Here are the choices for this weekend:

Wednesday, December 29, 2021

Cod bowl

Rhode Island (ACHA) v. Massachusetts-Boston

The Rams bring a 50-year legacy as an outstanding DI club team in ACHA, including a national title under coach Joe Augustine. The Beacons struggled as hosts in their own tournament, but this one came out – UMB, 3-2

Post c. Franklin pierce

The Ravens arrive after winning four of their last five games, but the loss was a 4-3 decision for Post. Nothing like redemption in a tournament format – FPU, 4-3

Saturday, December 31, 2021

Non-conference

Trinity vs. Babson (6)

The Bantams got back on track before Christmas with a win over Hobart and now face another NEHC Top 10 team on the road. Slow start for this one but a wild end in a Beaver win – Babson, 5-3

Sunday January 1, 2022

Northfield Bank Tournament

Hamilton v. Norwich (8)

The host team always invites a quality field, and the Continentals will give the cadets all they can manage. Norwich have played a lot of draws and this one needs extra hours to establish a winner – Norwich 3-2

University of New England (11) v. Williams

Part of me thinks it’s a 7-5 game with relentless pace but the speed is even and the goalies are very good on both sides. You might as well have two games in overtime to determine who will play for the title – A, 3-2

Middlebury Classic

Hobart (5) v. Fitchburg State

The statesmen have had a bad taste of losing to Trinity since before Christmas and it’s the Falcons who bear the brunt of the need to get a ‘W’ on the board to start the second half – Hobart, 5-2

St. Michael’s v. Middlebury

The lack of matches due to COVID protocols is hopefully behind the Panthers in 2022 and no better time to secure their first win of the season than the first round of their own tournament – Middlebury, 4-1

Pathfinder Bank Tournament in Oswego

Canton vs. Skidmore

Thoroughbreds won their own Thanksgiving tournament and are now looking to add this New Years classic to the trophy case. Canton won’t be an easy exit but Skidmore scores late to win – Skidmore, 3-2

Augsburg (4) vs. Oswego

The Lakers certainly said they played some good hockey to close the first half and open the new year with a renowned clash against No.4-ranked Auggies. The home crowd is a factor in a big win for the Lakers – Oswego, 3-2

Non-conference

College of New England c. Trinity

The Pilgrims will present challenges for the Bantams looking to recover from the lost route at Babson. The home ice is definitely a help for the Bantams who win the special teams battle and the game – Trinity, 5-4

It’s a new year, great holiday tournaments and teams looking to start quickly in the second half. Nothing like winning New Year’s gear – “Drop the Puck!” “

Catherine J. Martinez