Hockey Game Pick D-III East – February 23, 2022 – College Hockey

Elmira’s Chris Janzen looks to stop a powerful Babson attack in the NEHC semi-final this weekend (Photo by Elmira Athletics)

If last week was any true indicator of what we’re going to see in the playoffs across the region, then the level of excitement and drama could reach an all-time high for D-II/III on-ice action in the playoffs. . Overtime games were already plentiful last week and there is no greater drama than THE goal that moves one team forward and sends the other home from the conference tournament. My picks seemed to find playoff caliber going 14-6-0 (.700) last week. Overall numbers of 94-52-11 (.634) are trending higher, but consistency is what is needed to make a championship. As always, there’s plenty of action to choose from as teams begin the conference tournament quarterfinals in many leagues while the NEHC ramps up the excitement in the semifinals. With UCHC action starting early, here are this week’s expanded picks, including Wednesday’s matches:

Wednesday, February 23, 2022

UCHC quarter-finals

Neumann vs. Wilkes (9)

The Colonels won the MAC championship last week, but have their sights set on a bigger prize in the UCHC conference tournament. They won’t look past a pesky Neumann side and advance to next week’s semi-finals – Wilkes, 5-2

Manhattanville vs. Stevenson

The Mustangs were runners-up in the UCHC Tournament last season and want to take the next step to win the title game. Must not look beyond a physical team from Manhattanville. Mac Lowry and Ryan Kenny gallop Mustangs forward – Stevenson, 4-2

Nazareth versus Chatham

The two teams split the season series by identical scores of 5-2, with each team winning at home. Expect a similar goal tally but overtime to decide the outcome. The visiting team wins spectacularly – Nazareth, 4-3

Stonehill v. Assumption

The Greyhounds wrap up the regular season and prepare for the NE-10 tournament. Expect the offense to keep rolling for the Greyhounds who will play as the No. 3 seed when the conference playoffs begin – Assumption, 5-3

Friday, February 25, 2022

First round of NESCAC

Middlebury v. Tufts

The Jumbos won both regular season games by scores of 3-2 and 4-0. The Panthers are one of the hottest teams in the conference, however, having won four in a row. Make it five with an overtime win over Tufts – Middlebury, 4-3

Connecticut College vs. Bowdoin

The Polar Bears just beat the Camels last Saturday in the final weekend of the regular season. The good news for Bowdoin is that Conn College is making the bus trip again. Chris Brown leads the way for the home side who need an empty net to seal the deal – Bowdon, 4-2

Saturday February 26, 2022

NEHC Semi-Finals

Babson (8) vs. Elmira (7)

Babson showed great courage in their extra-time win over Norwich while Elmira came through New England College. No doubt there will be a lot of excitement in this semi-final match. This one is another overtime thriller that goes to the Soaring Eagles – Elmire, 3-2

Skidmore vs. Hobart (5)

The Thoroughbreds created last week’s upset in the quarterfinals, but won’t sneak up on a deep Hobart team that can play very physical hockey. It’s a close game but the visitors can’t overcome an early deficit – Hobart, 2-1

CCC Quarterfinals

Nichols vs. Salve Regina

The Seahawks didn’t finish the regular season very strong and are now entering the playoffs in third place. New season for a team that has the talent to win the CCC. No better place to start than with a convincing victory over the Bison – Saving Regina, 3-1

Suffolk v. Curry

The Colonels went 2-0-1 in the regular season against the Rams, but Suffolk won three of their last four games to close out the regular season. The Ice House is a tough barn to play for the opposition and Timmy Kent and Company are making sure the local crowd go home happy – Curry, 5-3

Wentworth v Endicott (13)

The Gulls are looking to make a run and with Conor O’Brien in goal, they have as good a chance as anyone in the CCC of winning the title. They are the defending champions (2020), so nothing says we want to repeat like a convincing quarter-final victory – Endicott, 4-0

Western New England v. University of New England (11)

The Golden Bears are thrilled to be in the playoffs, but that’s where the fun ends as UNE has too much of a lead and a solid, and possibly underrated, Billy Girard IV in goal – A, 5-1

SUNYAC quarter-finals

Brockport v. Plattsburgh

A 4-3 home win over the Golden Eagles kicked off the Cardinals’ five-game winning streak. Expect this one to be close too with a few more hours determining the winner – Plattsburgh, 4-3

Fredonia v. Cortland

The two teams faced off last weekend in a game that decided who would host this quarter-final match. The Red Dragons and Luca Durante are not going to lose the advantage they fought for at home – Corland, 2-0

NESCAC quarter-finals

Amherst v. Williams

The Ephs and Mammoths just played last weekend but are changing venues for this NESCAC quarter-final. Amherst struggled in February while Williams appear to have found their game. Home team win with overtime goal – Williams, 3-2

Hamilton vs. Wesleyan

The Cardinals fell to fourth place with losses to Trinity last weekend, but that still means home ice and a chance to advance in pursuit of the defense of their first NESCAC title of 2020. Go Uemura is the offensive star in a Wesleyan victory – Wesleyan, 4-3

MASCAC quarter-finals

Framingham State vs. Fitchburg State

The FSU battle pits the No. 2-seeded Falcons against the No. 7 Rams. Framingham State has already played two games to close out its regular season this week and the loss to the Falcons ends their season – Fitchburg, 5-1

Salem State vs. Worcester State

The Vikings won the regular season series, including the final two games by shutout. Lancers are tough at home, but don’t bet coach Bill O’Neill and his team come playoff time – Salem State, 2-0

State of Westfield v. Massachusetts – Dartmouth

The Corsairs struggled tremendously in the second half after breaking COVID protocol, but salvaged their game against the Owls to close out the regular season. Same team + home rink = playoff win – UMD, 3-2

It really doesn’t get any better than that. Big action in every conference with an opportunity to get closer to the conference title and an NCAA Tournament bid – “Drop the Puck!”

Catherine J. Martinez