By Matt Noonan
Every Friday, we’ll unveil 10 games to watch in the college hockey world in Massachusetts. And to kick off this weekly column, here is this weekend’s menu, which features some intriguing matchups.
Men’s Ice Hockey:
* Boston College at Boston University (Friday/Saturday) – Eagles head coach Jerry York is a humble man. And even though he’s deflected questions about setting the NCAA record for wins, you know he’d like to earn wins 924 and 925 against rival Boston University. BC has won 10 consecutive games and is the No. 1 team in the country. Prediction: Eagles sweep the weekend series and provide York with his 925th win.
* UMass at Northeastern (Friday/Saturday) – The Huskies desperately need wins, but so do the Minutemen. Expect both contests to come down to defense and goaltending. Prediction: UMass is 2-0 against Boston College this season, so I wouldn’t be surprised if they pick up their first two wins against Northeastern.
* Nichols College at Suffolk University (Saturday) – Despite earning a third place finish in the Worcester City Shootout Tournament, Kevin Swallow’s crew was able to rebound with an important ECAC Northeast conference victory against Wentworth on Thursday. Prediction: The Bison extend their current winning streak to three-games and hand the Rams a 5-2 setback.
* Amherst College at Wesleyan University (Friday) – The Lord Jeffs are one of the best teams in Division III. However, one can’t overlook an opponent, which is why this particular tilt could be interesting. The Cardinals outscored their last two opponents, 15-2, so expect their offense to continue their success later today. Prediction: Amherst’s goaltending should hold up in this one, so pick the men sporting the purple and white to beat the squad that has red on their sweaters.
* Westfield State at Salem State (Saturday) – Losses to Amherst and UMass Dartmouth can easily be forgotten if Westfield State can pick u a conference road win on Saturday in Salem. Prediction: Even though it isn’t Halloween, Owls can still fly around Salem at night, right? Go Blue and White!
Women’s Ice Hockey:
* Maine at Boston College (Friday/Saturday) – The Eagles are flying high these days and have won four of their last five games. They’re coming off wins against Quinnipiac and Yale in the Nutmeg Classic Tournament and could certainly use a few more victories to keep pace with Providence. Prediction: Similar to the men’s ice hockey team, expect the Eagles to have no problem against the last place Bears.
* Boston University vs. Providence College (Friday/Saturday) – The Friars haven’t recorded a win since Nov. 10 against Connecticut. Boston University, though, has won three of their last four. The Terries demolished the Friars a few weeks ago, and could do that again this weekend. Prediction: I’m picking the Terriers to sweep their weekend series.
* Dartmouth at Harvard (Fri. Nov. 30)/ Russia at Harvard (Sat. Dec. 1) – Behind some superb defensive play, the Crimson have gotten off to a fast start in the ECAC. Their 7-1 record doesn’t seem like a fluke, but this weekend they’ll have two intriguing matchups against the Big Green and Russia’s Women’s National Team. Prediction: I think the Crimson shouldn’t have too many problems skating past Dartmouth, but the game against Russia certainly could be a challenge. Do you believe in miracles in Cambridge?
* Norwich University at Holy Cross (Sunday) – This is probably one of the most intriguing matchups of the weekend, and it will be played on a sheet of ice in Worcester. The Cadets are one of the top teams in the nation, but the Crusaders aren’t too bad either. Holy Cross is riding a two-game winning streak and will look to extend it with victories against St. Michael’s on Saturday and Norwich on Sunday. Prediction: Upset special anyone? I’ll take the Crusaders in this one.
* Wesleyan University at Amherst College (Friday/Saturday) – Despite dropping three consecutive contests to Elmira, Hamilton and Plattsburgh, the Lord Jeffs can secure their spot in this week’s D3Hockey.com rankings with victories against NESCAC foe Wesleyan. The Cardinals are 2-2 and coming off a tough loss to Holy Cross. Prediction: Could this be an upset waiting to happen? Both squads will see each other twice, and I think they split the series.