Over the next couple of weeks here at The College Hockey Blog I’ll be previewing the conference tournaments.
Today we start with Atlantic Hockey, where Air Force and RIT combined for identical records atop the conference. Although one team has more popularity across the nation for their undefeated streak to start the year and a win over Colorado College to boot, they might not even be the favorite in their own conference. That could be RIT, who since losing December 6th at Air Force has lost just 2 games, an impressive stretch indeed.
The Favorite(s) – RIT and Air Force
The two teams shared the Atlantic Hockey regular season title, and couldn’t be closer in terms of quality of play. Over the course of the season they each scored 126 goals, and their overall goal differential in conference play was just one goal apart. The teams have split the four games played against eachother, and they really couldn’t matchup better against eachother. Air Force getting the #1 seed in the tournament is huge though because….
The Sleeper – Mercyhurst
After giving up 14 goals in the season opening series to St. Cloud State, Mercyhurst was written off. But now the Lakers have scored the most goals in the country with 139 and are second only to BU in goals per game. 5 Lakers have over 30 points and four are over 1 point a game. Ryan Zapolski, who has a 2.26 GAA this season, can get hot and potentially propel Mercyhurst to an auto bid.
The College Hockey Blog’s Pick – Air Force
Too much has been said about this Falcons team all year for them to lay down and go home without an NCAA tournament bid. Jacques Lamoureux will score the game winner against RIT in the final and Andrew Volkening will have a superb Atlantic Hockey Tourney