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4-19-14 Previews

Syracuse /Hobart

Syracuse is 8-3 with wins over Hopkins, ND, Cornell, UNC. Losses are to MD, UVA, Duke.
Hobart is 4-7 with no wins over ranked teams, and too many losses to list…but don’t count them out yet.
Earlier in the season, Syracuse would have a good game, followed by a purely wretched game. This bi-polarism continued until the past 2 games. They’ve looked good twice in a row, and all optimism says they’ve finally figured out their internal issues, and made adjustments on defense. The pessimism says that there is easily a chance to regress at any point this season, and Hobart always plays Syracuse close.
Even when Hobart has a bad season. 3 of the last 4 meetings have been decided by 1 goal with Cuse taking 3 of the last 4.
They key to this game will be confidence.  Daddio and his wingmen need to come out strong, because when things start to roll for them, they just get better.  It is when they start to struggle, they all implode.  The Hobart FO unit is only winning 39% of their FO, so Daddio and Entourage should have a good day.
My pick is Cuse but by a closer margin than most expect.

Umass / Hofstra

Hofstra is 9-3 with wins over Fairfield, Drexel, Cornell.  Losses are to Marquette, Princeton (first 2 games of year), and St Johns
Umass is 7-4 with wins over Army, Harvard…Losses to Albany, Fairfield, Towson, Drexel
This Colonial Conference battle is never a friendly one. It is a conference game, it is NY vs Mass, Yankeees vs Boston, Jets/Giants vs Patriots.
UMass started off the season strong with a solid defensive effort.  6 of their 11 games, they have held opponents to 6 or less goals.
Hofstra has talent, but plays up or down to their opponents, and sometimes has trouble scoring.  All but one of Hofstra’s 12 games have been decided by 2 goals or less.  The average difference in all games (W and L) is less than 2 goals.
For UMass, they need to play a full game.  In their 4 losses they have been outscored 12-6 in the fourth quarter, and their goalie has a 42% saves in the same.  Normally due to the limited fans that come out to games, I value home field advanage very minutely.  This game, it may come into play.  As much as my heart wants to pick the Flying Dutchmen, I think Umass stops their 2 game skid.  Hofstra needs to learn how to close the deal and it won’t happen this weekend.

MD / ND

Maryland is 9-2 with wins over Cuse, Duke, UVA, and losses to UNC, Hopkins
Notre Dame is 6-4 with wins over UNC, UVA.  Their losses are to PSU, Denver, Cuse, Duke

This has the potential to be a snoozer just based on the pace, and methodical style of play of both these two teams.
Maryland’s only two losses came when they scored less than 9 goals.  This plays into the hands of a Notre Dame defense which traditionally is one of the best in the nation.  Although this year, they are struggling in the pipes as their goalies have only saved 50% of the shots.  Luckily the defens is limiting the shots they are facing, AND…The Irish have also shown increased offensive ability this season putting p 18 against UVA, and 11 against UNC (Comparitavely MD put up 9 against UVA, and 8 against UNC).  The Irish are scoring 12 goals per game, and over 100 more shots than their opponents.
Last week against Hopkins, the Jays came out and played MD hard.  It took the Terps out of their game, as they committed 17 turnovers, and their offense struggled.  This year, their attack is proving to be one of the worst (statistically) in years even though they are talented.
Notre Dame will need their defensive unit to play hard especially considering their struggles in net.  If they can pressure MD’s young offense, they have a shot.  If MD gets into their comfort zone, this could get out of hand.
I’m picking Notre Dame as I think they can force Maryland turnovers and break up their offense.

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