Fresh meat! After edging both of my guest-guessers last week, it’s time to see if someone new is up for the challenge. Please welcome upstaters Meli Mathis and “Four Guys in a Studio Apartment”.
Mathis hails from the greater D.C. area, but learned to love Cayuga’s waters in four years in Ithaca. The Four Guys represent, in their own words, “a low budget, yet hilarious web-series shot in Schenectady, NY. Here’s a link to our page so you can become familiarized with us, and our ridiculousness. (If you watch closely you’ll see several hockey jersey’s popping up on film)…”
Oops, the Four Guys forgot to submit their picks by the deadline. So much for the free publicity!
Among the justifications for wasting my time are the following:
“3) I will be traveling to at least a third, more likely half, of the ECAC rinks this season (Lynah, Lynah East, Yale, Brown, QU, Dartmouth) and likely Atlantic City.
5) I got your quote put into mass production on a t-shirt last year that sold out its initial printing and required a second one.
7) I will buy you a beer if you let me, perhaps even several, or wine.
8) I have been following the league for over 5 years.
9) I followed you on Twitter from day one.
10) I know where you live if you don’t let me do it at least one week.”*
[Sullivan's note: My my, flattery, bribery and threats! How could I refuse!]
Fair enough, let’s get down to business!
*Once again, opinions expressed by the guests are not necessarily those of USCHO or this correspondent.
All times Eastern
Friday, November 5
Quinnipiac at Brown – 7:00
This seems crazy – even to me – but I can’t shake the feeling that Brendan Whittet will have Bruno banging down the doors to get on the ice on Friday. Home opener, just beat Princeton and held a lead against Yale… the ingredients are all there. Plus, it’s not like I’m risking much if I’m wrong. Bears win, 4-3.
MM: Per our conversation last Friday night that ended with Brian: “So that means you’ll pick Brown to win every week.” And my response of, “Absolutely….NOT!”. I’m going with Quinnipiac. While I respect Coach Whittet and that he’s making improvements with his team; Q is stronger, and they split with SCSU last weekend. Granted, I do love Brown for knocking Yale out of the ECAC tournament last season, but that love doesn’t stretch far enough to think that they’ll win on Friday. Quinnipiac 4 – Brown 1
Union at Harvard – 7:00
Union is rapidly elevating itself to the status of national contender, even if the rest of the country doesn’t recognize it yet. Harvard is looking to start fresh after a couple of bum years, but the Dutchmen aren’t the best way to get your feet wet these days. 5-2 Union.
MM: Union is strong; Harvard is not. Harvard lost its one strong player, LeBlanc, over the summer. Donato hasn’t had a winning season in how long? Union tied both its games last week, but the competition was far higher than what Harvard will throw at them. Also, it’s in Allston, if there are more than 100 students in attendance I’ll be shocked. Harvard might have the tiniest of homefield advantages, not that the crowd will be one of them, due to the odd dimensions of the rink, but those odd dimensions only make it off by a few feet in each direction. Union 3 – Harvard 0
Rensselaer at Dartmouth – 7:00
An interesting matchup: unproven Dartmouth edged Princeton in the season-opener, but got shellacked by Yale on Saturday. RPI has been playing well, riding a six-game unbeaten streak (3-0-3) since its season-opening loss at Colorado College, but the Engineers are 0-1-3 away from the Houston Field House. Not much would shock me out of this contest, but I think I’ll tab DC, bringing RPI down to Earth just a little bit: 3-2.
MM: Dartmouth lost to Yale and only squeaked by Princeton last weekend. RPI lost its top talent over the summer to the pros, but they weren’t the only boys putting points up on the board. My inner Ivy League self is also poking out since I’d rather see other Ivy schools lose. While RPI may be Cherry Red, any red is better than green. RPI 3 – Dartmouth 1
Cornell at St. Lawrence – 7:00
Who woulda thunk that these two teams would be a combined 0-6-3 at this point? Yeow. The Saints are way beyond “hungry”; we’re looking at full-blown desperation right now, no matter how you slice it. Cornell isn’t used to being 0-2 either, and you’d better believe Mike Schafer put ‘em through the wringer this week. When emotion is a wash, gotta take the talent: Cornell, 4-1.
MM: I BLEED BIG RED. While any logical analysis would say Marsh’s men have a better shot at winning, I can’t say that. Cornell’s defense is struggling, the top 6 scorers graduated or left, the goal tending hasn’t been decided, and it’s a young team. But Alma Mater trumps. Cornell 2 – SLU(*) 1
Princeton at Yale – 7:00
These two teams avoided each other in last weekend’s Ivy Shootout, with the Tigers dropping twin 2-1 games and Yale posting two touchdowns (though allowing one of their own) against the same opponents. I’m picking Yale – as any sane person would – but I have to wonder how Guy Gadowsky’s “shoot first” strategy will play out against dubious Bulldog goaltending. 6-4 Yale. (Why not?)
MM: Yale is a very strong team, good offense, high goal numbers last week with seven goals in each game. They didn’t play Princeton in the Ivy Shoot Out (ps Yale, have you considered inviting the only other Ivy team that has a solid history and solid win record?), but if we use the transitive property which we all know works oh so well in sports, Yale beat Brown and Brown beat Princeton thus Yale beat Princeton. Yale 5 – Princeton 2
Colgate at Clarkson – 7:00
The Raiders are a puzzling team through four games, as no aspect of their game has been very consistent. Clarkson is 4-2-1 and undefeated (4-0-1) when scoring a goal… yes, both its losses were in shutouts. I think the Golden Knights can score against Colgate, as they boast a touch more potency than Sacred Heart, whom the ‘Gate just shut out 5-0 on Saturday. So while it’s a silly pattern, it’s one I’ll gladly embrace for its entertainment and journalistic value: 3-1 Knights.
MM: I’m going with Colgate on this one. Mainly because I haven’t heard much of anything about the North Country teams this season and Colgate got a shut out win last weekend. That and Clarkson was self-destructing at the end of the last season. Although Colgate lost McIntyre, I think they’ll still be able to pull it together. Toothpaste 3 – Clarkson 2
Saturday, November 6
Rensselaer at Harvard – 7:00
I’m going to go out on a limb and pick against my better judgment, and tab Harvard for a season-opening split. I don’t have any good reason for it, really, beyond the facts that the Crimson are at home, it’s a new year, and these programs have played tight even in mismatched years. 4-3 Crimson.
MM: RPI even without their losses to the pros this summer will be better than Harvard. No more LeBlanc and down to only two Biega brothers, the home ice advantage isn’t very high. RPI 5 – Harvard 1
Cornell at Clarkson – 7:00
Is this doomed to be a down year for Cornell? This game might be an early indication (if SLU hasn’t beaten Clarkson to the opportunity.) Every team in the league gets amped to play the Big Red, because if there’s one consistent program in ECAC Hockey over the past decade, it’s been Cornell. This might be the year that the target gets a bit tattered. 4-3 ‘Tech.
MM: Again: I BLEED BIG RED. I am biased, I know. Although this one, I think Cornell has a far better shot. I’m sure Schafer has been working them this week after last weekend’s back to back losses (first back to back home opener weekend losses since the 93-94 season before Schafer’s time). I expect the Big Red to pull for the win; they may not play pretty, but they’ll play with heart. Cornell 4 – Clarkson 2.
Colgate at St. Lawrence – 7:00
I can’t pick St. Lawrence to win, until they prove that they can. I’m calling it “the Brown rule”… sigh. 3-2 Colgate.
MM: I think this will be one of the most even match ups of the weekend. Whether that’s true or not, we’ll see. I think these are both teams that will be in the mid-upper end of the ECAC as a whole by season’s end. This is really a guess more than anything: SLU(*) 2 – Toothpaste 1
Quinnipiac at Yale – 7:00
It’s the latest engagement in the War on Whitney, with QU holding a 6-3-1 series edge since its inception in 2005-06. Each side won its home game last season, and I see no reason to expect any different this weekend as Yale may be the best team in the league at the moment. 5-2 Bulldogs.
MM: Yale is faster and Yale has better puck handlers. Q is good, but not that good. Yale 4 – Quinnipiac 2
Princeton at Brown – 7:00
Revenge, sweet sweet revenge! Princeton fell 2-1 to Brown last weekend, but I don’t think the Tigers will go down quite so quietly this time. 4-2 Stripes.
MM: This is a rematch from last weekend. I think Brown will take this one again. Princeton might be out for revenge, but I think coach Whittet will have been working his team to prepare for the style of play that Princeton uses and be ready for week two. Brown 3 – Princeton 1
Union at Dartmouth – 7:00
Pick UC while it’s hot; build up that prediction percentage while the getting’s good! Yeah, that’s my contribution regarding this matchup. I’m a professional. 4-3 Union.
MM: Union will continue its Ivy dominance with a win over the Big Green. Gaudet won’t be able to trump the boys from Schenectady this time. Union 4 – Dartmouth 1
If the first hint wasn’t enough, you should follow me on Twitter at SullivanHockey.