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College Hockey:
Playoff picks: Round 1

I already did some off-the-cuff analysis of the series in yesterday’s column, so here’s a little more. Don’t take me too seriously, though: Like the first games of the year, the first games after the holiday break, and the last games of the regular season, the playoffs have so little to do with precedent and statistics that making predictions is all but a total crapshoot.

This Weekend

No. 12 Colgate at No. 5 Rensselaer

Colgate broadcast link
RPI broadcast link
Video link
All three possible games will start at 7:00. This is that funny series where the victor knows exactly who it will play in the second round: If RPI wins, the Engineers are at Cornell next week; it’s Union for Colgate, should the Raiders score the upset. If Colgate guts out a road sweep, it will draw the Raiders even with RPI all-time at 55-55-3 (now 55-53-3 for the ‘Tute). The Engineers are 5-9-0 against the ‘Gate under head coach Seth Appert, 3-7-0 in their last 10 against Colgate, and four of the last six meetings between the teams have gone to overtime… including January’s 2-1 RPI victory in which Chase Polacek scored the game-winner on an OT penalty shot. The Raiders have not lost a 60-minute league game to RPI since 2002.

Prediction: RPI in three games.

No. 11 St. Lawrence at No. 6 Princeton

St. Lawrence broadcast link
Princeton broadcast link
Video link
Two years in a row, the Saints get foul playoff draws: Last year, they earned a home series, but drew North Country neighbor Clarkson; this year, they have no one but themselves to blame as they make the longest road trip in the league, from upstate to Garden State. Friday’s game is a 7:00 start, but Saturday and Sunday’s will (and would, respectively) start at 4:00. SLU has never lost a playoff game to Princeton (5-0-1) and has won three straight playoff series, but the Tigers swept St. Lawrence in the regular season by 5-1 and 5-3 margins. Princeton hosts a playoff series for the fifth straight season, and this year marked the first time since the current travel-partner scheduling system was enacted for the 1983-84 season that the Tigers have swept the Saints.

Prediction: Princeton in two games.

No. 10 Harvard at No. 7 Clarkson

Harvard broadcast link
Clarkson broadcast link
Video link
Friday and Saturday’s games will start at 7:00; Sunday’s, if necessary, will be a 4:00 puck-drop. Harvard is two wins away from 1,300 for the program’s history, and has won three of four all-time first-round series. Clarkson is hosting a series for the first time since the 2007-08 season, and own an 8-2-2 advantage over Harvard in their last 12 meetings. Each team scored a 3-1 win on its home ice this year, with the Crimson edging the Knights in Boston last Friday.

Prediction: Clarkson in three games.

No. 9 Brown at No. 8 Quinnipiac

Brown broadcast link
Quinnipiac broadcast link
Video link
All three potential games will be 7:00 starts. The Bobcats are 10-2 in ECAC first-round games, and 8-2 at the TDBank Sports Center. Brown is 2-1-2 against the Q in their last five meetings, with two ties in this year’s contests, but the Bobcats are 8-4-2 all-time against Bruno. Both teams enter the weekend feeling pretty good about themselves, as Quinnipiac notched commendable ties on the road at Union and RPI last weekend, while Brown recorded the home sweep of Cornell and Colgate.

Prediction: Brown in three games… with lots and lots of overtimes.

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  • just sayin

    Nice calls….

    • Anonymous

      nailed it!

  • Hehe

    0 ‘fer..

  • stu

    hey got the 3 games to decide it in Troy right! just wrong winner

  • Skennys2145

    What happened to Friday’s Cornell at Princeton?
    Let’s not get too excited about Dartmouth just yet- the ONLY reason they beat Cornell was because 4 of the top players in the nation were gone to Sweden.

  • ECACfan

    This is a complete mess. It’s confusing how you only pick a few games. Either pick them all or pick none.

  • http://twitter.com/jetsjets1028 joe lepianka

    and wheres umass and yale game pick for wednesday december 7 dont see it

    • After Further Review

      And it says 2nd through the 8th.  UNH/BU game on 12/8 isn’t listed either.

      • http://twitter.com/jetsjets1028 joe lepianka

        yeah these people are dumb

  • After Further Review

    Check the ECAC picks, the picked Harvard as well.  I do cheer for HE and do think UMass will win, but it won’t be as easy for you as you think.  Harvard’s forwards are pretty talented and keeping the puck out of your own net has not been a strong point for UMass this season.
    BBear94, I hope you get your wish and Timmy is gone soon.  As a UNH fan (which are having our ow problems right now), I much preferred a strong Maine team every year… win or lose, it was more fun!

    • Anonymous

      Yeah, and they called BC BU the “best rivalry in college hockey”  A good one, for sure.  But UMO UNH is much better, IMO.  Those 2 games they played at the Witt last year had me on the edge of my seat all the way through….

      • After Further Review

        Heading down there tonight myself.  UNH totally outplayed them and beat them 5-0 a couple weeks ago, so wouldn’t be at all surprised to see UML take it to them pretty good tonight.  Bazin has done a great job with a very young team down there, so far.  Hopefully Digi decides to start playing goal again sometime real soon.
        I agree, the UNH/UMO rivalry is the best, no matter where they play.  I love the atmosphere at Alfond too.  I have no problem with the abuse visiting teams and fans take, it’s all part of a great college hockey atmosphere.  As you said in another post, these writers are all just about BU/BC, nobody else matters to them!

        • CommAve

          Tough not to be all about them when they’ve won 3 of the past 4 national tournaments.  I agree it’s too heavily slanted towards them, but not like they haven’t earned lately.  Both Maine and UNH need to step up.  Been awhile since either of them were true contenders.

          • CommAve

            National *Championships

          • After Further Review

            I do agree that the National Championships have helped and I have been there rooting them on, will always cheer for Hockey East.  I also agree that UNH and Maine have to get back to the national powers, but their rivalry is still a great one.  Maybe that’s what makes it better because they are the two teams in the East, not from Boston, that have been fairly consistent.  Anyways, I was not slighting the BC/BU rivalry at all, just making conversation about another good rivalry, that’s all.
            Enjoy the season!

          • Anonymous

            Yes, we need a new coach and if this season plays out as expected, maybe we’ll get our wish this offseason….

      • CommAve

        Come on guy.  I’m a fan of all Hockey East (didn’t go to any school, just from Boston), but you cannot say BC/BU isn’t the greatest rivalry in the sport.  They’ve met for the National Title before, have 9 championships between the two, Beanpot, 3 miles away from each other, students who live in the same aparment buildings…Nothing against Maine/UNH because it’s absolutely awesome, and I’ll be at Fenway on the 7th for that and UMass/UVM, but BC/BU is gold standrad when it comes to rivalries.

        • Anonymous

          # of championships between the schools has no bearing on the greatness of their rivalry, only the games played head-up.  1 meeting in the national title game? So what.  UMO and BU played in the 95 title game.  UMO and UNH played in the 99 title game.  So, by your standards, UMO/UNH or UMO/BU s/b the greatest rivalry??

          News for you on beanpot – nobody outside of the 4 invited schools cares. And remember, that’s not an open tournament so being in it has nothing to do with the quality of the teams in play.

    • http://twitter.com/jetsjets1028 joe lepianka

      hahaahhaah ecac guys pick harvard too? WOW where are these people coming up with this harvard AT UMass where UMass has been great and beat far better teams espec bc but harvard not that great in hockey was joke last year and lost st lawrence this year recent tie clarkson i believe they wont be able beat umass i expect to go 5-0-2 tonight when i go umass home games

      • http://twitter.com/jetsjets1028 joe lepianka

        an they all pick 4-2 wow these guys are dumb 7-2 umass lets put it this way even if its closer umass should win ill be stunned if i see a loss and this is the 1st home loss in 7 games to harvard no way harvard wins

  • Anonymous

    I was at that Maine game and UMass was really strong, except for a few mistakes in the early first period where they gave up 2 goals.  I think there is too much prognosticating by these 2 “writers” who never seem to make it to the rink unless it’s a BC or BU game.  Not sure they even know where Amherst, Orono, or Burlington are…

    • After Further Review

      I do think UMass is pretty good, but the only time I saw them in person was at UNH and the goaltending sure seemed to be an issue.  They pulled the starter and put in another Freshman who has played the majority of the minutes and he gave up 2 goals on 4 shots and was pulled too.  I know UNH’s D and G haven’t been great either, but Harvard put up a 7 spot on us, which shocked me after UNH had built a 4-0 lead!

      • http://twitter.com/jetsjets1028 joe lepianka

        they have been awful at home but as student ive been to all 6 home games and theyve been awesome at home usually only allowing 2 goals as theyve done in each of their last 5 home games after giving up 2 to bentley and beat bc tied bu tied maine beat northeastern i think itll be 7-2 umass tonight harvards not good in hockey umass deff better espec at mullins center

      • http://twitter.com/jetsjets1028 joe lepianka

        unh is just like umass awesome at home awful on road

    • http://twitter.com/jetsjets1028 joe lepianka

      yeah deff doesnt sound like it when theyre picking HARVARD TO WIN IN UMASS!!! what a bunch of jokes

  • http://twitter.com/jetsjets1028 joe lepianka

    i hope after i come back to the dorm after umass beats harvard these guys will at least admit how wrong and stupid they were for picking harvard.. harvard HAHAHAHAHA no way 

  • http://twitter.com/jetsjets1028 joe lepianka

    while you guys were right on number of goals harvard would score unbeleivable both of u plus ecac guy would all say 4-2 harvard same score but harvard only got tie cuz refs apparently were from harvard i have not seen worse officiating cert not this year and overall not in lnog time federico and hansen you refs sucks u shouldnt be allowed to conitune reffing after tonight deff not in amherst 6-1 harvard in pps? ru  kidding some of them i was wondering what did the mniutemen guy do yet during game espec in ot after we killed off yet another penalty couple of times harvard shouldve been called for penalty of coruse no call on them THESE REFS WERE THE WORST!!!

  • http://twitter.com/Blue_Dem Eric J. Alves

    Solid Pick for the NU-ND today. I agree ND is too tough for NU….oh wait, what’s that? Hung 9 and first team to win at new rink? Nothing like beating #11 @Michigan and #2 @ND in back to back weeks for a 4 game winning streak. Welcome to Hockey East ND! 

    • http://twitter.com/jetsjets1028 joe lepianka

      makes umasses win over NU look good all sudden when NU only had 1 win for while im stunned and shocked they go into ND and win 9-2 wow stunner of the year

  • Sam

    Jim’s pick: The Huskies are playing well, but I don’t see them getting a win in South Bend.
    ND 3, NU 1
    Dave’s pick: Agreed. The Irish are just too tough.
    ND 4, NU1 Hahahahaha, what a joke.

  • Anonymous

    Agreed.  These guys are clueless.  Maine to sweep UVM on the road?  Good grief.

  • http://twitter.com/jetsjets1028 joe lepianka

    yeah theyre clueless maine may sweep vermont but vermont prob gets least a tie on saturday prob lose tomorrow night.. but picking against umass when its harvard in magic of mullins center where theyre 4-0-2 and beat bc northeastern tied maine and bu harvard is nothing like those teams cert not like bc and bu i dont c us losing i expect to see another win tomorrow and possibly wed vs yale too oh tho itll be toufgher but im laughing hard they both think harvard would win they are dumb!