College Hockey:
ECAC Hockey Week 1 picks: Game on!

Here we go..

So we’re back for another year of picks. I lost track of my record from last year, but let’s say it was 2012 Red Sox-esque. (Brian: Ditto. Awful.)

Saturday, October 6

Quinnipiac at Maine 7:00
Nate: It’s been a while since these teams last met. How long? Well, current Quinnipiac and Union assistant coaches Reid Cashman and Joe Dumais both played in that game for the Bobcats, who lost 6-0 in Orono on Jan. 9, 2005. One interesting note in this one: QU’s Rand Pecknold said that he and Maine’s Tim Whitehead would skate four-on-four should the game go to overtime. Quinnipiac should post a bunch of W’s this year, but Maine holds a 3-0 series lead and Orono is always a tough place to play. Maine 3, Quinnipiac 2.

Brian: I don’t have much to add to Nate’s comments. Neither team has had much time together at all – like, at all – so don’t expect a pretty product. This is the first of three Hockey East games for the Bobcats this year, and one of only five non-conference games against Big Three opponents (Hockey East, WCHA, CCHA). It is also QU’s only non-con game against a 2011-12 NCAA tourney team. So for better or worse, this tilt could actually be a very big deal to the Q-Cats’ national aspirations by the end of the season. Just sayin’. Maine 4, QU 2.

Merrimack at Union 7:00
Nate: Union head coach Rick Bennett has been adamant that his team is already moving on from last year’s historic run to the Frozen Four. But you can forgive the Dutchmen if they pause to reflect on for one last time, as Union will raise four banners (Cleary Cup Championship, Whitelaw Cup Championship, NCAA Tournament, Frozen Four) at Messa Rink prior to facing the Warriors. Union took a 3-1 win in Andover last December, and is 5-0 in season openers at Messa since 2000. Union 4, Merrimack 2.

Brian: Like the QU-Maine game, I expect a lot of mistakes and a bunch of trial-and-error line combos in this one. The big question facing Union this fall is how hungry the Dutchmen will truly be after such unprecedented success last year… this game will be a good indication of how loudly the U’s stomachs are growling. Union 5, Merrimack 2.

Tuesday, October 9

Niagara at Colgate 7:00
Nate: Interesting contrast here, as Colgate enters the year minus the nation’s leading goal scorer in Austin Smith, while Niagara graduated the country’s leading goalie in Chris Noonan. Wins might not be as easy to come by this season for a young Raiders teams, but head coach Don Vaughan has stressed patience throughout the season. He also said he’s going to have fun teaching a lot of the game to Colgate’s young newcomers. Nothing more fun than getting a win in your collegiate opener. Colgate 2, Niagara 1.

Brian: I think I can sum this up in bullet points:
• Offense.
• Will there be any?
• Magic Eight Ball says: Outlook not so good.
It’s not the prettiest outline I’ve ever devised, but I think it is effective nonetheless. Colgate 2, Niagara 1.

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