Winter break is coming for an end for most teams, and several ECAC team are participating in the numerous holiday tournaments across the country. (Check out the complete tournament breakdown here).
There are a lot of games between now and Monday, so I’ll roll out the picks in waves. All times are 7 p.m. unless noted.
Thursday, Dec. 27
Rensselaer at St. Cloud State
RPI ended the first half on a modest 3-1-2 streak after going without a win for over a month in October and November. Freshman Jason Kasdorf has started five straight games in net for the Engineers. The Winnipeg Jets prospect appears to have seized the No.1 goalie spot, as he’s posted a .945 save percentage and 1.46 goals-against average on the season. The Engineers have four players (Jacob Laliberte, Matt Neal, Ryan Haggerty, and Nick Bailen) with a realistic shot of breaking the ten-goal mark after not having a single double-digit goal scorer last season. This will be a big road test for RPI, who only has one home game between now and Jan. 18. It’s the first meeting between the Huskies and Engineers since 2003, when RPI swept a two-game series in Troy. Thursday/Friday, 8:07 ET. St. Cloud State sweeps.
Friday, Dec. 28
Ferris State vs. Cornell, 4 p.m. (Florida College Classic, Estero, FL)
The Big Red are riding a four-game winning streak into Florida as they return to action for the first time in a month, facing the team that ended their season last spring in the NCAA Midwest Regional Final. Cornell will be minus forward Cole Bardreau, who’s currently playing for the U.S. in the IIHF World Junior Championship. The sophomore is one of four alternate captains for the U.S., and has been impressively defensively so far. As for players currently with the Big Red, Florida native and reigning league Rookie of the Year Brian Ferlin could use a big start to the second half after not scoring a goal through his first 11 games this season. I think Cornell exacts a bit of revenge on the Bulldogs, who ended the first half on a four-game winless streak. Cornell wins
Saturday, Dec. 29 and Sunday, Dec. 30
Nebraska-Omaha at Quinnipiac
The Bobcats have been the story of the first half in the ECAC, posting an 8-0 record in league play. They’ll face their toughest non-conference opponent to date in the Mavericks, who are currently No. 12 in the USCHO poll. Quinnipiac owns the nation’s top-ranked defense, and has seen an uptick in scoring the last several games prior to the break. They’ll be tested against a Mavericks team that’s averaged 3.61 goals per-game, second in the nation. These teams have met in three straight seasons, with the Bobcats leading the series 2-1-1. Saturday/Sunday, noon. Split; QU wins Saturday, Nebraska-Omaha Sunday.
Princeton vs. Merrimack, 4 p.m. (Catamount Cup, Burlington VT.)
Princeton closed the first half on a five-game winless streak that they’ll look snap against the Warriors in the opener of the Catamount Cup. Senior Mike Condon saw the majority of time in net through the first half after splitting last year with Sean Bonar. The Tigers have done most of their damage on the power play this season. Princeton ranks 40th in scoring overall, but is 10-for-29 on the man advantage, good for ninth in the country. This is the first time these teams have met since 2004. Merrimack wins
Minnesota State vs. Brown. 4:05 p.m. (UConn Holiday Tournament, Storrs, Conn.)
The Bears are looking for their first holiday tournament win since 2004, when they beat Merrimack and Holy Cross to capture the UConn Hockey Classic in Storrs. This is Brown’s third time competing in the holiday tournament in Storrs, and first since 2007. These teams last met in 2010, with the Mavericks winning 7-3 in the championship game of Notre Dame’s Shillelagh Tournament. Juniors Jake Goldberg and Garnet Hathaway each had a goal in that game. Minnesota State had a seven-game win streak snapped on Dec. 15, while Brown ended the first half with a pair of home ties against Union and Rensselaer. Minnesota State wins
Northeastern at Harvard
The Crimson have yet to win a game since beating Cornell 4-1 at home back on Nov. 16. Some of that could be blamed on rust, as Harvard has only played three games in that span. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, as the Crimson will be a bit short the rest of the year thanks to the departure of defensemen Max Everson, Patrick McNally and Mark Luzar last semester. The Crimson will also be minus leading scorer Jimmy Vesey, who is in Russia with the US World Junior team. Neither one of these teams has exactly been on a roll lately, but I ‘ll take the hosts here. Harvard wins.
Union at Vermont, 7:05 p.m. (Catamount Cup, Burlington, VT.)
The Dutchmen head to Burlington to face Vermont and former Union head coach Kevin Sneddon in the Catamount Cup. UVM is 12-2 all-time at Gutterson Fieldhouse against the Dutchmen, although these teams haven’t played each other since 2005. Union will be without defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere, who like Vesey is in Russia with the US World Junior team. Union didn’t exactly end the first half playing their best hockey, but they should have enough to get by UVM. Union wins
Cornell vs. Maine., 7:30 p.m. ( (Florida College Classic Championship, Estero, FL)
Remember how I mentioned Brian Ferlin in Friday’s preview? Well, that Florida native scored his first two goals of the year to pace the Big Red to a 5-3 win over Ferris State yesterday, sending Cornell into the championship game against Maine, who beat Minnesota 1-0 Friday. The Black Bears are dead last in the nation in scoring, and I they’ll have a tough go against a Cornell squad that is giving up just over two goals per game. Cornell wins