It’s the second week of the playoffs in ECAC Hockey, with four berths in the championship weekend at Lake Placid on the line. Each series is a best-of-three, with all games starting at 7 p.m.
No. 10 Dartmouth at No. 1 Union
Season series: Union 2-0.
The Big Green were the only lower-seeded team to advance past the first round, using three third-period goals to beat Rensselaer last Sunday. Top-seeded Union is looking for its third straight Whitelaw Cup, and owns the nation’s longest unbeaten streak (8-0-1). The Dutchmen also haven’t lost at home in ten games. Dartmouth has shown plenty of life the last month or so, but it’s tough to go against the body of the work Union has put together this season. Union in three
No. 8 St. Lawrence at No. 2 Colgate
Season series: Colgate 2-0
This is the third time in the last five seasons these teams have met in the playoffs, with St. Lawrence holding an 8-5 edge all-time in the postseason against Colgate. The Raiders defense and goaltending sparked a second-half surge that propelled them into second place, while the Saints’ defense and goaltending were black marks most of the season. Still, St. Lawrence played better down the stretch, and swept Brown at home last weekend. Both teams have dangerous players on offense, and can push the pace up the ice. Saint Lawrence’s Greg Carey hasn’t scored as much lately, but the senior forward has the ability to take over game, while Colgate’s Tyson Spink has six goals in five career games against SLU. The Saints ended Colgate’s season last year in the opening-round; can the Raiders return the favor? I think they will. Colgate in three.
No. 6 Yale at No. 3 Quinnipiac
Season series: Quinnipiac, 1-0-1
It’s an early rematch of last year’s national title game and the ECAC’s third-place game. A Yale loss would likely end any chance of the Bulldogs repeating at national champions, while a win by Quinnipiac would send the Bobcats to their second straight championship weekend. QU has dealt with some injuries recently, most notably forward Jordan Samuels-Thomas and defenseman Dan Federico. Bobcats coach Rand Pecknold doesn’t comment on injuries, so there’s few updates on Samuels-Thomas or Federico. Yale’s defense has been strong this season, while freshman Alex Lyon has improved in goal as the year has progressed. I’m taking the Bobcats, because I think they’re a little deeper at forward and also had a chance to get healthy over the bye. Quinnipiac in 3
No. 5 Clarkson at No. 4 Cornell
Season series: 1-1
While Quinnipiac/Yale and Colgate/St. Lawrence should features a lot of wide-open play, look for a tough, physical series between the Golden Knights and Big Red. That’s not to say each team doesn’t have their fair share of skilled players, but both are good at winning battles to the puck and playing along the boards. Each team also has a lot of talent on the back end, and size through the lineup. I think the difference is in goal. The Big Red’s Andy Iles quietly had a very good regular season (2.20, .920), and is better than the Golden Knights’ Steve Perry or Greg Lewis. Cornell in three