Brown and Colgate return from Belfast with mixed results

The first regular season college hockey games outside of North America ended in of all things – a shootout.

That’s what was used to to determine the winner of the Friendship Four tournament championship game between Massachusetts-Lowell and Brown Saturday in Belfast.

The River Hawks scored the tying goal with 39 seconds left to force overtime against the Bears, and then won  the shootout to take the Belpot Trophy as tournament champions. The game will count as a tie for NCAA purposes.

Brown freshman Tommy Marchin was named the Player of the Tournament after finishing with four goals and two assists on the weekend. Marchin has six goals and six assists in nine games this season, and joins a crowded group of league rookies making a strong impression early on.

Brown reached the final after beating Colgate 5-0 on Friday.

It was a tough weekend for the Raiders, who lost 7-1 to Northeastern in the consolation game. Colgate gave up 12 goals on 44 shots against the Bears and Huskies, while managing one goal on just 26 shots over both games. The Raiders haven’t won since Nov. 7 and are 4-10-1 this season.

Colgate has been playing with a short roster, especially on defense, thanks in part to junior Ryan Johnston signing a professional contract with Montreal late last summer.  The top-six group is solid, but from afar, the Raiders don’t seem to have the depth they have had in the past.

In net, the trio of Charlie Finn, Zac Hamilton and Bruce Racine have combined for a .882 save percentage. That won’t get it done.

Still, it’s worth noting that Colgate was 7-9-1 in the first half two years ago, and rebounded to make the NCAA tournament. That might be asking a bit much this season, but the Raiders could be a team to watch in the second half if they can get better defensive play.

A tournament title for Harvard

No, not that one. But the Crimson beat Rensselaer 4-0 in the Shillelagh Tournament championship game Saturday at Notre Dame.  Merrick Madsen stopped 59-of-60 shots over the weekend to earn tournament MVP honors.  The sophomore has three shutouts in five starts this season and has only given up three goals overall.

Harvard moved to 6-1-1 with wins against the Engineers Saturday and host Notre Dame Friday.  It’s the first time since the 2005-06 season that the Crimson have won six of its first eight games.Harvard’s only loss this season came Nov. 13, a 4-1 setback at red-hot Quinnipiac. That’s also the only time Harvard has given up more than two goals in a game.

The loss snapped a nine-game unbeaten streak for RPI, who had beaten Western Michigan 4-1 Friday to reach the tournament final. It’s still been an impressive first half thus far for the Engineers, who are 4-0-2 in league play and 8-5-2 overall.

Quinnipiac keeps rolling

Fifteen games into the season and the Bobcats have yet to lose. Quinnipiac swept a home-and-home series with the University of Massachusetts to push its record to 13-0-2.

In addition to the unbeaten streak, the Bobcats had several players reach individual milestones last weekend.  On Friday, junior forward Sam Anas had two goals and an assist to become the 37th player in Quinnipiac history to reach the 100 point mark. It took Anas 92 games to reach the 100-point plateau.

On Saturday, senior Michael Garteig blanked the Minutemen for his 59th career victory, which tied a program record. It was his fourth shutout of the year and 15th of his career.

One a team note, the fifteen-game streak is the longest unbeaten streak to open the season in Division I since Colorado College began 15-0-3 in the 1995-96 season.

As impressive as Quinnipiac’s streak has been, it’s still six games shy of the 21-game unbeaten streak the Bobcats ripped off in the 2012-13 season, when the school made its first national championship game appearance.

To reach that mark, the Bobcats will need to go unscathed at Yale and Brown, at home versus Boston University, home and away versus Princeton, and then at Northeastern.


ECAC Hockey picks: Nov. 27-28

Please, no more ties.

Brown vs. Colgate in Northern Ireland (Friday)

Hockey across the pond. Why not? With both Brown and Colgate pretty desperate for a win, one must think Friday’s 11 a.m. EST matchup in the semifinals of the Friendship Four in Belfast, Northern Ireland, will be anything but groggy. These teams played to a 1-1 tie last weekend in Providence, and Colgate comes into the weekend winless in its last four games. The Bears have not won since their 3-2 victory over Union on Nov. 13 and have gone 0-1-2 since then. On Saturday, the teams play UMass-Lowell and Northeastern in the third-place game or championship game. Does this count as an extended European vacation for UMass-Lowell?

Prediction: Colgate 1, Brown 0

Rensselaer vs. Western Michigan, No. 8 Harvard vs. No. 18 Notre Dame (Friday)

It’s hard to overstate how important this weekend’s Harvard-Notre Dame game actually is. The Crimson have been on the friendly end of a light early season schedule that has inflated their late November standing — four wins over Dartmouth, Brown and Princeton. So far, Harvard is 0-1-1 against ranked opponents (2-2 tie to Yale and 4-1 loss to Quinnipiac). Friday’s matchup against the Irish in the Shillelagh Tournament is a chance to prove some people wrong about this team.
For Rensselaer, winners of four of its last six games, it’s about hoping for more of the same.

Prediction: Harvard 3, Notre Dame 1; Rensselaer 2, Western Michigan 0

Princeton at Maine (Friday/Saturday)

The Tigers are coming off an impressive 3-0 win over Clarkson last weekend. Colton Phinney is having a strong season for Princeton, but it certainly isn’t enough as the Tigers offense continues to struggle. Luckily, Maine isn’t looking any better. It should be a good opportunity for Princeton to string some victories together.

Prediction: Princeton 3, Maine 1; Princeton 1, Maine 1 (tie)

Arizona State at Clarkson (Friday/Saturday)

OK, sure, the 3-0 loss to Princeton was ugly. But Clarkson started off 5-1, the best start in program history! Remember that? So what if the Golden Knights have gone winless against the ECAC in five games? Two games against a non-ECAC opponent might be just what the doctor ordered for this struggling squad.

Prediction: Clarkson 3, Arizona State 2; Arizona State 4, Clarkson 2

No. 3 Quinnipiac vs. Massachusetts (Friday/Saturday)

Is there an over/under on how many goals Quinnipiac can score with a home-and-home against struggling UMass on the docket? Ranked third in every poll behind North Dakota and Providence, the Bobcats have become nearly unstoppable through their first 13 games. But two ties last weekend against struggling opponents have planted the seed of doubt in some people’s minds. Look for Quinnipiac to rebound in a big way.

Prediction: Quinnipiac 4, UMass 1; Quinnipiac 5, UMass 3

Dartmouth at No. 12 Michigan (Friday/Saturday)

After a weekend off, the Big Green come face-to-face with the pride of Big Ten hockey in a two-game series in Michigan. It’s a tough task for Bob Gaudet and his squad, especially given defensive struggles his team has had to deal with over the last month. Up against a ranked opponent on the road, this has disappointment written all over it.

Prediction: Michigan 4, Dartmouth 2; Michigan 3, Dartmouth 0

Union at No. 13 Merrimack (Saturday)

This might not be Union’s year. Two one-goal losses last weekend to Brown and Yale have put the Dutchmen in a much deeper hole coming into this weekend’s matchup against No. 13 Merrimack. Union is 1-5 in its last six games, posting a 1-5 record against ECAC opponents and a 3-6-3 record overall. With the success Merrimack has had this season, it’s hard to imagine momentum changing directions unless something drastic happens.

Prediction: Merrimack 4, Union 1

No. 10 Yale at No. 1 Providence (Saturday)

Game of the week in the ECAC. Yale has been largely inconsistent over the last few weeks — posting a 3-1-2 record over its last six games against ECAC opponents, with a loss to Rensselaer and two ties to Cornell and Harvard. The Bulldogs will look for consistency against the top-ranked defending NCAA champions. This game could be really close, or really lopsided.

Prediction: Providence 5, Yale 4 (OT)

No. 16 Cornell at No. 11 Boston University (Saturday at Madison Square Garden)

Game of the week in the ECAC, take two. With Cornell shooting up the rankings to the No. 16 spot this week, the Big Red get their first true test against No. 11 Boston University under the spotlight of Madison Square Garden. It doesn’t get much bigger than that. The 0-0 tie against Yale last weekend certainly helps their standing, but a win over a ranked opponent like the Terriers will go a long way to cementing this team on the map for the rest of the season. Then again, this could be the perfect set up for Cornell to fail and fall into irrelevance until next winter. So, no pressure.

Prediction: Cornell 4, Boston University 2

Weekend recap: Quinnipiac hits a snag

Princeton’s Kyle Rankin and Tommy Davis celebrate Rankin’s goal on Saturday (photo: Shelley M. Szwast).

Three things that stood out over the weekend:

Quinnipiac hits a snag

If you even want to call it that. Considering how well-oiled the Bobcats’ offense has been this season, looking back at a weekend of close games for this team makes it seem like something’s missing — like the scorekeeper, holding another sheet of paper with all of Quinnipiac’s goals on it, got lost on his way to the press box.

After leading the country with 52 goals in 13 games, the Bobcats were held to a 1-1 tie with No. 20 Clarkson and a 0-0 tie with No. 14 St. Lawrence. It’s about as uncharacteristic as it gets for a team we’re used to seeing light up the score sheet every night.

This shouldn’t hurt the team’s ranking — ties are better than losses, after all. But it’s still something to watch as Quinnipiac remains one of the top college hockey teams in the country.

Cornell keeps rolling

It’s really, really hard not be impressed with what Cornell has been doing for the past few weeks, and this weekend was no different. With a 0-0 tie with No. 11 Yale and a 1-0 win over Brown, the Big Red have shown that they can play shut down, defensive hockey.

As a reward, they earned the No. 18 ranking on USCHO last week. It’s well deserved, considering the team is 6-1-1 through its first eight games. Barring any unforeseen circumstances, it’s pretty obvious we can mark Cornell down as one of the ECAC’s biggest surprises.

Princeton blanks Clarkson

Clarkson been a tough team to figure out so far. The Golden Knights have done well enough to garner attention — somewhat. Other nights, it seems like the wrong kind of attention.

Take Saturday night, for example, a 3-0 loss to rebuilding Princeton. Sure, Tigers goaltender Colton Phinney was otherworldly with 31 saves and a shutout. But, on paper at least, it seems like a game that Clarkson should be able to handle.

But therein lies the problem — trying to predict Clarkson games seems like the job of a fortune teller or, better yet, a guy on the sidewalk with a coin to flip. The Knights started the season 5-1 with wins over New Hampshire, Western Michigan, Rochester Institute of Technology and Niagara. OK, not the strongest opponents, but decisive wins nonetheless. Since then, Clarkson is 0-3-2, getting outscored 13-4 in a stretch that includes a 1-1 tie to big, bad Quinnipiac. See what I mean?

Buckle up, folks. Clarkson’s season is going to be a roller coaster ride.

ECAC Hockey picks: Nov. 20-24

Last time: 7-3-2

Overall: 15-7-3

Here’s a look at the games set for this weekend, as Rensselaer (six games) and Quinnipiac (eleven games) look to extend unbeaten streaks. At 11-0, the Bobcats are off to the best start in the program’s Division I history.

Saturday, Nov. 21

Colgate at Brown            

These teams will head to Belfast, Northern Ireland in a week to take part in the first Friendship Four. But first, they’ll meet in Providence. The Raiders have one win in their last five games, while the Bears should have had a two-win weekend last time out, but settled for a win and a tie. Expect this one to be a shootout, and I think that Colgate should have a slight edge. Colgate wins  

 St. Lawrence at Princeton          

The Saint’s Kyle Hayton is rightfully regarded as one of the top goalies in the conference, but Princeton’s Colton Phinney has been outstanding this year despite the Tigers overall struggles. The junior has a .944 save percentage, but the Saints’ deeper lineup should be the difference against Princeton. St. Lawrence wins

Clarkson at Quinnipiac                

Like I said earlier this week, I’m not picking against the Bobcats until they give me a reason to. And Quinnipiac hasn’t yet, as it won its eleventh straight game to open the season Tuesday at Connecticut. Clarkson should give the Bobcats a tough fight, but Quinnipiac should come out with the win. Quinnipiac wins

Cornell at Yale

The Big Red have the offense to go along with its usual stingy defense, but Cornell hasn’t faced a goaltender the caliber of Yale’s Alex Lyon. I’m taking the Bulldogs in their home opener. Yale wins

Rensselaer at Bentley                  

RPI is off to a nice start in league play and will look to keep a six-game unbeaten streak going against non-conference opponent Bentley. Part of that stretch has come with freshman Cam Hackett playing in goal in place of the injured Jason Kasdorf. Even if Kasdorf isn’t back on Friday, I still like the Engineers to extend their unbeaten streak to seven games. However, I don’t think RPI will extend its streak of overtime games, which currently sits at four. Rensselaer wins

 Saturday, Nov. 21

Cornell at Brown             

Brown has struggled to keep the puck out of its net this season, and that might prove costly against a Big Red team that has found its spark on offense thus far. Cornell wins

Clarkson at Princeton   

As I mentioned above, Phinney in net is enough for the Tigers to steal some wins. But I don’t think that will happen against a physical Clarkson team. Clarkson wins               

St. Lawrence at Quinnipiac         

The Bobcats are going to lose at some point this season. The Saints are as tough of as opponent as any team in the league, as they rank in the top four in both goals scored and goals allowed. Tempted to call a St. Lawrence win, and it wouldn’t surprise me if the Saints did win, but like I said above I’m not picking against Quinnipiac until they give me a reason to. Quinnipiac wins

Colgate at Yale

This should be a fun game to watch, as both teams move and down the ice at a fast pace. I think Yale’s ability to keep the puck out of the net and Colgate’s inability to do so thus far this season will be the difference. Yale wins

Tuesday, Nov. 24

Rensselaer at New Hampshire

New Hampshire has been more down that up lately, as the Wildcats are 0-2-1 in November. I’ll take an RPI team that hasn’t lost in nearly a month.  Rensselaer wins 

Picking Tuesday’s game

Unbeaten Quinnipiac visits in-state rival Connecticut tonight. The Huskies beat the Bobcats 4-1 last season, but Quinnipiac is on an absolutely dominate roll to start the season. Despite beating Boston University earlier in the season, Connecticut has lost six in a row and is 3-8 thus far. That might seem like the perfect conditions for an upset, but I’m not picking against the Bobcats. Quinnipiac wins 

A perfect 10 for Quinnipiac

It’s been quite a start for Quinnipiac, as Saturday’s 6-2 win over Dartmouth pushed the Bobcat’s record to 10-0-0 this season. The streak ties a program record set in the 1997-98 season, when Quinnipiac was a Division II team. It also means that the Bobcats are the lone team in the country without a tie or loss.

The win against the Big Green came after an impressive 4-1 win over then-unbeaten on Harvard Friday. The Crimson did have several chances in the opening period when the game was still scoreless, but Quinnipiac was able to keep Harvard’s potent offense in check for most of the night, as likely Hobey Baker candidate Jimmy Vesey finished the game with two shots on goal and no points.

The Bobcats held the Crimson to 12 shots through the first two periods and turned a pair of Harvard turnovers into goals.

“They slowed us down by having a good gap in the neutral zone and coming back real hard,” Harvard coach Ted Donato said.”They do not make a lot mistakes. They handled the puck in their zone in a way that didn’t allow a lot of turnovers.”

Controversial no-goal call results in tie between Brown and Rensselaer

The press-box replay system at RPI’s Houston Field House failed on Saturday night, meaning this potential game-winning overtime goal by Brown couldn’t be reviewed, and the no-goal call made on the ice by the officials stood.

It’s unfortunate that a technological malfunction could impact an important call in a game. Sure, human errors by officials are a part of the game – albeit one that fans and coaches alike often take issue with. But the idea of having a replay system is to make sure the right call is made, and that safety net failed in this case.

I’m not sure of what else could be done to fix this in the future. Major League Baseball had problems with the replay system in Game 1 of the World Series, so this is an issue that crops up even on the biggest of stages.

Most coaches tell their teams to focus only on what they can control. That might not be much consolation for the Bears, but at this point, it’s all they can do.

Still, it was a much needed three-point weekend for Brown, while RPI extended its unbeaten streak to six games, as the Engineers have started conference play with a 4-0-2 record.

Three of those games have come minus senior goalie Jason Kasdorf, who was injured last Friday against Clarkson. Credit to freshman Cam Hackett, who has a .929 save percentage since Kasdorf was hurt. RPI coach Seth Appert said Kasdorf was “50-50″ for the weekend, so it doesn’t look like he’ll be shelved for an extended period of time.

Big Red keep rolling

Entering the season, Cornell coach Mike Schafer said the Big Red had a lot of unknowns on their roster. One of the big questions was how the Big Red would generate offense this year after ranking 54th in the country last season with 1.84 goals per game.

It’s been a different go of it thus far for the Big Red. Cornell is averaging just under four goals per game and is 5-1 after sweeping Colgate in a home-and-home series over the weekend. It’s the best start for Cornell since the 2009-10 season, when the Big Red had the same record through the first six games.

Freshman forward and Pittsburgh draft pick Anthony Angello scored in overtime Saturday against the Raiders, giving him seven points in six games. But the Big Red’s leading scorer is junior Jeff Kubiak, who has three goals and six assists after only having two goals and 17 points during his first two seasons.

Saturday’s overtime win against the Raiders was the 250th regular-season ECAC Hockey victory for Schafer. The only loss of the season was a 5-4 setback to Quinnipiac, when the Big Red blew two three-goal leads.

ECAC Hockey picks: Nov. 13-14

Here’s a look at this weekend’s games:

Friday, Nov. 13

Brown at Union
The Bears will look for their first win of the season against a reeling Union squad that will be desperate to right the ship. The Dutchmen snapped a four-game losing streak to Clarkson last weekend and come into Friday’s meeting with a 3-4-3 record. Brown is 0-3 but has shown signs of life offensively as nine different players have contributed.
Prediction: Brown 3, Union 2

No. 10 Yale at Rensselaer
Rensselaer is off to its best start since the 1994-95 season, posting a 3-0-1 record in ECAC play through its first four games, including victories over Clarkson and St. Lawrence last weekend. Riley Bourbonnais leads the Engineers with five goals and nine points so far. But RPI will begin the weekend with a big test against No. 10 Yale, 3-0-1 overall. Last year’s leading goal-scorer for the Bulldogs, Mike Doherty, is off to another good start with four points in four games.
Prediction: Yale 5, RPI 3

Colgate at Cornell (two games)
The Big Red look to continue their impressive start with a two-game series against Colgate this weekend. Cornell freshman Anthony Angello is the Big Red’s first rookie to have points in his first four collegiate games since Ryan Moynihan in 1996, while leading the country in points per game by a freshman. Colgate snapped a three-game losing streak against Princeton last weekend, facing tough opponents Quinnipiac and Providence. Against the teams they’re supposed to beat, the Raiders have done well.
Prediction: Cornell 4, Colgate 2

No. 7 Harvard at No. 4 Quinnipiac
Game of the week in ECAC play. Quinnipiac’s offense has been almost impossible to stop, putting up 35 goals in the Bobcats’ first eight games. Quinnipiac is undefeated at 8-0 so far and leads the nation in power-play goals (12) and power-play goals per game (1.50). Harvard, however, has the ultimate X-factor in Jimmy Vesey and the Crimson’s offense is seemingly just as powerful. This is going to be a high-scoring shootout from start to finish.
Prediction: Quinnipiac 7, Harvard 6

No. 19 Clarkson at No. 15 St. Lawrence
The Golden Knights have unceremoniously maintained their present course through their first eight games, posting a 5-2-1 record. With a 4-1 loss to reeling Union last Saturday following a 2-2 tie to RPI, however, Clarkson will look to get back on track against St. Lawrence. Saints defensemen Gavin Bayreuther and Eric Sweetman have combined for 17 goals so far this season, and their penalty kill is one of the best in the nation. Look for a low-scoring, defensive game here.
Prediction: St. Lawrence 2, Clarkson 1

Dartmouth at Princeton
The Big Green didn’t exactly have it easy to start the season: two big losses to Harvard and a 4-2 loss to Yale last weekend. Dartmouth’s one win came 7-3 against Brown. For a team that has seen both sides of the spectrum, low-ranked Princeton should look mighty appetizing for a team trying to figure itself out.
Prediction: Dartmouth 4, Princeton 2

Saturday, Nov. 14

Yale at Union
If the Dutchmen can find a way around Brown on Friday, then at least they’ll have some confidence coming into Saturday’s tough matchup against the Bulldogs. Yale is firing on all cylinders and Union just isn’t. Not yet, anyway. Bad timing to come up against a team like that for the Dutchmen.
Prediction: Yale 5, Union 1

Brown at Rensselaer
Rensselaer’s fast start this season should be no match for Brown. Despite the Bears’ scoring depth, Saturday’s matchup should be a good test for a team looking to find its place.
Prediction: RPI 4, Brown 2

Harvard at Princeton
Vesey and the Crimson should find a much easier time running away with Saturday’s matchup against Princeton. After what should be a fireworks display against the Bobcats on Friday, this game almost feels like a gimme.
Prediction: Harvard 3, Princeton 0

Dartmouth at Quinnipiac
If Dartmouth’s big losses to Yale and Harvard were any indication, the Big Green’s game against Quinnipiac should be just as lopsided. Chalk this up for a huge win for the Bobcats, as they roll to yet another undefeated weekend.
Prediction: Quinnipiac 6, Dartmouth 0

Harvard, Yale show how even they are

Harvard, Yale bring fireworks

It was fitting that No. 7 Harvard and No. 12 Yale skated to a 2-2 tie Friday night at Bright-Landry Hockey Center. With the goalie pulled in the final minute, Yale’s Joe Snively scored his second goal of the game to force overtime. As if we needed another reason to see just how even these two teams really are. It was fun, exciting and hard-fought. This is going to be the matchup to watch down the stretch. Harvard (3-0-1) will have another test this weekend against Quinnipiac, while Yale (3-0-1) will play Rensselaer and Union.

Cornell making impressive strides

Before the season started, Big Red coach Mike Schafer talked about re-establishing a culture at Cornell. Whether or not that culture has been fully established is probably a little premature to indicate, but Cornell is certainly making its case for biggest turnaround. The Big Red was 11-14-6 last season, but through their first four games they are 3-1 and on the right track, the one loss coming against 5-4 in overtime against Quinnipiac on Saturday after the offensively powerful Bobcats overcame two, three-goal deficits. Cornell will take on Colgate in a two-game set this weekend.

Union rights the ship, for now

If there was ever a team that needed a win this weekend, it was Union. It’s been difficult to put a finger on the Dutchmen this season, but Saturday’s 4-1 win over Clarkson certainly pointed them in the right direction. The win snapped a four-game losing streak, and brings Union to 3-4-3 so far. The Dutchmen will have a tough matchup this weekend as they take on Brown and No. 12 Yale.

ECAC Hockey picks: Nov. 6-7

Last time: 7-4-1

Overall:  7-4-1

It’s the first full weekend of conference play for the ECAC this season. Here’s a look at the games on the schedule. All are set to begin at 7 p.m.

Friday, Nov. 6

Rensselaer at Clarkson

The Engineers are coming off an impressive sweep of Union last weekend. Despite that, it’s hard to go against the Golden Knights, who are off to their best start in 24 years. Clarkson wins

Quinnipiac at Colgate   

At 6-0, Quinnipiac is one of hottest teams in the country. Colgate has altered between good and bad weekends, and last weekend was bad, as the Raiders gave up 11 goals in a sweep by defending national champions Providence.  Colgate should straighten itself out later in the season, but the Bobcats simply look too dangerous in the early going. Quinnipiac wins

Princeton at Cornell

Cornell showed some signs of offense last weekend against Niagara, scoring seven goals in a sweep of the Purple Eagles. Princeton should be improved from last year, but I’m not sure the Tigers will be able to string together enough goals to beat the Big Red. Cornell wins

Yale at Harvard

This is without a doubt the matchup of the weekend, as these long-time rivals should be near the top of the ECAC standings this year.  Both are 2-0, although I think Harvard’s lineup is a little deeper, and that should give the Crimson a slight edge. This game will be televised on NESNPLUS in New England. Harvard wins

Brown at Dartmouth

Neither team was great the last time out, as the Bears lost 7-5 to Holy Cross, while Dartmouth was swept by Harvard in a home-and-home series. Goaltending might still be a question mark for Brown, but I think the Bears have enough offense to get the win. Brown wins

Union at St. Lawrence

Coming off a disastrous weekend against RPI, it doesn’t get any easier for the Dutchmen against St. Lawrence. The Saints are off to a 5-2-1 start, and look every bit as strong as last season. St. Lawrence wins

Saturday, Nov. 7

Union at Clarkson

I have a hard time picking Union to get swept in back-to-back weekends, but the Golden Knights are playing incredibly well. Clarkson wins

Princeton at Colgate

For the most part, offense hasn’t been a problem for Colgate so far. The Raiders are allowing just over four goals per game, but I’m not sure the Tigers have the firepower to get into a shootout with Colgate. Don’t discount Colton Phinney and the Princeton defense stealing a win, but the Raiders should be able to string together enough goals to handle the Tigers. Colgate wins

Quinnipiac at Cornell

As noted earlier, the Big Red showed some offensive ability last weekend, but will it be enough to keep up with the Bobcats? Quinnipiac possesses the puck and limits opponent’s chances, so Cornell will need to make the most of its chances. Quinnipiac wins

Brown at Harvard

There could be some goals scored in this game, but I think Harvard has a much deeper lineup and better goaltending. Harvard wins

Rensselaer at St. Lawrence

The Engineers typically play tough against good skating teams like St. Lawrence, although the Saints did take three of four meetings last year. I don’t like using the term “upset” in the regular season, but I think RPI might surprise and head home with a win in Canton. Rensselaer wins

Yale at Dartmouth

Dartmouth looked totally overmatched by Harvard last weekend, and it doesn’t get much easier against the Bulldogs. Yale appears to be ready to complement a stingy defense with an improved offense, and I don’t see Dartmouth able to match the Bulldogs in either of those facets. Yale wins

Sweeps galore for ECAC teams

It was a busy weekend in the ECAC, as the six Ivy teams began their respective seasons, while the first league games of the year took place as well.

Four teams – Yale, Cornell, Harvard, and Rensselaer – won both of their games. On the other hand, Union, Dartmouth, and Colgate were each swept over the weekend.

Engineers take it to the Dutchmen

For the second year in a row, RPI opened conference play with a sweep of Union. The Engineers thumped the Dutchmen 5-1 on Friday, a loss that coach Rick Bennett said was the worst during his eleven years with the program.  Saturday’s game was closer, but the result was the same, with RPI holding on for a 3-2 win.

The sweep came on the heels of a frustrating stretch for the Engineers, who had lost three in a row since beating then-No. 1 Boston College on Oct. 11.

While the two wins were a nice way to start off conference play, it still doesn’t change the fact that the Engineers face an uphill battle in a competitive ECAC. Same for the Dutchmen, who have shown some potential in the early going, while also mixing in some of last year’s inconsistencies as well.

Crimson Open with a Bang

The expectation entering the season was that Harvard would have little trouble scoring goals, and that held true during the Crimson’s home-and-home sweep of Dartmouth.

Harvard scored twelve goals against the Big Green, including seven in Saturday’s season opener. Senior forward Jimmy Vesey, a likely Hobey Baker candidate this season, had two goals and three assists in the series, while linemates Kyle Criscuolo and Alexander Kerfoot combined for seven points on the weekend. That trio should be one of the best in the conference, if not the country.

Harvard’s power play was five-for-nine in the series against Dartmouth, while junior Sean Malone (five assists) had a solid weekend as well. But how far the Crimson go this season may hinge on sophomore goalie Merrick Madsen. The Philadelphia draft pick made 25 saves for his first collegiate shutout on Saturday night, and followed that up by stopping 18-of-20 shots Sunday.

Cornell, Yale start out perfect

Like Harvard, Cornell and Yale started each of their respective seasons with a pair of wins. Cornell swept Niagara, while the Bulldogs beat Princeton and Massachusetts to win the Capital City in Trenton, New Jersey.

It was a nice weekend on both ends of the ice for Yale, as Alex Lyon stopped 53-of-55 shots, and six different players recorded a goal.

The Big Red came back twice against the Purple Eagles on Friday, and then won it in on Christian Hilbrich’s overtime goal. The big forward led Cornell with 10 goals last season, and should be an important part of the offense again this year.

It was a little easier in Saturday’s home opener, as the Big Red scored twice in each of the first two periods and won 4-0. Cornell players wore special jerseys to honor players throughout the program’s history.

Big Red junior Jeff Kubiak matched his career total with two goals in the game, while Cornell hit the four goal mark in its second game of the season after only doing so four times last year.

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