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College Hockey:
ECAC West picks: Nov. 2

Every Friday, I’ll be picking some games for the ECAC West squads, and will track my results over the season. Here are my first week’s selections.

Manhattanville at Hobart
Manhattanville kicks off its 2012-13 campaign at Hobart (2-0-0), which has already posted two wins in its first two games. The visiting Valiants need to find a new starting netminder after losing three-year workhorse Pierre-Olivier Lemieux to graduation, although new head coach and former Manhattanville player/assistant coach Arlen Marshall is no stranger to the league. The Statesmen, picked first in this year’s ECAC West preseason poll, have all but one of their top scorers back from a season ago. Frank Salituro and Mac Olson each have five points through Hobart’s first two games. Hobart 5-3, 4-3.

Neumann at Elmira
Neumann begins its season this weekend, while Elmira (0-1-0) was blanked, 9-0, by Oswego on Oct. 27. The Soaring Eagles are home, but lost their top three scorers from last season. The visiting Knights return 20 players from 2011-12, but no truly experienced goaltenders. This series will likely come down to who gets the better netminding. Neumann 4-2, 3-2.

Nazareth at Utica
Nazareth (2-2-0) has come back to earth a bit after winning its first-ever NCAA game against Geneseo, 3-2, back on Oct. 18. Utica, which has outscored its opposition by a 15-1 margin in its first two games, will look to keep the scoring train going in its first conference game of the new season. Louis Educate and Jon Gaffney each have six points through the Pioneers’ first two outings, while freshman goaltender Ed Zdolshek (2-0-0, 1.94) has both of the Golden Flyers wins this season, and has allowed just four goals on 90 shots. Should he get the start, he’ll have to duplicate that performance to give his team a chance. Utica, 6-3.

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