(Generally) gentle readers, please welcome aboard guest-guessers Mike Shavlik and Matthew Desmarais. I’ve been doing pretty well so far this year; let’s see if either of them can unseat me.*
Before we get to the picks, here are a few of the reasons they submitted for why they should be selected:
“1). First of all, USCHO.com needs to get off their knees because they are blowing some good calls. This year they seem to think that WCHA is the best thing since George Bush falling off a Segway. I’m from the east, for the east.
7). I can do differential equations. I’m not sure if it will ever help me in my life, but if I am ever have to choose between two teams, it is always a good thing to know. Can you solve a second order linear differential equation for the homogeneous solution?
8). I like your blog. Maybe not as much as you like Joe Marsh but close. Generally I think your blog is a great place to look up hockey stats and updates. Though I have been making small jabs at you in a private letter, I like knowing that there are others out their as fanatical about hockey as I am.”
“1. I should be chosen because I am from Minnesota and everyone knows Minnesota is the world’s Mecca for hockey.
3. The state of MN has no connection to the ECAC other than a few players who put education ahead of hockey.
5. ECAC needs an analysis from the west side to cover those difficult
questions…(like what is icing).
8. I am willing to retire from sports illustrated if I get this gig.
9. I will bring my date… Jennifer Aniston when I visit.”
Well alright then. Let’s get down to it.
*Opinions expressed by the guests are not necessarily those of USCHO or this correspondent.
All times Eastern
Friday, October 29
Dartmouth vs. Princeton – 4 p.m. (Ivy Shootout; New Haven, Conn.)
First game for each team, so this is kind of a crap-shoot. What I have been able to infer is that Princeton coach Guy Gadowsky is dealing with more preseason injury issues this year, so that’s never a good way to get going… beyond that, I may as well stand by my preseason predictions since I have little else to work with: Dartmouth, 5-2.
MD: Dumb jokes and puns aside, this is a tough one to call. Dartmouth allowed not one, not two, but three unassisted goals from Trois Rivieres. However, they did manage seven goals of their own to come out with the win. Princeton looks competitive, but not real strong. Any school that starts the year by facing a weak D-III team is like someone who starts the day by spiking their cup of coffee. (Which is probably also common at Princeton.) Even Tony the Tiger (Princeton’s mascot) would hesitate to say his catchphrase about their men’s team. 4-3 Big Green blobs.
MS: Princeton in a minor upset. The young guns get ‘er done. Princeton.
New Hampshire at Cornell – 7 p.m.
UNH’s record (1-1-2) isn’t terribly impressive, but its schedule has been: two at Miami, a game against Michigan and one more at one of the most intimidating venues in the game, Northeastern’s Matthews Arena. The Wildcats have scored 3.5 goals a game against these teams, none of which has a goals-against average above 2.5 at the moment, so that might spell trouble for the equally defensive-minded Big Red. But factor in the fact that it’s Cornell’s home opener, and the tables may turn a bit. It’s a real tough call, but I’ll stick with my league and take the Red in a veritable shootout, 4-3.
MD: Cornell may be an Ivy League school, but Ithaca is fonder of a different stringy fast growing weed. As long as UNH doesn’t make a pit stop downtown for some brownies (filled with a heavy dose of encouragement as well has other things), it should be a good game. New Hampshire bested Miami and tied Michigan, which makes me think that Cornell is a game of Jenga in front of a small child to them. However, they are inconsistent, arguably more so than Clarkson. As much as I hate to say it, I’m giving Cornell the win. 3-2 Cornell.
MS: New Hampshire has a win and loss against Miami (9 goals for, 9 goals against), and have tied two other teams. New Hampshire can fly and will put up a big number of shots, but the Big Red knows how to shut down offenses. I see a tie here. (Editor’s note: wimp!)
Brown at Yale – 7 p.m. (Ivy Shootout)
There’s not much to be said about this prediction: Yale will win. Don’t like it, Brown? Prove me wrong. 6-3 Bulldogs.
MD: It’s tough to call how far a team can go without seeing them play a game. Irrelevantly, we get a preview of how far Yale can go forward and how far Brown can go backwards. 4-2 Yale.
MS: Our first indication that Yale will be a force in the NCAA. Yale.
Quinnipiac at St. Cloud State – 8 p.m.
SCSU’s biggest boasts so far are a split at Minnesota and a 1-1 draw at home against Miami. At 2-3-1, the Huskies are counting on a six-game homestand to boost them back into the black. QU split a pair in Hamden with Ohio State to open the year, then edged little-sisters Bentley and Holy Cross to advance to 3-1-0. St. Cloud is a whole ‘nother animal for these greenhorn Bobcats, and I’m not sure they’re ready for this kind of challenge yet. 4-3 Huskies in Game 1…
MD: Considering Quinnipiac against St. Cloud is like comparing a Mac against a PC. A Mac is good at everything, great at nothing, where a PC has moments of greatness and followed by a lot of blue screens and tears. But worth reiterating, the Bobcats lose to the cumbersome Huskies in what should be the least cared about match until… well, tomorrow. 3-1 St. Cloud.
MS: St. Cloud lost an uninspired game to the Gophers last Sunday and are out to prove they are a top ten team in the opener. St. Cloud.
Saturday, October 30
Rensselaer vs. Union – 4 p.m. (1980 Olympic Arena; Lake Placid, N.Y.)
Now this is a doozy: even if we ignore the league and local rivalry angles, this is still a Top-20 showdown on neutral and hallowed ice. I could analyze this matchup until my monitor burned out, but instead I’ll make it simple: I’m riding the hot-handed Dutchmen tonight, 6-4 in a wild one.
MD: Arguably the best game of the weekend. In my mind Union is the stronger team, but RPI doesn’t want to get beat by their cross-town rival. This will be one for the books. 3-2 Union.
MS: Before the week started, both teams were undefeated at home. No reason why the home team doesn’t stay perfect here. Rensselaer (the Minnesota connection).
Princeton vs. Brown – 4 p.m. (Ivy Shootout; New Haven, Conn.)
This might actually prove to be an early gut-check game for each of these clubs. Neither has been predicted to make much of a commotion this year, but neither would be happy to accept that fate. Strictly on a personnel angle, I’ll take Brown: if the Tigers are struggling to field a complete team, that might be the small edge the Bears need to eke out a W. 3-2 Bruno.
MD: Really tough call. Could go either way. My shot in the dark: 2-1 Princeton.
or Brown vs. Dartmouth – 4 p.m. (Ivy Shootout; New Haven, Conn.)
MS: Dartmouth not happy losing to Princeton one day earlier and makes Brown pay. Dartmouth.
Sacred Heart at Colgate – 4 p.m.
Union already had its way with the Pioneers; Colgate had better follow suit, or the Raiders will be pondering a miserable start to the season with the North Country trip coming up. 4-1 Colgate.
MD: A reporter asks Sacred Heart’s coach after the game, “How do you feel about the execution of your offense tonight?” The coach responds, “I won’t miss ‘em.” 3-0 Raiders.
MS: Sacred Heart is struggling and Colgate is at home. Colgate.
Rochester Inst. of Technology at Cornell – 7 p.m.
Cornell will romp, no two ways about it. Lynah is not the kind of place where drowning teams happen upon a life-jacket. 6-2 Red.
MD: Believe me, I HATE calling for Cornell to win. However, this one is a given. RIT hasn’t played well. I’ve seen a Subway sub move faster and with more precision than them. 3-1 Cornell.
MS: On paper this should be a tight game, but the Big Red at home make it not so tight. Cornell 4-0.
Dartmouth at Yale – 7 p.m. (Ivy Shootout)
A big opportunity for Dartmouth, this game is nonetheless Yale’s to lose. Let the march toward a third straight regular-season title commence. 4-2 Bulldogs.
MD: Another tough one. Definitely a high scoring game. 6-4 Yale.
MS: Young gunners come up short against a top NCAA team. Yale.
St. Lawrence vs. Clarkson – 7:30 p.m. (1980 Olympic Arena; Lake Placid, N.Y.)
Saying Clarkson is playing better than St. Lawrence is like saying Lady Gaga is more attractive than Cher. A few people might disagree, but the primary response will likely follow something like, “yeah, but… gross.” Clarkson’s power-play has been pronounced medically dead, SLU’s offense is racing the Knights’ PP to the morgue. It’s a rivalry game, it’s a neutral venue with Olympic ice, so who knows what could happen… I can only tell you what I think is likely, and that’s a grinding, slogging 3-2 win for Clarkson.
MD: Finally, the good part. If Clarkson plays their best, SLU will leave with their head spinning. However, they have played lousy on two occasions this year, a repeat of which would make for one of the worst grudge matches since the Muppets challenged Sesame Street to a game of broomball. Still, I’m counting on good ol’ fashioned rivalry to bring the best out of them. 4-1 Clarkson.
MS: Projected basement dwellers. Clarkson has three wins and has been impressive so far. Clarkson.
Quinnipiac at St. Cloud State – 8 p.m.
… and SCSU wrests the sweep in Game 2, 3-1.
MD: No split, 3-2 Saint Cloud takes the weekend.
MS: Just as the weekend before, St. Cloud comes out of the gates missing on all its cylinders and it almost costs them again, but gets a late goal for the homers (I like home teams). St.Cloud.
Monday, November 1
Swedish U-20 Team at Harvard – 7 p.m.
Keep ’em coming…
Anyone else think they can challenge my mighty above-.700 prognostication percentage? Let’s cut it down to five good reasons why you would be a good choice as a Guest Guesser, and the most entertaining responses will share this space with me next week. Go!
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