ECAC East/NESCAC Game Picks – December 3, 2010

Week three in New England and we are back to league play for the weekend and some interesting games between travel partners during the upcoming week as schools are moving toward finals and the semester break.

Nobody wants to head into the holiday break on a downer so several teams need to start some positive momentum in the last games where important conference points are up for grabs.

Last week went a little better for picking winners but still hanging below the .500 mark for the early season match-ups. Hopefully this week turns the tide!

Last week: 10-7-4

Season Record: 18-19-4

Winners in bold.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Bowdoin@ Skidmore – Bowdoin is off to a fast start and Skidmore rallied to take the consolation game in their tournament. Big sheet creates lots of offensive opportunities with coaches who play similar styles – Bowdoin 5, Skidmore 3.

Colby @ Castleton– Both teams won their respective tournaments last week and in impressive fashion. Stuart Stefan is on fire for the Spartans while sophomore Michael Smigelski is off to a strong start offensively for Colby. Castleton has never gone 5-0 to start the season but will this year – Castleton 3, Colby 2.

Middlebury@ Southern Maine – The 1-3 Panthers come off a close win against St. John’s against a USM team that was shutout in the final of the Skidmore Tournament. The real battle is behind the bench between the Beaney brothers but the focus is on starting to play consistent hockey. The Huskies have had the better of the match-up in the past three seasons but not this time – Middlebury 4, USM 2.

Williams@ UNE – The Ephs are on a roll and play a Nor’easter squad that broke out for four goals against SNHU last week. UNE can not match Williams’ speed or game – Williams 6, UNE 1.

Norwich@ Amherst – After starting out 2-0, the Lord Jeffs came down to earth last weekend with two non-league game losses. Norwich looks to regain its winning ways after dropping the Primelink final to host Plattsburgh. Shouldn’t take much for either team to get up for this game – Norwich 2, Amherst 1.

St. Michael’s @ Hamilton– The surprise team early in the ECAC East heads out to a tough place to play. Hamilton has evolved into a solid competitor under Coach Norm Bazin and shows the Purple Knights just how tough playing on the road can be – Hamilton 5, St. Michael’s 2.

Trinity @ UMass-Boston– The Bantams finally broke through for their first win against Stonehill while UMB rolled in the PAL Cup with everyone getting in on the point scoring action. Trinity still sorting things out and the Beacons play to keep them that way – UMB 3, Trinity 1.

Wesleyan @ Babson– It must be nice to have so many home games to start the season but it really is nice when you win them. Babson looks to rebound off a tough weekend against the Cardinals – Babson 6, Wesleyan 3.

St. Anselm @ Conn College – One team over achieving so far and one team under achieving early on. The home team is the over achieving squad that would like to keep the positive momentum going and keep pace in points in the NESCAC conference. Conn College 5, St. Anselm 4.

NEC@ Tufts – The Jumbos led by Tom DeRosa have shown they can play pretty solid hockey and they will need to do so against a very talented NEC team. Small rink in Medford is just like Henniker – NEC 4, Tufts 3.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Norwich @ Hamilton – The Cadets would like to sweep the road trip and Hamilton would like to put a big feather in their cap about how far the team has progressed in their ability to compete with one of the nation’s best teams.  The Cadets have too much firepower – Norwich 6, Hamilton 3.

St. Michael’s @ Amherst – After fast starts for both teams one team is getting a dose of reality and the other is getting a wake-up call at home.  Amherst won’t drop four in a row with this line-up – Amherst 4, St. Michael’s 1.

St. Anselm@ Tufts – Coleman Noonan, last year’s ECAC East Player of the Year will get himself and the team going and this weekend it is at the expense of the Jumbos – St. Anselm 3, Tufts 2.

NEC@ Conn College – Then Pilgrims may be the D-III version of the Swedish Elite League but they have talent and depth and a lot of experience that will trump Conn’s home-ice advantage – NEC 5, Conn College 3.

Trinity@ Babson – Neither team has been able to put it together for both ends of the weekend and this is no exception with Trinity rebounding and Babson failing to sweep at home – Trinity 3, Babson 1.

Wesleyan @ UMB – The Beacons want to stay hot especially with the travel partner game following on Wednesday this week.  The Cardinals are still working on the moving pieces and where everything will come together, unfortunately not at the Clark Center – UMB 6, Wesleyan 2.

Bowdoin@ Castleton – A battle of undefeateds early in the season will be a game of contrasting styles and will likely come down to goaltending – Seth McNary vs. Richard Nerland.  Like the Polar Bears offense better in this one but it will be close – Bowdoin 4, Castleton 3.

Colby @Skidmore– So far the weekends have clearly shown it is tough to sweep both games against quality opponents and this match-up will showcase the home team taking advantage of a team playing a very tough game the day before – Skidmore 3, Colby 1.

Williams@ Southern Maine – The Ephs have Ryan Purdy playing well in goal and great balance up front while the Huskies are looking for Zach Joy to get on track and see some better consistency in goaltending.  Williams has played the tougher schedule to date with great success and it shows – Williams 5, Southern Maine 3.

Middlebury@ UNE – The Pnathers can get back to .500 with a win and UNE is a sgood a place as any to continue the win streak and positive momentum after a poor 0-3 start – Middlebury 6, UNE 1.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Norwich @ St. Michael’s – During the week it’s about the travel partner match-ups and this in-state Vermont rivalry has always gone the Cadets way.  While this year won’t be different, Norwich better be ready to play the much improved Purple Knights – Norwich 4, St. Michael’s 3.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

UMB @ Babson – The Beavers home stand continues and while the Beacons have been lighting it up early this season, Babson behind the return of Jason Schneider will find a way to get it done – Babson 5, UMB 4.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

St. Anselm @ NEC – This rivalry is always a close game regardless of the home ice.  While the Hawks are looking to get things moving in a positive direction it’s the Pilgrims that have the team focused and performing right now – NEC 4, St. Anselm 3.

After a fast and crazy start we are already heading towards the semester break and a chance for teams to evaluate what has gone right and wrong in the first month of the season.  There is a lot to consider in building for the schedule that will start after the holidays and showing signs now that there is some good hockey in the team on the ice this weekend.  Fans there is no reason to panic if your team isn’t off to a great start and don’t get too overconfident if your team is rolling in November and December.  A lot can happen in the next three months and surely will.

Hey Ref, drop the puck!