ECAC Northeast and MASCAC Weekend Preview: Dec. 10

The final weekend of 2010 is here, at least in terms of Division III hockey.  (OK, so Johnson and Wales plays Thursday, but for all intents and purposes, the next few days will put the lid on the calender year in terms of hockey.)

There’s some potential for change in the MASCAC entering the New Year, as a smattering of conference games are up this weekend. Meanwhile, the ECAC Northeast features only nonconference matchups from here out, assuring the conference standings will remain intact entering 2011.

Here’s a look at what’s on the schedule for the weekend.

Friday, Dec. 10

Fredonia at Johnson and Wales
Fredonia is off to a rocky 3-8 start, but has typically been a player in the competitive SUNYAC.  Johnson and Wales has been playing well of late, and it’s the Wildcats’ ice, so the edge tilts to them  Johnson and Wales 4, Fredonia 3

Hamilton at Western New England
WNEC has hit a bid of skid since a hot start, but boasts several of the nation’s top scorers in Kory Grahl and freshman Chris Connors.  Hamilton has played at a .500 clip thus far (3-3) and they’ll edge out the Golden Bears to push their record on the plus side of .500 Hamilton 5, Western New England 3

Saturday, Dec. 11

Salve Regina at Amherst
The Seahawks broke a 30-game winless drought last week against Western New England. Salve Regina can score (17th in the nation in goals) while Amherst doesn’t give ’em up (eighth in team defense). Look for Amherst’s defense to contain the Seahawks’ offense. Amherst 5, Salve Regina 2

Fredonia at Johnson and Wales
Weekend sweeps are tough, so here’s looking at Fredonia to break even on the weekend.Fredonia 4, Johnson and Wales 3.

Becker at Framingham State
Some mingling between the ECAC Northeast and MASCAC here. Give Becker the edge. Becker 5, Framingham State 1

Westfield State at Plymouth State
If anyone could use a pick-me-up to close the first semester, its the Owls.  Westfield is 2-7 overall and 1-4 in conference. Meanwhile, the Panthers will look to continue a hot start. Plymouth State 4, Westfield State 3

Salem State at Worcester State
With a 3-1-1 conference mark, Worcester State has been the surprise of the MASCAC thus far. They played first place Massachusetts-Dartmouth tough last week.  Salem State will be a good test, but I see the Vikings emerging with the win.   Salem State 5, Worcester 4

Sunday, Dec. 12

Mass.-Darmouth at Fitchburg State
Defending regular season champions Fitchburg State is just 2-3 thus far in conference play. UMD is allowing just 1.67 goals per game, which is among the national leaders.  I’m tempted to call an “upset” but the Corsairs should get the win in a scrappy affair. Mass.-Dartmouth 3, Fitchburg State 1

Nichols at Williams
Another nonconference matchup. Williams is a top NESCAC team and ranked sixth in the latest poll. Nichols boasts a strong offense and power play, but will it be enough to deal Williams their first loss of the year? Williams 5, Nichols 3

Southern New Hampshire at Salve Regina
Both teams can give ’em up and score ’em. Should be a shootout, with the Seahawks coming out on top. Salve Regina 7, Southern New Hampshire 6

Midweek Results

Wednesday, Dec. 8

Nichols 7, Franklin Pierce 2

Thursday, Dec. 9

Plymouth State 1, Fitchburg State 0

Southern Maine 5, Salem State 4 (OT)

UMass Dartmouth 7, Framingham State 2

Wentworth 4, Stonehill 1

Midweek record: 3-2

Overall record: 40-24

Enjoy the weekend, and check back Monday for the roundup of the last action of 2010.