ECAC East/NESCAC Game Predictions – 12/29/10 – 1/04/2011

Well, the big guy in the red suit has already come and gone. Now the teams in the ECAC East and NESCAC conferences get to ramp it up for the second half with whatever gifts of good cheer and more consistent hockey that were left in their stockings or under the tree. The first half showed a lot of teams what they needed to do to be much improved on the ice – now we will get to see if the Christmas spirit and gifts have been taken to heart.

Some teams go right into the fray in a big way with some of the holiday tournament match-ups while others face very familiar opponents that may set the tone for games in league play later in the season. Either way the action starts out quickly in the second half. So if you are not otherwise snowed or iced in, make your way to a local college arena where you are sure to see some great hockey!

Last Week – no games played.

Season Record: 34-33-6

Winning teams in bold.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Assumption vs. UMass-Boston– The opening round of the Codfish Bowl finds D-II and NE-10 school Assumption facing the host team. Sporting a .500 record, Assumption is led by junior forwards Taylor Larsen and Pat O’Kane.

UMB went into the break on a high note having defeated Babson and is on a roll at 6-2-0. The Beacons have great depth and fifteen different players have lit the lamp so far this season. This game is going to be about who has the better goaltending against two good offensive teams. UMB has faced the tougher competition and it shows – UMB 5, Assumption 2.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Wentworth vs. UMB– Believe that the Leopards will slip by Fitchburg State to create the championship match-up in the Codfish Bowl. Wentworth has lots of talent including junior Skylur Jameson, who earlier this season surpassed the 100 point plateau. This game shapes up a lot like the opening round, better goalie wins. Like either Speer or Bendel for UMB as the host school who will raise the Bowl – UMB4, WIT 3.

Hamilton vs. Oswego – This first round match-up in the Pathfinder Bank Oswego Tournament should be an interesting contrast in styles. Oswego loves the uptempo game and comes into the second half with only one loss on the season. Hamilton is a gritty, high-intensity squad that would love to keep the Lakers bottled up in their defensive zone. Tough way to open the second half for the Continentals who go into the Lakers den and come up a bit short – Oswego 4, Hamilton 1.

Becker vs. UNE – This first round game of the PSU Invitational finds two teams that definitely need to get off to a good start in the second half.

Both teams will want the offense to get going quickly and its the likely difference in this match-up between ECAC East and ECAC Northeast schools – Becker 4, UNE 3.

Friday, December 31, 2010

Neumann vs. NEC – A New Year’s Eve first round game in the Cardinal Classic in Plattsburgh, NY finds two teams eager to get on a run early in the second half. NEC has had trouble getting scoring from some proven players and now would be a good time to start. Neumann has played very well against strong teams and NEC is no exception – Neumann 4, NEC 2.

Wisconsin – Stevens Point vs. Hamilton– The consolation game of the Pathfinder Bank Oswego Tournament will pit two teams that haven’t played against each other. It won’t take long for them to become very familiar with their opponents and Hamilton gets the edge here based on a flip of the coin. It’s that close before you add on the empty netter – Hamilton 5, WSP 3.

Salve Regina vs. UNE– A consolation match-up in the inaugural PSU Invitational will have two teams playing with desperation for a win to close out 2010 and lead into 2011. Both teams are offensively challenged but look for the Nor’easters to break out of their scoring doldrums – UNE 6, Salve Regina 2.

Babson vs. Salem State – These long-time ECAC East rivals continue to play each other even after the Vikings have moved over to the MASCAC conference. The change in league alignment hasn’t changed the rivalry and this game will be close as always – Babson 4, Salem State 3.

Nichols vs. Norwich– The opening round game of the Northfield Bank Tournament finds the hosts playing a very offensive Nichols squad while Adrian faces Manhattanville in the other first round game. Norwich has been stewing on an OT loss to Castleton for a couple of weeks now so Nichols best be ready for a hungry and motivated group of Cadets who take pride in winning their own tournament against a quality field – Norwich 6, Nichols 1.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year!

USA Under-18 vs. Southern Maine – Although it is only an exhibition game, match-ups with the USA team always gives teams a chance to take the ice against a talented and deep team that has many college hockey players in the making. USM would like to see Zach Joy get back to his prolific scoring and begin the Huskies’ second half run. Not tonight but a good tune-up – USA Under-18 5, USM 2.

Johnson & Wales vs. St. Michael’s– The hosts of the St. Michael’s tournament face a challenge in a J&W team that scores goals in bunches. Led by junior Jeremiah Ketts, the Wildcats average four goals per game and have a terrific powerplay. The Purple Knights have home ice and a desire to build on their winning record – St. Michael’s 5, J&W 4.

Manhattanville vs. Norwich– Believe the Valiants will sneak by a very determined Adrian squad looking to build their reputation against some high caliber teams from the East and play the hosts in the Northfield Bank final. Manhattanville has played a quality schedule against some pretty strong teams early on and fared well but not tonight in Northfield – Norwich 3, Manhattanville 2.

Curry vs. NEC – In the consolation game of the Cardinal Classic, two teams that played annually match-up on neutral ice. Curry has been inconsistent in goal and NEC has been lacking up front. Like the Pilgrims to jump start the offense in this one – NEC 4, Curry 3.

Morrisville vs. Castleton– The other pairing from the St. Michael’s Tournament finds the Spartans looking to build on a great 6-2-0 start to the season. Morrisville is a game opponent but Castleton has too much – Castleton 5, Morrisville 2.

Skidmore vs. Middlebury– A student vs. teacher match-up perhaps? Long-time Midd assistant and interim head coach Neil Sinclair brings his Thoroughbreds into Vermont to play a Panther team in need of some offense. The big sheet favors neither team as both play on the larger ice surface in their respective home rinks. The Panthers need this win more and do not want to fall to 0-3 at home – Middlebury 4, Skidmore 2.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Johnson & Wales vs. Castleton– The Spartans look to be the only team in the tournament at 2-0 and will take it to the Wildcats in all three zones of the ice. Nice way to start the New Year before getting back to league play next week – Castleton 6, J&W 1.

Trinity vs. Conn College – An opening round game of the McCabe tournament hosted by Amherst finds two state neighbors and NESCAC rivals pairing off. Trinity has had a rough start and will look to right the ship in 2011 – Trinity 3, Conn College 1.

Wesleyan vs. Amherst– The other pairing in the McCabe Tournament features two teams that would like to see their offenses start clicking. Amherst features the better special teams and goaltending, not to mention home-ice – Amherst 4, Wesleyan 1.

Morrisville vs. St. Michael’s – An interesting match-up between these schools that will find the guys between the pipes being key ingredients to the outcome. Morrisville has been more consistent in the crease – Morrisville 4, St. Michael’s 3.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Wesleyan vs. Conn College – The consolation game is sure to have coaches tinkering with combinations and trying to find the right lines and match-up so to build on with league play upcoming in a week. Conn College is better right now but not by much – Conn College 3, Wesleyan 2.

Trinity vs. Amherst – It would be easy to go with the home team in this one but there is something about the Cole Anderson/Wes Vesprini goaltending match-up that throws all the stats out the window. The goalie can’t win it but he can steal it for his team – Amherst 2, Trinity 1.

Salem State vs. Colby– Like Middlebury, Colby is a team that is desperate for a win on their home ice at Alfond Rink. Salem State is a very difficult opponent that makes the first victory in 2011 even sweeter – Colby 4, Salem State 2.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Franklin Pierce vs. St. Anselm– An NE-10 match-up that showcases two of the conferences top forwards in Coleman Noonan of the Hawks and Anthony Chighisola of the Ravens. The rest of the supporting cast is better for the home team – St. Anselm 5, Franklin Pierce 2.

Norwich vs. Plattsburgh – Lots of drama in this one with both teams coming off tournament wins and this a re-match of the Primelink Tournament final won by Plattsburgh at home. The host will be up for this one but so too will the Cadets in a mirror image game of the first encounter – Norwich 3, Plattsburgh 2.

Skidmore vs. Oswego– This game features two teams that love to skate and move the puck in transition. The only problem for Skidmore is that Oswego has more weapons – Oswego 6, Skidmore 2.

Southern Maine vs. Middlebury – Beaney Brothers, Part II. The league game went Jeff’s way but the chance to reach .500 and move on from there is too enticing for brother Bill’s Panthers – Middlebury 5, USM 4.

Wentworth vs. Bowdoin– The final non-conference match-up before league play finds the Polar Bears hosting Wentworth in what should be a track meet type hockey game. Both teams will score goals to be sure, the question is will someone step up and make the big saves when needed. Bowdoin needs to prove they do – Bowdoin 5, WIT 3.

Well. that’s a total of 27 games in the next week, so a lot of hockey to be played, watched and enjoyed. Hope everyone out there has a happy and healthy new year – see you at the rink.

It’s 2011, Drop the Puck!