ECAC Hockey picks: Week 15

Benjamin Davis, former equipment manager at Clarkson (’03) and a really all-around sharp guy (or so says his record), is back for a shot at 3-0 against yours truly. We also welcome a second guest-guesser, in Mr. Peter Jasinski, a Yalie who requested this week as his first shot since the Bulldogs are finally back in action. (Why not last week? Ask him; I have no idea.) Without further ado, a lot of pixels!

Prediction precision

Season record: Me: 82-44-13 (.637) overall.
Guest guessers: 54-40-8 (.569)

Benjamin Davis vs. Brian Sullivan: 2-0

Head to head: Sullivan 5, Guests 4*

This week

All times Eastern

Friday, January 14

Rensselaer at Cornell – 7:00

Last week, Cornell finally swept a weekend, and RPI finally lost at home. A harbinger of things to come? The Engineers have clearly been the better team this season, but I’m wondering if they’ll be the better team at Lynah on Friday… which is really all that matters. I’m going to go with my gut (and historic trends) and guess that the Red will bring their A-game both nights this weekend: 4-2 Cornell.

BD: This is going to be my “upset” of the week. Cornell is having a down year but the Engineers aren’t hot on the road either. Big Red win 3-2.

PJ: The Engineers have been playing well against highly ranked teams, but struggling in league play. That said, Cornell has been struggling all around, especially at home. Engineers 4-2.

Union at Colgate – 7:00

Brown Rule. 5-2 Dutch.

BD: Union is coming off a hot win against Clarkson and after watching Colgate’s loss vs. Princeton I have got to go in favor of the Dutchman. Union wins a close one though 4-3.

PJ: They’re not even the best brand of toothpaste. Union 5-2.

St. Lawrence at Michigan Tech – 7:00

Somehow, MTU’s power play is at nearly 23 percent, yet they’re 3-15-2. The reason why? Awful, awful defense and goaltending. Neither Tech goalie (Kevin Genoe or Josh Robinson) has a save percentage above .895, and each of their goals-against averages are near or beyond 4.0. The Huskies are 1-4-2 on home ice, and this is a big opportunity for SLU to prove to us – and itself – that it can win on the road (3-6-2). 4-3 Saints in Game 1…

BD: St. Lawrence looks to wrap up the non-conference part of their schedule before hitting the home stretch of the ECAC in the Midwest. The Saints should have any easy weekend in Michigan especially if the same team that went to UNH shows up again. St. Lawrence wins the opener 4-2.

PJ: The Huskies have 3 quality wins against Northern Michigan, Lake Superior, and Minnesota State. Unfortunately, those are their only 3 wins. St Lawrence 4-1.

Saturday, January 15

Brown at Yale – 4:00

If a team that can’t seem to find a W gets “The Brown Rule” treatment, should an invincibly hot victory machine earn “The Yale Rule”? Stands to reason, but I’ll have to mull it over… it’s way easier to keep losing than to keep winning. That said, Yale in a rock-em, sock-em throwdown: 5-3.

BD: Does Brown even have a chance at Yale. They can put up a fight but probably not the W. Bulldogs win big 5-1.

PJ: With the backing of a full home crowd for the first time in a month, Yale will handle the Bears. Yale 6-1.

St. Lawrence at Michigan Tech – 5:00

…and, while picking road non-conference sweeps has hurt me before, I’m a glutton for punishment. 4-3 Saints in Game 2.

BD: Saints sweep on the road with a 4-1 win.

PJ: Tech will still only have 3 wins. Saints 4-3.

Harvard at Boston University – 7:00 TV: NESN

Harvard can’t put together a good offensive and defensive night at the same time, while BU is simply having trouble maintaining a roster. Tough one to call. The Terriers are the more talented and proven team, but geez, isn’t Harvard due for a win eventually? Oh wait, no: I almost forgot. I don’t believe in “due for wins”; I think it’s stupid. 4-3 BU.

BD: Harvard hits the “road” for the cross city trip against another team that is having a down year. BU is having a decent year but Harvard is def. struggling. Going to have to take the home team in this one. Terriers 3-1.

PJ: Harvard may beat NU later this week, but there’s no way they’re beating the Terriers. BU 5-1.

Dartmouth vs. New Hampshire – 7:00 Verizon Wireless Arena; Manchester, N.H.

Each of these sides have been putting up solid offensive numbers and tight defensive/goaltending games of late, so there’s no easy pick here. It’s the only game of the weekend for each side as well. The special teams are in more or less a dead heat, as are the average offensive and defensive performances per game. Sheesh. I’d lean toward the Wildcats because the game will be played in a large venue, but then I’d lean back toward the Green because it will be played on NHL- (rather than UNH’s Olympic-) sized ice surface. When in doubt, show a little loyalty: Dartmouth, 4-3.

BD: This would be my game of the week to watch. The 4th-ranked Wildcats were stunned by the last ECAC team they faced (SLU). I think Dartmouth will put up a fight like St. Lawrence but UNH is going to come out with the win. UNH 3-1 (3rd goal on an empty netter).

PJ: In the Battle for New Hampshire, Dartmouth will show the Hockey Least what’s up. Big Green by 13…we just like the rhyme. Dartmouth 3-2.

Rensselaer at Colgate – 7:00

Brown Rule. 3-2 RPI.

BD: Finishing the weekend vs. a couple of nationally ranked teams doesn’t end well for the Raiders. RPI gets a couple of points, 5-2.

PJ: The Raiders are still looking for the Lost Ark. Engineers 6-4.

Union at Cornell – 7:00

Another big one. I’m going to give this one to Union – but only barely – because if Cornell really brings the lumber Friday, it will be a tough act to repeat again on Saturday. 3-2 Dutchmen.

BD: Union moves up in the standings with a weekend sweep of Central New York even when wrapping up the weekend at Lethal Lynah. Union in a close on 2-1.

PJ: While Union may be the logical pick here, Cornell is going to play great one of these days. Cornell 2-1 (probably in OT).

Sunday, January 16

Yale at Brown – 4:00

Same song, second verse: Here come the hits, the penalties, and more likely than not, another Bulldog W. 4-2 Elis.

BD: Yale proves why they are the top ranked team in the nation: 3-1.

PJ: While we’re loving the fact that Brown has become a much more competitive travel partner this year, we still think Yale has the edge. Yale 4-2.

Quinnipiac at Canisius – 4:05

It’s Canisius’ bad (14 percent) power play against QU’s bad (79 percent) penalty kill! But seriously, these are games that good teams have to win… and QU has masqueraded as a pretty good team at times this year, and it’s time for the Bobcats to put up or shut up. 4-2 QU.

BD: Quinnipiac’s only got 3 impressive wins of the year Ohio State and Nebraska Omaha (2). Their other 8 wins were vs teams with sub .500 records. Canisius is no stranger to OT games ( 9 out of 20 games). This is going be a close series but Quinnipiac pulls it out 3-2 in the opener.

PJ: Even though they’re the second best in the New Haven Metro Area, they’ll be the best in Buffalo. Bobcats 3-0. [Editor’s note: Niagara, and some might say RIT, are also D-I’s in the Buffalo area…]

Monday, January 17

Quinnipiac at Canisius – 4:05

Just win, baby. Repeater: 4-2 Bobcats.

BD: Quinnipiac wins the closer 3-2 (in OT).

PJ: Just like the Russian Juniors, the Bobcats will win all their games in Buffalo. However, they’ll make it back to Connecticut without trouble. Bobcats 2-1.

Wednesday, January 19

Harvard at Northeastern – 7:00

Ughhh… I mean,… ack. Really? I have to pick this game? I barely want to recognize its existence. Northeastern is beginning to improve on a “shaky” first half (to put it one way), but they’re still sub-.500 at home, which is surprising. Harvard… well, it’s the Crimson. I’m not Brown Rule-ing them yet, but after this weekend, it just might apply. NU head coach Greg Cronin has thrown verbal jabs at Harvard’s Teddy Donato for not scheduling the Huskies during the regular season, as Harvard has with BU and BC, so Greg, here’s your shot. I don’t know why, but I’m going to give the Crimson one last chance before invoking TBR. 3-2 Crimson.

BD: Do I stick with the ECAC or go with a family college (4 cousins went there and no doubt a set of twins Gavin and Gracie are headed there in 16 more years)? Harvard isn’t too hot on the road (not that far away from home but it’s not the Bright Hockey Center) so I have to go with the Huskies. Huskies win this one 4-2.

PJ: Shall we say an appetizer to the Beanpot entreé coming in February? Harvard will upset the Huskies in a thriller, 1-0.

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