ECAC East/NESCAC Game Predictions – 1/28 – 2/1/2011

Only four weekends remain in the regular season. Eight or nine games, and the corresponding points, are up for grabs for the teams trying to improve their lots in the conference standings. Now is not the time to go into a slump or tailspin. If you are going to play your best hockey of the season, the time is now, heading into the homestretch and the last weekend in January.
Groundhog Day is right around the corner, and every team would like to see their own shadow and extend the season another few weeks. The games mean more with each and every passing weekend, and the predictions are getting more difficult as well. I have been slightly better the last few weeks, so maybe this correspondent is picking up his game too.
Last Week: 12-9-1
Overall Record: 81-72-15 (.515)
Winners in bold.
Friday, January 28, 2011
Amherst @ UNE – The Nor’easters are playing pretty well, but still don’t have a lot to show for it and any game they play right now is a trap game for the opponent who is expected to win.  Amherst, despite injuries, doesn’t fall into this trap in Maine. Amherst 5, UNE 2
Hamilton @ USM – The Huskies are really struggling at 0-6-2 in their last eight games.  Hamilton also had a tough weekend last week, so look for one team to rebound well. Hamilton 4, Southern Maine 1
Babson @ St. Michael’s – For both of these teams. it’s a flip of the coin pick since inconsistency has plagued them. It looked like Babson was righting the ship after a three-point weekend, but a 5-1 pasting by Curry this week derailed that momentum.  Nothing like a fresh start. Babson 5, St. Michael’s 4
Massachusetts-Boston @ Norwich – This one should be a lot of fun, as UMB has proved so far to be a contender in the league and Norwich likes wearing the crown.  Many may think offense, but for some reason these two teams play it close. Norwich 3, UMB 2
Connecticut College @ Skidmore – I know, I was on the Thoroughbreds bandwagon this week and they are playing at home, so too bad for the Camels, right? The win over Bowdoin last week was a HUGE momentum builder. Conn.  College 4, Skidmore 3
Tufts @ Castleton – I’m sure that coach Todd does not want his Spartans reading their press clippings nor noticing the upward climb in the national rankings.  Stay the course and keep your eye on the prize boys. Castleton 5, Tufts 2
Trinity@ St. Anselm –  Let’s see who is the more desperate team?  Hmmmm, can use say the Bantams.  Can you say they really need the points? I think you ca. Trinity 3, St. A’s 1
Wesleyan @ NEC – Coach Potter is probably not liking the spotlight on his team this week, but that’s what happens when you win the ones you’re not expected to.  Expect more on the road this week. Wesleyan 3, NEC 2
Middlebury @ Colby – Both teams are trying to move up and contend for a home ice spot.  Not really sure that Colby would want it at 2-4-0 on home ice.  Panthers like the matchup and the two points. Middlebury 4, Colby 1
Williams @ Bowdoin – This is the game on Friday night, and it should be a great take with two teams fighting it out for the top spot in the conference.  It’s playoff hockey in January. Bowdoin 4, Williams 3
Saturday, January 29, 2011
Amherst @ USM – Amherst is used to battling it out for top seed in the final weeks of the regular season and want to build the momentum into next week’s big matchup with Bowdoin. Amherst 3, USM 1
Hamilton @ UNE – The Continentals have doggedly pursued a top four position in the standings and aren’t taking a break with a lot of good teams in the rear view mirror; remember, objects behind you may be closer than they appear. Hamilton 6, UNE 3
UMB @ St. Michael’s  – A tough loss in Northfield won’t get the Beacons down.  This game shows where they need to be if they want a shot at the league title. UMB 5, St. Mike’s 3
Babson @ Norwich – These two have played some really close games over the past few seasons, either in the regular season or playoffs.  Babson has only strung together back-to-back wins in league play once this season.  It doesn’t get repeated this week. Norwich 5, Babson 3
Tufts @ Skidmore – After Friday, a nine game losing streak is something the Jumbos would like to get out from under.  Unfortunately, they just don’t have the horses outside of Derosa and Gallegos who keep it close. Skidmore 4, Tufts 3
Conn College @ Castleton – Every week, you kind of need to go out on a limb and look for that upset special.  The Camels are special upfront and they have done it very quietly.  Maybe the Spartans didn’t notice. Conn College 3, Castleton 2
Trinity @ NEC – Mirror image of the Friday night game in terms of desperation.  Both teams need the points badly, but I like the home team in this one. NEC 3, Trinity 2
Wesleyan @ St Anselm – What, the winning streak ends at four games?  Yes, all good things must come to an end, but not without a lot of excitement and maybe OT in this one. St A’s 4, Wesleyan 3
Middlebury @ Bowdoin – The last time these two faced off at “The Sid,” the Panthers skated off with the NESCAC title.  Jeff Fanning and his teammates haven’t forgotten that a year later. Bowdoin 5, Middlebury 4
Williams @ Colby – If the track meet on Friday didn’t take too much out of the Ephs, this game will be close.  Hope Williams has a reserve tank.  They will need it. Williams 4, Colby 2
Tuesday, February 1, 2011
Middlebury @ Plattsburgh – A rivalry that goes back for a long time and spans the Primelink as well as NCAA tournament action.  Both teams started slow and have got it going in the second half.  These two bring out the best in each other’s game, so it should be a classic.  Plattsburgh 3, Middlebury 2
SNHU @ St. Michael’s – It’s a NE-10 game, but the Purple Knights need this one after a tough weekend at home.  The Penmen are just what the doctor ordered.  St. Mike’s 6, SNHU 2
Franklin Pierce @ UNE – Yes it’s a nonleague game, but Brad Holt’s team is needing a win to validate all of the effort on the ice.  The Ravens aren’t a gimme, especially after a weekend with Amherst and Hamilton. UNE 4, Franklin Pierce 3
Just one month remains in the regular season; it’s go time – drop the puck!