ECAC East/NESCAC Game Predictions – 2/4 – 2/8/2011

The official countdown has begun with just three weeks remaining in the regular season. While everyone makes the playoffs in the ECAC East the competition on the ice isn’t going to be any less fierce as teams fight for seeding positions and potentially home ice in the opening round. Over on the NESCAC side of things two unfortunate teams are going to have their season end without entry into the conference tournament so we are getting to desperation time.
Not so desperate in the prediction side of things as I have picked up the pace a little bit but this pundit is not going to be resting on any laurels as the season winds down.
Last Week: 12-9-1
Season Record:  93-81-16 (.532)
Winners in bold.
Friday, February 4, 2011
Bowdoin @ Amherst – The Lord Jeffs have been struggling having lost three of their last four games while Bowdoin continues to beat teams up on special teams.  Situational play used to be Amherst’s strong suit but not in this match-up – Bowdoin 4, Amherst 2.
Colby @ Hamilton – While one likely All-conference defenseman is playing against Amherst the other, Joe Houk will be leading his Continentals to keeping their current second place position – Hamilton 5, Colby 3.
Castleton @ Southern Maine – The Spartans could get used to being in the number one spot but know they need to continue their hot play to stay there.  The Huskies continue to struggle despite the efforts of defenseman Paul Conter who leads the team in scoring – Castleton 6, USM 2.
Skidmore @ UNE – The Nor’easters broke into the win column last week with a solid effort against Amherst.  Skidmore still has a shot at a home playoff berth which means a lot – Skidmore 4, UNE 3.
Conn College @ Trinity – These two teams played a 2-2 tie in the McCabe Tournament to start the New Year.  Trinity won the shootout but won’t need any overtime in this one.  It’s still close – Trinity 3, Conn College 2.
Tufts @ Wesleyan – The losing streak is at 10 for the Jumbos who at least mathematically aren’t out of the hunt for the playoffs yet.  Wesleyan needs to bounce back after a tough road weekend.  Home ice suits the Cardinals – Wesleyan 3, Tufts 1.
NEC @ Babson – No matter where the early part of the season has gone for the Beavers, you can count on Jamie Rice’s troops picking up their game when it is getting close to playoff time.  No exception this season – Babson 5, NEC 4.
St Anselm @ UMB – January came to a screeching halt for the Beacons as the offense could only muster one goal in two games on the road.  Won’t expect such a power outage this weekend at the Clark Center – UMB 5, St. A’s 3.
Middlebury @ Norwich – Always a great match-up and truly one of the best rivalries at any level in college hockey.  Each team really gets up for this one but the second half has been stronger for the Panthers – Middlebury 3, Norwich 2.
Williams @ St. Michael’s – The Purple Knights have been able to surprise quite a few teams this season but usually after the team faced Norwich the night before.  Williams is the better team wearing purple – Williams 5, St. Mike’s 2.
Saturday, February 5, 2011
Colby @ Amherst The White Mules have really picked up their game going 5-1 in their last six games entering the weekend.  The Lord Jeffs have been struggling offensively and defense has been a hall mark of Colby teams – Colby 4, Amherst 2.
Bowdoin @ Hamilton – Top two teams in the conference should be a great game.  Expect a lot of offense in this one that may be decided with an extra five minute session if anyone has any gas left in the tank – Bowdoin 6, Hamilton 5.
Castleton @ UNE – The Spartans have too much riding on taking this game lightly and won’t let up on the Nor’easters from te opening drop of the puck – Castleton 6, UNE 1.
Skidmore @ USM – These two teams always seem to play a one goal game or games that involve an empty net goal to decide it.  Don’t see any difference in this one with a late goal deciding it – Skidmore 4, USM 2.
Conn College @ Wesleyan – The Cardinals have been stronger at home and have definitely been scoring more goals.  Conn College has a great group upfront and that’s the difference in this one – Conn College 3, Wesleyan 1.
Tufts @ Trinity – Nothing like a four point game against a team you are trying to keep behind you and out of the playoff picture.  Tufts playing for pride at this point but that’s not going to be enough – Trinity 4, Tufts 3.
NEC @ UMB – The Pilgrims are 1-5-1 in their last seven games entering the weekend and really struggle away from the cozy confines of Henniker, NH.  The Beacons are more than happy to accommodate another “L” – UMB 4, NEC 3.
St Anselm @ Babson – Jason Schneider has found his form and if Terry Woods can get it going Babson is going to be a contender in late February. Still looking for a two win weekend but this one should start a trend – Babson 5, St A’s 3.
Middlebury @ St. Mike’s – Yup, you are probably thinking that I am going to the trap game pick here since the Panthers will have such an emotional game on Friday night at Norwich.  One word – nope – Middlebury 5, St. Mike’s 2.
Williams @ Norwich – The Cadets will bounce back here to keep Castleton in their sights before next week’s showdown.  It will be a low scoring affair – Norwich 2, Williams 1.
Tuesday, February 8, 2011
Williams @ Middlebury – The Panthers have rallied to get to .500 at home where they usually have an advantage playing on the big sheet.  Williams has struggled on the road.  This is the game in hand for both teams that make a move while nobody else is playing – Middlebury 3, Williams 2.
It is still probably all going to come down to the final weekend to have a clear picture but this weekend could start clarifying a lot in both conferences.  In coach speak it’s all about controling what you can and that means just win your game and see what happens.
It’s February and the unofficial playoffs have begun – drop the puck!