ECAC East/NESCAC Game Predictions – 2/11 – 2/15/2011

It might as well be the playoffs now as every game remaining is of critical importance for teams making a push to either get in the playoff picture or improve their lot come seeding time in two weekends.  Lots of intriguing match-ups this week with a battle for the top spot in the ECAC East on Friday night topping the list.  Games are getting harder and so are the predictions as last week saw how tight it is getting with five ties among the twenty-one games played.  Time to pick up my game too.
Last Week:             9-6-5
Record Overall:  102-87-21 (.538)
Winners in bold.
Friday, February 11, 2011
Amherst @ NEC – The Lord Jeffs need points to keep pace with the congested standings in NESCAC looking for a home-ice slot.  The last six games for the past six seasons have dictated a lot for Amherst and this week they play like they know what is at stake – Amherst 4, NEC 2.
Hamilton @ St. Anselm – Ed Seney’s team always wants to show the league that even though they are D-II they deserve to be among the top teams in the overall standings.  For Hamilton, this season has put them back on the NESCAC radar screen and they have more to play for right now – Hamilton 4, St. Anselm 3.
Babson @ Williams – The Beavers have been really tough to get a handle on this season.  They have won on the last three Friday nights but haven’t been able to match the feat on Saturday since early January.  Haven’t been right picking the Saturday game so will go the other way this week – Williams 3, Babson 2.
UMB @ Middlebury – Look out!  That object coming up in your rear view mirror is the Panthers who risen from ninth to a tie for second just one point out of the top spot in the NESCAC conference.  UMB usually gives the Panthers fits but not this time around – Middlebury 5, UMB 3.
Norwich @ Castleton – This is going to be a great one.  The up-and -comers looking to prove they belong at the top and the current title holder reluctant to give in to the upstarts from across the state.  The “Fist Pump Green Out” will add to the atmosphere but won’t influence the final score – Norwich 3, Castleton 2 in OT.
St. Michael’s @ Skidmore – The Thoroughbreds really need to get some points if they want to host a game on the big sheet in a couple of weeks and this game is the most winnable of the weekend – Skidmore 5, St. Mike’s 4.
Southern Maine @ Conn College – The mid-week loss against Wesleyan didn’t help Jim Ward’s squad in their battle to make the playoffs so look for some home-ice magic against the Huskies – Conn college 4, USM 3.
UNE @ Tufts – Nobody sneaks up on anybody in this league and while both teams have really struggled getting wins, the Nor’easters right now are just playing better hockey – UNE 4, Tufts 3.
Trinity @ Bowdoin – One or both of the coaches in this game have said “play .500 on the road and .700 at home and you will be in the hunt.”  Trinity is exactly at .500 on the road but Bowdoin is almost .900 at home so the formula seems to favor the home team – Bowdoin 3, Trinity 2.
Wesleyan @ Colby – The Connecticut schools really need to get some separation from each other but Friday night is a tough one for two of the three Colby 4, Wesleyan 2.
Saturday, February 12, 2011
Amherst @ St. Anselm – Yes there will be scoreboard watching across the league but a four point weekend is big at this time of the year and Amherst frankly needs it more than the Hawks – Amherst 3, St. A’s 1.
Hamilton @ NEC – If the goaltending can hold up down the stretch for Norm Bazin’s squad they are going to really challenge for the top spot – Hamilton 4, NEC 3.
Babson @ Middlebury – There are some teams that just seem to always peak at this time of the year and both of these teams have historically fit into that category. this year the Panthers have displayed it more in the second half – Middlebury 5, Babson 3.
UMB @ Williams – Both teams can skate and both can score so what’s the difference maker here? Can you say Purdy?  Hard to knock off the Ephs when he is on his game – Williams 3, UMB 1.
Norwich @ Skidmore – Coach McShane is already nervous about this one coming off the big game on Friday night but expect the Cadets to go about their business regardless of Friday’s outcome – Norwich 5, Skidmore 2.
St. Michael’s @ Castleton – See above.  Seriously, coach Todd has the same trap game concerns for Saturday and has already been addressing them this week with his team – Castleton 6, St. Mike’s 2.
Southern Maine @ Tufts – The Jumbos have really had a rough season and are long shots for the playoffs but Southern Maine is in and need to get consistent over the final weekend of the season  – USM 4, Tufts 3.
UNE @ Conn College – Points are becoming scarce and Trinity and Wesleyan have a game in hand so the Camels can’t let this slip throught their fingers – Conn College 5, UNE 3.
Trinity @ Colby – Colby has been very good lately but not so great at home.  Wes Vesprini is good at stealing a game here and there and needs to get two points here for the Bantams to set up the match-up with Wesleyan on Tuesday – Trinity 2, Colby 1.
Wesleyan @ Bowdoin – Coach Meagher says secondary scoring is going to be key in the remaining games but the big three are still putting up numbers and that’s enough here – Bowdoin 4, Wesleyan 2.
Tuesday February 15, 2011
St. Michael’s @ Stonehill – An NE-10 conference game where the Purple Knights have flourished in getting ready for their D-II conference championship – St. Mike’s 4, Stonehill 1.
Wesleyan @ Trinity – The outdoor game at Rentschler Field in Hartford completes a women’s/men’s double header between the schools on Tuesday night.  Neither team will have practiced or prepared outdoors so getting acclimated to the rink may be interesting and have an impact on the outcome – Trinity 3, Wesleyan 2.
It’s the regular season but it’s playoff intensity for the next two weekends where it really becomes one-and-done.  The battle for points is on and so is the mess that will be the standings and tie-breaker procedures.
Game on – drop the puck!