ECAC East/NESCAC Game Predictions – 2/18-19,2011

And then there was one…
It may be hard to believe but this is the final week of the regular season and a lot is riding on the final two games for many teams in both conferences.  Everyone at the D-III level (no St. Anselm or St. Michael’s) is in the ECAC East conference tournament so the big questions are final placements and what the first round match-ups look like.  The only certain thing is that UNE will go on the road to face the first place team regardless what happens in their two games this weekend.  In NESCAC things are very interesting from top to bottom with the only sure thing being the Jumbos of Tufts University being eliminated from playoff contention.  That said virtually every other position is up for grabs and with just four points separating first from seventh, it will surely be an exciting weekend of hockey.
The teams are totally geared up for this time of year and apparently I have my prognostication skills in line with playing my best at the right time of the year.  Let’s see if I can carry it through the final weekend and into the conference tournaments.
Last Week:            18-4-0
Overall Record:  120-91-21 (.565)
Winners in bold.
Friday, February 18, 2011
Amherst @ Babson – Both teams are fighting for a home-ice berth in the first round and trying to build some consistency.  The Beavers are coming off a 0 point weekend and need something this weekend to maintain their position.  Unfortunately for Babson there are no points on Friday – Amherst 4, Babson 3.
Hamilton @ UMB – The road warriors from Clinton, NY seem to like bus trips.  Throw a little Boston traffic into the mix to add to the overall ride time and these guys will be dying to get on the ice – Hamilton 5, UMB 3.
Bowdoin@ St. Anselm – The Hawks aren’t really playing for anything since the NE-10 tournament is outside of their conference play. That said they could play spoiler this weekend. Just not against Bowdoin who dropped two last weekend – Bowdoin 5, St. A’s 2.
Colby @ NEC – Why all the NESCAC picks?  It’s not just about what is at stake.  Frankly they are all playing some better and more consistent hockey than their opponents from the East.  Think that plays out in Hennniker too – Colby 3, NEC 2.
Skidmore @ Middlebury – Both teams rung in the New Year in a non-conference game that saw the Panthers double up on Skidmore. This time the two points are on the line but no difference in outcome – Middlebury 6, Skidmore 3.
Castleton @ Williams – I really thought about picking a tie here because I think Ryan Purdy is just that good.  The Spartans still have their sites set on catching Norwich and that’s the fire that is the difference – Castleton 2, Williams 1.
Southern Maine @ Wesleyan – The Cardinals are in the last spot but Conn College is right on their heels.  The outdoor game with Trinity didn’t help their situation and neither will a visit from a desperate Huskie team – USM 4, Wesleyan 3.
UNE @ Trinity – The Bantam’s recent roll is all about Wes Vesprini – big time.  No let down here as the dash from ninth to wherever is still possible for Trinity – Trinity 4, UNE 2.
Tufts @ St. Michael’s – The Jumbos are just playing out the streak while St. Mike’s is gearing up for the NE-10 tournament.  A couple of potential wins against NESCAC schools would be a nice tune-up – St. Mike’s 5, Tufts 4.
Conn College @ Norwich– Coach McShane’s team isn’t going to take anyone lightly the last weekend especially after taking care of business with Castleton and Skidmore last week.  Time to keep the troops rolling – Norwich 6, Conn College 2.
Saturday, February 19, 2011
Hamilton @ Babson – The Beavers can’t lose four in a row the last two weekends, can they?  Really don’t think so unless they want to be one-and-done next week.  Hamilton will be a real dogfight – Babson 3, Hamilton 2.
Amherst @ UMB – See above.  Yes they can lose four in row much to Coach Belisle’s dismay.  Other than the win against NEC, the Beacon offense has been anemic and when pucks are not going in the last goalie you want to face is Cole Anderson – Amherst 4, UMB 1.
Colby @ St. Anselm – With just two losses in the since mid-January, Colby is playing consistent hockey.  The problem is they are facing a team that can be really good when they are on.  It hasn’t happened in a week or two so the offense is due for the Hawks – St. A’s 4, Colby 3.
Bowdoin @ NEC – Let the chips fall where they may.  The Polar Bears dropped two last week and went from first to fifth.  Let’s see what happens after a four point swing on the positive side - Bowdoin 5, NEC 2.
Castleton @ Middlebury – 8-1-1 vs. 7-1-2 over their last ten games.  Both teams are playing very well and both want the top slot in their conference.  Panthers somehow always seem to find the magic at the right time of the year.  Abracadabra – Middlebury 3, Castleton 2.
Skidmore @ Williams - The Ephs can’t afford a two loss weekend and keep home-ice while Skidmore will be looking for help in other games.  The Williams seniors who have been a big part of the team’s success end their regular season careers with a win - Williams 4, Skidmore 1.
UNE @ Wesleyan There is backing into the playoffs and then there is really backing into the playoffs.  UNE continues to display its recent spirited play at the expense of the Cardinals – UNE 5, Wesleyan 3.
USM @ Trinity– There is something about that hot goalie that can carry a team and other than Parker Carroll at Norwich, Wes Vesprini is peaking at the right time again for Coach Cataruzolo’s squad – Trinity 3, USM 1.
Conn College @ St. Michael’s – Not the way the Camels want to finish their season but too many tough losses in late January and early February sealed their fate.  Even the tiebreaker goes Wesleyan’s way so the Camels have a long trek home – St. Michael’s 4, Conn College 3.
Tufts @ Norwich– Fans at Kreitzburg have grown accustomed to hockey played there in March so why should this year be any different?  The road to the NCAA’s starts here and the Cadets are up to the task – Norwich 6, Tufts 1.
I cna’t even think about what the standings are going to look like at the end of Saturday’s games but I can tell you that their will be some compelling first round match-ups and some quality teams are going to see their seasons come to a disappointing end.  So for now its about playing all out this week and getting ready go even harder next week.
Playoff positions are on the line – drop the puck!
 

44 COMMENTS

  1. Proverbial or real gun, I’m not putting Gaudreau in the final three let alone win it. Unless an underclassman has Paul Kariya like numbers he really shouldn’t be considered. Gaudreau is on a talent laden underachieving Eagles team. The others mentioned have the numbers and are more important to their team. Leaving Drew LeBlanc out for all the reasons others have mentioned is shameful. LeBlanc and the others mentioned mean far more to their team than “Johnny Hockey”. LeBlanc should be in the final three if the Huskies do well….and there are plenty of past winners that weren’t “First” in points….just look to last year.

  2. Why no mention of defensemen? Nate Schmidt, Nick Jensen, and Joey LaLeggia are guys that make their teams go. I’m sure I’ve ignored others that deserve mention, these are just a few that impressed me when I saw them play.

  3. It’s already been said multiple times on this blog, but Drew LeBlanc not be mentioned by Olshansky is very closed minded. Granted the SCSU program is not a power house program, yet (in that they are not perennial NCAA Tourney participants). But the Hobey is not just about on ice skills and the performance of the team as whole (although LeBlanc has led the team on and off ice). He is very involved with the St. Cloud and the SCSU communities and volunteers for multiple community outreach programs. Yes I am an SCSU fan, so maybe I am a little bias. I’m not even saying that he should be part of the Hobey Hat Trick (I think SCSU’s performance in the rest of the WCHA tournament will determine his eligibility for that honor). I do think Gaudreau and Hartzell will be top candidates. I do not think Walters, though, should have mention in this post without mention of LeBlanc. No offense to Walters, but LeBlanc is a better leader for his team, evident by the final regular season standings in the WCHA.

  4. This article having no mention what-so-ever of Drew LeBlanc is huge oversight. The skill and vision he has is phenomenal. He has big numbers in the stats department but he does so many things during a game that don’t show up on the stat sheet as well. He captains his team to their first ever MacNaughton cup while winning PoTY and Student Athlete of the year for WCHA, all in a year where he could have been getting paid to play somewhere. Then you add in the character he has, how humble he is, how good he is with fans, etc.
    Sure I may see all this through Cardinal and Black glasses, but how did you miss this guy in your write up?

  5. Not to give Yale’s Andrew Miller a mention might be short-sighted. Near the school’s leader in points behind two NHL’s (one being olympian Bob Brooke) the guy has has been involved in so many big goals for his team, logs about 30 mins a game, plays point on power plays and plays every shift as if it’s his last. No leader has done so much for a team and he is clearly the straw that stirs the drink on an over-achieving team.

    • Prior to the season, area schools apply for/bid to be that region’s “host school” (there is only ONE per region). Western Michigan either didn’t apply or lost the bid.
      The host school has certain duties and responsibilities in that role, which translates into the spending of its own money.

        • Don’t think that is true. The “host” REMAINS the host, regardless of whether or not they make the Tournament. Brown is the host for Providence. If they don’t make it, but Providence College DOES, that doesn’t make PC the “host”, it’ll still be Brown. The host schools must make preparations well before they even know if they will be a participant. There are no “defacto hosts”. If M doesn’t make it, and WM does, that doesn’t mean WM must be placed in Grand Rapids. Only the actual “hosts” must be placed in their host city.

  6. I’ll give credit where its due and on Friday night MSU played their hearts out and were able to shut down Miami after getting the early lead. However it just seemed the gas tank was on empty for Saturday and Sunday and the better team took over those games. The only reason Saturday night wasnt a blow out was due to Hildebrand playing a stellar game.
    On another note I will say the fans that visited us in Oxford over the weekend from MSU were fantastic. Really nice hockey people. Of course there were a few little good natured exchanges. But it seemed to be a great weekend for all, with some great hockey.
    Hopefully Miami can get out of its first game funk it seems to get into after the week breaks. 7 of our 10 losses including friday nights game came on the first game of a series and in 5 of those Miami was shutout. Miami is a VERY young team but they have got to find a way to get themselves ready for Michigan this weekend.
    Oh and one last thing. Paula ummm… unless my eyes were totally wrong because you know I was actually at the games this weekend Czarnik had the SH goal in Saturdays game and Morris had sundays SH goal. But hey why let facts get in the way.

  7. So two future Big Ten teams, a future NCHC team, and a future Hockey east member. Wonder if the Buckeyes will ever see Miami and Notre Dame on the schedule in the future?

    • I sure hope so! That is the one thing I’m really going to miss about the CCHA is the Miami rivalries with ND, OSU, and Michigan. I really hope the schools are smart and schedule each other in the non-conference games!

  8. When talking about Drew LeBlanc at St. Cloud State… You notice he doesn’t have that many goals, but look at how many assists he has! He feeds the puck to his line mates which are the top 2 scoring freshman in the nation! (Jonny Brodzinski and Kalle Kossila) If you would get to know him and actually pay attention to players in the midwest, you would learn that Drew isn’t all about the scoring. He wants the team to succeed as a whole, and if he can help somebody else succeed over himself, you sure bet he is going to pass the puck to someone else. Scoring goals isn’t everything, and I sure hope it’s not what this Hobey Baker award is about.

    • Top 2 scoring freshman? Yeah if you don’t count Kevin Roy, Austin Farley, Riley Barber, and Alex Petan. Get your facts straight before you start your argument. Oh by the way your lucky I didn’t go into overall scoring by Freshman, because your boys are way down the list.

      • Calm down Jonathan, you are right that Kossila is not near the top at all and Brodzinksi is not near the top in points. But Brodzinski is the nation’s leading freshman in goals scored, so your facts aren’t entirely straight either.

    • He has been one of the main leaders and reason on the team for being where they are ranked No. 3 in nations. 1st place in the CCHA. Phenom puck carrier and play-maker. Strong in the corners. Also nominated as Best Defensive Forward. It shows his tenacity to be a top scorer and defensive guy which exerts a ton of energy. Most guys play only one way. Excellent penalty killer- (4 shorties). On a team with 18 underclassman. Some of your nominees only should be consider for high scorer not as a complete player.

  9. I can see the character issue affecting Kristo, but do you really think it would be held against Knight? After all, when the investigation and everything was done the charges against him involving the party were dropped, and given his personality I can’t imagine he has ever been in any other trouble.

  10. I wouldn’t comment if there was at least one defenseman on your list. Here’s a few that deserve consideration: George Hughes (leads nation in scoring by defenseman), Nick Jensen, Nate Schmidt (quarterbacks nation’s #1 powerplay), and Jacob Trouba. The Hobey isn’t just for the best forward, plus a token goaltender.

  11. Eric haula by far the most deserving. Gophers on there way to another championship!! bunch more minnesota high school stars up for hobey again. Danny Kristo eden prairie an drew leblanc hermanton, repersentin

    • Corrections to what? It does say North Dakota 2000-01, lost in NCAA championship game. BC was not preseason #1 that year and MN was not in 2001-02.

      • I was referring to this statement above: “If you’re looking to predict which team will win the 2015 national championship from the trends of the first 17 years of the preseason USCHO poll, here are some possibilities:
        “No spot in the preseason poll has yielded a champion more than No. 4. That produced the winner in 2001 (North Dakota), 2002 (Boston College)…”

  12. If MTU makes it through this weekend, they will go a full calendar year without a home loss. Seems kind of silly to boast that LSSU will sweep. That is something they must prove, rather than have it breezily predicted.

  13. Spot on GDoss, Tech has lost some close games this year against great programs, some they carried the play.. I am predicting a Tech sweep to counter that ‘Foolish’ Lake State call! Huskies 4-2, 1-0

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