Candace’s picks: March 4

I had an awesome week last week, going 16-2 (.888) and correctly picking every playoff series, including picking that Clarkson-Dartmouth would go three. I incorrectly figured that St. Lawrence would win a game off Harvard, and that North Dakota would sweep Bemidji State. Overall on the season, I am now 178-56-24 (.736). Obviously, we are getting down to the wire, so let’s see how I can do with the final weekend of conference play.

Thursday, March 3

Quinnipiac at Cornell: The arrival of the Bobcats as a force in the ECAC has been a great story this season, as has the emergence of Kelly Babstock as a scoring force. Unfortunately for QU, Cornell is the best team in the East this season. Look for the Big Red to win this one. Cornell 4-1

Dartmouth at Harvard: I might as well flip a coin in this one. The ECAC has, aside from Cornell, been the hardest conference to pick this season, particularly where these two teams are concerned. Harvard has played well lately, but Dartmouth knocked off Cornell a few weeks ago. Harvard swept two games back in November, but Dartmouth has been scorching hot since mid-January. I’m calling for the upset in a tight game. Dartmouth 3-2 (OT)

Friday, March 4

Robert Morris at Mercyhurst: It’s kind of a shame that Mercyhurst just isn’t tested in its own conference. In fact, when the Lakers lose the occasional game to a CHA opponent, it’s a shock. It won’t happen here. Mercyhurst 5-2

Niagara at Syracuse: The Orange have had a good season this year, beating some good teams. Niagara boasts its own big victory, the lone CHA defeat of Mercyhurst. This should be a tight game, and I’m calling for Syracuse to win it and keep building its program. Syracuse 4-2

Minnesota-Duluth at Minnesota: I really, really wish I could be at this game. The defending national champs against their arch-rival, a team that has been torrid the second half and boasts a top rookie in Amanda Kessel and a hot goalie in Noora Räty. The teams split the season series 2-2, with one of those wins a shootout victory for the Gophers, so technically it was 1-2-1 for the hosts. I’m picking the Gophers in a thriller. Minnesota 4-3 (OT)

North Dakota at Wisconsin: The Sioux have been a great team this season, emerging as a threat to most teams in the country. The Badgers however, are the cream of the crop, well-coached, deep, and playing together. The Sioux will still probably get an at-large bid, depending on what happens with BC and Dartmouth, but their WCHA season ends here. Wisconsin 4-1

Saturday, March 5

CHA Title: Mercyhurst vs. Syracuse: Even if it’s Niagara instead of the Orange, the Lakers are pretty much a lock to win the CHA. In fact, you could pretty much call it a lock from the time the puck drops in October, especially this year, with the twin threats of Vicki Bendus and Meghan Agosta. Mercyhurst 5-1

ECAC Title: Dartmouth at Cornell: Assuming my picks are right, look for Cornell to come out firing and gain some revenge for their lone conference loss to the Big Green a couple of weeks ago. If it’s Harvard across the ice from Cornell, it won’t really be any different. Cornell 4-2

WCHA Title: Minnesota at Wisconsin: This will be a close game, and the Gophers have beaten the Badgers once this year, and they’ll have home ice  in their favor. I think honestly though, Wisconsin is going to continue to steamroll its way to another national title. Wisconsin 4-2

Providence at Boston College: The Friars seemed to come out of nowhere to resume their place near the upper echelons of Hockey East this season. The two teams split the season series, with Providence winning in January and BC winning a couple of weeks ago. BC boasts two Olympians in goalie Molly Schaus and forward Kelli Stack, and that experience will make a difference. Boston College 3-1

Northeastern at Boston University: These squads are very familiar with each other, having played three times in five days back in February. BU won three games and tied once against the Huskies this season, who will simply be outmatched against a fierce Terriers squad. Boston University 4-1

Sunday, March 6

Boston College at Boston University: Look for a Beanpot rematch in the final of the Hockey East tournament. The two teams split the season series, with BC winning a 2-1 thriller in the Beanpot, though the Terriers were without the services of star forward Marie-Philip Poulin for that game. Both teams stumbled a bit down the stretch, losing to New Hampshire and Maine. This is basically a coin flip game. Boston College 2-1