Josh: I practically broke my nose falling flat on my face last week. Curse Robert Morris for winning and RIT for losing.
4-2-3 last week
5-2-3 for Brian (last week and overall). Brian will be along soon with his picks, folks, and I’ll repost these.
Princeton vs. Yale (Friday at Ivy Shootout in Hanover, N.H.)
Josh: Yale has won the last five meetings in this 247-game series that goes back to 1901. Yale has won that the last three years in a row, and based on their first overall preseason ranking, coaches and media like them to win it again.
The Tigers poured on 14 goals worth of offense in exhibition games last week, and celebrated the new captaincy of Marc Hagel after a lost season to injury last year. Head coach Bob Prier is new behind the bench. I think all this newness is going to help the Tigers.
Brown vs. Dartmouth (Friday at Ivy Shootout in Hanover, N.H.)
Josh: Both teams enjoyed some exhibition wins last weekend, but that doesn’t really tell you much. Dartmouth has won or tied the last six meetings (5-0-1), so they have an historic edge. Neither team really brought back its biggest guns, so this could be the wild card of the week. Nevertheless, with the Big Green being the host team of the Ivy Shootout, I expect Dartmouth to skate to victory.
Colorado College at Rensselaer (Friday-Saturday)
Josh: OK, here is the best chance the Engineers are going to have to break their 1-4 overall record. They went 1-1 to start the season at Houston Field House against Minnesota State before losing three straight on the road, including a role as the Washington Generals to Notre Dame’s Harlem Globetrotters when ND opened its shining, new Compton Family Arena on Friday.
The Tigers have all the power in this match-up. For starters, they scored more goals (nine) in two games against Bemidji State than Rensselaer has in its first five games (six).
The Engineers have strong defense on their side. They haven’t been blown out, giving up an average of 2.6 goals per game, and Bryce Merriam has taken care of an impressive 92.2 percent of the 134 shots RPI has given up. The Engineers should pull out a win at home. I say Friday.
Rensselaer 2-0, Colorado College 4-1
Union at New Hampshire (Friday)
Josh: I’m looking forward to getting a first live look at this Dutchmen team that could go all out against a very brittle Wildcats squad.
Nobody saw this coming, especially no one in the Wildcats locker room. Just two weeks ago, they were still nationally ranked at 15th, but it’ll be a big fight to get back into USCHO.com’s top 20. New Hampshire is 48th nationally in goals-against, giving up 4.8 per game and 24 total through five. Neither goalie, Matt DiGirolamo or Jeff Wyer, has cracked the .900 mark in save percentage yet. Offensively, the team can’t break the two-goal per game mark, sitting at 1.80 (41st nationally).
Now, they bring in a Union team that is 11th in both polls and features Kelly Zajac, who has scored in all five games this year for eight points (defenseman Mat Bodie also has points in each of the Dutchmen’s first five). In goal, Troy Grosenick is fourth in save percentage (.941) among goalies who have played at least six games.
Just one more stat, OK? You’ve got the second best power play in the country for Union (34.8) going against the 48th-ranked penalty kill (68.4). Yikes.
Colgate at Niagara (Friday)/Niagara at Colgate (Saturday)
Josh: A classic home and home across the western half of New York state features two teams that have in common hot goalies. Cody Campbell leads the nation in save percentage (at least among goalies who have faced at least 100 shots) at .946. Poor guy deserves a win. Alex Evin has a win, a tie and a .927 save percentage. Will Don Vaughan, two wins away from 300, go with him or Eric Mihalik (2-1-0, .877 save percentage)?
The Purple Eagles started out anemic, offensively. Scott Arnold was in on all three goals when Niagara tied Union last week, so he’ll be a threat the Raiders need to watch. No worries about the Niagara power play – 5.9 percent won’t scare anyone.
The Purple Eagles would do well to implant a GPS device into Austin Smith’s head while he sleeps – he now has five goals and seven points in all five games for the Raiders.
Colgate 2-1 (OT), Colgate 4-1
Clarkson at Bentley (Friday-Saturday)
Josh: This series should be a lock for Clarkson, as long as they shoot, shoot and shoot some more. The Falcons’ No. 1 goalie Branden Komm stopped 20 shots on Tuesday night for his first win, but struggled in three earlier games when he saw 39 or more shots in each. Bentley has a tendency to get outshot, as they’ve yielded 100 shots to their opponents (213-113).
If Bentley is to have a hope of winning or tying, they cannot take penalties and have Clarkson send out the nation’s third-best power play (10-for-34, 29.4 percent), led by freshman Sam Labrecque. He has five points, all man-up.
Clarkson goalie Paul Karpowich is also on a hot streak with two shutouts and a 9.41 save percentage. Clarkson will have to check the top line of freshmen Brett Switzer and Alex Grieve and sophomore Brett Gensler (12 points combined in last three games).
Clarkson 3-2, Clarkson 6-1
Princeton vs. Brown (Saturday at Ivy Shootout in Hanover, N.H.)
Josh: Too close to call. Since 1900, Brown holds an 80-64-7 advantage, but Princeton has won the last two and holds a one-game lead at neutral sites (5-4). Brown beat Waterloo, which beat No. 10/6 Yale. Princeton had two big, inconsequential exhibition wins. Calling a tie. Lame, Josh.
Yale vs. Dartmouth (Saturday at Ivy Shootout in Durham, N.H.)
Josh: So, Dartmouth has the media/coaches Preseason All-League goalie in James Mello, and Yale has two media/coaches Preseason All-League forwards in Brian O’Neill and Andrew Miller. They all get to face each other with one regular season game under their belts from the previous night.
Yale has won the last seven games, and the series lead will probably rest with the Bulldogs. I think they’ll still be on a mission to put the loss to Waterloo behind them – and if my prediction of a Princeton win on Friday comes true, they’ll have additional fuel to win.
Mercyhurst at Cornell (Saturday)
Josh: My colleague Brian touched on the ECAC/Atlantic Hockey non-league scheduling. I’m fine with that league, with RIT’s Frozen Four appearance and Holy Cross over Minnesota as some great moments. But did this weekend have to include three of the worst teams at once (winless AIC, Mercyhurst and Niagara)?
In front of a sold-out crowd at Lynah Rink, and with Andy Iles back in net and Keir Ross and a cast of thousands in front of him (may as well be if you’re Mercyhurst), this one should be a laugher. Maybe Mercyhurst will make a fool out of me, at least that would mean it was a competitive game.
American International at Union (Saturday)
Josh: Union will raise its Cleary Cup banner and NCAA tournament banner, and AIC is just kind of there. The Dutchmen are undefeated at 2-0-3 and AIC is 0-5-0. Union has powerful scoring and goaltending, and AIC … tries.
Actually, AIC’s Michael Penny and Steve Mele each had five points in their first four games before being shut out by Clarkson last Saturday.
Kelly Zajac and Co. will celebrate last season’s triumphs, do their jobs and close up shop.
OK, folks, what are your picks?