ECAC Picks: Nov. 4-5

Brian: 8-4-2 last week (my picks were on Twitter, didn’t you notice?), 13-6-5 overall.
Josh: 6-4-3 last week, 18-7-8 overall.

It’s finally a League Week, with not a single non-conference game in sight.


Colgate at Brown
Ooh, the Raiders’ home loss to Niagara is gonna sting. One night after scoring a TD plus the PAT against the Purple Eagles – on the road, no less – the ‘Gate looked suddenly rusty, mustering one measly goal. That takes some of the shine off what had been a 4-1-1 record prior, and Vaughan’s bunch best be hungry for some road wins if it hopes to maintain its flagging momentum. Bruno departed Hanover with a one-goal loss and a one-goal win against Dartmouth and Princeton, respectively, and will be looking for the same kind of early-season surge that made them media (since I’m “media”) darlings around this time last year. Real tough call here, given Brown’s absence of results, but I’ll give the Bears the nod due to Colgate’s inconsistent performances against a couple of mediocre teams (Army, Niagara). Bruno, 3-2.

Rensselaer at Clarkson
The Engineers’ travail has been well-documented: injuries lead to minimal offense, which leads to mounting losses. Clarkson, on the other hand, has quietly amassed a 5-1-2 record, albeit against the dregs of Division I hockey (home sweeps of Sacred Heart and American International, a road win/tie at Bentley). I’ve said my piece about scheduling, but in Clarkson’s case, a) at least the Knights are winning these games, which makes them a bit more palatable, and b) though the schedule was likely completed in advance of Casey Jones’ hiring, it’s not a bad way to get new systems in place before encountering the meat of the season. Plus, since Clarkson is winning these games, CCT should be feeling pretty confident about its abilities and its odds. I’ll take confidence any day. 4-2 ‘Tech (that’s Clarkson, newbies.)

Quinnipiac at Dartmouth
The Bobcats, now 7-2-0 after knocking Princeton around in the league’s opening game, now face what may be their toughest task of this young season in a road game at a very talented, experienced Dartmouth. The Big Green are coming off a disappointing home loss to Yale in the finale of the Ivy Shootout, and only scored three goals last weekend overall. They will be hungry to prove to themselves that they can score with the best of ’em, and QU best be mindful not to light that fuse. I’m taking DC at home, but only because it’s at home: Green, 4-3.

Princeton at Harvard
Two teams with a lot to prove. Princeton is better than an 0-2-1 team: it can really rip the puck, but it’s just not getting the positive bounces yet. Harvard desperately, desperately wants to start on the right foot after so many dismal first halves in recent years. The Crimson will almost certainly be showcasing a rookie goalie this weekend, and I’m reluctant to rest my record on him regardless of pedigree (y’know, since my prediction record is so widely esteemed). My instincts are telling me to pick Princeton, and… oh for crying out loud, I don’t know why I bother talking myself in circles over these things. Tigers, 4-2.

Union at St. Lawrence
I’m not Brown Rule-ing SLU yet, but I am picking against them for another reason in this game: Union just lost 2-1 at New Hampshire in overtime on Friday despite out-shooting the Wildcats 38-23. Granted, the Dutchmen came right back and took out some of their frustration on a punchless AIC team on Saturday, but I think Friday’s defeat is still simmering just behind Union’s collective retinas and they will be in no mood to let another winnable game slip away. The Saints are in disarray in the absence of coach Joe Marsh, and while they are a tough and underrated team, I don’t see any indication that they should be able to hang with a determined and moderately ticked off Union club. UC, 5-3.

Cornell at Yale
Here’s our yardstick game of the day: Cornell seeks a modicum of revenge for last year’s Atlantic City beatdown, as well as the opportunity to re-assert its dominance atop the ECAC pyramid. Yale is quite a different team from two years ago, and many are arguing that it’s got a lot to prove before it can draw comparisons to even last year’s championship squad. This game is as much about two teams trying to prove something to themselves, rather than to each other… though


Cornell at Brown
Brown has beaten Cornell before. But regardless of Cornell’s result in New Haven on Friday night, I believe the Big Red will have greater motivation (or confidence, or momentum) as they roll into Providence. Nothing against Bruno or head coach Brendan Whittet, but at this point in time I believe it’s clear that Cornell has greater talent and/or depth than Brown, and that if the Big Red come to play, they are going to be the favorites. Cornell, 3-2.

Union at Clarkson
I wish I had some more entertaining things to say about most of these picks, but it’s still so early that they’ve got me stumped. This is another one: both of these teams are rolling along at the moment, and still ought to be come Saturday. The only statistical indicator that could sway me is that Clarkson is giving away three more power plays a game than Union so far (about 17 PIM/game for ‘Tech, only 11 for Union), and with each side’s special-teams units performing well, that could be the difference. Union, 4-3.

Princeton at Dartmouth
Well-scheduled by the organizers of the Ivy Shootout: these are the two teams that didn’t meet in Hanover last week, even though it does require another long bus ride by the Tigers. I am going to cut right to the chase and state that I believe Dartmouth has the pieces a little bit more in place right now than does Princeton, and that – plus home ice – should earn the Green another victory. 3-1 Dartmouth.

Quinnipiac at Harvard
My Crimson friends are going to hate me, but picking Harvard would be an act of faith at this point. (No, I’m not saying it would be a miracle if Harvard won… I’m merely saying that I have no empirical evidence that Harvard should be expected to win just yet.) If QU weren’t accumulating wins the way Gary Bettman racks up haters, I might be swayed in a different direction. As such, Bobcats, 5-3.

Rensselaer at St. Lawrence
*Deep sigh* This is not a game I want to pick, because these are two teams that don’t need any speck of negative energy to fall atop the mounting pile of suck that is the first month of the 2011-12 season. I’m going to make an admittedly (and deliberately) arbitrary decision: home-ice advantage; SLU, 3-2.

Colgate at Yale
Big test for Colgate, potential hazard for Yale following the big Cornell battle. Yale is favored for being Yale, and for being at home, but don’t overlook Colgate’s incentive here – the Raiders would love to add some Blue to a cap that already features a big Miami RedHawk tail-feather. Yale, 3-2, but with an open eye toward an upset.