ECAC Picks: Dec.2-3

My first ECAC weekend picks come just as Yale wrapped up a win over Brown in some Thursday night college hockey action.

Brown actually led 2-0 early, but the Bulldogs ripped off three goals in the third period to go ahead for good. Brian O’Neill led the way with two scores while Andrew Miller had a goal and an assist.

Yale and Brown first played in the 1897-98 season, and the Bulldogs now lead the all-time series 88-70-8.

The teams wrap up the weekend series Saturday night in Providence. Weekend sweeps are tough to come by in college hockey, but I think Yale will pull this one off, 4-3.

Here’s a look at what else is on deck in a somewhat abbreviated weekend.

Harvard at Massachusetts

The Crimson are the lone ECAC team to call the Bay State home, yet the Minutemen are one of six Hockey East teams residing in the state. What does that mean? Absolutely nothing at all.

With three losses in a row, including a 4-2 setback to Quinnipiac  Saturday, UMass has been scuffling a bit. Meanwhile, Harvard went 3-1-1 to close out November. Look for them to drive back on the Mass. Pike a game over .500 as they hand UMass its first home loss.

Harvard 4, UMass 2

Clarkson at Colgate

The Golden Knights longest road trip in 71 years continues with a stop at Colgate. Clarkson is 2-3-3 on the road this season. It’s a battle of the conference’s two overall leading  scorers in Colgate’s Austin Smith (15-6) and Clarkson’s  Louke Oakley (7-10).

Clarkson’s Paul Karpowich is second in the nation in shutouts (4), fourth in save percentage (.942) and  sixth in goals-against-average (1.80). Colgate’s duo of Alex Evin and Eric Mihalik haven’t been too shabby this year either.

If you’re in New York, be sure to tune into Time Warner Sports to for live coverage Friday at 7 p.m.

I’ll take the Raiders consistency over the Golden Knights’ streaky play this year.

Colgate 3, Clarkson 2

St. Lawrence at Cornell

After splitting time in net last year, it’s been all Andy Iles so far for the Big Red, as the sophomore has played every minute, posting a sparkling 2.00 goals-against-average. They’ve been lauded as a defense-first team, but Cornell has been scoring at a solid clip this year as well.

St. Lawrence is coming off a weekend split with Michigan Tech, and faces the Big Red prior to facing Colgate on Saturday. Look for Iles to keep up his stellar play.

Cornell 3, St. Lawrence 1

Rensselaer at Princeton

A last place finish entering December wasn’t the way RPI was looking to start after making the NCAA tournament last year.   Princeton hasn’t been much better, but I’ll take the home team here. The Tigers are led by a junior class that has accounted for 14 of their 22 goals.

Princeton 3, RPI 2

Union at Quinnipiac

After losing their head coach and several key players in the offseason, the Dutchmen haven’t suffered a letdown this year, as they’re currently No. 9 in the USCHO Poll. Union has been one of the toughest road teams in college hockey, as they’re 24-11-4 over the past two-plus years, and are on a 13-1-1 run extending back to last year.

They also boast the best scoring defense (1.85) and second-best scoring offense (3.38) in the ECAC.

The Bobcats’ Jeremy Langlois has 10 goals in 16 games and  is one of 13 players in men’s Division 1 to have tallied double-digit goals.

I like Union to make themselves at home in Hamden.

Union 4, Quinnipiac 2

St. Lawrence at Colgate

The Saints wrap up a tough weekend with a road game at Colgate. A win would help the Raiders gain valuable points in a very tight race at the top of the ECAC. Look for them to do just that, although narrowly.

Colgate 3, St. Lawrence 2 (OT)

Clarkson at Cornell

Both the Golden Knights and Big Red have given up 11 goals in ECAC  play this year. The difference? Cornell has scored 25 times in conference play, while Clarkson has just 12.  Goals might be hard to come in this one, with two top netminders facing off in Iles and Karpowich.

Clarkson 2, Cornell 2

Union at Princeton

Union marks the sixth ranked opponent the Tigers have faced this year, with three of them coming on the road. Princeton is 0-4-1 against ranked opponents, and Union is as tough as any they’ve faced so far.

Union 5, Princeton 2

Rensselaer at Quinnipiac

I’ll be stringing this game for the Albany Times Union.  So in the spirit of Monday Night Football, should I abstain from making a pick? Nah, I’ll go for it. This is definitely an important  game for two teams that I’m sure have no desire to remain near the bottom of the conference. The big difference? Quinnipiac is 8-6-2 overall, while the Engineers are just 3-10.

I’m going to give a slight edge to the host Bobcats, although I wouldn’t be surprised to see it go either way.

Quinnipiac 3, RPI 1