ECAC East/NESCAC picks: Dec. 2

Last week was solid at 4-1-1 (.667) slate of picks to build off the opening .500 picks. This week has some big marquee match-ups, and I am not going to shy away from taking a shot at picking the winners.
It’s awesome to have a first semester match-up between two undefeated contenders that will surely spice up the second half of the season in looking at potential the conference champion from the ECAC East. We didn’t have to take long seeing Castleton and Norwich hook up this Friday night, and it should be a great one for sure. It’s not the only interesting match-up, but definitely the game of the week.
Friday, December 2, 2011
New England College at Norwich
It would be easy to bring up all of the “300” movie clichés for the Spartans facing the Cadets at Kreitzberg Arena, but if you look at the statistics, both of these teams have a lot in common. Offensively, both are averaging over five goals per game, while defensively they surrender two or less. They have been strong in all facets of the game, so I don’t expect any major offensive fireworks on Friday night. This one will be close, and an empty-net goal provides the final difference. Norwich 4-2.
Bowdoin at Colby
All bets are off when these two teams get together for an early December home-and-home match-up. In the past, only the first game counted in the league standings, not that either squad needed any more incentive for taking a “W.” Both teams played well last week against the U-18 USA squad as part of the annual Maine Invitational Tournament, but Colby fell to Salve Regina to close out the weekend. I look for the Polar Bear’s offense to take charge in this one in Waterville. Bowdoin 5-2.
Skidmore at St. Michael’s
It’s a battle between the two teams searching for some consistency to their game heading into the semester break. Senior Brady Earle is the scoring leader for the goal-challenged Purple Knights with just three goals. Tony Giacin and David Limoges have been major contributors to a balanced offensive attack for Skidmore. In this one, offense is the difference, as the thoroughbreds will come out flying. Skidmore 6-2.
Saturday, December 3, 2011
Massachusetts-Boston at Uuniversity of New England
This was the PAL Cup Championship game last weekend, where the two teams completed an overtime tie that saw the game and tournament decided by a shootout. There’s no opportunity for settling any ties with extra breakaways this week. Look for Brad Holt’s team to build on their positive momentum at home and squeak one out in regulation. UNE 4-3.
Middlebury at Tufts
The regular season match-up between these two teams in recent years has been very tight, or “tie-t,” as the case may be. After blowing out Bowdoin at home by a score of 7-1, the Panthers struggled to score just two goals in the Primelink Tournament, including a 0-0 draw with Plattsburgh. Scott Barchard is the key for Tufts, as his .933 save percentage and 2.19 goals against average are keeping the Jumbos in games, and stealing a couple to boot. Barchard will see lots of rubber and stop most, just not enough. Middlebury 3-2.
Williams at Conn College
The Ephs aren’t scoring a lot, but they certainly aren’t giving much up either. The latter is a big part of their 2-0-2 start, including last week’s nonconference tie on the road against Manhattanville. The Camels need to tighten up the defensive end, and will be challenged by the speed of Williams to keep pucks from the front of the net. This unbeaten streak stays intact, but it will be closer than you think. Williams 3-1.
Enjoy all of the great match-ups and championship caliber slate of games — drop the puck!