I was 6-4 in my first week of ECAC picks. Not too bad, not too great. Here’s whats up for this weekend, when most teams wrap play up before the holiday break.
Sacred Heart at Quinnipiac
In-state opponent and Atlantic Hockey member Sacred Heart travels to Hamden as the Bobcats are the only ECAC team in action Friday. Quinnipiac is a whopping 17-2-2 against the Pioneers in Division 1 play. And Sacred Heart only has one win on the year, albeit a shocking 7-6 decision over Yale on Nov. 22. The numbers seem risky, but with a hot Eric Hartzell (1.47 goals-against-average in November) I think QU has this one.
Quinnipiac 3, Sacred Heart 1
Harvard at Princeton
Of the thirty goals the Tigers have scored, thirteen have come on special teams (9 PP goals, 2 each down a man and with an empty net). Harvard’s power play is clicking at 29.2 percent rate on the year, tops in the ECAC. So look for some goals in this one, with the team dominating special teams probably coming away with the win.
Harvard 5, Princeton 4
RPI vs Union
It’s the opening game of the Festivus Faceoff, and RPI has plenty of grievances to air in the season’s early going.
While Union has suffered little hangover from its early NCAA exit, the same can’t be said for the Engineers. RPI finally started scoring some goals, but simply made too mistakes and turned the puck over too much against Quinnipiac last weekend. Look for the Dutchmen to take this one in Lake Placid
Union 4, RPI 2
St. Lawrence vs. Clarkson
These teams meet again for the second time in under a week, as the Golden Knights took a 5-3 win Tuesday at the Saints’ rink. Festivus isn’t over until one of these teams can wrestle the other to the ground. Look for Clarkson and Paul Karpowich to come out victorious in the Feats of Strength.
Clarkson 3, St. Lawrence 2
Merrimack at Colgate
Yes it’s early. And yes, the polls mean little, if anything at this point. Still, for Colgate, the represents their biggest test of the year, as the Warriors are currently No. 5 in the latest USCHO poll after checking in at No. 1 the previous two weeks. If the Raiders are going to pull the upset, it will have to be minus second-leading scorer Chris Wagner (7-13), who was suspended a game by the league for contact to the head that resulted in a game misconduct last Friday against Clarkson. It’s a toss-up here, but go with the home team, as Colgate extends its winning streak to six.
Colgate 5, Merrimack 4
Princeton at Quinnipiac
Travel partners take on one another in a rare Sunday tilt. The Bobcats were ranked the last time these teams met, but have since cooled off as conference play started. But they’ve picked it up lately, getting their first conference win in over a month last weekend against RPI. I think they’ll add another here.
Quinnipiac 3, Princeton 1
Sacred Heart at Dartmouth
The Big Green are back in action after just over two weeks off, although those with a snarky sense of humor could argue they’re still on a break facing 1-14-1 Sacred Heart. I’m not going to be that guy, but I think Dartmouth should take this one.
Dartmouth 5, Sacred Heart 2