ECAC picks: December 17

Here’s the abbreviated picks for this weekend, as just two ECAC teams are in action, both against Hockey East opponents.

Last Week: 5-2

Overall: 11-6

St. Lawrence at Vermont

The last time I saw Vermont play in person, they were in the midst of their first of two straight NCAA tournament appearances. How things have changed. The Catamounts are a good bet to lose twenty games for the second year in a row, as they’re just 3-11-1, although one of those wins came against Dartmouth last month.

Vermont is being outscored by nearly two goals a game (4.27 allowed per game versus 2.33 for).

These former conference mates have meet every year since 1971, and 86 times overall.  The Saints lead the all-time series 45-37-3, and I think they’ll add to that Saturday.

St. Lawrence 4, Vermont 1

Union at Merrimack

For the second Saturday in a row, the No. 5 Warriors will tangle with one of the ECAC’s top teams. Last week, they tied Colgate 1-1 in Hamilton. This time, they’ll host the Dutchmen in North Andover.

It’s been a bit of a down year in non-conference play for the ECAC, and a win against a team currently fourth in the PairWise would provide a boost.

The league has several other games against some of the top teams in the PairWise, but unless you like RPI to knock off UMass-Lowell or Harvard to take down Boston University, this is probably the best chance to put a marquee non-conference win on the board.  (Although both Cornell and Union hit the road to take on Colorado College in several weeks, while Colgate travels to Ferris State).

Union’s first Division I game was a sloppy 9-6 loss to Merrimack back on Nov. 1, 1991, and these teams have actually met more as non-Division I opponents.  They first met in 1976, and the Warriors led the series 19-6-3, including 8-3-2 as  a Division I team.

Both  are among the top four  nationally  in team defense, as Merrimack is tied with Cornell for the top spot (1.64 goals allowed), while Union is tied with Ferris State for second (1.94)

The Dutchmen’s  power play has been strong again this year, and if they can convert their chances (which Colgate didn’t), they could win this one. But give the edge to the home team.

Merrimack 2, Union 1

With the unofficial first half winding down after this weekend, it’s understandbly going to get a lot quieter around here for the next few weeks. Check back at some point for Brian’s first half recap, along with a look ahead to the second half after the holidays. With that being said, enjoy the break and holiday season.

Happy Festivus!