ECAC Picks: Dec. 30-Jan. 1

A little belated jump on the picks blog for this weekend as I sit in the lobby at Connecticut’s Freitas Ice Forum.

Not a good start in holiday tournament play for the ECAC as Clarkson fell 6-1 to Maine in Florida, and RPI lost 7-2 to UMass-Lowell in a game that was just as bad as the score suggests.

It should be noted that the Golden Knights were without the services of goalie Paul Karpowich, who was sick and did not make the trip to Florida, according to Cap Carey of  The Watertown Daily Times.  With those two games in the background, here’s a look to a busy weekend ahead, which comes  after Yale kicked off the second half with a chippy 6-4 win against the Russian Red Stars Wednesday night in New Haven.

Cornell-Massachusetts is under way as I’m typing this, so I won’t be making a pick for that game.

Last time: 1-1

Overall: 12-7

Merrimack vs. St. Lawrence (Ledyard National Bank Classic)

Each of these teams faced an opponent from the others’ respective conference last time out, with the Saints beating Vermont to close the first half and the Warriors falling to Union 3-1.  SLU won this tourney in 1996, but I don’t think they’ll add another Ledyard Classic championship to their resume.

Merrimack 4, St. Lawrence 2

RPI vs. Army (UConn Holiday Classic Consolation)

The Engineers are a mess right now, and I think host Connecticut will hold off Army in the second game tonight, setting up this consolation matchup in the UConn Holiday Classic.

Army 4, RPI 3

Princeton vs. Northeastern (Mariucci Classic)

Two teams from the Eastern seaboard are all the way out in Minnesota as a part of the Mariucci Classic. Princeton won the tournament in 1998, but the Huskies are one of the hottest teams in the country and, well, Princeton isn’t.

Northeastern 3 Princeton 1

Brown at New Hampshire

No holiday tournament here, just a non-conference game between two teams that would like to have some more consistency the second half. Brown snapped a five-game winless streak with a 6-4 win against Yale in their last game before the break on Dec. 3. Meanwhile, the Wildcats unbeaten in their last eight games against the Bears (7-0-1) and have rebounded from a miserable start. Tough to pick against UNH at home.

New Hampshire 5, Brown 4

Canisius at Colgate

The Raiders are riding a six-game unbeaten streak, thanks in part to the nation’s tenth-stingiest defense. I don’t think that streak will snap against Canisius.

Colgate 4, Canisius 1

Holy Cross at Dartmouth (Ledyard National Bank Classic)

Host Dartmouth gets the later game Friday night, taking on Holy Cross at Thompson Arena.  The series is split 3-3-1, but the Big Green should break that deadlock and make it to the championship game Saturday.

Dartmouth 3, Holy Cross 2

Harvard at North Dakota

Buried amidst the tournament action this weekend is the chance for the ECAC to do some real damage in non-conference play.  The  Figthing  Sioux aren’t having a season up to their lofty standards, but are still dangerous and 8-1-1 against the Crimson in a series which dates back to the 1950-1951 season. Muzzling Harvard’s potent power play would go a long way towards avoiding the upset, although I think the Crimson will make it closer in the second game of the series.

North Dakota 5, Harvard 1

North Dakota 4, Harvard 3

Quinnipiac at Nebraska-Omaha

Quick, who’s higher in the PairWise rankings? If you guessed the Bobcats, you’re right.  Quinnipiac is currently 21st, thanks in part to a stellar penalty kill unit that had produced three shorthanded goals and is fifth in the nation in efficiency.  Two games, one win for each team this weekend.

Nebraska-Omaha 3, Quinnipiac 1

Quinnipiac 3, Nebraska-Omaha 2

Union at Denver 

The Dutchmen take a six game unbeaten steak out west. The Pioneers have been a top-15 team in the polls since Nov., 15 2006. Union is ahead of them in the PairWise (18th to 23rd), and should get the non-upset win here.

Union 4, Denver 3

Union at Colorado College

The second and final game of a western swing for Union. The Tigers own a 3-0 series record against the Dutchmen and should push that mark to 4-0.

Colorado College 3, Union 2

Holy Cross vs. St. Lawrence (Ledyard National Bank Classic Consolation)

The Saints won’t leave New Hampshire without a win, but unfortunately for them it will come in the consolation game.

St. Lawrence 4, Holy Cross 3

Merrimack at Dartmouth (Ledyard National Bank Classic Championship)

This is Dartmouth’s tournament on their rink, so you’d like to think the chips would fall their way, but the Warriors are tough to pick against.

Merrimack 3, Dartmouth 0

Princeton vs. Niagara (Mariucci Classic Consolation)

Yes, it’s a consolation game against an Atlantic Hockey opponent, but the Tigers can’t let their guard down. And I don’t think they will.

Princeton 3, Niagara 2

Cornell vs. Maine (Florida College Classic Championship)

Let’s say Cornell makes it past UMass and into the championship game. Maine avoided one of the conference’s top goalies in the opening win against Clarskon, but Andy Iles and the Cornell ‘D’ should hold tight.

Cornell 3, Maine 2


Bentley at Yale

Wednesday’s matchup with the Russian Red Stars should put the Bulldogs in a good position for a rare Sunday game against the Falcons in New Haven.

Yale 5, Bentley 2

Brown at Providence

The Bears face former Union coach Nate Leaman and cross-town rival Providence in the Mayor’s Cup. The Friars have been a pleasant surprise this season and  should start the second half with a win.

Providence 5, Brown 4