ECAC Hockey picks: Week 18

Last week: 5-3-4

Overall:  79-75-27

Eight teams are bunched within three points of each other, so this weekend could either untangle the mess that currently is the ECAC standings, or bunch together either further. The Northeast is set to be hit with a potentially devastating snow storm this weekend. Two games Saturday (Yale at Brown, Dartmouth at Harvard) have been moved to Sunday at 4 p.m. Be sure to check USCHO for the latest updates. All games are at 7 p.m. unless noted.

Friday, Feb. 8

Princeton at Colgate

The Tigers and Raiders are two of the five teams currently tied for sixth place.  Neither team won a game last weekend; although Princeton was swept by Yale and Brown while Colgate tied St. Lawrence and Clarkson. The Raiders enter Friday on a four-game unbeaten streak. Colgate wins

Quinnipiac at Cornell

The Bobcats have allowed the least goals in the league, thanks to an outstanding goalie and a heady, veteran defense that’s guided them to the top of the ECAC.  Sound familiar?   This used to be the Big Red’s formula – but not this year.  Cornell is one pace to finish below .500 for the first time since 1998-99.  Here are a couple notes, courtesy of Cornell SID Brandon Thomas, that illustrate just how much of a struggle it’s been of late for the Big Red:

* This is the first time the Big Red has surrendered three or more goals in five straight games since Nov. 23-Dec. 4, 1999.
* This is the first five-game losing streak since Nov. 23-Dec. 4, 1999.
* This is the first time Cornell has been four games under .500 in league play since Feb. 24, 1995.
* This is the first time the Big Red has eight losses in a nine-game stretch since Feb. 5-March 5, 1993.

The Bobcats have yet to lose in league play this year. No reason to pick against them here. Quinnipiac wins

Rensselaer at St. Lawrence

These are just two of the several teams that have turned it around in the second half.  RPI has gotten outstanding goaltending from freshman Jason Kasdorf, while Saint Lawrence has lost only once the last month. I think the Saints should have just enough firepower to get past the Engineers. St. Lawrence wins

Union at Clarkson  

Union is unbeaten over its last four games, but there’s still some work to do, evidenced by last Friday’s 2-2 tie against Dartmouth. The Dutchmen led 2-1 entering the third period, and allowed the Big Green to tie the game on a late power-play goal. Joe Zarbo has eight points over the last four games for Clarkson, who is just 2-8-3 at home this season. Union wins

Saturday, Feb. 9.

Princeton at Cornell

Princeton beat the Big Red at Hobey Baker Rink earlier this season and heads to Ithaca looking for the season sweep. Cornell is reeling right now, but I think they’ll pull this one out. Cornell wins

Quinnipiac at Colgate

The Raiders are the only ECAC team to beat Quinnipiac this season, albeit in a non-conference matchup in Cape Cod way back on Oct. 27.  Bobcats’ goalie Eric Hartzell was pulled after allowing four goals on 21 shots, marking the second time in two weeks he was yanked from a game. It’s gotten just a bit better for the senior Hobey Baker Candidate. Quinnipiac wins

Rensselaer at Clarkson

Two of the three starting freshman goalies in the league meet at Cheel Arena Saturday. I mentioned Kasdorf above, while Greg Lewis has been in net nearly ninety percent of the time for the Golden Knights this season.  RPI should have enough to get a win here. RPI wins

Union at St. Lawrence

A recent hot stretch has the Saints closing in on a top-four spot in the standings, and a win over the third-place Dutchmen would certainly help with any tie-breaker scenarios down the road.  Union is in its best stretch since the end of November, but I think the Saints are hotter right now. Saint Lawrence wins

Sunday, Feb. 10

Yale at Brown, 4 p.m.

The Bulldogs are coming off a 6-2 loss to Quinnipiac last Saturday, a game Yale lead 2-0 early in the first.  Brown is one a three-game unbeaten streak, but blew two separate two-goal leads last time against the Bulldogs, a 4-3 Yale win at Ingalls Rink Dec. 1. The Bulldogs’ Nick Maricic started in place of the injured Jeff Malcolm Saturday, and head coach Keith Allain did not disclose how long Malcolm could be out. I’ll take Yale, but bump Brown up a few pegs if Malcolm is still out. Yale wins

Dartmouth at Harvard, 4 p.m.

While Dartmouth has slowed down in the second half, the Crimson are in a free-fall.  The Big Green come to Boston exactly one month after Harvard’s last win. Dartmouth wins

Monday, Feb. 11

Harvard vs. Boston University, Beanpot Consolation Game, 4:30 p.m.

This is a game the Crimson have become all too-familiar with over the years, as Harvard has played in the Beanpot’s consolation game thirteen of the last fourteen years. Raphael Girard nearly stole last Monday’s game against Boston College, but the Crimson seemed to run out of steam as the game wore on. Boston University wins