ECAC Hockey picks: Quarterfinals

Last week: 4-0

It’s the last weekend of hockey at campus sites across the league, as the ECAC is set to head to Atlantic City next weekend for the semifinals and championship. I picked all four opening round series correctly, although I did pick Cornell and Princeton to go to three games. Here’s a look at the upcoming weekend. All games are set to start at 7 p.m., unless noted.

No. 9 Cornell at No. 1 Quinnipiac

Season series: Quinnipiac, 2-0

Like I said earlier this week, Cornell is playing much better than its No.9 seed would indicate. The Big Red are 6-1-1 over their last eight games, including a sweep of Princeton in the opening round. Quinnipiac wasn’t as sharp down the stretch once it locked up the Cleary Cup, often relying on goalie Eric Hartzell to bail them out.  The Bobcats are a lock for the NCAA tournament, while Cornell will likely need to win out in order to make it. Still, Quinnipiac is looking to hold on to the No.1 overall spot for the NCAA tournament, and a series win this weekend would certainly help. Saturday’s game starts at 7:30 and will be televised on NESN, while any potential start time Sunday could be dependent on the basketball team’s schedule. Quinnipiac in three

No. 7 Brown at No. 2 Rensselaer

Season series: RPI, 1-0-1

The Engineers had their first ever bye in the current tournament format thanks to a 9-1 stretch to close the regular season.  Don’t expect a ton of scoring in this series, as both teams are solid in net and emphasis a solid, defensive style of play. The Engineers have some scoring depth through their lineup, thanks to the continued development of their sophomore class, along with senior defenseman Nick Bailen, who has 12 goals and 19 assists, both which are tied for the team lead.  Brown moved leading scorer Matt Lorito to wing in an attempt to break him out of a slump, and it worked, as the sophomore had a goal both nights against Clarkson last weekend. Rensselaer in three

No. 6 St. Lawrence at No. 3 Yale

Season series:  Yale, 2-0

Hockey is a team sport, but both the Saints and Bulldogs proved how much one player can impact a team. The Bulldogs lost goalie Jeff Malcolm for a five-game stretch last month, and were 0-5 during that span. Head coach Keith Allain said at the time that Malcolm’s injury could just be “circumstantial evidence,” but the senior returned Feb. 23 and Yale was  3-0 the rest of the way.  The Saints had a chance to clinch a first round bye entering the final weekend of the regular season, but were without center Kyle Flanagan, who had his appendix removed earlier in the week. Saint Lawrence lost its final two regular season games without Flanagan, but the senior returned for last weekends’ series against Colgate, posting five points in the Saints’ sweep.  There’s plenty of top-line offensive talent on both teams, so, I think this series will come down to goaltending and secondary scoring. Saint Lawrence in three

No. 5 Dartmouth at No. 4 Union

Season series: Dartmouth, 1-0-1

For all the ups and downs of the regular season, Union was still able to grab a top-four spot, which was good since goalie Troy Grosenick left the Dutchmen’s game on March 1 with an injury. Grosenick should be ready to go this weekend, as Union looks for its second trip in as many years to Atlantic City. Dartmouth is just 3-7-3 on the road, but one of those ties came at Messa Rink. The Big Green used two different goaltenders in the opening round, as Cab Morris started in Game 1, while Charles Grant started and won Games 2 and 3.  Neither one of these teams had a stellar second half, and both will likely need to string together a few wins if they want to make the NCAA tournament. I think the bye and a chance to put the regular season behind them should help Union. Union sweeps