ECAC Hockey picks: NCAA Tournament (updated)

Three ECAC teams are set to play in the NCAA Tournament this weekend. There’s Yale, who was shutout twice last weekend in Atlantic City; Quinnipiac, who lost out at a chance at the program’s first Whitelaw Cup with a 4-0 loss to Brown in the semifinals; and Union, who enters the tournament off their second straight Whitelaw Cup, and are arguably playing the best they have all year.

Check Brian Sullivan’s regional preview for Yale, while my look at Quinnipiac and Union can be found here. I’ll roll out the next wave of picks as the weekend goes on. Brian and I will be in Providence Saturday and Sunday; check back for updates.

The complete television listing for the tournament is here.

Friday, March 29

No. 15 Yale vs. No. 2 Minnesota, 2 p.m. ET

Yale followed a dominating sweep of St. Lawrence with a dud in Atlantic City. The Bulldogs shutdown Saints’ forwards Kyle Flanagan and Greg Carey two weeks ago, but were outscored 8-0 at Boardwalk Hall. Just goes to show how much can change in a short time.  Minnesota and Yale haven’t faced each other since 2002, when the Golden Gophers beat the Bulldogs 7-3 in the Dodge Holiday Classic. It’s going to take awful lot to bounce back against the Golden Gophers, and based on last weekend, I’m not sure the Bulldogs have it in them. Minnesota wins

Saturday, March 30

No. 15 Yale vs. No. 8 North Dakota, 4 p.m. ET

Man, was I was wrong about the Bulldogs yesterday. Yale looked like a much better team than last week, jumping out to a 2-0 lead over Minnesota. Yes, they the Golden Gophers tied it, but give credit to Yale for sending the game to overtime and then ending it quickly. North Dakota trailed Niagara 1-0 after two periods, but scored twice in the third for the win. Yale wins


No. 16 Canisius vs. No. 1 Quinnipiac, 5:30 p.m. ET

These former MAAC members meet with just one NCAA appearance between them (Quinnipiac in 2002). A lot of focus will be on Hobey Finalist Eric Hartzell, but don’t overlook Canisius goalie Tony Capobianco, who has a .951 save percentage over the last seven games. The Golden Griffins enter the tournament on a nation-best eight game unbeaten streak, while Quinnipiac has slowed down a bit since their 21-game unbeaten streak earlier in the year. Still, I think the Bobcats will have enough to get the program’s first NCAA win. This game will be televised locally on the New England Sports Network. Quinnipiac wins

No. 12 Union vs. No. 5 Boston College, 9 p.m. ET

The Dutchmen and Eagles are picking a heck of a time for their first meeting. There’s a consensus that the winner of this game could very well make it to the title game in Pittsburgh, something I could see happening.  Union is playing very well and has a hot goalie in Troy Grosenick. The Dutchmen are a skilled team that can keep pace with the Eagles, and have the ability to convert turnovers into scoring opportunities. I wouldn’t be surprised if this game goes either way, but I’m taking the Dutchmen simply due to their hot play of late.  Union wins


 Sunday, March 31

No. 3 Union vs. No. 1 Quinnipiac

There will be two ECAC teams in the Frozen Four for the first time since 1983.  Give Quinnipiac credit for their rally last night, but if the Dutchmen play the way they did against Boston College,I see them advancing to their second straight Frozen Four. Union wins