ECAC Hockey picks: October 10-13

Time for my first picks of the year; all times Eastern. Wish me luck.

Thursday, October 10

Colgate at RIT
Ok, I’m cheating: It’s 1-1 in the first period as I type this. Sorry. It’s tough picking such early-season games, as there is practically no basis for comparison yet… that said, it’s a big opening weekend for the Tigers, and RIT has been a feisty competitor in recent years. 3-2 Tigers.

Nate: This is the one game I got right in my initial picks. Gotta start somewhere, right?

Friday, October 11

New Hampshire vs. Clarkson 5pm Ice Breaker Tournament; Minneapolis, Minn.
New Hampshire is a perennial NCAA contender. Clarkson is… well, aspiring to be. From what little we know so far, I’m leaning toward UNH, 4-2.

Nate: The Golden Knights are looking to start 3-0 for the first time since the 2006-07 season. It’s the season opener for UNH, who lost two of their leading scorers to graduation but returns Casey DeSmith in net. Clarkson has played excellent defense in their two games, but they’ll need to generate some offense to keep pace with the Wildcats.  This is the first meeting between the teams since 2004. New Hampshire wins

Maine at St. Lawrence 7pm
Time for SLU to reassert its dominance at home over a Maine program that has struggled significantly in the past few years. 3-1 Saints in Game 1.

Nate: St. Lawrence opened some eyes last season with a dominating sweep at Maine in the early going, the beginning of what was a rough season for the Black Bears, and the removal of Tim Whitehead as head coach. Whitehead was replaced by former Yale associate coach Red Gendron, who will make his college head coaching debut against a familiar opponent. Saints’ forward Greg Carey led the nation with 28 goals last year – or almost 60 percent of the returning goals on Maine’s roster. St. Lawrence wins

Bowling Green at Union 7:30pm
Union swept BGSU on the road early last season; I can’t think of any reason why the Dutchmen shouldn’t replicate that feat at home this year. 5-2 U.

Nate: I’m with Brian here. Union is breaking in a lot of new players in key spots in the lineup, but I think they have enough to get the win on opening night. Union wins

Quinnipiac at Alaska-Anchorage 12:07am Kendall Hockey Classic
This game technically starts Saturday morning for us East Coasters, what with Alaskan time zones and whatnot. What may not be much of a test for a more seasoned team, this looooong-distance road game is a significant challenge for this undefined Bobcats club. A win will mean a lot to QU, and I think they’re good enough to get it, 4-3.

Nate: Like Union, Quinnipiac is starting the year with a new faces in net and on defense. The Bobcats will have already been in Alaska for several days come game time, so that should help compensate for any jet lag. Quinnipiac wins

Saturday, October 12

Rensselaer at Sacred Heart 1pm
Really? RPI, 7-2. See last year, and you’ll know why.

Nate: The Engineers return nine of their top 10 scorers and goalie Jason Kasdorf from last year’s second-place team. That should be more than enough against a Sacred Heart team that ranked near the bottom of the country in both offense and defense. RPI wins

Clarkson vs. Mercyhurst 7pm Ice Breaker Tournament; Minneapolis, Minn.
If the Knights play Minnesota, furgedaboudit… Minny takes it. But should ‘Tech tangle with the Lakers, this may be a more manageable opponent for the ECAC representative. I confess, I don’t know much about Mercyhurst this year, but Clarkson should be a step better than last year’s edition. 3-2 Knights.

Nate: A win for Clarkson would push them to 3-1; not bad for a team that only won nine games last year and struggled mightily out of conference. I think they’ll do that against Mercyhurst. Clarkson wins

Maine at St. Lawrence 7pm
Anything fewer than three points should be considered disappointing for the Saints… from where we stand now, at least. Maine does not look like a national contender on paper. 3-2 Saints.

Nate: I’ll disagree with Brian here, as I think the Black Bears will come away with one on the road. Maine wins

Bowling Green at Union 7:30pm
Dutchmen, hoping to open 2-0? Why not? 4-3 Union.

Nate: Like Brian said earlier, it’s tough to gauge early season games, especially out of conference. But Union has made Messa a tough place to play the last few years, and I think they’ll continue that this season. Union wins

Quinnipiac vs. Alaska 8:07pm Kendall Hockey Classic
More than three points this weekend should be considered a success for the Bob-kittens, though coach Rand Pecknold would never admit to such modest ambitions of course. Calling for the split, with the loss coming against well-regarded Alaska on Saturday, 4-2.

Nate: Sweeps are never easy in college hockey, never mind on the longest road trip of the year. But I think that’s what the Bobcats will do in Alaska. Quinnipiac wins

Sunday, October 13

Rensselaer at Boston College 3pm
Big early-season test for what are expected to be two top teams in the East this year. BC at home? Hard to pick against that, though this BU grad is anything but neutral. What the heck? 4-3 Engineers in an upset. (Hopefully by February, it will look like an expected result in retrospect.)

Nate: I think the difference in this game will be in net. RPI has Jason Kasdorf, while the Eagles are relying on a pair of inexperienced players in Brian Billett andThatcher Demko, although Demko is highly regarded entering his freshman season at the heights.  League-rival Union surprised the Eagles with their mobile defensemen in last year’s NCAA tournament. I’m not sure if the Engineers have the same offensive talent on the back end that Union did last season, but if they can jump into the play and support RPI’s deep group of forwards, it should bode well for the Engineers. RPI wins