ECAC Hockey picks: Nov. 1 and Nov. 2

Overall: 12-12-1

Rensselaer and Harvard started the ECAC’s league schedule with a 3-3 tie Tuesday in Troy. This weekend is the first full weekend of conference play, with two teams (St. Lawrence and Clarkson) traveling to the rinks where they ended their seasons last year, and two more (Cornell and Dartmouth) are hosting the teams that knocked them out of the league playoffs last season. All times are 7 p.m. unless noted.

Friday, Nov. 1

Clarkson at Brown

Clarkson went out rather quietly against the Bears in the opening round of the playoffs last year, but are off to their best start in seven years and are No. 17 in the poll. Brown won the inaugural Liberty Invitational last weekend, and got great production from their top line of Matt Lorito, Nick Lappin, and Mark Naclerio. Clarkson is deep in goal and on defense, and I think that should give them an edge. Clarkson wins

Quinnipiac  at Colgate 

The Bobcats are riding a six-game winning streak into league play, while Colgate is winless since beating RIT 4-1 on Oct. 10. Keep an eye on special teams – Colgate’s power-play has waned a bit in recent weeks, while Quinnipiac’s penalty kill is seventh nationally after blanking Holy Cross last weekend.   There’s plenty of young offensive talent on both teams, but the Bobcats are on a roll and have the special teams edge. Quinnipiac wins

Princeton at Cornell

It’s way too small of a sample size, but the Tigers enter with the top penalty kill and second-best power play in the nation, while Cornell’s power play is first. The Big Red were 7-of-15 on the power play at Nebraska-Omaha last weekend, but were outshot 71-33 overall. The Tigers’ Andrew Calof is a talented player, but he’ll need some help if Princeton is going to get by what looks like a resurgent and deep Big Red team. Cornell wins

Union at Dartmouth    

Ken Schott of the Schenectady Daily Gazette reported earlier this week that Union goalie Colin Stevens could ready to play this weekend. That would be a big boost to a Dutchmen team that is on a three-game winless streak. It won’t matter much who is in net for if the Dutchmen can’t start converting their chances; Union has put 97 shots on net the last two games, but only has four goals to show for it. The Big Green find themselves in a similar situation to Union. Dartmouth outshot it opponents 71-51 in two games at the Liberty Invitational last weekend, but went 0-2. If Stevens is back, the Dutchmen should have this one. Union wins

Rensselaer  at Harvard 

It’s strange to think that these teams won’t meet again in the regular season, but that’s the case, as Harvard traveled to Troy Tuesday to open ECAC league play. RPI led 3-0 after one period, but had to settle for a frustrating 3-3 tie. The Engineers should be a little more diligent the second time around. Rensselaer wins

St. Lawrence at Yale  

Yale will raise its national championship banner prior to the game, with the festivities and the ensuing game against the Saints to be aired live on ESPN3. The Bulldogs bounced back from a loss to Brown in the opener, and should be charged up following the pregame ceremony. St. Lawrence has put up goals in bunches this season – but will they able to stop them from going in? The Saints have given up 15 goals the last three games. Expect a shootout in this one. Yale wins

 Saturday, Nov. 2

Princeton at Colgate , 4 p.m.  

Senior goalies Sean Bonar and Eric Mihalik have both been very good thus far for the Tigers and the Raiders, respectively.  I think the difference will be scoring depth – where I think Colgate has a slight advantage.  Colgate wins     

St. Lawrence at Brown 

The Bears carried their hot streak from the end of last season over into opening weekend. When things are going well, Brown is a tenacious defensive team that doesn’t give up much. As mentioned above, the Saints have given up a ton of goals lately, and Brown’s top line of Lorito, Lappin and Naclerio will make them pay for any lapses Saturday. Brown wins

Quinnipiac at Cornell    

With a combined record of 8-1, there’s not a ton to nitpick about with either the Bobcats or the Big Red. Both could make a title push this season, and Saturday this should be one of the tighter games of the weekend. I’m picking Cornell simply because they’re at home. Cornell wins  

Rensselaer at Dartmouth     

Big Green goalies James Kruger and Cab Morris combined for a .843 save percentage in Dartmouth’s two games last weekend. That won’t do against an RPI team that has an impressive group of forward coming into their own, including junior Ryan Haggerty, who leads the country with nine goals. Still, the Engineers need to be better at playing with a lead, as the Big Green certainly have the firepower to come back. RPI wins

Union at Harvard   

The Dutchmen have been playing better than their record indicates. Harvard has plenty of talented freshman and showed a lot by coming down from a 3-0 deficit at RPI earlier this weekend. If Union can dominate in shots as it has the last two games, the Dutchmen should come away with a win. Union  wins

Clarkson at Yale   

The Golden Knights have gotten off to a hot start thanks in part to their defense. But Clarkson will have its hands full with the Bulldogs, who return plenty from last year’s national title team. The Golden Knights will need to control the puck and keep Yale from transitioning off of turnovers. Still, I’m taking Yale. Yale wins