ECAC Hockey picks: Nov. 8-12

Friday, November 8

Clarkson at Dartmouth 7:00
The Big Green have surrendered 22 goals in four games. Clarkson has given up 21 goals in 10 games. This is gut-check time for Dartmouth, picked to finish in the middle of the pack in the preseason polls, but rapidly plummeting into the basement. Tough to pick against Clarkson here: 5-2 Knights.

St. Lawrence at Harvard 7:00
The Crimson are still a work-in-progress, but three points against preseason favorite Rensselaer are a good start. SLU has jumped out to a 4-2-2 start and is looking to build on a pair of road ties last weekend at Yale and Brown. If Harvard can keep the Carey brothers from doing too much damage, the hosts are in good shape… but with nine combined goals and 23 points in eight games, that’s easier said than done. 3-2 Saints.

Yale at Princeton 7:00
To put it simply, Yale appears to be a class above Princeton at this point. The Bulldogs have already beaten the Tigers once in ‘Jersey, and Princeton’s offense is hard-pressed to score more than two goals in a night so far. All signs point to Blue, 4-1.

Brown at Quinnipiac 7:00
Just as I was about to type “5-3 QU” and leave it at that, I remembered that Brown is a Bobcat brutalizer: Quinnipiac never rolls Bruno, and this tilt should be another tooth-and-nail doozy. That said, tough to ignore QU’s prodigious roll right now, and Consecutive Win No. 9 looks more likely than not. Let’s cut that prediction to 3-2, Bobcats.

Cornell at Rensselaer 7:00
Big test for RPI this weekend, hosting the Big Red and Raiders without starting goalie Jason Kasdorf. The Engineers haven’t exploded onto the national scene as some prognosticators had hoped/expected, but 5-2-1 with twice as many goals scored as surrendered is nothing to scoff at. Cornell will be looking for a bounce-back performance on offense after being blanked at home by QU last weekend, but the Engineers are a pretty stingy team in their own end. Should be tight and low-scoring… feels like a 2-1 or 3-2 game to me. Let’s say 2-1, RPI.

Colgate at Union 7:00
After a rough start, Union hit the reset button before entering ECAC action. The Dutchmen promptly snuffed Dartmouth and Harvard on the road, and now prepare for a middling Raiders club that has only defeated equally unimpressive RIT and Princeton in the last month (2-4-1). Messa has been a tough place to play in recent years, and Union is showing signs of getting its season back on track. Colgate has offered no indication of upset capability yet, so why should I pick ’em? 4-2 Dutch.

Saturday, November 9

Brown at Princeton 4:00
Brown’s bite, claw and scratch approach versus Princeton’s potential early-season desperation… this has the feel of a tight, low-scoring, heavy-hitting affair. This is the second game in five days for both teams, and it’s one of those uncomfortable afternoon tilts following a night game and – for Brown – a two- (or more) hour bus ride. You know what? I’m feeling frisky; here’s to ECAC unpredictability: 3-2 Tigers.

St. Lawrence at Dartmouth 7:00
It’s too early to enact The Brown Rule (see Colgate @ SLU, Nov. 6), but if Dartmouth can’t stop the goals-against bleeding in a hurry, it might be in for a looooong, Brown Rule-ian winter. 4-2 SLU.

Clarkson at Harvard 7:00
‘Tech is 5-5-3 at Bright Hockey Center since the 2000-01 season, and it’s playing as though it might go to 6-5-3. Freshman goalie Steve Perry and sophomore Greg Lewis have nearly identical stats this year, each boasting .925 save percentages and GAA’s within a fraction of 2.00 in equal playing time. Harvard goalie Raphael Girard has pitched two shutouts in two games… but if the pattern holds, it will be recently returned junior Steve Michalek’s turn in net, and his GAA is floating near 3. Should be a good defensive battle all the same, though I like Clarkson’s momentum at the moment. 3-2 Knights.

Yale at Quinnipiac 7:00
The much-anticipated title rematch (or is it the league tournament consolation rematch?) has been sold out for as long as it has been on sale. QU has nine games under its belt, to Yale’s four. Bobcats goalie Michael Garteig is Rand Pecknold’s man, while Keith Allain is still rotating his freshmen for the time being. The QU offense is on a tear, and its defense is pretty stout to boot. I love this game, I love this matchup, but I think the Bobcats have a clear edge (on paper)… 4-2 Q.

Colgate at Rensselaer 7:00
This looks like a mis-match, so why logic-ificate ourselves into knots? 4-1 Engineers.

Cornell at Union 7:00
Good old-fashioned ECAC hockey game at an old-fashioned rink between two solid, no-nonsense teams. The facet that catches my eye in this matchup is Cornell’s goal-happy special teams: The Big Red score on nearly a third of their power plays, but also give up about a goal for every five penalties taken. Union’s PK is no better; this game may well hinge on who can play the cleanest game. 4-3 Union.

Tuesday, November 12

UMass-Lowell at Princeton 7:00
The RiverHawks have won four straight after a rough start to the season, and only play one game this weekend. Princeton is at home, but look ill-prepared to overcome UML’s increasingly stalwart defense. The Tigers will have to dig deep for three or more goals to take this one. 3-1 UML.

Brown at New Hampshire 7:00
UNH is a dismal 0-5-1 in its last six games, and Brown is no cupcake. In fact, Bruno slapped the Wildcats around in Durham two years ago, 5-2. Repeat the result? Why not! The Bears look far more stable than the Wildcats at this point in time. 4-2 Bears.