ECAC Hockey picks: Nov. 22-27

Friday, November 22

Yale at Colgate
This is suddenly shaping up as the most compelling game of the weekend. Yale (2-0-2) and QU (5-0-1) are the only remaining unbeatens in league play, but the Raiders (4-2-0) are making an early run up the ladder and can establish some late-autumn street cred with a take-down of the champs. The Bulldogs better have some bite in their game, having played only once in the last two weeks (Saturday’s 5-1 win over Sacred Heart). This game had better be a sell-out, Raiders fans: The last time a defending national championship team played in Hamilton was [insert long-ago date here]. Not this millenium, in any case. I’m taking Yale, but with hesitation: 3-2 Bulldogs.

Brown at Cornell
The Big Red return home after a disappointing 1-2-1 road swing, hoping to re-discover some of its recently missing offense. Cornell scored only 10 goals in its last five games, and five of those were at St. Lawrence last Saturday. Brown is still a bit of an unknown, and it’s borderline stupid to predict anything other than a close game when Bruno is involved… especially when it’s an Ivy League affair. In the end, something’s got to give: Brown is struggling to hold opponents under three goals; Cornell is battling to bury that many. Picking a 3-3 tie is weak, so let’s say 3-2 Cornell.

Quinnipiac at Princeton
There is really no good reason to pick against QU right now, especially when it’s Princeton on the docket… the Tigers’ only wins this year have come against Dartmouth, and both of those were in the Garden State. 5-2 Bobcats.

Rensselaer at Mercyhurst
The Lakers are only 1-5-1 outside Atlantic Hockey, but are 3-1 at home overall, and Rensselaer is in no position to overlook any opponent following last week’s home-and-home sweep against Union. RPI is loaded with talent and experience, and Scott Diebold is playing well as the No. 1 following Jason Kasdorf’s (potentially) season-ending injury. This is wake-up time for the Engineers, who have yet to play like the league’s top team that some preseason polls predicted. 4-2 RPI.

St. Lawrence at RIT
RIT is 1-6-2 this year, and 0-3 at home. These games are SLU’s, should the Saints step up and take them. 4-1 Saints.

Saturday, November 23

Brown at Colgate
Raiders will either be rolling, or looking to rebound come Saturday night. Either way, I like their odds at Starr. 3-2 ‘Gate.

Yale at Cornell
Another marquee game, Yale currently appears to be in better shape than the Red. Cornell and goalie Andy Iles have played eight games, allowing either two or three goals in all eight, but as previously stated, the offense has yet to find a groove. Yale’s goaltending has been better, its offense has been more reliable, and that will be a tough match-up for the home side. 4-3 Blue.

Princeton at Quinnipiac
Round 2 should look a lot like Round 1… if not worse, since we’re in Hamden. 5-2 QU.

Rensselaer at Mercyhurst
Again, if RPI is the team many of us thought it would be, now is the time to open the throttle. 4-2 Engineers.

St. Lawrence at RIT
Amazing how many sweeps I’m predicting this weekend, but I’m being honest. Given what we’ve seen on the ice, SLU should take both games in a relatively dominant manner. 4-2 SLU.

Tuesday, November 26

Niagara at Cornell
The Purple Eagles are 0-5 outside Atlantic Hockey and 0-5-1 away from home. This is another on-paper mismatch, and paper’s all we’ve got to go on right now. 5-2 Big Red.

Harvard at New Hampshire
Harvard has shown flashes of talent and proficiency, but boy was that Boston College loss a beat-down. UNH is rising at the same moment that Harvard is tumbling… 4-1 Wildcats.

Wednesday, November 27

Providence at Quinnipiac
One of the best games in the nation over the next two weeks pits two top-five teams in Hamden on the day before Thanksgiving. The Friars are 9-1-1 entering this weekend; QU, 11-1-1. PC goalie Jon Gillies holds an otherworldly .949 save rate and a 1.59 GAA; QU’s Michael Garteig, .924/1.53. This is going to be a heavy-hitting, low-scoring, size-em-up-and-knock-em-down kinda game. I’m salivating already. 2-1 Bobcats in a thriller.