ECAC Hockey picks: Dec. 6-11

Friday, Dec. 6

All games at 7pm
Harvard at Brown
What do we make of Harvard? The Crimson scored a season-high six goals in a 6-3 win at New Hampshire last Tuesday, then dropped a 2-1 flame-out at Dartmouth on Saturday. Frankly, Harvard looks allergic to offense: Every time the Crimson score a bunch, they follow it up with bupkis. Brown, on the other hand, hasn’t held an opponent below three goals since the season opener, and hasn’t scored more than twice in four outings. Trends are favoring Harvard here. 4-2 Crimson.

St. Lawrence at Clarkson
North Country clash, and I can’t wait. The Saints have fallen on hard times of late, dropping four of six (2-4)… SLU just can’t put it together, pairing offense and defense simultaneously. The Golden Knights have won three of four and boast one of the nation’s best records (10-3-1), so this weekend’s battles may truly pit one of the best team games (Clarkson) against a couple of the most dynamic individuals in the country (SLU’s Carey brothers). The Saints won’t sell it that way, but that’s the way the networks would sell it… if only they’d broadcast from Up Yonder just once. Clarkson at home, 4-1.

Quinnipiac at Rensselaer
This weekend’s QU road trip poses – in my estimation – the most engaging matchups of the weekend, outside perhaps the SLU-Clarkson contests. Both RPI on Friday and Union on Saturday are legitimate NCAA contenders, and the Bobcats are certainly shaping up as one of those as well. The Engineers are struggling lately to get on the right side of the differential, outscored 13-6 in three straight losses prior to a 5-2 win at Mercyhurst. A week off mends bumps and bruises, and allows Seth Appert & Co. to plan in depth for Quinnipiac. The Bobcats are mired in their worst stretch so far this year (a dreadful 1-1-1 over their last three!), but let’s not forget the 12-0-1 streak the ‘Cats put together prior. Recent history favors QU, but after the bye week, nothing would surprise me on Friday in Troy. 3-2 Bobcats.

Princeton at Union
The Tigers haven’t held a foe to two goals since October, and only twice all year. They’re decimated by injuries, running a short bench, and playing skaters out of position. Union has won five straight, scoring – respectively – 3, 4, 4, 4, and 5 goals in those victories. Advantage Union. 5-2.

Dartmouth at Yale
The Big Green secured their first win of the year last weekend, outlasting Harvard, 2-1. That’s not a lot of goals, and it was the first time all season that an opponent failed to score at least three times. I’d put money on Yale scoring at least three times: The Bulldogs have done it in eight of their 10 games this year (6-2-2). 4-2 Yale.

Saturday, Dec. 7

Princeton at Rensselaer 4pm
RPI hasn’t demonstrated the lights-out potential that many of us predicted during the offseason, but the Engineers are nonetheless in degrees better shape than Princeton at this point in the season. See aforementioned notes about Princeton to understand why. 4-2 RPI.

Dartmouth at Brown 7pm
This pits two teams with aspirations beyond their records, in Providence. I like Bruno’s tenacity, and the way both sides are playing, I’d say the talent levels are within spitting distance of each other. Home ice wins out, in a proverbial toss-up like this. 3-2 Bears.

Clarkson at St. Lawrence 7pm
Rivalry game… There’s no new evidence or data to pick from since writing Friday’s pick, so I’ll side with SLU on the rebound, 3-2.

Quinnipiac at Union 7pm
The Bobcats beat the Dutchmen thrice last year, including the 5-1 whupping in the East Regional Final. Union will likely be rolling in hot, in front of the home fans, and I’m going to be honest: I’m taking emotion over data for this one. I like the Dutchmen to exact a pound of revenge from the Q this weekend. 5-2 Union.

Harvard at Yale 7pm
Rivalry! There’s no question that Yale is the better team, playing better hockey, and Ingalls never rocks the way it does when the Crimson come to town. 5-1 Bulldogs in crowd-pleaser.

Colgate at Cornell 7pm
Each team’s lone game this weekend, the Big Red and Raiders are enjoying modest rolls. The Red are 4-1 in their last five; Colgate, 5-2 in their last seven. Cornell took three points from the ‘Gate last year, and are 4-1 at Lynah this season. Colgate has been giving up more goals than Don Vaughan would like, and Cornell’s D has been pretty solid… signs point to a Big Red win. 4-3 Cornell.

Wednesday, Dec. 11

Dartmouth at Union 7pm
I hate making picks without a lot of information, so perhaps I should wax poetic on the importance of diction and the devaluation of a nuanced appreciation for connotation in modern academia… or not? 4-1 U.