ECAC Hockey picks: Dec. 13-15

Overall: 34-23-3

Not a ton of games this weekend, as most teams have concluded their schedules for the first semester.

Here’s a look at the final weekend of play prior to the holiday break. All games start at 7 p.m. unless noted.

Friday, Dec. 13

Denver at Rensselaer

There’s plenty of connections between these teams. Denver head coach Jim Montgomery was an assistant at RPI from 2006-10, while  RPI head coach and former Denver assistant Seth Appert got his first win as Engineers’ head coach against the Pioneers on Oct. 20, 2006. That’s the only highlight for RPI in the all-time series between the teams, as the Engineers are 1-11 against Denver, their worst mark against any Division I school. On the ice, it should be a good matchup between RPI’s high-powered offense led by Ryan Haggerty and Brocks Higgs, and Denver’s stingy defense, anchored by senior goalie Sam Brittain (.944 save percentage). Denver might not be lighting up the scoreboard this season, but RPI will need to avoid getting complacent with the lead, something they’ve done at times this season. I’m taking the Pioneers, but a couple goals by Haggerty could easily prove me wrong. Denver wins

Union at St. Cloud State, 8:37 p.m. ET The Dutchmen (eight) and the Huskies (seven) own two of the three longest active unbeaten streaks in the country. Union hasn’t been perfect during that stretch, but it’s hard to argue with the results not only during the streak, but since the end of October. Both teams have gotten it done in different ways: Union bring the scoring punch, while St. Cloud has allowed the fewest goals per-game in the nation. The red-hot Huskies are “only” 3-1-2 at home compared  to 8-0 on the road, but it’s hard to pick against them, even as well at the Dutchmen have played lately. St. Cloud wins

Saturday, Dec. 14

Massachusetts at Colgate, 4 p.m.

The Raiders have had a fairly tough out-of-conference schedule, but have been pretty solid in conference play, despite rotating Charlie Finn, Spencer Finney, and Eric Mihalik in net. Finney and Mihalik have seen most of the playing time lately, with Finney coming on strong recently, but Mihalik having the better overall season. Regardless of who is in net, Colgate shouldn’t have too much trouble with the Minutemen after sweeping them in Amherst last season. UMass has struggled to score and the Minutmen also allow 3.5 goals per game. Colgate’s top two lines should get plenty of chances, but now might be a good time to try and get some production from the rest of the lineup. Colgate wins

Denver at Rensselaer

RPI is 7-1 on Saturdays this season, thanks to 12 goals by Ryan Haggerty. I’m not picking against that trend.  Rensselaer wins

St. Lawrence at Vermont

Two things stand out to me about this game. First, who will win the matchup between the Saints’ top-
ranked power play and the Catamounts’ fifth-ranked penalty kill? Second, can St. Lawrence’s defense hold? The Saints are giving up 3.61 goals per game, while Vermont hasn’t lit it up on the scoreboard, but has been solid defensively. I’ll take the better defense in this matchup. Vermont wins

Union at St. Cloud State, 8:07 p.m. ET

One night after having their unbeaten streak snapped, look for the Dutchmen to return the favor to the Huskies, and head into the break with a win. Union wins

Sunday, Dec. 15

Massachusetts at Colgate, 2 p.m.

I don’t see any reason why the Raiders shouldn’t complete the sweep. Colgate wins