ECAC Hockey picks: Jan. 3-8

Overall: 35-28-4

The end of this weekend could see a third ECAC team take home a tournament title after the league was shutout in last year’s holiday tournaments. Colgate and Rensselaer are each taking part in the Mariucci Classic, and will look to join Cornell and Quinnipiac with tournament wins.  All games are 7 p.m., unless noted.

Friday, Jan. 3

Ferris State vs. Rensselaer (Mariucci Classic), 5:07 p.m.

The Engineers return from an 18-day layoff to face the hottest team in the country in Ferris State. The Bulldogs enter the opener of the Mariucci Classic on a 15-game unbeaten streak, although their only two losses of the season have come to ECAC teams (St. Lawrence and Colgate).  RPI head coach and former Ferris State goalie Seth Appert and the Engineers opened last season with a win and a tie versus Ferris State in Troy, but the Bulldogs are on some kind of run right now. Ferris State wins

Maine at Quinnipiac

If anyone knows how to take down the Bobcats, its Maine head coach Red Gendron, who was an assistant at Yale last season when the Bulldogs blanked Quinnipiac in the national title game.  This is the third straight ECAC team that Maine will face after beating Princeton and losing to Cornell in a shootout in the Florida College Classic.  The Bobcats were utterly dominant in Monday’s win over Sacred Heart, and are 7-1-2 at home, while the Black Bears have yet to win at non-neutral site on the road. This game will be televised on New England Sports Network. Quinnipiac wins

Dartmouth at Vermont, 7:05 p.m.

The Big Green showed some signs of a defensive turnaround prior to the holiday break, but any progress on the backend evaporated after Dartmouth blew a late 8-4 lead against Northeastern Monday, settling for an 8-8 tie. Vermont doesn’t standout in one particular area, but the Catamounts have been very solid this season and beat Clarkson last weekend. Vermont wins

Clarkson at Massachusetts-Lowell

This is the second of three straight meetings between these teams, with the River Hawks taking game one by a 3-1 score. That setback marked the first time the Golden Knights have had back-to-back losses this season.  If Clarkson is to avoid three straight losses, they’ll have to do so against UMass-Lowell team they haven’t beaten since 1999. UMass-Lowell wins

Colgate at Minnesota, (Mariucci Classic), 8:07 p.m.

Talk about easing back into things. The Raiders start the second half against No. 1 Minnesota, the host of the Mariucci Classic and a team that is 6-0 all-time against Colgate. The Raiders should be in contention for home ice in the ECAC playoffs, but it’s hard to pick against Minnesota here. Minnesota wins

 Brown at Denver, 9:37 p.m.

It’s been just under a month since the Bears last played, but Brown went into the break following a two-game sweep of Harvard and Dartmouth. This is the first game between Denver and Brown since the 1994-95 season. The Pioneers ended the first half with a sweep at RPI, a team that plays a somewhat similar physical style to the Bears.  This game will be televised on DIRECTV Channel 683. Denver wins

Saturday, Jan. 4

Clarkson at Massachusetts-Lowell, 4 p.m.

A loss to the River Hawks would make it four in a row for the Golden Knights, who lost three games during the entire first half. I don’t think that will happen, though. Clarkson wins

Rensselaer vs. Colgate (Mariucci Classic), 5:07 p.m.  

If my predictions from Friday hold, these two New York teams will be meeting in the Midwest in the Mariucci Classic consolation game. I think the Engineers are playing a more complete game right now, which gives them the edge. Rensselaer wins

Boston University at Harvard, 7:30 p.m.

It was almost a year ago that a slumping Crimson team beat the Terriers 6-5 in overtime after trailing in the third period. If Harvard is to beat the Terriers again, I think it will come on the strength of a strong goaltending performance from either Raphael Girard or Steve Michalek.  Harvard wins

Yale at Vermont, 7:05 p.m.

This is the first of five straight games away from Ingalls Rink for the Bulldogs. The return of forwards Anthony Day and Jesse Root from injury is a big lift for Yale, and the Bulldogs should have enough offense and goaltending from Alex Lyon to take down the Catamounts. Yale wins

Brown at Colorado College, 9:07 p.m.

The Bears will face an unfamiliar opponent for the second night in a row, as this is Brown’s first time seeing the Tigers since 1976-77. Colorado College is having a miserable season, so this should be a win for the Bears. Brown wins

Tuesday, Jan. 7

Quinnipiac at Harvard

Like I said above, the Crimson have the goaltending to steal a win. But the Bobcats simply possess the puck too much, resulting in lopsided shot totals most games. Quinnipiac wins

Vermont at St. Lawrence

The Saints ended the first half with a 5-1 loss to the Catamounts on Dec. 14. Once again, St. Lawrence has no problem scoring, but will need to keep its opponents off the board if they want a shot at winning. Vermont wins

Wednesday, Jan. 8

Dartmouth at Boston University

Neither of these teams is exactly lighting it up right now, so I’ll take the home team in this matchup. Boston University wins