ECAC Hockey picks: Jan. 10-11

Friday, January 10

all games at 7:00

Rensselaer at Princeton
This has the makings of a low-scoring affair: RPI hasn’t scored three goals in four games; Princeton, six. That said, the last time the Engineers mustered more than two scores, it was in a 5-2 home win over the Tigers. Princeton hopes the strong defense it exhibited in British Columbia (two goals against in two games) will carry over to NCAA action, but I’m leaning toward RPI in this one. 4-2 ‘Tute.

Union at Quinnipiac
The Game of the Week pits the first-place Dutchmen – owning the longest unbeaten streak (10 games) in the nation – against Quinnipiac, which leads the country in wins (15, tied with Ferris State). Union hasn’t played a game in nearly a month, while QU is already 2-0-2 since Christmas. Will Union’s rust give the Bobcats the edge, or will its fresh legs carry the day? One thing to look for: QU and Union lead the conference in third-period scoring (16 and 15, respectively). I’m taking QU on revenge alone, as this one could be a real toss-up. A real entertaining toss-up, but a coin flip nonetheless. 4-3 Bobcats.

Merrimack at Clarkson
I admit, I’m wondering how accurate my post-break analysis of Clarkson will be, though I don’t expect the Knights to regress against Merrimack… The Warriors are averaging fewer than two goals a game, and have only managed three or more four times (thrice against Atlantic Hockey opponents). Golden Knights defend Cheel, 4-1.

Massachusetts at Cornell
UMass is a bottom-third team in scoring and team defense, and is 3-10-1 on the road. This is Cornell’s only game of the weekend, and Lynah will be rocking as usual. This would be a deflating loss for the Big Red, but not one I’m predicting. 4-2 Red.

Saturday, January 11

Union at Princeton 4:00
Despite the marquee matchup on Friday, I don’t see Union letting down its guard enough to be caught by surprise in the Garden State. 3-1 Dutch.

Boston College at Brown 5:00
Much respect to BC for scheduling this meeting, as Bruno has had a hard time drawing major programs to Providence for a while now. Hopefully Brown and coach Brendan Whittet’s anywhere, anytime mentality has begun earning enough respect among his colleagues that we will see more of these visits from other top teams in the future. That said, BC is the favorite, and Bruno will have all it can handle at Meehan on Saturday. 4-1 Eagles.

Dartmouth vs New Hampshire 5:00 Verizon Wireless Arena; Manchester, N.H.
Dartmouth just beat BU on the road… yet has only three wins on the season. A sign of a turnaround, or simply a dead-cat bounce? (I’ve always loved that phrase.) Until the Green start establishing some kind of offensive or defensive trend, I’ll have a hard time looking past their record… Wildcats, 4-3.

Rensselaer at Quinnipiac 7:00
I’m picking the Bobcats in this one – I’ll give that away up front – but if RPI hopes to finish the season resembling even a shadow of their preseason expectations (yes, I am aware that Jason Kasdorf is a big missing piece), the Engineers have to start winning now. QU, 4-2.

Merrimack at Clarkson 7:00
Why would my predictions change with the day? These teams do not strike me as inhabiting the same plateau… ‘Tech, 3-1.

Vermont at Colgate 7:00
Time to see what the Raiders are made of. Vermont is Colgate’s first opponent since it’s stunning Mariucci Classic championship, and the Catamounts are no walkover. The Cats are 8-1-2 since mid-November, including wins over St. Lawrence (twice) and Clarkson and ties against Yale and Dartmouth. Colgate is 3-7 at home this year, and 1-5 against out-of-conference visitors. Time to put up or shut up. 3-2 Catamounts, tentatively.

Yale vs Harvard 8:00 Madison Square Garden; New York, N.Y.
Bright, Ingalls, MSG or the moon, Yale is the better team than Harvard. The Crimson scored a goalie-assisted (shots were 54-27 Yale) draw in New Haven in the first week of December, and frankly, Harvard’s only impressive win this season (5-7-3) was a 6-3 win over horrendously streaky New Hampshire… in which the Crimson were out-shot 36-21. Bulldogs 4-2.