ECAC Hockey picks: Jan. 17-18

Overall: 43-32-7

Outside of the Beanpot next month, this weekend marks the final time ECAC teams will face a non-conference opponent in the regular season. All games are 7 p.m. unless noted.

Friday, Jan. 17

Yale at Clarkson      

Yale thrashed the Golden Knights 6-3 at home in November, and are unbeaten over their last five. I think the Bulldogs should muster enough offense to get past Clarkson. Yale wins

Colgate at Dartmouth        

Colgate has yet to lose in 2014, while Dartmouth seems to have lost any positive progress accumulated prior to the holidays.  Big Green goalie Charles Grant has been hurt by a leaky defense, and I’m not sure if Dartmouth has enough to hold off the Raiders’ offense. Colgate wins

Cornell  at Harvard     

This is Harvard’s first home ECAC weekend since November. The Crimson will host a Cornell team that hasn’t played a regular season game in 2014 after last Friday’s game against Massachusetts was cancelled due to rink issues.  Jimmy Vesey and Kyle Criscuolo have combined for 18 of Harvard’s 40 goals this season, and I’m going with the Big Red’s depth in this one. Cornell wins 

Brown at St. Lawrence     

These teams tied 3-3 in Providence earlier in the year. Since then, the Bears have trended upward, while the Saints have gone in the opposite direction. St. Lawrence will have to contain the trio of Nick Lappin, Matt Lorito, and Mark Naclerio, while Brown will need to find a way to shutdown Matt and Greg Carey, along with Jeremy Wick. The Bears duo of Tyler Steel and Marco DeFilippo have both played well in net lately, and that should be the difference. Browns win    

Merrimack at Quinnipiac          

The Warriors are averaging fewer than two goals per game, which makes wins difficult to come by on its own. But that looks like a near impossible task against a Quinnipiac team that leads the nation in shots and faceoff wins, a combination that should leave Merrimack with few chances. Quinnipiac wins

Union at New Hampshire, 7:30 pm

The Dutchmen continue their lengthy stretch away from home with two games in Durham against a Wildcats team that is 5-1 all-time against Union.  It remains to be seen if Union’s Shayne Gostisbehere will play this weekend, as Ken Schott of The Schenectady Daily Gazette reported earlier this week that the star defenseman was “day-to-day.” The addition of Gostisbehere would be a big help for Union, but the Dutchmen should have enough for the win even without him. Union wins

Saturday, Jan. 18

Brown at Clarkson     

This one is a tossup. When both teams are on, they play a tough, physical style and give opponents few scoring chances. I’ll take the home team in this one. Clarkson wins        

Cornell at Dartmouth           

If Cornell is going to avoid a repeat of last year’s second half, this is a game they need to win. I don’t see any reason why they shouldn’t. Cornell wins

Colgate at Harvard

The Raiders are unbeaten in their last five games away from Starr Rink.  Colgate’s a young team, but they appear to be coming together in the second half. These points of key if the Raiders want to be in the running for a top-four spot down the stretch. Colgate wins

Yale at St. Lawrence

On the surface, this looks like an easy win for the Bulldogs. Yale hasn’t lost in five games, while St. Lawrence is on a five-game losing streak. But the Bulldog’s penalty kill has been one of their few weaknesses this season, while the Saints can bring it on the power play. I’m calling for the upset – and the Saints to stop the skid. St. Lawrence wins

Quinnipiac at Merrimack           

If the Bobcats play like their capable of, there’s no reason why they shouldn’t complete the sweep. Quinnipiac wins

Union at New Hampshire     

I feel like I’m picking too many sweeps this weekend, but it’s hard to argue with the stretch the Dutchmen have been on of late. Union wins