ECAC Hockey picks: Feb. 21-22

Four games left. That doesn’t sound like much, but hey, at least everybody is guaranteed two postseason games, right? Ok then. Six games left?

All games start at 7:00.

Friday, February 21

Brown at Dartmouth
Neither the Bears nor Big Green are likely to improve their first-round status – Dartmouth is four points out of a home series with two teams to jump; Brown is in eighth place and is clinging to that middle-third for dear life. The Green were winners in three of their last four (3-1), while Brown has just one win in its last five (1-4). Surprisingly, the hosts have played better hockey on the road, so that is a bit of a conundrum when making this pick… other than that, signs are pointing to a Big Green victory. 3-2, Dartmouth.

Yale at Harvard
The MSG rematch comes at the perfect time for the streaking Crimson, 4-1-1 in their last six outings and playing strong defense with two shutouts. Yale has been playing .500 hockey for the past month (4-4), with consistently inconsistent production both offensively and defensively. I like Harvard in its annual February hot streak, 4-2.

Colgate at Princeton
The Raiders are still fighting to regain the poise and mojo they had a month ago, but Princeton is a great place to find it: The Tigers have only won twice since Christmas (2-8). Raiders roll, 5-2.

Cornell at Quinnipiac
QU may have a five-point lead on the Big Red, but make no mistake, this is a bye-seed battle about to go down in Hamden. Each squad is fighting for better positioning atop the league table, but also for a stronger PairWise ranking. The Bobcats may be a mediocre 3-3 in their last six games, but Cornell has dropped three straight and hasn’t scored three goals in a game since January. Quinnipiac is 12-2-2 at The Bank this season, and that in and of itself is a good enough reason to bet on blue and gold: 4-2 QU.

St. Lawrence at Rensselaer
RPI has seven points in five games (3-1-1) and is well above .500 at home. The Engineers are facing down an SLU side that is starting to put the season back together after a nine-game winless skid (0-8-1). This should be a strong defensive game, as neither team has surrendered much in recent weeks. A win would help either team a great deal in their respective quests to climb to a better first-round fate. I like the Engineers at home, 2-1.

Clarkson at Union
Union is 4-0-1 in its last five; Clarkson has two wins in its last eight. Big edge to the home-standing Dutchmen, 4-1.

Saturday, February 22

Yale at Dartmouth
While Dartmouth is clearly improving, I don’t see this as a game that Yale can afford to drop… and Big Green evolution aside, I still believe the Bulldogs are the better squad. Yale, 3-2.

Brown at Harvard
Tough to bet against Harvard this time of year, and Brown is practically impossible to predict, sooo… Harvard, 3-2.

Colgate at Quinnipiac
The Bobcats beat up on the Raiders in Hamilton in the fall. These are clearly two different teams than they were on November 1, but I don’t know that Colgate is playing well enough to keep up with QU this time, either. 4-2 Bobcats.

Cornell at Princeton
Brown rule: Cornell wins, 5-3.

St. Lawrence at Union
Union edged the Saints, 2-1, to close out January. A closer game than many anticipated, SLU might just have the grit to keep the Dutchmen in check… but give Bennett and Union the last change, and the Dutch may well be able to pull away from the tight-checking Saints. 4-1 Union.

Clarkson at Rensselaer
Tech-school rivalry, and with a plot of ground at stake too: Clarkson sits two points ahead of RPI as of this writing, and the Golden Knights took Round 1 of the series, 3-0 in Potsdam. Unfortunately for Clarkson, this game isn’t in Potsdam, and the golden defense is feeling rather green by the looks of it: Clarkson has given up 20 goals in five games, including six, twice. RPI with the edge, 3-2.