ECAC Hockey picks: Oct. 31 – Nov. 2

Season record: 4-9

The schedule expands a bit this weekend, with the Ivy League teams playing their season openers and Union and Rensselaer facing off in the first conference game of the year.

All games are 7 p.m. unless noted

Union at Rensselaer

It’s hard to forget what happened the last time these teams met.  But don’t count on any shenanigans this time around, and it will be nice to see the focus return to the game  on the ice in one of the league’s better rivalries.

RPI is mired in a five-game losing skid while Union had its unbeaten streak snapped last weekend against St. Cloud. Dutchmen coach Rick Bennett and his players have said Union needs to play better, but I think they’ll have enough against RPI. Union wins

Mercyhurst at Colgate, 7:05 p.m.

The Raiders needed a pair of late rallies to sweep Sacred Heart on the road last week. Mercyhurst has scored 12 goals in four games, but allowed 14. Colgate’s deep offense should be able to take advantage of the Lakers’ subpar defense. Colgate wins

Omaha at Cornell

One of the downsides of hockey at the Ivy schools is later start to the season. Omaha is 3-1 with an impressive 15 goals thus far, while Cornell opens the regular season following a pair of 3-2 exhibition wins. It will be interesting to see who start in goal for the Big Red – sophomore Mitch Gilliam or freshman Hayden Stewart. Either one will have their hands full with what looks to be a potent Mavericks team in the early going. Omaha wins

Clarkson at St. Lawrence

The North Country matchup might be neck-in-neck with Yale/Harvard and Union/RPI as the conference’s top rivalry. Clarkson has struggled offensively thus far, and they’ll face a hot goalie in Saints rookie Kyle Hayton. This non-conference matchup should go to St. Lawrence. St. Lawrence wins

Yale vs. Princeton (Liberty Invitational, Newark NJ)

Head coach Ron Fogarty’s first game at Princeton is against the 2013 national champions. The Tigers will have the benefit of being on even footing with Yale in terms of games played, but the Bulldogs should be stingy this year and Princeton doesn’t have a ton of big names on offense. Check back Sunday for updated picks for the championship and third-place game. Yale wins

Brown at Army

Keep an eye on the Bears this year. Brown returns the trio of Mark Naclerio, Matt Larito and Nick Lappin, and adds talented freshman Tyler Bird, Max Willman and Sam Lafferty.  Army has been up-and-down thus far (2-3-1). Brown wins

Saturday, Nov. 1

Northeastern at Quinnipiac

Northeastern gives up a large number of shots, while the Bobcats are one of the most trigger-happy teams in the nation. Quinnipiac hasn’t been great this season, but I think they’ll possess the puck enough for the win. Quinnipiac wins

Rensselaer at Union      

I’m tempted to call a split, but the Dutchmen should complete the sweep. Union wins

Mercyhurst at Colgate, 7:05 p.m.

Colgate completes the sweep, continuing its best start since the 2004-05 team. Colgate wins

St. Lawrence at Clarkson

I’ll throw a dart (isn’t that what these picks really boil down to?) and predict a rebound at home for the Golden Knights. Clarkson wins

Omaha at Cornell

No way the Big Red get swept at home. Cornell wins

Dartmouth at Harvard, 7:30

The newly renovated Bright-Landry Hockey Center opens Saturday against the Big Green, Harvard’s travel partner. Based on last year, I like Dartmouth’s goaltending a little better than the Crimsons’, although if Harvard speed ever translates into goals, look out. Dartmouth wins

Sunday, Nov. 2

Merrimack vs. Princeton, 1 p.m. (Liberty Invitational third-place game)

The Tigers tied Yale 2-2 Friday, but the Bulldogs advanced to the championship game via a shootout. Freshmen David Hallisey and Erik Robinson scored for Princeton, while goalie Colton Phinney made 45 saves. I think first-year head coach Ron Fogarty gets his first win at Princeton. Princeton wins

Connecticut vs. Yale, 4 p.m. (Liberty Invitational championship)

Yale is 10-0 all-time against their in-state rivals, with the last meeting coming in 2011. Both teams advanced to the championship game via a shootout, with freshman Ryan Hitchcock scoring the game-winner for the Bulldogs. Yale played four freshman Friday night, but should have enough experience throughout the lineup and in goal to win the title. Yale wins


Northeastern at Quinnipiac, 4 p.m.

Huskies rebound for a split in what should be a high-scoring weekend. Northeastern wins