Record to date: 13-6-1
Friday, Nov. 7
Cornell @ Princeton
An interesting opening league match for each team: Each squad is hoping to discover some offense to support a strong commitment to team D. The Big Red mustered just one goal apiece in a loss and draw against Omaha in Ithaca last weekend; the Tigers scored three total in a tie against Yale and a loss versus Merrimack. I’m tagging Cornell for the win, edging Princeton on both talent and experience.
Colgate @ Quinnipiac
Great opportunity for each team here. QU’s record is “officially” 3-1-1 at home, but the lone loss actually took place in Bridgeport against Connecticut. The TD Bank Sports Center will be hopping for the Raiders, who aim to shake off a stunning 2-1 home loss to Mercyhurst. Colgate hasn’t allowed more than two goals in a game in nearly a month, while the Bobcats are averaging over three per. As they say, something’s gotta give… I like Colgate to make a bounce-back statement.
Harvard @ Rensselaer
The Crimson have not won in Troy since the first week of 2007, and RPI is nothing if not energized following last weekend’s astounding sweep of Route 7 rival Union. Kasdorf and the Engineers FTW.
Dartmouth @ Union
Quite frankly, I don’t see Union losing a shift this weekend, much less a game. Not after last weekend.
Clarkson @ Yale
The Knights aren’t so golden lately, winless in six (0-4-2) and allowing three goals a game over that stretch. The latter is not a good sign for a team that expected to build on a foundation of stalwart team defense. Yale played to positive reviews in Newark last weekend, winning the Liberty Hockey Invitational with wins over Princeton (in a shootout) and Connecticut. It’s the home opener for the Bulldogs as well, where the Blue are 80-29-7 (50-20-7) since the 2007-08 season. Edge: Yale.
St. Lawrence @ Brown 7:30
Bruno is a popular dark-horse pick this season, for good reason. Six seniors guide a team that performed respectably for stretches last year, and it will be hard to look away when the likes of Lappin, Naclerio, and Lorito are on the ice. That said, a 4-2 win over Army doesn’t say much, so we’ll see what the Bears bring to the table against SLU. The Saints are playing perfectly mediocre hockey so far by failing to sweep or get swept in any of their four weekends’ worth of action. They have allowed three or more goals thrice, but also have two shutouts; they’ve scored four in a game, and five, and 10, but also one, and two… four times. So what I’m trying to say is, who knows? I’m sure SLU will muster a point or two this weekend, but I like Brown’s odds Friday.
Saturday, Nov. 8
Clarkson @ Brown
While Brown may not field as deep a roster as Yale, the Bears nonetheless possess enough firepower to challenge the already-challenged Golden Knights. I don’t see this weekend ending well for Clarkson: Brown wins.
Colgate @ Princeton
This is a mismatch, and the only way Princeton ekes out a point is through ironclad goaltending and a borderline lunatic commitment to defense and shot-blocking. ‘Gate wins.
Cornell @ Quinnipiac
Nothing better than a big road crowd in a lively home building. These programs have such a great history already, and that’s saying something when one of those programs is Cornell: While Cornell has owned QU during nine years of regular-season meetings (12-5-1, including just one Bobcats sweep), Quinnipiac has terminated Cornell’s ECAC tournament aspirations twice in three postseason series. It would appear that Cornell has the edge again this season, except that the Big Red have yet to demonstrate the offensive capability that will likely be necessary to beat the Bobcats in Hamden. I’ll take the hosts, in a mild upset.
Dartmouth @ Rensselaer
Dartmouth comes into the season with so much experience, yet still so many questions… mainly, what’s experience worth if the only thing the roster has experienced is lousy? RPI is an utter unknown right now despite its eight games, so I haven’t the faintest idea which teams will show up at the HFH Saturday night. So… hosts? RPI wins… I guess?
Harvard @ Union
The Crimson haven’t beaten Union in four years (0-7-1), making the Capital District a decidedly unfriendly road trip for the Cambridge club. See note above re. Union and losing this weekend. UC wins.
St. Lawrence @ Yale
The Bulldogs have more or less had the Saints’ number of late, defeating SLU in two playoff series and taking 10 of 16 regular-season points (4-2-2) since the 2010-11 season. Time to see if Kyle Hayton is (still) the real deal against Yale’s young, high-energy forwards. ‘Dogs take this one.
Tuesday, Nov. 11
Harvard @ Boston College
Ugh, another one of these? Harvard hasn’t beaten (man, that sentence-starter is getting old) the Eagles in eight tries dating back to 2007, and most of those losses haven’t been close. I’m as optimistic about Harvard as the next Cantabrigian, but there’s no way I’m picking BC to drop this one. Eagles win.