ECAC Hockey picks: Nov. 21-25

My prediction record took a massive hit two weeks ago, and now stands at 16-14-3. Yeow.

Friday, November 21

Quinnipiac at Clarkson
In case you missed it, the Q-Cats are red hot and rolling with nine goals allowed in six straight wins and a 4-0 record in conference. Clarkson, meanwhile, has but one win since mid-October (1-5-4) and despite serviceable team defense (13 goals against in its last six games), the offense has been sputtering badly (nine goals for in that stretch). While the roadie is by no means an easy one for Quinnipiac, Cheel Arena simply isn’t paying the dividends it once did: Clarkson is 0-3-1 in Potsdam this fall. QU takes it.

Brown at Colgate
The Bears are falling face-first of late, being outscored 19-5 in four straight losses. Colgate is 8-3-1 overall and while the Raiders may not be annihilating all comers, the results and statistics suggest a viable postseason contender. Look at it this way: The Raiders have scored five goals more times (thrice) than it has allowed three (twice). That’s a fun fact. Colgate wins.

Yale at Cornell
With seven goals in six games, the Big Red are anything but imposing right now, and Yale isn’t in a generous mood. The Bulldogs are playing stingy hockey, giving up under two goals and 30 shots a game en route to a 3-1-2 record. Lynah’s ticketholders better indeed be faithful, because the learning curve is getting steeper by the week for Cornell. The Blue prevail.

Princeton at St. Lawrence
Boy, Princeton’s 2-1 squeaker over Cornell sure seems like it was ages ago, doesn’t it? The Tigers have gone toothless since then, and indeed appear to have been declawed as well: Princeton is on the wrong end of a 21-6 season aggregate score, and the longest road trip in the conference isn’t likely to perk up these cats. The Saints are 4-1-1 in their last six with four four-plus-goal games and two shutouts. I like SLU’s odds here. Saints win.

Bentley at Harvard
Don’t sleep on Bentley: The Falcons’ power play is downright ostentatious, at 36 percent. Bentley scores a lot (40 goals in 11 games), but gives up a significant number as well (31 against, including SIX at home to Sacred Heart). Harvard is feeling its oats this year, doubling up the competition offensively (24-12 on the year) and boasting big, years-in-the-making wins at Boston College and Rensselaer. I think this matchup favors Harvard, which seems a bit more likely to shut down Bentley’s high-flying offense than vice-versa. Crimson take it.

Saturday, November 22

Princeton at Clarkson
Some games are tough to pick because of the participating teams’ matching strengths. This is not one of those games. The Knights and Tigers are salivating for a win to break up a couple tough skids, and this game should be considered a prime opportunity to do so. Who will salvage the weekend with a couple points? I’m picking Clarkson, if only for the home-ice edge (which, as aforementioned, barely exists so far this autumn). Tech wins.

Yale at Colgate
This could be a statement game for the up-and-coming Bulldogs, but it also represents one of “those game” that Colgate is expected to win if the Raiders truly hope to fulfill their national-contender aspirations. Each team has been winning on the strength of superb defense and goaltending (each team’s No. 1 goalie boasts a save percentage between .930 and .940), but the Raiders’ power play has been a few percentage points better… and in a tight game like this, the PP could make all the difference. Colgate triumphs.

Brown at Cornell
This is a game that Cornell should win, and one about which the Big Red should become quite despondent if they lose. Good year or bad, the state that Brown is in should not allow for excuses. Cornell wins.

Quinnipiac at St. Lawrence
Interesting, interesting… a sizzling but fairly inexperienced visitor playing at a respectably successful, long-distance host. An SLU win would not surprise me at all, but I am not in the mood to bet against QU, given the way the Bobcats have been playing. ‘Cats win.

Tuesday, November 25

Harvard at Boston University
The Crimson already upset Boston College on the road; do they have another Beantown beatdown in ’em? (Side note, and pop quiz: How many Division 1 teams play within Boston’s actual city limits? Answer at the end.) BC is having an off year so far, but BU has bounced back from an utterly forgettable 2013-14 campaign with… oh heck with it, Jack Eichel. There, I said what had to be said. Terriers trump Harvard on Tuesday.

Rensselaer at New Hampshire
So which team is it, Engineers? Is it the shut-down, opportunistic squad that swept Union and edged Dartmouth and Princeton, or is it the anemic, goal-starved stick-stranglers who only managed two goals and 47 shots combined against Quinnipiac and Connecticut? It would appear that the defense and goaltending are sorting themselves out into something resembling progress, but the offense is still more likely to get blanked (it’s already happened four times) than score thrice or more (three times). Meanwhile, UNH is playing its own entertaining brand of bipolar hockey, scoring in bunches against weaker foes but feeling a bit suffocated against quality opposition. So really, both of you… which teams are going to take the ice on Tuesday? I’ll give UNH the home-ice edge, because otherwise, I haven’t the foggiest.

By the way, the answer is four: BU and Northeastern are the obvious two, but Harvard and BC technically play within city limits as well even though the main campi (campuses?) are in Cambridge and Newton, respectively. People often forget about Bentley too, but the Falcons play in Watertown, and the campus is in Waltham.