12 Princeton at 5 Dartmouth
Princeton did not win a single game outside of Hobey Baker Rink this season, going 0-10-1 on the road in league play and 0-12-2 away from home overall. The Tigers only scored three goals or more three times all season, and only once in 2015 (in a 4-1 win – at home, of course – over Army). Meanwhile, the Big Green are 9-2-1 in their last dozen outings, only losing to ECAC top-fours Colgate and St. Lawrence. Dartmouth scored 38 goals in its last 11 games; Princeton, 15… including the Army win.
Prediction: Dartmouth sweeps.
11 Brown at 6 Harvard
Brown has been riding a well-documented late-season surge, going 4-1-2 over its last seven and outscoring foes 20-14. Harvard, of course, is just 5-10-1 in 2015, but finished a mediocre 3-3-1. Some are picking this as the most intriguing first-round series as Brown has never been an easy out, and the Crimson are watching their season wither and die before their eyes. That said, it’s hard to imagine the Bears pulling out two tight wins like their Feb. 7 victory against a struggling but potent side like Harvard’s.
Prediction: Nothing about this league surprises me anymore, but I’m predicting Harvard sweeps.
10 Union at 7 Cornell
Scholar and gentleman Nate Owen may spy Harvard-Brown as the most likely upset of the round; I think it’s this one. Neither squad has been terribly impressive this year, with defending champion Union suffering three-, five-, and six-game winless skids during the regular season and Cornell never really busting free of the .500 mark. Union earned an impressive home sweep of the North Country teams last weekend while Cornell tied at Brown and lost at Yale. Very tough call, but last weekend aside, Cornell has been incrementally more productive than Union.
Prediction: Cornell in three.
9 Rensselaer at 8 Clarkson
Clarkson has one win in its last nine games (1-7-1), but RPI’s 1-7-2 record in its last 10 is hardly impressive in its own right. Clarkson has had a tough time scoring over the past month, but the Engineers’ defense has been cataclysmic, so it will be a matter of what gives first. Another not-easy call here.
Prediction: Clarkson in three.