What to watch: pre-Thanksgiving stuffing

No, not the kind that you saturate in butter, bake inside a turkey, and then wonder why you feel so stuffed yourself after eating three helpings during a Thanksgiving feast. Although that might play into it, if some coach has an Aunt Edna with a stuffing recipe that would put the late Julia Child to shame and wants to be able to partake.

Anyway, several team’s schedules are stuffed with games over the coming days so that they can have a few days off over the holiday to enjoy those Thanksgiving traditions. Providence and Northeastern each play three times in five days. Mercyhurst competes four times in six days. Busiest of all is St. Lawrence, as the Saints take to the ice for four games over five days.

SLU and travel partner Clarkson host the most critical games in the ECAC over the coming week, when Quinnipiac and Princeton visit the North Country. These four games should help to define who is who in the ECAC race, and if that isn’t convincing, those four games are it for conference play in the ECAC for the next seven days.

No. 8 Quinnipiac at No. 4 Clarkson, Friday, 7 p.m. EST
The Bobcats finished a game behind Clarkson in the ECAC race last season. Currently, they sit third in the league standings with Clarkson two games back, but the Golden Knights have those two games in hand. Both teams need these points to keep pace with Harvard and Dartmouth in first and second place, respectively. Quinnipiac won all three meetings last year, two of them by scores of 1-0.

No. 10 Princeton at St. Lawrence, Friday, 7 p.m. EST
Only Harvard has a better league winning percentage than the .750 that the Saints have turned in thus far, and if they were to win all three of the games they have in hand, the Saints would pass Harvard in the standings. Princeton sits a point above St. Lawrence, but the Tigers have played two more games. The two split their league meetings last year, with the road team winning both.

No. 5 Northeastern at No. 2 Boston College, Friday, 7 p.m. EST
The marquee match of the week. If anyone is going to challenge BC’s supremacy in Hockey East, it will likely be the Huskies. The Eagles are second in the country in both offense and power play conversion, while Northeastern ranks third in each category. Boston College has a decided edge defensively, ranking third while the Huskies are 13th, allowing twice as many goals per game. Northeastern hasn’t won a game in this rivalry since the 2013 Hockey East semifinals.

Cornell at Mercyhurst, Friday, 7 p.m. EST, and Saturday, 3 p.m. EST
It is strange to see neither of these teams ranked, as they have played frequently in recent years, with the outcome impacting tournament seeding and, in three cases, NCAA tournament advancement. This year, it is getting late early for the at-large hopes of each. Both Cornell and Mercyhurst desperately want a sweep. Last year’s only meeting ended in a draw.

Minnesota-Duluth at No. 7 North Dakota, Friday, 7:07 p.m. CST, and Saturday, 4:07 p.m. CST
UMD is the first team to get a crack at the newly christened Fighting Hawks. The Bulldogs have come out on the short end of this matchup in recent years; their one win last year was their first since 2011.

Quinnipiac at St. Lawrence, Saturday, 3 p.m. EST
A trap game for Quinnipiac, as it went 0-1-1 against the Saints last year, perhaps focusing too much on Clarkson. Or maybe stylistically, SLU’s up-tempo game creates problems.

Princeton at Clarkson, Saturday, 4 p.m. EST
Clarkson took a pair of one-goal games in 2014-15.

Penn State at St. Lawrence, Monday, 7 p.m. EST, and Tuesday, 4 p.m. EST
The Nittany Lions lost the only previous two games in this pairing back in the first year of their program. This series figures to be worth a look just to see the Saints’ legs burn.

Northeastern at No. 9 Harvard, Tuesday, 7 p.m. EST
The Crimson’s first game against a Boston school this year. They won the only meeting versus Northeastern last season by a goal.