ECAC Hockey picks: Nov. 27-28

Please, no more ties.

Brown vs. Colgate in Northern Ireland (Friday)

Hockey across the pond. Why not? With both Brown and Colgate pretty desperate for a win, one must think Friday’s 11 a.m. EST matchup in the semifinals of the Friendship Four in Belfast, Northern Ireland, will be anything but groggy. These teams played to a 1-1 tie last weekend in Providence, and Colgate comes into the weekend winless in its last four games. The Bears have not won since their 3-2 victory over Union on Nov. 13 and have gone 0-1-2 since then. On Saturday, the teams play UMass-Lowell and Northeastern in the third-place game or championship game. Does this count as an extended European vacation for UMass-Lowell?

Prediction: Colgate 1, Brown 0

Rensselaer vs. Western Michigan, No. 8 Harvard vs. No. 18 Notre Dame (Friday)

It’s hard to overstate how important this weekend’s Harvard-Notre Dame game actually is. The Crimson have been on the friendly end of a light early season schedule that has inflated their late November standing — four wins over Dartmouth, Brown and Princeton. So far, Harvard is 0-1-1 against ranked opponents (2-2 tie to Yale and 4-1 loss to Quinnipiac). Friday’s matchup against the Irish in the Shillelagh Tournament is a chance to prove some people wrong about this team.
For Rensselaer, winners of four of its last six games, it’s about hoping for more of the same.

Prediction: Harvard 3, Notre Dame 1; Rensselaer 2, Western Michigan 0

Princeton at Maine (Friday/Saturday)

The Tigers are coming off an impressive 3-0 win over Clarkson last weekend. Colton Phinney is having a strong season for Princeton, but it certainly isn’t enough as the Tigers offense continues to struggle. Luckily, Maine isn’t looking any better. It should be a good opportunity for Princeton to string some victories together.

Prediction: Princeton 3, Maine 1; Princeton 1, Maine 1 (tie)

Arizona State at Clarkson (Friday/Saturday)

OK, sure, the 3-0 loss to Princeton was ugly. But Clarkson started off 5-1, the best start in program history! Remember that? So what if the Golden Knights have gone winless against the ECAC in five games? Two games against a non-ECAC opponent might be just what the doctor ordered for this struggling squad.

Prediction: Clarkson 3, Arizona State 2; Arizona State 4, Clarkson 2

No. 3 Quinnipiac vs. Massachusetts (Friday/Saturday)

Is there an over/under on how many goals Quinnipiac can score with a home-and-home against struggling UMass on the docket? Ranked third in every poll behind North Dakota and Providence, the Bobcats have become nearly unstoppable through their first 13 games. But two ties last weekend against struggling opponents have planted the seed of doubt in some people’s minds. Look for Quinnipiac to rebound in a big way.

Prediction: Quinnipiac 4, UMass 1; Quinnipiac 5, UMass 3

Dartmouth at No. 12 Michigan (Friday/Saturday)

After a weekend off, the Big Green come face-to-face with the pride of Big Ten hockey in a two-game series in Michigan. It’s a tough task for Bob Gaudet and his squad, especially given defensive struggles his team has had to deal with over the last month. Up against a ranked opponent on the road, this has disappointment written all over it.

Prediction: Michigan 4, Dartmouth 2; Michigan 3, Dartmouth 0

Union at No. 13 Merrimack (Saturday)

This might not be Union’s year. Two one-goal losses last weekend to Brown and Yale have put the Dutchmen in a much deeper hole coming into this weekend’s matchup against No. 13 Merrimack. Union is 1-5 in its last six games, posting a 1-5 record against ECAC opponents and a 3-6-3 record overall. With the success Merrimack has had this season, it’s hard to imagine momentum changing directions unless something drastic happens.

Prediction: Merrimack 4, Union 1

No. 10 Yale at No. 1 Providence (Saturday)

Game of the week in the ECAC. Yale has been largely inconsistent over the last few weeks — posting a 3-1-2 record over its last six games against ECAC opponents, with a loss to Rensselaer and two ties to Cornell and Harvard. The Bulldogs will look for consistency against the top-ranked defending NCAA champions. This game could be really close, or really lopsided.

Prediction: Providence 5, Yale 4 (OT)

No. 16 Cornell at No. 11 Boston University (Saturday at Madison Square Garden)

Game of the week in the ECAC, take two. With Cornell shooting up the rankings to the No. 16 spot this week, the Big Red get their first true test against No. 11 Boston University under the spotlight of Madison Square Garden. It doesn’t get much bigger than that. The 0-0 tie against Yale last weekend certainly helps their standing, but a win over a ranked opponent like the Terriers will go a long way to cementing this team on the map for the rest of the season. Then again, this could be the perfect set up for Cornell to fail and fall into irrelevance until next winter. So, no pressure.

Prediction: Cornell 4, Boston University 2