Hockey East picks – Dec. 11-12

Even when I have a strong week, Jimmy matches me. And when I don’t…

Dave last week: 8-4-2
Jim last week: 8-4-2
Dave’s record-to-date: 82-35-21
Jim’s record-to-date: 87-30-21

Here are this week’s picks:

Friday, Dec. 11

Merrimack at Connecticut 
Dave’s pick: A week ago, I’d have gone with the Warriors, but it’s hard to ignore UConn’s sweep of Massachusetts-Lowell last weekend. Merrimack has also cooled off from its torrid start, losing its last three by a cumulative 10-1 score and going only 0-3-2 in its last five.
UConn 2, MC 1
Jim’s pick: I like the way UConn played last weekend but think there could be a let down after the back-to-back upsets. I am going with Merrimack.
MC 3, UConn 2

Union at Massachusetts
Dave’s pick: For a while there, the Minutemen were one of the top surprises in the league, if not the country. But they’ve plummeted back to Earth with an 0-5-3 mark since their sweep of UConn a month ago. I’m not sure I’m a believer in Union, especially on the road, but I’m casting my lot with the Dutchmen.
Union 4, UMass 3
Jim’s pick: Dave said it well. Hard to pick UMass here.
Union 4, UMass 2

Boston University at Yale
Dave’s pick: The Terriers have been all over the map while Yale is, somewhat similarly, a game over .500. If this were in BU’s barn, where the Terriers are 7-2-1, I’d go with them. But I think that 1-3-1 road record is about to get worse.
Yale 3, BU 2
Jim’s pick: I am giving Dave opportunities to get back in this race by not picking the same. But I think BU can win this one.
BU 4, Yale 3

St. Lawrence at Vermont
Dave’s pick: The Catamounts did come out of their tailspin last week, splitting with BU, but I’ll take the Larries, even on the road.
SLU 3, UVM 2
Jim’s pick: Vermont will struggle without goaltender Mike Santaguida. That is the difference.
SLU 4, UVM 3

Dartmouth at New Hampshire 
Dave’s pick: It would be nice to see the Wildcats go into the Holiday break with a four-game unbeaten streak, and that’s exactly what I think will happen.
UNH 4, Dartmouth 3
Jim’s pick: The in-state battle goes to the home club.
UNH 4, Dartmouth 2

Saturday, Dec. 12

Boston University at Quinnipiac 
Dave’s pick: At 15-0-2, Quinnipiac is much too tough an opponent, at home no less, for the up-and-down Terriers. Back-to-back losses to the ECAC dampen the Yuletide joy for the Terriers.
QU 4, BU 1
Jim’s pick: I think the game will be closer. Maybe even a BU upset but I can’t pick that.
QU 3, BU 2

Vermont at St. Lawrence
Dave’s pick: I’m picking a lot of ECAC wins over Hockey East, but that’s how it seems to be shaping up. The Catamounts get swept.
SLU 4, UVM 2
Jim’s pick: Agreed. This could be a tough stretch for Vermont.
SLU 5, UVM 3

92 COMMENTS

  1. Good article, Elliot. We have had our differences on past boards but I wholeheartedly agree with your position here.

  2. A fact noone considers, Colgate has one scoring line, Smith has two people on him at all times. He still does it !  Also, less than %25 of his points are on the PP,  the other candidates are over %50 points on the PP.   And, he has the lead in “shorties”.

  3. lets not forget that scholastic achievement is supposed to be considered to, cant wait for all the ECAC haters to find a flaw with that part of the ECAC too.

  4. I think it’s crazy that he can say Jack is automatically going to be in when Abbott is having a better season on a weaker team.  Maine had the 16th hardest schedule, Colgate 38(i think) and UMD(35)  On top of that Maine has 1 line, so for Abbott to put up those points, when teams know if they shut down the first line they are more then likely going to win.  If anyone should be in the Hat trick it’s Abbott.

    Abbott should be getting a lot more credit then he is.

    • Who is on Abbott’s line?  I am assuming Flynn is on it, (I haven’t seen Maine play this year).

      Jack has played with Siedel all year (26 points) and Basaraba most of the year (14 points)  he has played the last three weekends with Flaherty instead of Basaraba (Flaherty 10 points).  Connolly has played on a line with Brown and Oleksuk for only 3 games all year. 

      I think its a sealed deal that Connolly and Abbott are in the hat trick, both have had great season and great careers. I’m going to have to go with Connolly, he has had a better career and done it in a deeper conference.  Take this for whatever you want, I’ve had two transfers from HE to WCHA tell me this year that the jump was easier to make than moving from NAHL to HE. 

  5. Man, this is a pretty tough dilemma in terms of Smith vs. Connelly.  I think it’s pretty clear that Connelly plays in the conference with better teams, but at the same time he also plays on a line that makes up the top three scorers in the WCHA, so how much of his numbers are a byproduct of that? A previous poster commented on goal-assist ratio and how Connelly has many more assists than goals, which demonstrates that he’s the better player.  If Smith had JT Brown and Travis Oleksuk on his line, he’d probably have more assists too I think.  

    Overall, I think Smith deserves a spot in the Hobey Hat Trick, but his chances of winning are pretty slim in my opinion.  Connelly’s chances are much greater, but he might lose some votes because he plays on such an explosive line, which may open the way for Abbott or whoever else is in the final three.  Who knows? Either way, it seems to be shaping up to be one of the more intriguing Hobey races in recent memory because there’s no clear front runner. 

    •  Your forgetting Abbott, who has more points then Both, plays on a weaker team than Connelly, had a much harder schedule than both, had taken his team from 3 wins in first 11 to more than likely making the tourny (Connelly team would of made it without him)

      Abbott deserves it this year.

  6. You are really hooked on Connolly, you have almost guaranteed he is going to win it. Spender goes against the best competition in college hockey every weekend, and he still leads the nation in scoring! Not considering he has lead a umaine team that everyone picked to finish 8th in hockey east to a possible home ice quarterfinal, plus nobody picked them to be in the NCAA tourney!! And yet look where they sit!! Correct me if I’m wrong but that right there sums up what the honey baker award is a leader, the best player, great student-athlete, and teammate!

    • One thing that could hurt Abbott is that he has racked up 28.6% of his points in two weekends, playing Vermont and Alabama Huntsville.  Connolly’s biggest weekend was 6 points vs North Dakota.  Connolly has been held scoreless in just 4 games this year, Abbott in 7.  

    • Yes, let’s just hand the NCAA tournament finals to the WCHA and CCHA. In fact, let’s just skip the whole season altogether and just play one big game with the team everyone likes best from these two leagues. We all know that one of them will eventually win it every time, right?

      Sometimes I really wonder if people entirely miss the point of competitive athletics…

    • How many frozen fours have those teams made in the past 5 years? None. Last appearance by an ECAC team was 2003 with Cornell. Compare that to Hockey East, WCHA, and CCHA who all pretty much have at least 1 team in it every year.

  7. Smitty played injured last season after hip surgery. He also had his other hip operated on during the past off-season. This explains the dip in numbers for his junior year. Taking away those injuries one can extrapolate he would have had 20-25 goals and maybe near 45-50 pts last campaign. Just sayin’…

  8. Pairwise Rankings:
    8 teams from the WCHA (4 with a winning % of .500 or above against teams under consideration)
    5 teams from the ECAC (2 with a winning % of .500 or above against teams under consideration)

    -WCHA is a much more competitve league, ECAC had 7 teams that didnt hit 10 confrence wins, compared to only 2 in the WCHA

    -Colgate was 4-7-2 against teams under consideration. The best players perform and win in big games. That includes leading your team to the post season.

    -In my opinion I would say it goes WCHA, Hockey East (to top heavy), ECAC.
    Connolly plays touger competion every night! and after the first round of public voting I would say Connolly and Abbott are locks for the top 3

  9. From the top down, Hockey East is the most competitive league in the country and Abbott has thrived in it. Abbott hands down.

  10. I think both players are deserving. I think that Connolly does more with lesser skilled line-mates than Abbott. He just makes plays no matter who he’s with. I think the race is pretty even. I think performance of both Connolly and Abbott and their respective teams in the playoffs will have a lot to do with who wins the award. 

      • Connolly also has 27 PP points, and Oleksuk and Brown are on the PP.  This is not a surprising stat that 31 of his 55 points involve one of those players.  On his line he has a player with 27 points and 10 points.  Obviously he would have more points Brown or Oleksuk were on his line.

  11. I’m happy to see Abbott finally getting the Ink he deserves……I think he should take the Hobey, not only for leading the nation, but great kid all around.  He has done much more this year than Connolly IMO.  UMD would be in the tourney regardless of Jack, Abbott is the main reason why Maine is in great contention to make it(first time since 07) never mind his HE team standing as well.  He has been HE player of the month twice, Commissioners player of the month once or twice I believe.

    He helped turn a team that won 3 out of the first 11 and was written off especially after Loosing Nyquist, Dimmen and Van Dyk into a winning squad.  He also did this with the 16th hardest schedule vs Jacks 35th hardest and Austins 38 hardest.  And I watched the Hobey highlight Maine released and a lot of those points are highly skilled and phenomenal plays.

    Not only has he put up a ton of points this year, hes doing it vs teams that know they just need to shutdown the first line of Maine and they have a great chance to win the game.  I hope he wins it!

  12. To me Connolly is the clear favorite for one huge reason, consistency.  Connolly has only been held scoreless in 4 games this season (including a 22 game point streak) while Abbott has been shut out in 9.  Abbott enjoyed two huge weekends against UAH and Vermont, racking up a ridiculous 16 points in 2 weekends.  Those two weekends account for 28.6% of his points.  While the sum of Connolly’s two biggest weekends is 10 points, six of which came against a North Dakota team who was playing very well at the time.  

    Connolly has been a consistent and durable player for four years. He will be a three time All-American, has not missed a game in 4 years, has a legitimate shot at hitting the 200 career point mark, is the best player on one of the best teams in the nation, and has a national title.  What more could you ask in a Hobey?  Oh yeah the character thing… Jack is a class act on and off the ice and is involved in the community.  As a home town kid he is always under the microscope.  During the welcome home celebration after last years national title victory, the mayor determined the new Amsoil Arena as “the house that Jack built.”  That is a ton of pressure for a kid to be under and he could have easily let it go to his head, but he has always conducted himself with humility and integrity.

    Abbott has had a great year and lead a mediocre team to a spot in the NCAA tourny, and I hope he is runner up to Connolly.

    • Very knowledgable post. I would only argue that the Hobey Baker Award is not a career award. I have heard a lot of people saying Connolly also plays against better teams. I would argue that fact since the have the 30th ranked SOS where as Maine’s is 18th. Regardless, either player has a strong resume for THIS season and are both outstanding canidates. Abbott certainly did beat up some lesser apponents but so do most players. Sometimes when watching a game as I am sure you know, just because you don’t score does not mean you didn’t help your team win. Abbott and Connolly should be 1 -2 in whatever order it shall be. Smith I think has watered down statistics playing in a lesser conference. If Abbott and Connolly played in the ECAC one would have to think they would light the lamp more.

      • The point we are trying to make is not who played more tougher teams but who played better against good teams when they played them. When Jack played the good teams on the schedule he still did well. When Abbott played the good teams on his team’s schedule he didn’t play well.

  13. Well, there is no doubt that Abbott and his line carried Maine all season, with exception of a few games, and cannot be responsible for the atrocious defense that Maine has exhibited all season long and lead to most of their losses.  Sullivan is developing, but I still say he’s not a #1 goalie, especially by UMaine standards.  And the team is what, 28th or so in overall D.  Good grief at times they looked like a High School team, and a bad one at that.  Maine is this far because of Abbott and if not for the year he put up they are 7th, 8th place team, or worse.

    Connolly plays for the defending Nat Champs and that simply has to be held against him.

    • held against him? you do realize he dropped 59 points last year right…? Not only that but the year before he dropped 49 points. So hmmm 49/59/55(so far), I’d say that has Hobey written all over it. When looking at it this way there is nobody more deserving of this prestigious award than Jack.

        • You are right, but I was merely disputing the fact that Connolly is just doing this because UMD is doing well as the post above suggests. I understand hockey and the awards that go with it. Showing the fact that connolly has done this year in and year out counters the argument it’s just because he is on a good team. Good day, sir.

  14. Lets not forget that Jack Connolly has done 3 things. 1. He won a national championship. 2. Has led the nation in points for a majority of the season and had a 22 game point streak on a WINNING team that was ranked number one for nearly 6 consecutive weeks. 3. He won WCHA player of the year. And to all you fanboys saying Connolly would suck if he was in hockey east then why is it that not one hockey east team was in the frozen four last year if hockey east has all the good teams? right, because they suck. Look at it this way, if you’re the quarterback on a losing team (Abbott), nobody cares about you. no matter how many touchdowns you throw, if your team sucks then you just arent as good as the points say

    • Hobey is about this year, so winning a national champ LAST YEAR, is great an all, but for last year.  And your logic about the QB is way different if you are putting mad points up on a weak team, where they know they just need to shut you down, and you still put em up, shows your much stronger lol.

    • Is this article about the 2011-12 Hobey Baker Award or did I miss something? What does last year’s frozen four have to do with this years conference strength? I didn’t realize a player needed to win a title in a PREVIOUS season to be considered for an award during the CURRENT season? And apparently Maine is a losing team now? I somehow thought they had a winning record this year, guess I haven’t been paying attention. I think some people are worried that little ole Spencer Abbott is going to sweep in and take the award from their golden boy.

  15. Alright people the verdict is in. Let’s have a looksie. 

    As Karl stated, Abbott enjoyed two weekends against cellar dwellars in which he ballooned his stats to which 28% of stats were from those games.  To me this is an alarming stat. Also Karl showed a stat line on each player’s points according to what place in the standings their opponent I would read that, it’s alarming as well. 

    I would just like to point out the fact that Jack Connolly has been the most constant hockey player not only this year but for the past three years. He has consistently been one of the best players each year for the past three years. Let me repeat that, he has been one of the best players for the past three years. If a college hockey player who has a 49 point year, followed by a 59 point year, followed by a 55+ point year there is no way you can say they don’t deserve it. Sure, I give all the credit in the world to Abbott but the shear dominance of Jack Connolly has been shown over and over again. I would also like to state for the record I am not a Bulldog or Bears fan.

    •  is it easier to be consistent playing weaker teams???  UMD has the 35th hardest schedule, Where Maines was 16th hardest.

      UMD played the majority of teams that are weaker, where Maine played more games vs better teams.

      • The last two years the WCHA has been a deeper conference than HE.  Connolly is putting up similar numbers to those two years.  What Jason and I are saying is that it doesn’t matter who Jack was playing against or with, he has been the most consistent player over the last three years.  Connolly performs night in and night out, he finds a way to get on the scoreboard almost every night.  Look at the stats, he’s far more consistent than Abbott.  That is just a fact, you have no argument Tom. 

      • But if you were truly deserving of the hobey baker award you would do well against everyone. Abbott scored most of his points against bad teams, and was almost ineffective against good teams. It doesn’t matter how many good teams you play but what you do against them. Abbott didn’t play well against the elite teams in his league while jack did, end of story.

        •  Jack had an easy schedule, they don’t play many elite teams when you are number 1 in the nation most the season, Maine at 14th hardest schedule, plays much more teams that are better then them, and Abbott put up more points!

          • You’re right, UND, Denver, Minnesota, and Colorado College are easy teams.

            Also, what you are implying is that not only the Coaches involved in the coaches poll, but the writers at USCHO were all wrong when they picked the Bulldogs as #1? Keep in mind that those two polls are only influenced by people who have way more knowledge about college hockey than you do. 

            Also Abbott put up more points against the garbage teams. If you actually did research instead of jumping on the bandwagon you would discover that Abbott didn’t play well against the elite teams he played.

            This is truly embarrassing when I can come in here and disprove everyone from the Abbott bandwagon with a few facts that took little to no time to put together. Please, please, have solid fact based arguments when you come to prove a point.

          • Connolly might play better against the better teams(at least according to point production) because Maine essentially only has one great line that teams can gear up against. UMD has a more balanced all around team which makes teams have to defend more players/lines likewise giving Connolly more opportunities to be a point producer. Abbott becomes more of a decoy while Connolly has JT and Travis(on a different line) to take care of that for him. Don’t forget that Connolly is a second liner – playing against other teams second lines.

  16. Talk about watered down stats, Abbott scored seven points in a weekend against traditional juggernaut Alabama-Huntsville. Take those away and see where he is.

  17. Good luck to both.  It has been a blast watching Spencer Abbott play this year and he had another great weekend against Merrimack.  Connolly is equally deserving and I hope they meet down the road.

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