ECAC Hockey picks: Jan. 2-5

Here’s a look at upcoming ECAC Hockey games (see holiday tournament picks here):

Clarkson at Bowling Green (Saturday-Sunday)

The Golden Knights begin their second half looking for better results. Clarkson is 7-8-2 in its first half with an abysmal 0-for-35 on the power play over 11 games. The past two months have not been kind to Clarkson, posting a 1-7-1 road record that has guided the team to the bottom of the ECAC Hockey standings. A game against No. 12 Bowling Green, which was unbeaten in its last nine games before a loss to Western Michigan on Wednesday, will certainly be a test for a Knights team that looks to get back on track. Chances are good they’ll have to wait at least another week to do so.

Picks: Bowling Green 6, Clarkson 2; Bowling Green 3, Clarkson 2

Rensselaer at Miami (Saturday-Sunday)

If there was a streaky team in the ECAC’s first half, it would be RPI. The team entered late December with a 10-6-3 record, 4-1-3 within the conference. But the Engineers’ first half was littered with stretches of good and stretches of not-so-good, culminating in an 0-2-1 stretch against Harvard and Dartmouth and a 2-0 sweep of Arizona State in early December. RPI will be looking for more consistency starting with two games against Miami.

Picks: Miami 3, RPI 1; RPI 4, Miami 0

Princeton at Holy Cross (Saturday)

While the Tigers are right where most people thought they’d be at this point in the season, Princeton has shown some flashes of brilliance. A 4-2 win over Yale on Dec. 6 takes the cake, an impressive win over one of the ECAC’s top teams with high aspirations. Since then, however, Princeton has gone on a four-game losing streak with two losses to ECAC leader Quinnipiac. Holy Cross seems like the right team to break that streak, and another step toward relevancy for a team that has been a long-term project for second year head coach Ron Fogarty.

Pick: Princeton 3, Holy Cross 1

Quinnipiac at Northeastern (Saturday)

The No. 3 Bobcats have been one the best teams in the country this season, posting only one loss and a 17-1-2 record through 20 games. Far and away the favorite to win the ECAC title, Quinnipiac enters the second half looking for more of the same. A matchup against streaky Northeastern presents a different kind of challenge. But given the Bobcats’ performance of late, it’s hard to imagine Quinnipiac getting off on the wrong foot against an unranked team.

Pick: Quinnipiac 3, Northeastern 0

Providence at Brown (Sunday)

Providence was college hockey’s final undefeated team one year after winning the national championship. That is, until Cornell spoiled the Friars’ undefeated bill earlier this week in Florida. Brown, comparatively, is in an entirely different competitive conversation than the Big Red this season — one of the ECAC’s most surprising teams. Although Brown has earned its fair share of success, Providence is playing on another dimension. The Friars beat Brown 4-1 back on Dec. 10, and this one should be no different.

Pick: Providence 5, Brown 1

Yale at Massachusetts (Tuesday)

The Bulldogs continue their trip through college hockey’s meat grinder with a Tuesday night meeting with UMass. Yale is 3-3 in its last six games, including a 3-2 win over Boston University and three straight losses to Providence, Quinnipiac and rebuilding Princeton. It’ll get back to work against a UMass team ripe for the taking — losers of its last six games and without a win in its last 10. Yale should glide through this one.

Pick: Yale 3, UMass 2