Weekend Picks: Feb. 12

It’s hard to believe there are only two weeks left in the season before the playoffs begin. Instead of the CHA killing me last week, it was Hockey East. I went 22-8-3 (.712) to move to 331-96-49 (.746) on the year.

Let’s see if I can stay above .750 on the regular season.

Friday, Feb. 12

Cornell at Brown
Home ice could garner the Bears a win, considering how dreadful Cornell looked last week, but I’m going with the visitors. Cornell 3-2

Clarkson at Princeton
One of the big games that has huge consequences in the conference. Clarkson 3-2

St. Lawrence at Quinnipiac
The Bobcats get back to the winning column after last week’s loss. Quinnipiac 2-1

Harvard at Rensselaer
Harvard is a team that seems to struggle from period to period, but I like the Crimson in this one. Harvard 3-2

Dartmouth at Union
Dartmouth already got a win last week, and here they continue that trend. Dartmouth 2-1

Colgate at Yale
A potential trap game for the Raiders, but they come out on top. Colgate 3-2

Northeastern at Boston college
This should be closer than the Beanpot final, but same result. Boston College 4-2

Friday-Saturday, Feb. 12-13

Lindenwood at Penn State
This has split written all over it. Penn State 2-1, Lindenwood 2-1

Mercyhurst at RIT
The Lakers take one more step toward the regular season crown. Mercyhurst 3-2, 3-1

Robert Morris at Syracuse
The Colonials can’t afford any more losses, but neither can the Orange. Syracuse 2-1, Robert Morris 3-1

Maine at Connecticut
The superior goaltending of the Huskies should ensure a sweep. Connecticut 3-2, 2-1

Ohio State at Bemidji State
The Buckeyes are showing improvement, but the Beavers are a team that does everything a bit better. Bemidji State 2-1, 2-0

Minnesota at Minnesota-Duluth
Look for the new fearsome top line of the Gophers to get points in both games. Minnesota 4-1, 4-2

St. Cloud State at North Dakota
A hard one to pick, but I have to go with home ice in both games. North Dakota 3-2, 3-1

Saturday, Feb. 13

Colgate at Brown
The Raiders keep pace for home ice. Colgate 3-1

St. Lawrence at Princeton
The Tigers stay even with Colgate. Princeton 2-1

Clarkson at Quinnipiac
I think we see more cracks in the Bobcats’ armor. Clarkson 3-1

Dartmouth at Rensselaer
This game depends entirely on which version of each team shows up. Rensselaer 2-1

Harvard at Union
The Crimson keep their home ice hopes alive. Harvard 3-1

Cornell at Yale
A game that could go either way, so I’ll go with home ice. Yale 2-1

Saturday-Sunday, Feb. 13-14

New Hampshire versus Boston University (home-an-home)
The Terriers are so inconsistent, but should have enough for a sweep. Boston University 2-1, 3-1

Providence versus Merrimack (home-an-home)
The Warriors postseason hopes end here. Providence 2-1, 3-1

Minnesota State at Wisconsin
The Badgers capture the WCHA crown this weekend. Wisconsin 3-1, 4-1

Sunday, Feb. 14

Boston College at Vermont
The Eagles will clinch Hockey East by defeating the Catamounts, assuming I’m right about Friday’s game. Boston College 4-1


  1. I’m not sure these OT games correlate with overall offense around college hockey. It could just be that none of the teams involved is very good: 25, 29, 33, 45, 51 and 58 (out of 59) in RPI.

    There are nineteen teams averaging more than three goals a game, and only seven teams averaging fewer than two goals a game. While there are no teams this season averaging more than four goals a game, there were only four teams in 2000–2001 (for example) that averaged more GPG than Michigan is this season (St. Cloud led with 4.10). Ironically, Michigan will need to win its conference to get into the national tournament.

    OTOH, the “improved defense and goaltending” argument is compelling. Even teams with high-power offenses win with defense. One obvious example is the championship teams at Boston College: it was the quality of the defense that allowed the offense to be always attacking. In seasons where the defense wasn’t so good, the attacking offense left the defense exposed and allowed easy goals for the opposition (for example, vs. North Dakota in the 2005 East Regional and Colorado College in the 2011 West Regional). On the flip site, think back a few years to those Western Michigan teams that scored tons of goals (2000-2001?) but couldn’t stop anyone on defense—how far did that get them?

    A fine recent example of defense winning championships is Yale a couple years ago. Watch the championship game and notice the outstanding stick work by the Yale defense—breaking up passes, knocking the puck off the puck-carrier’s stick, etc. (I don’t mean hack-and-slash stick work!).

    Subjectively, it seems to me that officiating has gotten tighter (better) than it was ten or twenty years ago. Back then I found the WCHA nearly unwatchable because of the lack of real defense—the league’s officials appeared to have forgotten to read the parts of the rule book that deal with obstruction, so “defense” was little more than holding and interference. This led to a lot of offense but the games were not interesting to me.

    I wanted to say something about improved goaltending but I forget what. I was thinking about the 55-save game by the Notre Dame goaltender a couple weekends ago, and how it’s no longer just the “star” goalies like Marty Turco and Ryan Miller that have that sort of game—something along those lines but I’ve lost the idea. That said, I wouldn’t have an issue if the NCAA placed restrictions on the size of goalie pads.

    • Smaller goalie pads gets my vote for most urgent rule change.
      It’s a change that wouldn’t affect the flow, play, or skills of the game at all, but would probably result in more goals.

      • “Probably result in more goals”? Doesn’t sound like a legit argument. Goalie pads are fine, 38×12 inches is a reasonable height, plus I doubt adding (or removing, depending on what side of the argument you’re on) a couple of inches would generate more goals. I think goaltending has evolved over the last 15 years, even more so from when the butterfly was a “new” idea. There’s plenty of goal scoring elsewhere, maybe the issue is that there’s so much parity in the league.

        • Speaking of the butterfly position the majority of goalies use now, it is no secret that the way to beat them is by shooting for the high corners. By doing that, more shots are missing the net. It would be interesting to see stats comparing shots to actual shots on goal now to what it was 15-20 years ago.


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