ECAC Hockey picks: Oct. 13-15

Last time: 2-0

The last of the non-Ivy league teams starts its season this weekend, as Rensselaer and new coach Dave Smith travel to Ohio State to open their season.  Here’s a complete look at the weekend ahead. All games start at 7 p.m. unless otherwise noted.

Friday, Oct. 13

Massachusetts at Union

The Dutchmen are off to a 0-3 start, but have played a tough schedule during that span. Former St. Lawrence coach Greg Carvel has recruited some intriguing players for the Minutemen, but the results haven’t there thus far. The Dutchmen should breakthrough for their first win of the season. Union wins

Rensselaer at Ohio State

It’s a homecoming for RPI first-year coach Dave Smith, Ohio State alum. It’s going to be a transition year for the Engineers, as they adjust to Smith’s style and way of running a program. It would be quite a statement to start with an impressive road win, but I’m not sure that will happen. Ohio State wins

Colgate  at New Hampshire

It’s early, but the Raiders have shown some spark en route to a 2-0-1 start. Eight of Colgate’s nine goals have been scored by underclassmen.  The Wildcats have gotten off to an impressive start as well, sweeping Massachusetts-Lowell last weekend. Colgate coach Don Vaughan and New Hampshire coach Dick Umile have combined to coach 1,937 games, but have only met four times, with the last coming during the 2000-01 season. I think the Raiders continue their strong start to the year. Colgate wins

Clarkson at Western Michigan, 7:05 p.m.

Like Colgate, the Golden Knights have gotten off to a good start so far this year. Clarkson allowed only one goal last weekend when it beat Penn State and Michigan at home. The Broncos are off to a good start as well, having allowed only five goals in three games. I think this will be a solid defensive matchup, but Clarkson should have a slight edge. Clarkson wins

St. Lawrence at North Dakota, 7:37 p.m. CT

The Saints are one of several ECAC Hockey teams still looking for the first win of the season. St. Lawrence travels to North Dakota as part of a tough early season schedule.  It may be rough in the early going, but the experience many of the Saints underclassmen get from playing top teams early should be beneficial once league play begins. The Fighting Hawks had a relatively down year last season by the program’s standards, but are still a formidable opponent. North Dakota wins

Saturday, Oct. 14

Rensselaer at Ohio State, 4 p.m.

Not sure RPI will be able to pull off the split. Ohio State wins

Vermont at Quinnipiac, 4 p.m.

The Catamounts handled Quinnipiac 5-1 last year at the Friendship Four in Belfast, Northern Ireland, but the Bobcats appear to be strong in goal this year and have a very active defense that should give them the edge. Quinnipiac wins

Colgate  at New Hampshire        

I think this series will be a split, but I’m not sure if I’m picking the right team on the right night. New Hampshire wins              

Clarkson at Western Michigan, 8:05 p.m.

The impressive start for the Golden Knights continues. Clarkson wins

St. Lawrence at North Dakota, 7:07 CT

I’m tempted to predict a split, but I think the Fighting Hawks complete the sweep.  North Dakota wins

Sunday, Oct.15

Vermont at Union, 4 p.m.

Union faces its second Hockey East team with an ECAC Hockey connection this weekend, as it hosts former Dutchmen head coach Kevin Sneddon and Vermont. Like the Dutchmen, the Catamounts have a number of younger players on the roster. I’ll give the edge to the home team. Union wins

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