ECAC Hockey begins its post-Thanksgiving schedule with several notable matchups, including the Friendship Four in Belfast, Northern Ireland and the Red Hot Hockey matchup between Cornell and Boston University at Madison Square Garden. Here are the picks for the weekend. All games start at 7 p.m. EDT unless otherwise noted.
Note: This has been updated to include Saturday’s Friendship Four games as well as to correct Cornell’s Red Hot Hockey record.
Last time: 10-2
Clarkson vs. Rensselaer, 10 a.m.
The Golden Knights and Engineers meet in the opening game of the 2017 Friendship Four, marking the third straight year an ECAC Hockey team has participated in the tournament. This game counts as a non-conference game, which is a change from the previous two years. That seems like a good move, considering that the travel and logistics involved with getting to Belfast can strain on both teams. Clarkson beat RPI 6-0 earlier this month, and I think the Golden Knights should lock up another win. Clarkson wins
Harvard at Boston College, 4 p.m.
The Crimson have suddenly lost four straight to drop to 2-5. Three of those losses have been one-goal games, including an overtime loss at Minnesota. The Eagles endured a similar skid earlier in the year, but have since won seven in a row. With that being said, I think this Harvard team is too talented to endure a fifth straight loss. Harvard wins
Bemidji State at Princeton
These teams conclude a split two-game series that opened with the Beavers winning 5-3 on Wednesday. I think the Tigers bounce back for a win in the series finale. Princeton wins
Massachusetts at Quinnipiac
The Minutemen and Bobcats have met every year since 2009, with the majority of those games coming in the weekend after Thanksgiving. Quinnipiac is 7-2-2 against Massachusetts and ended a four-game losing streak with two league wins last weekend. The Minutemen are looking up under former St. Lawrence coach Greg Carvel, but Andrew Shortridge has played well in goal for QU as of late, and I’m not sure if Massachusetts can generate enough offense to beat the Bobcats. Quinnipiac wins
Colgate at Western Michigan, 7:05 p.m.
This is a good road test for the Raiders, who have been the surprise team in ECAC Hockey through the first two months of the year. This game will also mark the 900th of Colgate coach Don Vaughan’s career. This should be a good matchup, as the Broncos have won six of their last seven and are averaging nearly four goals per game, while Raiders’ goalie Colton Point leads the nation in goals-against-average and save percentage. Take nothing away from Colgate, but the Broncos are playing very well right now. Western Michigan wins
Union at North Dakota, 8:37 p.m.
Union enters the weekend having won seven of eight games. However, they haven’t face an opponent at the level of North Dakota during that stretch. The Fighting Hawks split with Denver last weekend and have been playing well lately. North Dakota wins
Saturday, Nov. 25
Rensselaer vs. Maine, 10 a.m.
Both teams were shutout yesterday in the opening round of the Friendship Four, but RPI has only scored one goal in its past three games. Maine hasn’t been much better, as Friday was its second straight time getting shutout. It’s a tossup, but I think the Black Bears win. Maine wins
Clarkson vs. Providence, 3 p.m.
It’s a matchup of two t0p-ten teams as the Golden Knights are looking to become the first ECAC Hockey team to win the Friendship Four in the the tournament’s third year of existence. Both teams have been playing well lately, but I like the Golden Knights a little better in this game. Clarkson wins
Vermont at Dartmouth
The Big Green are coming off a two-week break for exams and are unbeaten at home, going 2-0 at Thompson Arena compared to 0-4 on the road. Vermont has struggled so far this season, as the Catamounts enter the weekend with a 3-9-1 record. I think the Big Green continue their success at home. Dartmouth wins
New Hampshire at Yale
These teams are meeting for the first time since Oct. 28, 2006, which was Keith Allain’s second game as head coach. The Bulldogs have lost four of five following a win over Harvard, while New Hampshire is on a three-game losing streak of its own. Still, the Wildcats have put together a more complete body of work thus far this season. New Hampshire wins
Colgate at Western Michigan, 7:05 p.m.
Tempted to predict a split, but again, the Broncos have played very well against some of the top teams in the country lately. Western Michigan wins
Quinnipiac at Massachusetts, 7:35 p.m.
Bobcats finish the sweep. Quinnipiac wins
Boston University vs. Cornell, 8 p.m.
Cornell appeared to be in danger of losing two straight games after trailing Niagara 3-1 entering the third period Tuesday, but the Big Red rallied for a 5-4 win. The Terriers beat Maine 7-0 last time out, but have been inconsistent with a 6-7-1 overall record. BU has won three of the first five Red Hot Hockey games, but I think the Big Red get their first win of the series Saturday. Cornell wins
Union at North Dakota, 8:07 p.m.
I think the Dutchmen head home with a series split. Union wins