Robert Morris at Syracuse
The Colonials are a single point behind Mercyhurst, so these are must-win games. Robert Morris is coming off a pair of wins over RIT while Syracuse lost both their games against the Lakers. It’s down to a two team race and RMU will want to do whatever they can to get the top seed. I think they have the ability and talent to sweep, but I think we’ll more likely see a split.
Mercyhurst at Penn State
It’s Mercyhurst’s title to lose – if they win out, they get the crown. But that’s no easy feat for them against a team they tied 1-1 twice back in mid-January. I’d like to think the Lakers could win out here, but they’ve not really been able to close out the season and take control of the lead and I’m not sure that they’ll do it now. I think we’ll see a split, but that Mercyhurst gets the conference title by a slim margin.
Lindenwood at RIT
The Lions swept the last time these two teams played about a month ago and there doesn’t seem to be any reason to think this weekend will be the same. Lindenwood has bounced back from a very rough middle of the season and I think they can close it out on a high note.
St. Lawrence at (1) Cornell
This is the toughest matchup a top seed will face, but I still think Cornell continues their winning ways. There’s a decent chance St. Lawrence can stretch this to three games, but I don’t think they can topple the top team. Cornell advances.
(10) Quinnipiac at (6) Princeton
The Tigers lost just one game in the second half as they went 11-1-1 to close out the year. They beat Quinnipiac in both games the teams played this season. Princeton wins this series in two.
Colgate at (7) Clarkson
Clarkson won one matchup and the teams tied earlier this season. Clarkson defeated Colgate for the national championship two seasons ago in overtime. Clarkson is on the bubble for an NCAA bid this year. There’s a lot of motivation for the Raiders to pull off an upset here and the Golden Knights are certainly vulnerable. One thing they’ve done well is keep Elizabeth Giguere in check. If they can limit her chances, they’ve got opportunity. I think this series goes to three games and for me, it’s a toss up to see who wins. I’ll pick Clarkson, but think this one will be close.
Yale at Harvard
The 4/5 series can’t really ever be considered an upset, but I do think Yale is primed to advance into the semifinals of the ECAC. Harvard has been inconsistent and the Bulldogs have shown great growth this season. In my opinion, Yale is playing with a lot of confidence and that might be the difference maker, so I’m picking them to win.
Vermont at (4) Northeastern
There’s not much slowing down the Huskies right now and I just don’t think Vermont can both slow down the top line and get past Aerin Frankel a bunch. I’m picking Northeastern in two.
Maine at (8) Boston University
The Black Bears can be sneaky good when things come together for them, but the problem is figuring out when that will be. Currently on the outside looking in, BU is playing for their life. They don’t want to have to trust Pairwise and will be gunning for the Hockey East auto-bid. That’s going to be the difference maker here and I think the Terriers take this series.
New Hampshire at Providence
New Hampshire surprised a few teams that weren’t prepared for them this season. I think they can push this series to three games and have a pretty good chance of pulling off a series win. Providence has a really solid group, but I never really felt like they found that extra level this season. One team is going to have to step up their game more and my gut says that will be UNH.
Connecticut at Boston College
Well Connecticut has been a bugaboo to BC all season – their early defeat of the Eagles really signaled the beginning of the end for some high hopes for Boston College this year. I’ve been looking for some fire and fight out of the Eagles and if they’re going to have some, this has to be the time. This series is likely to go the distance and I have no earthly idea who wins it.
St. Cloud State at (3) Minnesota
The Gophers are simply too good for St. Cloud State to make many waves here. This should be a quick, two-game series for Minnesota.
Minnesota State at (5) Ohio State
While the Mavericks have been able to trip up the Buckeyes in the past, I just don’t think we’ll see that happen here. I imagine OSU has relived those games a bit in the past week and have had it drilled in their heads that they can’t let it happen again. I don’t think this will be as easy a trip to the semifinals as the number five team in the country would like, and it may even go to three games, but I expect this to be Ohio State’s series.
Bemidji State at (9) Minnesota Duluth
The Bulldogs have been hovering at the edges of the rankings all season and really could make a run in the postseason. They need to win the WCHA tournament to extend their season and I think that’s motivation enough to carry them through here. They know they can play with Wisconsin, Minnesota and Ohio State, so the goal is to get to the Final Faceoff next weekend, where anything can happen. Bemidji State is stingy and tough on defense, and that will cause some fits for UMD, but I don’t think the Beavers can match the Bulldogs on offense. Minnesota Duluth takes this series, though it may go to three games.