Friday, October 22
RIT at Rensselaer – 7 p.m. Eastern
The Cinderella Stripes out of Rochester haven’t led quite as charmed a life so far this year. At 0-2-1, three tight games against St. Cloud, Nebraska-Omaha and UMass-Lowell (the 4-4 tie) have left the Tigers wondering how to get back on top. Soft third periods (seven goals and 40 shots against in three outings) have been especially troubling. RPI is hungry for offense, with eight goals in four games, but the defense and goaltending have been superb: two, two, two, and zero count the goals against in each game. To cut to the chase, the Engineers look like the better team right now, and have a clear edge at home. 3-1 ‘Tute.
Niagara at Union – 7 p.m. Eastern
The Purple Eagles played to consecutive ties against Merrimack and UMass-Lowell to open the season, playing each team tight at Niagara’s Dwyer Arena. Union is 3-1-0, following back-to-back pastings of Sacred Heart with a split at the Alaskan teams (loss at Alaska, win at UAA). It’s tough to gauge either team right now, since Niagara’s barely off the ground and Union has yet to play a competitive team in a reasonable time zone. That said, UC is hosting and is – on paper, at least – the more talented team. Dutchmen on top, 4-3.
Western Michigan at St. Lawrence – 7 p.m. Eastern
WMU is 3-1-0 against uninspiring opposition (split with Canisius at home, swept Mercyhurst on the road), but the Broncos are quick out of the gate with six first-period goals in the four games. Never doubt the power of momentum, as the early goals kept Western flying all game long: the team averages over 13 shots per period, each period. The Saints are struggling, as they haven’t scored on the power play since Game 1 and have scored only three goals in their last three games. At last, though, SLU is at home… where I’ll pick the Saints to pull the split, taking Friday’s contest 3-2.
Bentley at Clarkson – 7 p.m. Eastern
Bentley played the ECAC’s sacrificial lamb with aplomb last weekend, falling to Quinnipiac and Rensselaer in its opening weekend. The Falcons stay on the road, spitting at Canada this time from a double-dip against Clarkson. The Golden Knights might consider declining penalties for the time being, as the power-play unit is 0-18 on the campaign, and the offense has been hot-and-cold with ten goals scored, but two shutouts endured. Could be tighter than desired for Knights fans… I’m calling it for ‘Tech though, 4-3.
Colgate at Lake Superior State – 7:05 p.m. Eastern
Not much to say about the Raiders yet, with only a 3-1 neutral-site win over Army under their belt. LSSU, on the other hand, is four games deep and still stalking its first victory. Notre Dame swept the Lakers with twin 4-2 finals last week, Michigan Tech beat ’em at home in the Superior Showcase, and Minnesota-Duluth tied LSSU in a 6-6 shootout in the Showcase’s opening night. The Lakers have yet to hold an opponent to fewer than four goals, and they’ve allowed five power-play goals on 16 opportunities already. This is a juicy opportunity for Colgate to prove that it can beat the beatable, which it will have to do if it wants to make the NCAA’s this year. 5-2 Raiders.
Saturday, October 23
Dartmouth at Yale – 3 p.m. Eastern
Morrisville State at Princeton – 4 p.m. Eastern
Holy Cross at Quinnipiac – 4 p.m. Eastern
The Crusaders upended American International and Army (in OT) last weekend, but big losses to Notre Dame and Wisconsin in the IceBreaker Tournament demonstrate that they are not ready for prime-time. The Q-Cats held on against Bentley in their only game last weekend, and have a real opportunity to take a step forward… or stumble back. It’s not the throw-away cupcake opponent that it might be for Boston College or Miami; this is a significant hurdle that a young team must overcome in order to progress. My chips are on the table: 4-2 Bobcats.
Colgate at Lake Superior State – 5:05 p.m. Eastern
Tough to pick the road team to sweep on short rest, even if the team is at No. 14 on my ballot. Well, hopefully I’m wrong, and I can keep elevating the Raiders. 3-1 Lakers.
Western Michigan at St. Lawrence – 7 p.m. Eastern
… and the Broncs bounce back to split on the road, 4-3.
U.S. Under-18 at Cornell – 7 p.m. Eastern
Niagara at Rensselaer – 7 p.m. Eastern
Niagara will be searching for a little more defensive consistency, while RPI is working on the offense. You know what they say about defense winning championships? You need to win regular-season games before you can play for championships. 3-2 RPI.
RIT at Union – 7:30 p.m. Eastern
RIT is desperate for a W at this point, but road wins are hard to come by in Schenectady lately, where Union is on an 8-1-0 roll dating back to last spring. 5-2 Dutchmen.
Bentley at Clarkson – 7:30 p.m. Eastern
Will Clarkson play down to its opposition and settle for a home split? I don’t think so, but I’m the eternal optimist. 2-1 Knights.
Thursday, October 28
Connecticut at Union – 7 p.m. Eastern
UConn somehow tied 3-3 up at Maine, but got throttled at Merrimack a week later, 7-1. The Huskies warm up with league-mate Army (on the road once more) on Saturday before Thursday’s match at Union. League points or no league points, I think the Huskies will have found the Cadets a much easier opponent than the hungry Dutchmen come Friday morning. 5-3 Union.
Keep ’em coming…
Only a couple responses to my Readers’ Challenge last week, though if I hadn’t been traveling I would’ve included each of them. Instead, I’ll save them for next week, and invite any other would-be prognosticators to justify their presence on my page. Send me 10 good reasons why you would be a good choice as a Guest Guesser, and the most entertaining responses will share this space with me next week. Get on it.
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