Happy holidays to all; I hope your delays and frustrations are minimal. There is a lot of action just ahead of us, so let’s get right to it.
Welcome back Clarkson ’03’s Benjamin Davis, who bested me a few weeks back by having minimal faith in Union. He really had to go all-out in his title defense, with 25 games to pick between December 29 and January 4.
To make it easier on… well, me… and also on our audience, we’ve split up our picks. This edition features the games of the 29th through New Year’s Eve, with New Year’s Day through the 4th to come later. I will preface all picks by proclaiming my disdain for post-break predictions, because you never know how a two- or three-week break will affect a team… but that’s all I’m going to say about that.
And awaaaaay we go!
Season record: Me: 64-31-11 (.656)
Guest guessers: 42-32-6 (.563)
Benjamin Davis: 4-1-0 (.800)
Head to head: Sullivan 5, Guests 3*
All times Eastern
Wednesday, December 29
St. Cloud State vs. Cornell – 4:00 Florida College Classic; Estero, Fla.
SCSU dropped four straight – with only five goals – before the break. Cornell is actually on a 2-0-1 unbeaten run (albeit with the win and draw at home against hapless Alabama-Huntsville), so maybe the Red will have a little smidgen of confidence entering the game. I’m going to take a flier on the Big Red, just for grins: 3-2 Cornell.
BD: Cornell is coming off a horrible first half of the season for that program. The Big Red haven’t won a game in Florida since the Semi”s in ’08. A win would be a bright finish for the end of 2010 but I don’t think it’s going to happen. Huskies win 4-2
Bowling Green vs. Princeton – 4:00 UConn Hockey Classic; Storrs, Conn.
Bowling Green simply doesn’t size up well against Princeton; the Tigers should roll as long as they come ready to play. 4-1 Tiggers. (No, that’s not a typo.)
BD: Bowling Green is going to have to play a complete 60 minutes in order to keep Princeton out of the W column. Princeton’s short trip to Connecticut is going to keep the bus legs to a lesser. Tigers in a big win 4-1.
Russian Touring Team vs. Yale – 7:00
Thursday, December 30
Maine vs. Cornell – TBA Consolation, Florida College Classic; Estero, Fla.
BD: Cornell has a bad ending to 2010. Black Bears 5-2.
Miami vs. Cornell – TBA Championship, Florida College Classic; Estero, Fla.
I think the Maine-Miami game will be an offensive showcase, but I’m picking Miami to edge the Black Bears. If that’s true, I also believe that Cornell will see its short but lively unbeaten run come to an horrific end. 5-2 RedHawks.
Holy Cross vs. Princeton – TBA Championship, UConn Hockey Classic; Storrs, Conn.
Just like the BGSU matchup, I think Princeton has a decided edge… so long as they play with an edge as well. 4-3 Tigers.
BD: Princeton takes the championship 3-1.
Boston College vs. Colgate – 4:00 Ledyard National Bank Classic; Hanover, N.H.
Woe is Colgate! The Raiders get a much-needed break to regroup and refocus, and who do they get at the other end of the tunnel? The defending champs, who just seem to be hitting their stride. Great. 5-3 Eagles.
BD: Colgate is at the bottom of the ECAC and it doesn’t appear that their year is going to end on a good note. BC isn’t having a great year but shouldn’t be anything to complain about. Eagles win this one 4-1.
Mercyhurst at Dartmouth – 7:00 Ledyard National Bank Classic; Hanover, N.H.
Dartmouth ought to cruise into its home-tourney title game. 5-2 Big Green.
BD: Dartmouth is coming off a hard loss at home a couple weeks ago to Vermont. If Dartmouth can score early then this will be a W for them. Big Green win this one 3-2.
Nebraska-Omaha at Quinnipiac – 7:00
Sorry Bobcats, but UNO was the No. 1 team on my ballot for a period of time. The Mavs are legit, and it will take a tremendous effort to topple them. 5-2 UNO in the opener.
BD: Quinnipiac started the year out right but are losers of 5 of 6. If the Bobcats want any chance of winning this game they better stay out of the penalty box. I don’t think they have what its going to take to knock off the Mavericks though the first night. N-O in the opener 3-1.
Rensselaer at Alabama-Huntsville – 8:00
I try to make my picks before reading my guest-guessers’, but Mr. Davis’ first sentence below says it all. 5-1 RPI.
BD: Anyway you look at this series it should be all RPI. The Engineers should have no issues with the Chargers even in Alabama. Engineers in a close one due to travel legs 3-1.
Friday, December 31
Nebraska-Omaha at Quinnipiac – Noon
Read previous game’s comments re. UNO being good. Apply to current game. 4-1 Mavericks.
BD: Quinnipiac doesn’t get swept on the weekend as long as this is a close one. They are 3-0 in one goal games and after friday nights games an even .500 team at home. Bobcats win the closer 2-1.
Colgate vs. Mercyhurst – TBA Consolation, Ledyard National Bank Classic; Hanover, N.H.
Neither team is impressing much this year, but you know what? I’m going to go to bat for the league here, and hope the Raiders can do the same. 3-2 Colgate.
BD: Mercyhurst get redemption against the ECAC. Lakers 4-1.
Rensselaer at Alabama-Huntsville – 4:05
Second verse, same as the first (but a little bit louder and a little bit worse). Oh, Henry the eighth I am, Henry the eighth I am, I am… oh wait, wrong song. 4-2 ‘Tute.
BD: RPI runs all over the Chargers in the final on the week. Engineers 5-1.
Boston College at Dartmouth – TBA Championship, Ledyard National Bank Classic; Hanover, N.H.
This is my pick for Game of the Week. It’ll sound silly, but I’d feel much more confident in my prediction if I could somehow know the attendance in advance: if the Green are well-supported and enjoy that extra boost of environmental adrenaline, I think they just might pull this off. (Then again, BC is anything but flustered by road-team animosity. See BC 9 at BU 5, for example.) Tough, tough call… but I’m feeling the holiday spirit. Let’s see what the Green are really made of. 4-3 Dartmouth.
BD: BC beats the home team 4-2.
Union at Minnesota – 8:05 Dodge Holiday Classic; Minneapolis, Minn.
Union disappointed at Western Michigan a few weeks back; they’ll have to pull off something impressive in Minneapolis to regain that measure of national respect. As for me, I’m having my doubts: 4-2 Gophers.
BD: Minnesota wins 4-2 in a closer game then the score relates.
Think you can beat me? Or, for that matter, Ben? Give it a shot: hit me up at ECACWriter@USCHO.com.
Still hate NESN’s Jack Edwards? Me too! Let’s bond over it at SullivanHockey on Twitter.