It’s time for picks again, huh? Last week, the rookie Josh fell flat (my picks were on twitter, by the way) and yielded to the guy who’s been covering this league for five years. Kudos to Brian for nailing eight out of the 11 games he picked.
I finished a notch under .500, and am learning quickly the more you cover the ECAC Hockey machine, the more you can see what’s coming. Success will come with experience and familiarity. Patience, butterfly.
Josh last week: 5-6-1
Josh overall: 23-13-9
Brian last week: 8-2-1
Brian overall: 21-8-6
Cornell at Harvard
Josh: Cornell can certainly score and the Crimson proved, thanks to Raphael Girard and Steve Michalek and a staunch blueliner group, that they can defend well. The Crimson are at home again this weekend, and looked so close to a win last week that I feel they could break through this time around at the Bright Hockey Center. Greg Miller and Brian “The Pride of Jacksonville” Ferlin will need to be marked closely for that to happen. Good luck with that, Crimson.
Harvard 3-2 (OT)
St. Lawrence at Princeton
Josh: Both of these teams would like to see more than just one win in that forlorn column of theirs, and both teams have the pluck to do so. The Saints are going to have to be on the lookout for a Princeton offense that puts 10 shots more on goal than they do. The Saints’ Kyle Flanagan is edging closer to the point-per-game pace for his career. He stands at 73 points in 77 games.
We’re not seeing any huge individual standouts for the Tigers yet, and that may be their strength. A great match-up, again.
St. Lawrence 2-1
Clarkson at Quinnipiac
Josh: The Bobcats showed some cracks in the armor last weekend when only one point came out of their first full league weekend (after a Nov. 1 win over Princeton). They scored four goals in a real dogfight at Dartmouth and then came up with a couple at Harvard the next night in a tie that saw the Bobcats give up two leads. Clarkson has some great guns and will be a lot of trouble for Quinnipiac, which hopes to celebrate a return to home ice after five games.
Colgate at Dartmouth
Josh: These may be two of the best teams in the ECAC in the early going, certainly two I like to keep an eye on. Dartmouth has the distinction of joining Union as the only other team to emerge unscathed from last weekend, with two wins to pack away. They’re at home for the third weekend in a row (including the Ivy Shootout) and preseason goalie of the year (media and coaches) pick James Mello is once again solid (2.51, .920).
On the other side, Colgate would love another win after taking two in its last four games (Friday was Don Vaughan’s 300th career victory – congrats, Coach). Yale was the first to stop Austin Smith this year, so watch for him to return to the scoresheet in search of his 14th point (if not more) in 10 games.
Brown at Union
Josh: Troy Grosenick may be the best goalie in the nation right now (tops in goals against average at 1.24 and save percentage at .949), but he is just one of many leading men on the marquee for the Dutchmen. Kelly Zajac can score with the best of them, Mat Bodie hasn’t stopped producing points since Day 1 this season and Shayne Gotisbehere is emerging as a top-flight two-way defenseman as a freshman.
In the visitors’ corner, the Bears are struggling in many categories, but not in the guts department. Those were on display in grand fashion in their 5-4 defeat of Cornell last week. It’ll take more than guts against the ECAC’s top team right now.
Yale at Rensselaer
Josh: Where, oh, where will the Engineers find the answer for their early-season woes? They’re well into November and a 1-8 record is really starting to attract the wrong kind of attention, especially adding in the fact they’ve lost seven straight.
Yale’s house was shaken a bit in a 6-2 loss to Cornell, but this will be a case of too much skill defeating too many questions.
Clarkson at Princeton
Josh: With the sun (hopefully) still shining in New Jersey, the Golden Knights and Tigers will meet in a 4 p.m. matinee. Both teams will want to be good for a possibly kid-heavy audience, especially Clarkson, which knows that Princeton has a 5-for-15 power play performance thus far.
Clarkson will need to shoot more than it has yet, as Princeton has shown some weaknesses in the cage (an .875 save percentage is simply not pretty).
St. Lawrence at Quinnipiac
Josh: If it does turn out that Quinnipiac loses Friday, Rand Pecknold will send Jeremy Langlois and his fellow forwards to hammer Matt Weninger or either of two other Saints goaltenders in the other Saturday matinee. The Bobcats do feature a powerful offense against a Saints team that is still trying to find its rhythm both offensively and defensively.
Colgate at Harvard
Josh: In this battle of two disciplined teams (especially Harvard, with eight total penalty minutes after two games), it’ll be a close contest in mostly 5-on-5 play. Alex Killorn and Alex Fallstrom proved that the Crimson have some nice skill up front, but can they be better than Austin Smith and Chris Wagner?
Brown at Rensselaer
Josh: This is no slight to the Bears, but if Yale was able to beat the Engineers in their Houston Field House on Friday, then the Engineers will storm out and do everything differently than they have before, just to see what could happen with some extra zing. The Bears just may be in the wrong place at the wrong time if this is the night the Engineers decide to break out.
Cornell at Dartmouth
Josh: The Big Green would love to leave their friendly home with eight conference points, but I see the balanced attack of the Big Red (eight players with at least three points through the first three games) running the evening, so to speak. They’ll give Mello a workout, no matter what happens.
Yale at Union
Josh: If you didn’t circle your calendar for this one, you probably should have. These two teams were 1-2 in the media and coaches preseason polls. No. 13 Yale has only recently started and has seen somewhat lukewarm results (2-1-1, with only one win in each of the Bulldogs’ first two weekends). No. 9/9 Union, on the other hand, enjoyed a sweet sweep weekend last time around, and as the host team, the Dutchmen will push for those big two points at the top.
Yes, I picked 11 different winners for this weekend. If you think I’m playing it safe, just take a look at what happened a week ago. I look at it as a win-win situation no matter what happens – if three or four teams come out 2-0 and a few others are 0-2, then we have a more clairvoyant look at who exactly are the stronger and weaker teams of the league. If 10 teams win games like they did last week, I do well in my picks and the constant element of surprise inherent in this year’s ECAC Hockey, at least early on, is some of the best entertainment in college sports.