Josh last week: 6-3-1
Josh overall: 35-22-11
Brian last week: 10-3-1
Brian overall: 36-18-8
Josh: Zzzzzz. Oh, wait, it’s Thursday night. Time to wake up from my turkey coma and pass on my great wisdom about the next four days worth of games for ECAC teams. Great wisdom? I must be dreaming.
Michigan Tech at St. Lawrence
Josh: The Saints, 4-1 in their last five, go back into the haunted wilderness of non-conference play. St. Lawrence tripped out of four tough October games and into the light of ECAC play, where they enjoyed a 4-2 mark through most of November. In the Huskies, the Saints face a talented senior goalie in Josh Robinson (10th in the country in save percentage at .931) and a sniper in Brett Olson, whose 13 points have been scored in all but two of the 12 games he’s played.
Because of what the Saints have shown in league play, you have to guess they put their 0-4 start well behind them and, with the rhythm of playing games each weekend, I see them pulling out at least one win in this weekend series. I’ll say it comes Saturday.
Michigan Tech 3-1, St. Lawrence 4-2
Harvard at Dartmouth
Josh: Both teams have been all over the map, showing up with three losses apiece after their first six conference games. Dartmouth showed its power with a two-win weekend Nov. 4-5, a weekend in which 10 different ECAC Hockey teams won games. The Big Green went 3-1 in their first eight overall and are 1-3 since then. Their star goalie James Mello has run into trouble and was replaced by Jody O’Neill for two straight games last weekend, when they went 1-1.
Harvard went 0-2-1 before defeating Colgate on Nov. 12. Including that win, the Crimson are 3-1 lately, so they are on a hot streak. They’re getting offense from all over, including blueliners Patrick McNally (six points in last four games) and Danny Biega (four points in last three games).
Rensselaer at RIT
Josh: Engineers vs. … more engineers. Yes, it’s the Tech Bowl out in Rochester on Friday night. As for the visitor, it’s one game after another of “well, that didn’t work, what next?” The Engineers are 2-10 overall and are going against an RIT team that’s won its last four games, scoring 16 goals along the way. Rensselaer has scored 11 goals in 12 games to stand as one of the only two teams in the nation averaging under a goal per game. In short, at Frank Ritter Arena on Friday, I see Tiger stripes all the way, but it would certainly be nice to see more life from the Engineers after their shutout win over Brown.
Colgate at Vermont
Josh: The last time these two teams were at Gutterson Field House together, it was 2004-05 and they were both members of the ECAC Hockey League.
Now, they’re getting together for old time’s sake (and Ratings Percentage Index … and Pairwise Rankings). Austin Smith is going to be in the spotlight after his hat trick last weekend, 15 goals overall and eight points in his last four games. The 2-7-1 Catamounts, with the second worst defense in the nation (giving up an average 4.10 goals per game), are not in the best position to welcome him into Burlington. The Raiders will get a classic, uproarious Gut welcome, but the crowd will disperse quietly in the end.
Princeton vs. Denver
Josh: The Tigers looked like they were hanging in there with some nice wins, close losses and an early-November tie against current No. 8/8 Yale. Then they skated away with back-to-back 4-0 and 4-1 losses to Cornell and Colgate this past weekend.
Showcasing the nation’s fifth-best offense, No. 9/10 Denver has averaged 3.91 goals per game this year. Princeton, meanwhile, is 45th in defense (3.21 goals allowed per game). The Tigers will have to closely man-mark junior Drew Shore (16 points in 11 games) and Jason Zucker (15 points in 11 games).
Brown at Holy Cross
Josh: Another frustratingly erratic team, the Bears have defeated both No. 17 Cornell and No. 12/13 Union this year, and lost to 2-10 Rensselaer and an AIC program that has a .235 winning percentage since 2003. Those types of teams are near-impossible to pick for any games. Holy Cross is just above Vermont in team defense, meaning they are third-worst in the nation in that category (allowing an average of four goals per game).
Luckily for the Crusaders, Brown brings the nation’s fifth-worst offense to Worcester on Saturday night (1.88 per game). Nevertheless, I still like the Bears to bounce back from their loss to AIC.
Massachusetts at Quinnipiac
Josh: If you read my Tuesday “This Week in ECAC Hockey” column, you know the Bobcats’ situation – a red-hot October followed by an ice-cold November, goals-wise. Head coach Rand Pecknold’s crew has outshot its opponent in each of its 15 games, but have lost or tied its last six.
This match-up actually continues this weekend’s trend of ECAC teams facing some of the nation’s worst teams, defensively-speaking (UMass is 12th from worst at 3.38 per game). If the Bobcats are to shake off the snake that’s biting them, now would be a good time.
Boston College at Yale
Josh: Yikes. A pair of top 10 teams (No. 8/8 Yale and No. 4/4 BC) – it doesn’t get much better than this. Yale, of course, received its ranking a day before being heavily upset in a7-6 shootout by previously 0-11 Sacred Heart. The Bulldogs feature one of the country’s hottest goalies in Jeff Malcolm, who has three shutouts and a .932 save percentage thus far.
As for offense, both teams bring the “by committee” philosophy to Ingalls Rink. The Eagles only feature three players averaging at least a point per game (Chris Kreider, Bill Arnold, Kevin Hayes) and Yale features two in the same category (Kenny Agostino, Brian O’Neill).
The big difference will likely be difference – which team can figure out the other’s multi-pronged attack soonest. Close one.
Boston College 4-3 (OT)
Princeton vs. Providence
Josh: The Tigers, after having to face an offensively potent Denver Pioneers team on Friday, turn around and get a resurgent Friars team on Saturday in the Wells Fargo Denver Cup Classic. Providence is gingerly holding on to a winning record (6-4-1) after five straight seasons under the .500 mark.
Princeton’s challenge? Keep Tim Schaller away from the net, and try to avoid special teams situations if at all possible. The junior has eight goals this season, five on the power play and two shorthanded.
Watch out for freshman Ross Mauerman, starting his collegiate career off really well with 12 points in 11 games.
Clarkson vs. Maine
Josh: The Black Bears give their home sweet home Alfond Arena a night off and make an appearance in Portland at the Cumberland County Civic Center.
The Golden Knights visit with one of the few goalies in the country to have three shutouts this season, Paul Karpowich. The Golden Knights broke an 0-3-1 stretch with an impressive 4-0 win over Dartmouth last Saturday.
Setting aside a 2-3-1 league record, the Golden Knights looked great in their non-league games in October, going 5-1-2.
The Black Bears aren’t much of a formidable opponent, standing at 3-6-2 overall. They haven’t won a game that matters in the standings in November (0-4-1). Senior Brian Flynn is always a scoring threat with 15 points in 11 games, so the Golden Knights need to watch him.
Cornell vs. Boston University
Josh: Here we go with another game between two ranked opponents, the No. 17 Big Red against the No. 15 Terriers. Every two years (in odd years), these two teams meet at Madison Square Garden in New York City, and so far Cornell is 0-1-1.
This match-up is one of those of ram vs. ram proportions, with the nation’s eighth-best offense (3.55 goals per game) testing the nation’s sixth-best defense (two allowed per game). What gives?
It’s Matt Nieto (15 points) and Corey Trivino (12 points) representing the BU offense best, and Cornell’s Andy Iles on a three-game shutout streak representing the Big Red defense. Start spreading the news.
Dartmouth at Vermont
Josh: Dartmouth has struggled of late, so perhaps this is the night when frustrated Catamounts fans get to cheer the loudest. The Big Green need to get their offense clicking, or a season that started out so positive will be deemed “in crisis mode” before long.
Clarkson at Holy Cross
Josh: Clarkson can ring up just enough goals to make it past the Crusaders. If not, Karpowich will make the win happen for them.
Union at Michigan
Josh: These two teams stand right next to each other in the weekly rankings (No. 12/13 Union vs. No. 11/11 Michigan).
Both teams have way too many weapons for this not to be just an awesome spectacle. On the Union side, you’re looking at Wayne Simpson, Kelly Zajac, Mat Bodie, and Troy Grosenick in net.
Michigan brings in a per-game average of four goals, and features nine players with at least 10 points in the Wolverines’ first 14 games.
At Yost Ice Arena, I have to pick Michigan even when they’re facing almost a mirror image. Either team could win.
Brown at Yale
Josh: The two Ivy League teams play on Thursday at Ingalls.