Here’s a look at the ECAC Hockey quarterfinal series:
No. 1 Quinnipiac vs. Cornell
A matchup that had a lot of potential in January now seems to have lost a little bit of its luster. Cornell struggled down the stretch, finishing with a 15-9-7 regular season record before defeating Union in two games in the ECAC’s first round. What hurt the Big Red was a seven-game winless stretch in late January that put them back down in the middle of the pack. Quinnipiac, however, has kept its top position in college hockey since just after the new year. With a weekend off, the Bobcats should come into this weekend’s series well rested and hungry to start playing games that matter — as long as they live up to all the hype. Quinnipiac is 1-0-1 against Cornell this season, with a 5-4 victory on Nov. 7 and a 2-2 tie on Feb. 5.
Picks: Quinnipiac 4, Cornell 3
Cornell 2, Quinnipiac 1, OT
Quinnipiac 3, Cornell 0
No. 4 St. Lawrence vs. Clarkson
For a team that has been a model of inconsistency this season, Clarkson has certainly turned it around at the right time. The Golden Knights finished their season with impressive wins over Harvard and Dartmouth, carrying that momentum over into the playoffs with two decisive wins over Princeton. As much success as St. Lawrence has had this season, the Saints might be the easiest target out of the four ECAC teams that have yet to play a playoff series this season. St. Lawrence has gone 1-2-1 in its last four games, including losses to Yale and Harvard. With Clarkson coming in with momentum, the Saints will need to take control of this series and early. Either way, this may turn into a dog fight.
Picks: Clarkson 4, St. Lawrence 2
St. Lawrence 5, Clarkson 2
St. Lawrence 2, Clarkson 1, OT
No. 2 Yale vs. Dartmouth
Yale will open its postseason against a team that seemingly came out of nowhere in the second half of the regular season. Dartmouth was down and out before storming back into the playoff conversation. That momentum was solidified with an opening-round thriller against Colgate in double overtime, sending the Big Green into the second round. Unfortunately for the comeback kids, this season hasn’t been kind against Yale in the season series. The Bulldogs have beaten up on Dartmouth twice this season — once on Nov. 7, a 4-2 win, and once on Feb. 5, a 5-1 win. But as the story lines usually go, pressure is on the higher seeded team to finish its business.
Picks: Yale 5, Dartmouth 3
Yale 3, Dartmouth 1
No. 3 Harvard vs. Rensselaer
These two teams have met fairly recently, a 2-1 win for RPI on Feb. 12. Given Harvard’s finish to the regular season, it’s hard to imagine this series turning into anything other than a wire-to-wire race. The Crimson enter the postseason winners of three of their last five, which followed a tough three-game losing streak against Yale, Northeastern and RPI, all in which Harvard scored one goal each. Offensively, Harvard has had its question marks: Some nights it’ll score one goal, the next it’ll score seven. With that kind of offensive inconsistency, RPI might be able to give Jimmy Vesey and the Crimson a run for their money.
Picks: Harvard 2, RPI 1
RPI 3, Harvard 2 OT
Harvard 4, RPI 3