Weekend Preview: ECAC 11/13

Posted by: Josh Seguin

Another full weekend of conference games will again help us to sort out the contenders from the pretenders. The highlight of the weekend will indeed be Quinnipiac and Harvard in Hamden on Friday night. The two heavyweights will battle in what could ultimately be a title match preview. The other highlight of the weekend, pits the North Country rivals, SLU and Clarkson, against each other. In all honesty, it is one of the biggest, if not the biggest, rivalry in the league.  Those are just two of the premier matchups that dot the schedule this week, without further ado here are some thoughts for the upcoming weekend.

Friday

Harvard at Quinnipiac

We should learn a lot about these two in this game. Harvard has looked good in its minimal action so far and it will take on an unblemished Quinnipiac team that is now 8-0-0 on the season. For Harvard, this will probably be the toughest test for them to date because unlike Yale, QU has a dangerous offense that sends a ton of great chances toward the net. We all know that Harvard has the offense, but whether or not its defense will hold up against a team like QU, is something that we have no idea about yet. It looked good against Yale, but there wasn’t much in the way of dangerous up and down play in that game. This will also be the Crimson’s first big road test, against a good team. For Quinnipiac, it still needs a tough road test to quell the juries. This home game, however, could go a long way in telling us if they belong in the tier as Yale and Harvard.

Prediction: 5-2 Harvard

Yale at RPI

Yale remains undefeated, while RPI is coming in off a huge three point weekend in the North Country. The Engineers weekend up in the North Country was ultimately the biggest surprise of last weekend and a successful night against Yale could go a long way in proving that they are poised to make some noise this year. RPI’s 3-0-1 league start is its best start since the 1994-95 season. The weekend built upon a strong weekend for the Engineers in which it swept rival Union. Yale scored four unanswered against Dartmouth to take its first league win of the season. Yale has looked every bit the team we thought it would be, but there is no doubt that RPI has a huge opportunity to make a statement.

Prediction: 4-3 Yale

Brown at Union

Bruno needs a result in the worst way. It is 0-3-0 in the early going and has struggled mightily to keep the puck out of its own net. It has allowed 19 goals in its three games so far and nothing has gone right for them. Its offense has contributed but it has not been enough. Union needs to build off a strong win against Clarkson last Saturday. The win broke a four game losing streak and a five match winless skid.

Prediction: 3-1 Union

Clarkson at St. Lawrence

These two teams, do not like each other, They are separated by seven miles and both appear to be as good as they have been in some time. This should make for great cinema. One of the oddities of this matchup, is how one sided it has been over the years. St. Lawrence has not beat Clarkson at home since game 3 of an ECAC first round series, on March 7, 2010. Clarkson is 10-3-2 against its rival in its last 15 meetings, but SLU won two of the three meetings between the schools last year.

Last weekend the two had a mixed bag of results. St. Lawrence won 6-3 against Union on Friday but fell flat against RPI in an overtime loss. Clarkson was only able to take a lone point out of a home weekend, tying RPI on Friday and dropping a game to Union on Saturday. Whether or not the two were looking ahead a bit is questionable at best, but in all honesty these are still two good teams and they should be ready for one of their classic clashes.

Prediction: SLU 2-1

Dartmouth at Princeton

Two struggling teams will meet at the famed Hobey Baker Rink on Friday night. Princeton dropped both games last weekend to Colgate and Cornell on the road. The weekend was a step-back after taking a win against Maine two weeks ago. Dartmouth was able to pick up a win against Brown last Friday and took a two goal lead against Yale on Saurday. Unfortunately, it allowed four unanswered goals to Yale in a loss. Both teams need a win in league play, as Dartmouth is 1-3-0 and Princeton is still without a win at 0-2-0.

Prediction: Dartmouth 2-1

Friday and Saturday

Colgate vs Cornell (Fri at Cornell, Sat at Gate)

The Central New York rivals will meet at Lynah Rink on Friday for the 150th all-time meeting between the schools.  Cornell and Colgate both picked up wins against Princeton last weekend, but dropped its games against Quinnipiac. On Friday, the Big Red took a 3-0 lead against QU but was unable to hold it and allowed four unanswered goals. The effort was disappointing but the positive was that it scored some goals, which many people thought would be its biggest issue this season. Gate has struggled at times this season but it is 4-5-0 on the season and has a chance in coming weeks to make a move. Whether or not its lack of depth will become an issue is something yet to be seen.

Prediction: Home Split

Saturday

Harvard at Princeton

Harvard and Princeton will meet on Saturday for the first time since the last weekend of the season last year. Harvard has won four consecutive games in the series and have 16 goals in the process. One positive for the Tigers thus far has been its offense, which has averaged 2.5 goals per game and has potted home 10 goals. The ten goals are a quarter of what it scored all of last season, 39, in just four games.

Prediction: Harvard 6-2

Dartmouth at Quinnipiac

Will Quinnipiac still be undefeated when it meets the Big Green on Saturday night? Or will the Bobcats be coming in hungry? I guess we will find out when the teams actually hit the ice, but the matchup is intriguing because it features two teams that love to skate and create offense. The Bobcats will be searching for revenge, as the Big Green took the last game between the two last February. The win snapped a six game losing streak against QU for Dartmouth.

Prediction: 5-1 Quinnipiac

Brown at RPI

If RPI picks up a win against Yale, it will enter with nine out of a possible 10 points in ECAC play but even it doesn’t I am sure it would have been happy with nine of 12 to begin the league slate. It has been surprising, but Brown’s struggles have been more surprising to me. Its downfall has again proved how important defense and goaltending is in hockey.

Prediction: 4-1 Yale

Yale at Union

The last two ECAC national champions will meet in Schenectady. Although both programs have gone in different directions in recent years, both still have some talent to work with. Yale looks the part of a team that could do it all again. The Dutchmen are 6-1-1 in the last eight meetings between the schools.

Prediction: Yale 5-1

Power Rankings

1. Harvard (3-0-1, 3-0-1 ECAC)

2. Yale (3-0-1, 1-0-1 )

3. Quinnipiac (8-0-0, 2-0-0 )

4. Rensselaer (4-4-1, 3-0-1)

5. SLU (6-3-1, 1-1-0)

6. Cornell (3-1-0, 1-1-0)

7. Clarkson (5-2-1, 0-1-1)

8. Colgate (4-5-0, 1-1-0)

9. Union (3-4-3, 1-3-0)

10. Dartmouth (1-3-0, 1-3-0)

11. Princeton (1-3-0, 0-2-0)

12. Brown 0-3-0, 0-2-0)

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