ECAC Game of the Week: St. Cloud State at UnionPosted by: Josh Seguin
I figured I would start a pre-weekend blog to go along with the Three Things I Think and the Power Rankings, which will commence with the Ivy League season. I figured a preview format would be pretty boring, I have tried it before. It was always long and tedious. Instead, each week I will pick a game on the ECAC calendar to call the game of the week. I will also provide my predictions for the weekend for all the games, while also providing a blurb into my thought process.Without further ado, here’s to the inaugural edition.
St. Cloud State (1-1-0, 0-0-0 NCHC)
at Union (4-0-0, 0-0-0 ECAC)
All time series: 2-1-2 St. Cloud
Fri and Sat 7pm
This week will probably easier than most to choose, as two of the best teams in the country will face off at Messa Rink in Schenectady, NY. St. Cloud State will enter after a week off, while the Dutchmen will enter off a road sweep of Maine. The Huskies enter the matchup with a 1-1 record, after splitting a series at home against Colgate. Union enters with a 4-0-0 record on the year, its best start since the 2003-2004 season.
Union has picked up right where it left off last season, as its domination of opponents in key situations continues. The Dutchmen have outscored their opponents, 18-6 on the young season , while eating up its opponents at key moments. Mike Vecchione has been the guy in the early going, as his nine points in four games leads the nation, but balance again appears to be the strength. 20 different skaters have found the scoresheet in just four games, while 12 have multiple points and 13 have goals. All of those stats are quite impressive, but everything Union has done in the past year or so has been just that.
Union will enter with a plethora of streaks ongoing. It has defeated 16 consecutive opponents, it is undefeated in 21 games and it is on a 14 game home winning streak. The Dutchmen have also protected their home turf and haven’t lost, or been tied, at home since November 8th, 2013. Union again looks to be in championship form, but St. Cloud will provide quite the challenge.
St. Cloud was picked ninth in the CHN preseason top 10, and rightfully so. The Huskies are led by an impressive junior class, which includes Jonny Brodzinski, Kalle Kossila, David Morley, Joey Benik, and Jimmy Murray. Those five players contributed 165 points to the Huskies offense last season and have seen action in two NCAA tournaments, including a trip to the Frozen Four. Two weeks ago, Brodzinski put on a show against Colgate, as he scored a hat trick in the final game of that series, a 3-1 St. Cloud win.
Union may have met its match in terms of experience, as St. Cloud will present a much needed experienced test for the Dutchmen. The matchup could prove to be important for both conferences in terms of Pairwise come the end of the season, but it is much too early to be talking about that. Until we can finally talk about that, enjoy the hockey, this one should provide us with two classic matchups.
prediction: Union 4-3, 2-2 Tie
St Lawrence at Miami (Friday and Saturday)
Prediction: Miami sweeps (4-2, 3-2 OT)
St. Lawrence has received much needed goaltending but Miami will pose problems for the Saints. I feel as though SLU will pick up a win here, but I am not sure it will. Miami is a tough out, but the Saints should provide a challenge. If anything these two offensive teams will put on a show. SLU looked good on Saturday in a 2-0 win against Ferris, but Miami on the road is difficult for any team. Look for Miami to sweep two close games.
Colgate at Sacred Heart (Friday and Saturday)
Prediction: Colgate Sweeps (7-1, 5-2)
Sacred Heart may be the home team, but Colgate has been the dominant team this season. I don’t see the Pioneers providing much of a test, hence the lopsided scores. If Colgate needs any warning, Sacred Heart defeated a dominant Lowell team last season on the road. This is the fifth game of the year for Gate, so I don’t see it happening. Colgate should cruise twice and probably put up large numbers.
Bowling Green at Clarkson (Friday and Saturday)
Prediction: BG 3-1, Clarkson 2-1
Clarkson has provided opposing offenses fits, but has yet to scare a mouse with its offense. Last weekend, the Knights were swept in a home and home by Vermont. It scored a lone goal on the weekend, while only allowing five. Tech has allowed just seven goals in four games and Steve Perry has become the goalie in Potsdam. BGSU had a huge opening night win against Miami at home and enters on a two winning streak, after sweeping UAH last weekend. These should be two, grinding games and I expect a split. Clarkson needs to start potting goals, though, or the losses will continue to pile up.
Bentley at Rensselaer (Friday and Saturday)
Prediction: 3-2 Rensselaer, 3-1 Bentley 3-1
Rensselaer picked up a huge opening night win against Notre Dame but have faltered since then. Last weekend, the Engineers were dominated by Denver in a two game set falling by an aggregate of 7-1 and they were swept. If there was one positive on the weekend, the Engineers ended a goal-less drought that topped 190 minutes at the 19:25 mark of the third period in the finale. That should provide some solace but the scoring, as I expected, has been an issue. I see Bentley pulling one out here, so I expect it not to happen now.