Friday, March 8, 2013

ECAC Men's Hockey First Round Predictions

#9 Cornell at #8 Princeton
The Big Red are riding a 4-1-1 streak into the playoffs.  The Tigers had been heading the other way, but they cobbled together a three-pointer last weekend.  These two last met a month ago; Princeton limped away from Lynah with a 1-0 win on the back of a Mike Condon's 39-save shutout.  Greg Miller against Michael Sdao should be fun; I think Cornell's got the deeper team.  Big Red in 3.

#10 Clarkson at #7 Brown
I can't figure Clarkson out at all.  Can you?  Please help.  Brown's Anthony Morelli appears to be some sort of trickster demon bent on taking goals from us humans.  Maybe over the short burst of hockey that is the best-of-three Greg Lewis can match--or at least come close--his counterpart. If not, Bruno should get by.  Bears in 3.

#11 Colgate at #6 St Lawrence
I...I think the Raiders can take this thing.  I don't believe in St Lawrence's depth (said the foolish coureur des bois).  Jeremy Price and Thomas Larkin were pretty impressive in my viewings this year; if they can hold Kyle Flanagan, Greg Carey and Jeremy Wick to, say, three goals in three games, the 'Gate ought to have a chance.  That said, it's in Canton, so I'll push it SLU's way.  Saints in 3.

#12 Harvard at #5 Dartmouth
Eep.  So.  I want to believe.  Dartmouth took three of four points from the Crimson this year, but both games were pretty close.  Both teams had been playing fairly well before last Saturday, when they each laid a hefty egg.  The Everson-Criscuolo-Hart line had been killing it all February for the Crimson.  If they can give Harvard a couple goals this weekend, and keep cycling the puck like madmen, it will go a long way towards the on-paper upset.

Assuming that line stays intact, I'm still at a loss as to how to organize the other lines.  Vesey's an animal, and Fallstrom, O'Regan, Blackwell, Gozzo, and Greiner have each had solid years.  Still, I can't help but feel that there must exist some combination thereof that would give the Crimson at least one other real killer line.  Whatever that combo might be, the recent experiment of Vesey-Fallstrom and O'Regan-Greiner-Morison has not really yielded the results I'd hoped for, and I expect/would like to see a shake-up this weekend.

The Big Green are led up front by Tyler Sikura and his 19 points in 22 league games.  Whether it's Biega-Jaw, Ford-Rempel, or Next-Man-Up drawing that assignment this weekend, marking Sikura will be the Crimson's biggest challenge this weekend.

The goalie situation is similar.  The top end forwards are similar.  The Big Green have better scoring depth, and home ice.  Based on that, the pick should be Dartmouth.  Which is why I'll say Crimson in 3.

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