Mike Hastings and MSU Mankato travel to Northern Michigan this weekend (photo prout)
Here’s a quick peek at a handful of games to keep an eye on in the college hockey universe on Friday, November 20:
- Clarkson University Golden Knights (5-1-0) @ Quinnipiac University Bobcats (11-0-0) – The ECAC appears to have a bunch of quality teams in the early going. Of course, on top of the heap is Quinnipiac undefeated in 11 games this season. With few weaknesses this team has excelled both on the road and at home. This weekend they host Clarkson, a team with mixed results but certainly capable of offering the Bobcats some serious competition. The Knights lost once in their first six games but have stumbled in their last three against RPI, Union and St. Lawrence. There will be a game in the forseeable future that QU will get knocked off. Can Clarkson do it? Most likely not but it’ll be interesting to keep an eye on this one.
- Cornell University Big Red (5-1-0) @ Yale University Bulldogs (4-1-1) – Here’s another quality ECAC matchup between two squads with only two losses between the two. It’s at home game for Yale so we’ll give the Bulldogs that advantage. Cornell’s offense has been a little more explosive but otherwise, both teams are performing well in nearly every aspect of their game including goaltending. Call this one a toss-up.
- Notre Dame Fighting Irish (5-2-3) @ UMass Lowell River Hawks – These two squads are battling for the top of the heap in Hockey East with Lowell currently in first place. However they’ve played two more conference games than the Fighting Irish. Expect a grinding defensive game from the River Hawks as their 1.27 GAPG, 2.82 GPG and 90% PK indicate. Goaltender Kevin Boyle has been outstanding with 8 wins , .957 SV% and a 1.26 GAA. The Irish have only lost once in their last six games and that was to Minnesota. This will be an interesting test for the River Hawks but I’ve got to give the edge to Lowell in this one.
- Minnesota State Mankato Mavericks (6-6-0) @ Northern Michigan University Wildcats (4-3-3) – There really isn’t a clear leader in the WCHA at this point but Mankato can cause some separation with a solid weekend in Marquette, MI. Mankato has mixed results this season and it’ll be interesting to see how they respond vs the Wildcats on the road. With a 6-6-0 overall record, GPG of 2.08, GAPG of 2.83, PP 13.8% and PK 78.9% the Mavs are not impressive statistically. On paper, the Wildcats have an advantage in every statistical category. Can we rely on that to give NMU the edge tonight?. Probably not but I’ll still predict the Wildcats gets the Friday win.
- Omaha Mavericks (8-2-0) vs Miami University RedHawks ( 5-6-1) – Miami has struggled out of the gate in conference play getting swept by both UND and SCSU. But, on home ice they are 3-1-1. This will be a big test for the RedHawks who can’t afford a let down this weekend. After two frustrating losses to WMU on the road UNO responded sweeping UMD two weekends ago. Miami is struggling to find an offense while that is the least of Omaha’s worries. UNO just needs to forget about the disastrous weekend they had in Kalamazoo. The edge tonight goes to UNO.
- University of North Dakota Fighting Hawks (9-1-2) @ St. Cloud State University Huskies (8-2-0) – The game pits two squads battling for first place in the NCHC. It’ll be a packed house in St. Cloud with an abundant number of UND fans. SCSU piled on 16 goals vs Western Michigan on the road last weekend and the return of senior defenseman, Ethan Prow was a big part of that. Was that offensive explosion an aberration or a trend for the Huskies? Both teams can score and both have been good defensively and in goal. The teams are nearly dead even head to head in their last 20 contests. SCSU usually does well on Friday nights vs UND. That’s about the only logic I can use in giving SCSU the edge tonight.
- University of Michigan Wolverines (5-1-1) @ Boston University Terriers (5-3-2) – The Wolverines schedule has been weak thus far this season with the likes of Niagara, Robert Morris and Mercyhurst so it’s hard to gauge just how good this team is. The Terriers on the other hand have already faced Providence, Denver and Merrimack- all solid teams. The Terriers are probably better prepared for this series and have the edge in offense. It’ll certainly be a battle on Friday but I give the edge to Boston University at home.
Enjoy the games.