Missing our Chi Psi College Pick’em now that football season is over? You’re in luck because we’re bringing it back for hockey season with our Hockey Night in Chi Psi series! Each week Justin Zolot and James Holman will be joined by a surprise guest to give their picks for the week’s top hockey face-offs.
This week’s surprise guest is former Rho Delta #1 Nathan Brinling ’14. Check out this week’s games to watch and our picks below:
#3 Union College at Cornell University
|Justin Zolot: So fitting we kick off Hockey Night in Chi Psi with one of my favorite matchups – the skating Dutchmen of Union College at Cornell University’s historic Lynah Rink. This barn is without question the most intimidating atmosphere for any road team in the country. The fans are unruly, the crowd volume is loud, and the Big Red will always make it known you’re on their ice with bone-crushing hits and continuous chirping. Don’t believe me? Check out this video.Several Alpha Pi brothers and I would make this annual trip to Cornell University and stay at the Alpha Psi Lodge. The brothers were always welcoming, and they loved to show off their beautiful Lodge as we walked through each of the rooms in complete awe. Late nights in College Town always got the best of us and our hopes of finding that Ivy League girl to begin a “long-distance” romance were always shut down pretty quickly when we mentioned we didn’t go to Cornell and were only visiting for the night (or at least that’s what we keep telling ourselves years later..).Friday’s game will be the 55th all-time meeting between the Big Red and Dutchmen, with Cornell holding a 32-15-7 lead in the series. The Big Red holds an 9-3-2 advantage over the teams’ last 14 meetings, including a victory in the 2010 ECAC Hockey Championship game (credit goes entirely to former Cornell standout and current Edmonton Oilers goalie Ben Scrivens). But Union won the most recent meeting between the teams, a 3-0 shutout on Nov. 9 in which the Big Red generated just 11 shots on goal. Cornell won last year’s meeting at Lynah Rink, a 4-2 affair on Senior Night, Feb. 23, 2013. Mike Schafer is 23-11-6 against Union in his tenure as the Big Red’s head coach.The #3 nationally ranked Union College Dutchmen enter this Friday night contest holding first place in ECAC Hockey, earning 26 of a possible 32 points (13-3-0) in the chase for the Cleary Cup. The leadership of senior forward Daniel Carr, senior defensemen Mat Bodie, and junior defensemen/Philadelphia Flyers draft prospect Shayne Gostisbehere have allowed the team to whether the storm of playing without head coach Rick Bennett, who has been out serving a four game suspension in response to an epic line brawl and postgame altercation with RPI head coach Seth Appert on January 25th , 2014.The Cornell Big Red had the second-longest unbeaten streak in the country snapped with a 6-1 loss last Saturday at Colgate. The Raiders were aided by eight power plays, which yielded three goals. It had been the first time the Cornell Big Red tasted defeat since Nov. 30 (a 3-2 loss vs. Boston University). It was a rare off night for the Big Red penalty kill, which entered the game killing off 31 of its opponents’ previous 33 power-play opportunities (93.9 percent).Despite to hostility at Lynah Rink, look to #3 Union College to continue its momentum against the Big Red in a 4-2 closely fought game. Head Coach Rick Bennett will be returning to his rightful place behind the Dutchmen bench, and have a solid game plan in place – one that will put 30 plus shots on Cornell senior goaltender Andy Iles.|
|James Holman: Cornell is coming off their worst loss of the season, a 1-6 shellacking at the hands of Colgate. They had been on fire though as it was their first loss in 2014. Union on the other hand has been nearly impossible to beat at home with only one loss at home since October also at the hands of Colgate. Still this game is being played in Ithaca and I see Cornell pulling off the upset 5-3 in an offensive shoot-out.|
|Nathan Brinling: Daniel Carr is a great senior leader, and Union has been playing well as of late with a win against Yale last weekend. Cornell struggled last weekend against an up an down Colgate team. Also, I am not sure if I can live with myself if I pick against Justin Zolot and his Dutchmen in the first ever game picked of Hockey Night in Chi Psi. Alpha Pi, Union College (in my best Boston accent) gets the W.|
#4 Quinnipiac University at #13 Yale University
|Justin Zolot: Quinnipiac and Yale have met 19 times in their all-time history, including a 3-3 tie at High Point Solutions Arena on Nov. 9, 2013. Quinnipiac holds the edge in the all-time series at 10-6-3. The Bobcats are 4-3-1 all-time at Ingalls Rink, with wins in their last two trips to the Bulldogs home ice. The Bobcats and Bulldogs have met twice in the postseason including the 2013 NCAA National Championship Game. That game famously went to the Bulldogs, 4-0, who upset three No. 1 seed in the tournament before capturing their first national championship. I personally witnessed Quinnipiac’s horrifying national championship loss to Yale last April in Pittsburgh. Three words: NERDS GONE WILD! Shout out to Alpha Kappa Delta – you Yalies are wicked awesome! Yale enters the week ranked 13th nationally with a 12-7-4 overall record including a 7-6-3 mark in ECAC Hockey play, good for sixth in the league standings with 17 points. The Bulldogs have been up-and-down as of late, splitting their last four ECAC Hockey weekends. Yale opened the year with a loss to Brown before rattling off a seven-game unbeaten streak (5-0-2). The Bobcats wrapped the month of November with a 6-2-2 record and have gone 6-5-2 since. Senior Kenny Agostino leads Yale with 11 goals and 11 assists for 22 points while Jesse Root checks in with seven goals and 15 assists for 22 points. In goal, freshman Alex Lyon is 9-7-4 with a 2.28 goals-against average and a .922 save percentage.Quinnipiac, which had unbeaten streaks of 13 and seven games this season, sits in second place in the ECAC after splitting home games with Clarkson and SLU last week. Freshman Sam Anas leads QU with 16 goals and 35 points, though senior Kellen Jones (15-20-35) is close behind. They are two of seven with double-digit goals for a team outscoring opponents 111-59. Michael Garteig (1.91, .907) has every decision in the Bobcat net. The Cats, No. 4 in this week’s USCHO national poll, rank second in offense and third in defense in Division I men’s ice hockey.Yale typically plays incredible at Ingalls Rink (aka “The Whale”…yes, it’s shaped like a whale, Google it.), but Quinnipiac holds the edge in skill. The game will be a grind, but in the end, I believe Eli goes to bed a happy man. Look to #13 Yale to upset their Hamden, CT neighbors 3-1!|
|James Holman: Not only is this a rematch of last year’s national championship, but it is also a matchup between crosstown rivals. Both teams feature high scoring offenses: Yale spreads it around and has had 19 different players on the scoresheet this year, while Quinnipiac is averaging nearly four goals a game (3.7 gpg). The two teams met in December with the result being a 3-3 tie. Both teams are coming off of a loss, but Yale has yet to lose two in a row. Because of their excellent balance, consistency, and hometown advantages I’m picking Kappa Delta for the win 4-3 in a close matchup.
|Nathan Brinling: In a rematch of last year’s national championship game, Quinnipiac will be looking for revenge. They were the favorite all year and were embarrassed in Pittsburgh by a hot Yale team. Look for them to go on the road and get the win.|
#10 University of Michigan at #2 University of Minnesota
|Justin Zolot: Did you think this blog segment was only about college hockey? Yeah, ok. Think again, brother. We’d like to thank the Michigan hockey team for providing tips on how to get through a lonely Valentine’s Day!#11 Michigan meets #2 Minnesota in a matchup of college hockey heavy-weights this weekend at Mariucci Arena. This weekend will mark the first Big Ten Hockey series between the #1 (Minnesota) and #2 (Michigan) winningest programs in college hockey. Minnesota is Michigan’s second oldest rival, with the first meeting taking place on January 23rd, 1923 (L,2-0) at Minnesota. The Gophers have the most wins against Michigan than any other team in college hockey, with a 128-117-15 record against the Wolverines. Michigan and Minnesota have not met in over three seasons, the longest gap between games in a series since a five year dormant stretch from 1986-1991. The last meeting between the two teams came on Nov. 28th, 2010, a 3-1 win for the Gophers at Mariucci Arena in the College Hockey Showcase.At 6-3-1-1 in Big Ten play, The University of Michigan is in third place in Big Ten conference standings. With 10 games remaining in conference play, Michigan (20 points) sits two points behind Wisconsin (7-4-1-0, 22 points) and six behind Minnesota (8-2-2-0, 26 points) with two games in hand on both teams. Entering the contest, Michigan is coming off a series split with program newcomer Penn State, while Minnesota is coming off being swept on the road by Wisconsin last weekend.I predict Minnesota sweeping Michigan at home by scores 2-0 and 3-1. Minnesota is an elite team, and has shown tenacity in every game it has played this season. Also, my mom is a Minnesota graduate and she would probably kill me if I picked against them. Check out this awesome University of Minnesota hockey pump up video.|
|James Holman: Minnesota might have the best collection of NHL talent in college hockey this year. The Golden Gophers have been shutting opponents down on the defensive side of the rink, outscoring teams by 1.5 goals per game. They just got shut out in two tightly fought contests last weekend against their rival in Madison. Michigan on the other hand split their series last weekend with Big Ten bottom dwellers Penn State. I look for Minnesota to continue its dominance at home and shut Michigan down winning 3-0. Look for Michigan to snatch a game though on Saturday night.
|Nathan Brinling: Mariucci Arena is for sure one of the toughest places to come in as an opponent and win. Also, Michigan looked terrible on the road against Penn State, a program that has existed at the D1 level for less than two full seasons. You betcha that Minnesota will continue its dominance as of late and get the win against the Wolverines.|
Wesleyan University at Bowdoin College
#12 Williams College at Middlebury College
Remember your hockey teams aren’t the only ones competing for a National Title right now. Visit www.chipsi.org/AnnualFundChallenge to learn more about this year’s race to become Chi Psi’s National Champion. Check out all the stats and GIVE TODAY!