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Three Favorites: A Rivalry, a Shootout, and a Statement

Last week’s three favorites delivered some good games. Georgetown avoided the Bruno trap, CJ Kirst stole the show against Ohio State, and the Irish got back on track with a win over the Terps. This weekend has another good slate of games, highlighted by the Crown Classic, a really cool event in Charlotte that this year will be the site of an excellent rivalry game. And naturally, that’s my first favorite game. 

Spreads are from DraftKings at the time of writing. Rankings are from the latest IL media poll.


It’s not just that this is Charlotte. It’s not just that it’s a top ten matchup. It’s not just that it’s a huge rivalry game. It’s all that, plus the stakes are high for Cuse. The Orange come in at 5-2. The wins are blowouts of UVM, Colgate, Utah, and High Point. The losses are OT games against Maryland and Army. When that’s the results through seven games, you’re bound to start hearing the refrain of “they haven’t beaten anybody”.  Cuse has four non-conference games remaining on the regular season schedule: Hopkins, Delaware, Hobart, and Cornell. They cannot go winless against Hop, Delaware, and Cornell. They play on the road against Notre Dame, Carolina, and Cornell. The remaining schedule has plenty of opportunities for Cuse to help their tournament case, but plenty of chances for them to play their way onto the couch in May as well. Hopkins resume is already coming together nicely with wins over UVA, UNC,and Georgetown. They sit at number two in the nation, only the OT loss to Denver is a blemish on the resume. Is it too early to start talking tournament resumes? Probably. But for these two teams, it’s how they’ll be measured. The hype machine says Cuse should be in the mix for Championship Weekend. The play of Hopkins is saying they should be in the mix on Memorial Day. Someone is going to adjust the expectations for the other in this game. 


Sometimes there are individual matchups I like. Sometimes there’s the team defense vs team offense, goaltending matchups, specific ways a team runs things on the field. All that usually adds up to why I find a game interesting to watch. And sometimes, I just want to see a ton of goals. This is one of those games. Cornell’s lowest goal total in a game this year is 15, which they put up last weekend against a very good Ohio State defense. CJ Kirst had seven goals in that game. The attack of Kirst, Michael Long, and Willem Firth has looked unstoppable through the first four games. The Big Red’s only loss is a one goal game to Denver. Last week Penn State trailed Yale 9-2 at the half, and then scored 13 goals in the second half and OT to come away with a win. TJ Malone had seven points just in the second half, including assisting on the game winner. He is up to 25 points in four games. I’m sure there’s a narrative angle here. A ranking angle, good non-con opponent on the schedule angle, all that good stuff. But sometimes, just give me the goods. Turn the scoreboard off, I don’t care who’s winning and how much time here is in the game. Just put a ton of weapons on the field and let them fill the nets for a while. This one could be really fun. 


OK, back to the storyline games. Michigan comes into this one having won five straight. They got bullied by UVA week one and haven’t lost since. The opponents in that stretch are not the toughest. Canisius and Hobart were in there. But a gritty win from fighting off Jacksonville, followed by a win over ranked Delaware, is a nice buildup for the Wolverines to a tougher stretch of schedule. Another ranked opponent awaits this week in Harvard. Michigan’s offense will be a handful, but I’m interested in the performance of Hunter Taylor in net for them. The Wolverines held Delaware to eight goals last week, and Taylor was at 60% in cage, his second straight game hitting that mark and fourth time this year. He made 12 saves against the Hens, 15 against Jacksonville. Harvard’s Sam King is an elite QB of an attackman, and is currently top five in the nation in points. The Crimson have an offense that’s somehow both young and experienced. King is only a junior. There are two seniors on the team who have scored a goal this year, and one of them is goalie Christian Barnard. But those underclassmen are not new to the field Miles Botkiss and Logan Ip have been keys for the team for a long time. Michigan should have a faceoff edge, but Greg Campisi in the middle of the field can help limit opportunities off faceoffs and steal possessions. Harvard has Michigan, Virginia, and the Ivy schedule left, this is a massive opportunity for them to build that non-con resume. Michigan has Harvard and Notre Dame left before Big 10 play. This is a trajectory setting game for both programs.


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