While Quinnipiac was idle, the gap between them and the rest of the league in many experts minds only grew. On Saturday night, second place Yale lost to a very talented Colgate team 4-1 at home. This weekend will bring the much anticipated in-state battle of Yale and Quinnipiac, the matchup most ECAC fans have been waiting for.It should be one of the top games in the country as it will pit the first (Quinnipiac) and the fifth rated (Yale) pairwise teams in the country. Regardless of the result, the atmosphere will be a playoff type environment that is very important for both squads going forward.
Quinnipiac remains six points ahead of the Bulldogs in the standings, despite not playing a conference game in the last 18 days. Behind the Bobcats is a mess of worldly proportions as 10 teams are within eight points of eachother. The pairwise rankings don’t look good for the ECAC as Quinnipiac and Yale are the only two teams that are comfortably in, and Dartmouth sits in position 15 on the bubble. But if there is a silver lining to them, Union and Colgate are just on the outside looking in, in positions 18 and 19. Getting one or both of those teams in and keeping Dartmouth on the inside would be the best case scenario for the conference. This weekend, as every weekend is down the stretch, will have a huge impact on the Pairwise.
1. Quinnipiac (18-3-3, 11-0-1) – Last Week 1
Is there any doubt these days? The Q has not lost a game since Election Day, November 6 2012, a span of 17 games without a defeat. Once again Quinnipiac was idle last weekend, as they have played just once in the past three weeks. Are they the top team in the country? This will be the test that may prove it.
2. Yale (12-5-3, 8-4-1) – Last Week 2
Yale’s loss to Colgate on Saturday was only their third defeat in the past ten games and it snapped a five game winning streak. On Friday night, the Bulldogs went into Lynah rink and defeated Cornell 3-2 in overtime. Of course I still believe at this moment they are the second best team in the ECAC, hence they stay in this position for another week. This weekend will be the ultimate test for them, hosting arguably the best team in the country.
3. Union (13-8-4, 6-4-3) – Last Week 4
Union has now won three games in a row and on Saturday they defeated rival RPI in the big venue in Albany. Union may be right on the cusp of a long streak that many of us expected a long time ago. The Dutchmen host Dartmouth on Friday night, a game that can be seen on NBCSN.
4. Colgate (13-9-2, 5-6-1) – Last Week 8
I Said last week that if Colgate rebounded at home I would place them right back in the top tier and that’s exactly what I am doing. On Friday night, the Red Raiders defeated Brown 2-1, but picked up arguably their biggest conference win of the season defeating Yale 4-1 on Saturday night. Colgate had a long period of time off at the beginning of January but I think these two wins are what we should expect from Gate going forward.
The saddest news of the week also came by way of Colgate, as sophomore defenseman Spiro Goulakos has left the school to receive treatment for Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. I think I speak for all of the College Hockey News team in wishing him a speedy recovery. He will be in all of our thoughts this weekend, wherever we will be, and should be in yours no matter what team you root for. This game is great and moments like these bring the College Hockey world together as one group of fans.
5. Dartmouth (11-7-2, 7-5-1) – Last Week 3
This is the lowest ranking Dartmouth has had in these rankings in some time. Dartmouth’s struggles on the road came together to provide a perfect storm this weekend as they returned home to face a St. Lawrence team that has been struggling in recent months. The Saints shocked the Big Green 4-2 on Friday night, but Dartmouth was able to recover for a 5-1 win over Clarkson on Saturday. Dartmouth is a paltry 3-5-0 since a win against New Hampshire and will be looking for more consistency going forward.
6. Princeton (7-8-4, 5-4-3) – Last Week 5
Princeton has played just once since a win against RPI on January 12. They move down one position just based on what was going on around them, mainly Colgate having a great weekend.
7. Rensselaer (8-11-5, 3-6-3) – Last Week 6
I might be higher on the Engineers than most that cover the ECAC, but in the end their results and the games I have seen them prove to me they will be the one lower ranked team no one will want to play in March. On Saturday night, the Engineers took their rivalry with Union to the big stage, but fell 3-2 to the Dutchmen. The Engineers have a favorable schedule in the next few weeks, they may be ready to make a run.
8. St. Lawrence (11-10-3, 4-5-3) – Last Week 10
Some of us had written off the Saints. They had a great start going 6-1-0 in their first seven games but then struggled through the middle portion of their season going 3-9-3, but the last two weeks have been positive as they have gained consistency and are on a four game unbeaten streak. Last weekend the Saints shocked Dartmouth and defeated Harvard, both on the road. Greg Carey and Kyle Flanagan still sit one and two atop the scoring chart, some of us may have forgotten that, but they are both elite players that could lead St. Lawrence to surprise some good teams in the ECAC tournament. But for this week they move up two spots to eighth.
9. Brown (7-9-4, 3-6-4) – Last Week 9
Brown has been just OK in the second half going 4-3-0, after struggling for wins in the first half. The difference between the halves is marked as they have begun to score and they have played better defense. Last weekend, the Bears lost to Colgate 2-1 on Friday but picked up a crucial positioning win against Cornell on Saturday. The win put them in a three-way for tie eighth place with Cornell and Clarkson.
10. Cornell (8-9-2, 4-6-2) – Last Week 7
Cornell takes the biggest fall this week as they were swept in a pair of games with Brown and Yale. Many thought this was going to the Big Red’s year, but much like Harvard it has not panned out as planned. Amazing to think that on both preseason ballots, coaches and media, the Big Red and Harvard were in the top three but today both sit in the bottom third of these rankings. Time changes a lot I guess, but there is still time to Resurrect the season.
11. Clarkson (5-13-6, 4-6-2) – Last Week 11
Clarkson looked pretty good on Friday night in Cambridge against Harvard winning 5-1, but came up with an egg on Saturday night being defeated by Dartmouth on the road. The win was Clarkson’s first in seven games but it was enough to keep them out of the basement because they convincingly beat the only team below them.
12. Harvard (5-13-1, 3-11-0) – Last Week 12
Harvard officially belongs in this position. On Friday night the Crimson took a 1-0 first period lead, held it through most of the second period but gave up two goals in nine seconds late in the period to give it up. Harvard just looked dazed and confused after the two goals and there was no doubt that they weren’t coming back in the game. They are a rattled bunch, the key for them this weekend against RPI is gaining confidence to use in the Beanpot.