With two weeks remaining in the ECAC regular season, it is crunch time for many ECAC teams to make the NCAA Tournament in March.
Quinnipiac locked up the Cleary Cup this weekend and can coast its way into a second round series at home. The Bobcats also currently sit in first place within the all important pairwise rankings. It seems that the team will likely be a first seed in the national tournament, that is of course if the team does not collapse in the next couple weeks. Still it has to look good for the league to have a team at the top of pairwise for a good chunk of the season.
RPI sits in second place in the ECAC standings. Who would have thought that after the first month of league play? It seemed that this team would be dangerous late in the season, but to be in play for a first round bye is incredible. Head coach Seth Appert has really taken the reigns of this team and could make it to the NCAA Tournament. Right now the Engineers sit in 17th place and can push their way into the top 16 over the next two weeks very easily.
Another team that has found its way as of late is St. Lawrence. At the start of the season it seemed that the Saints would be splitting every weekend. This had to be very discouraging going into the winter break. The high powered offense led by forwards Greg Carey and Kyle Flanagan have really gotten things done for this team since then. Big road wins against top teams in the league are very impressive momentum is certainly going in the teams favor. Last weekend the Saints were the first team to defeat Quinnipiac since AIC in November. The rough start for the Saints have put them in 23rd within Pairwise, but don’t be surprised if this team is in the ECAC Tournament final.
On the bubble of pairwise is Union. The defending ECAC Hockey Champions just don’t have the same pieces they had last year, but still have a shot to get an at large bid, sitting at 16th place in the system. Right now the Dutchmen are tied for third place within ECAC Hockey. A first round bye and home ice would be very beneficial in the hopes to make it to the big stage yet again.
After a steady start and strong mid season form, Yale has dropped off as of late. The Bulldogs are 12th in Pairwise because of a good array of non-conference results. If the team can pull out a few more wins and make it to Atlantic City, then they should be selected for the national tournament in a reasonable position. The loss of goaltender Jeff Malcolm has really killed momentum for the team. Before his injury they were the best team in the league.
Every year it seems like the same story for Dartmouth. The Big Green has been near the top of the league all season. Now they have seen a late decline in form and a number of injuries to key players. The team still has a chance for a first round bye with two weekends of regular season play remaining. In terms of pairwise, Dartmouth is just outside the sweet spot in 19th. With a good showing in non-conference play, The Big Green could find their way as one of the last team’s selected for the tournament.