Over the weekend, the Power Rankings seemed to take hold, as all ECAC teams were in action. The Ivies finally began their seasons over the weekend, with Cornell and Brown looking the most impressive. From Brown’s impressive weekend at the Liberty Invitational to Clarkson’s continued success to the rest of the happenings within the conference, teams made statements from top to bottom.
Last night Harvard and Rensselaer kicked off the conference schedule with a tie. The tie seemed fitting based on how it looks like the conference will play out this year; a battle.It has been an interesting first month for ECAC teams but the month has been a downright success for the teams. Only Dartmouth, Union and Colgate will leave October with sub-500 records, with Dartmouth’s only losses at the Liberty Invitational over the weekend. Those teams will make up the bottom three positions, only because wins matter in Power Rankings. Without further ado I suppose here is my weekly take on how the teams stack up.
1. Clarkson (6-1-1, 0-0-0) – Last Week 6
In all honesty I flirted with the notion of putting Clarkson at the top of these rankings all week because of how it looked over the weekend, but I felt the need to wait. Then I debated to myself some more and hey what the heck. Clarkson fans have not had much to celebrate about in the past few seasons, but this team has a different feeling to it. It has been mighty impressive in eight games, allowing just 12 goals in those games, but my one concern is I am not sure whether the competition has been there for the Knights. For me the wins and the way they are happening are selling me.
Colorado College, Clarkson’s opponent last weekend, is a usual contender for the NCAA tournament and the Knights dominated them in a two game series, picking up two one goal wins. On Friday night, Clarkson outshot the Tigers 30-21 in a 2-1 win and on Saturday it outshot its opponent 43-18, in a 1-0 thrilling victory. I talked about Clarkson’s clutch play in my Three Things I Think this week and it is something that this Clarkson team has improved upon the most so far. It is three wins away from its total from last season. Both goaltenders have been impressive in the early going as freshman Steve Perry is 3-1-0 with a 1.20 GAA and .948 save percentage, while Greg Lewis is 3-1-0 with a 1.75 GAA and .930 save percentage. Its 1.50 goals allowed is good for best in the nation.
If the old adage is good teams find ways to win and bad ones find ways to lose, Clarkson passed that test with flying colors over the weekend. The test of time will be whether it continues into conference play, but look for it to do so, i’m sold. It looked the most impressive over the weekend of all the league’s teams. It took a month for a preseason 12th of 12th ranking to turn into a win, lets just hope they can keep up the good play. If not I have been duped and they might drop fast if that is the case.
This Weekend: Friday at Brown, Saturday at Yale
2. Quinnipiac (6-1-0, 0-0-0) – Last Week 3
Quinnipiac picked up its fifth and sixth consecutive wins over the weekend with a weekend home and home sweep over Holy Cross. On Friday night the Bobcats outshot its opponent 22-13 en route to a 4-2 win and on Saturday it garnered 48 shots in a 3-1 win. The only reason why they are here is because when I looked at the two opponents of the teams at the top last weekend it seemed as though Clarkson had the more impressive opponent.
Defensively, the Bobcats have been solid allowing just 1.71 goals per game, which is good for fifth nationally. Freshman, Sam Anas leads the Bobcats in goals and points, with six and eight respectively. Considering all the firepower on the top lines, his team lead in goals is rather surprising but it is something that makes Quinnipiac even more dangerous. Quinnipiac of course does have two wins against Lowell on its resume, those wins will become bigger and bigger as the season goes on.
This Weekend: Friday at Colgate, Saturday at Cornell
3. Cornell (2-0-0, 0-0-0) – Last Week 4
Cornell picked up two victories out west over the weekend and was CHN’s Team of the Week. The Big Red got, I hate to say this, quite lucky in the weekend series, as it picked up great goaltending from Andy Iles. On Friday night, it was outshot 31-20 but was able to find the back of the net five times. Cole Bardreau led the offense and was the named the game’s first star on a goal and an assist. On Saturday night, Cornell pulled out a 4-3 win despite only garnering 13 shots on goal.
The Big Red scored nine goals on 33 shots over the weekend, scored on seven of its 15 power-plays and goaltender, Andy Isles, turned into a hero making 65 of 71 saves on the weekend. It scored on 28 percent of its shots over the weekend, some teams would love to have that finishing ability but will it continue in coming weeks? For Cornell, though, the 2-0 start out west is just what it was hoping no matter how it looked.
This Weekend: Friday vs, Princeton, Saturday vs. Quinnipiac
4. Rensselaer (4-1-1, 0-0-0) – Last Week 3
Twice Rensselaer took big early leads and twice the Engineers almost squandered them. On Saturday, RPI took a 4-0 lead early in the second period against UNH, only to see UNH claw and fight back to within two early in the third. The Engineers held on but on Tuesday they weren’t able to, taking an early 3-0 first period lead against Harvard only to see Harvard score three goals to tie it. But has it become a trend?
It is a bigger trend for RPI, but it happened in a bigger manner against Boston College early in the season. It played well in the first period only to fall off in the second and third periods allowing, getting out-scored 6-1. It also happened against Boston University, where it raced out to an early 2-0 lead and held on for a 3-1 win. The trend is present and finishing a game out has to be the ultimate teaching point for the Engineers going forward.
5. Brown (2-0-0, 0-0-0) – Last Week 8
Brown would be higher in these rankings if not for the top four continuing to win. But did any team have as impressive of a weekend as did Brown? The answer is probably not, as it defeat the defending champions, Yale, on Friday night and defeated a really good Dartmouth team on Saturday night. It is too early to tell though whether these impressive looking wins will mean much but Brown had a good weekend, beginning 2-0 on the young season. I go into more detail on Brown in this week’s three things I think.
This Weekend: Friday vs Clarkson, Saturday vs. St. Lawrence
6. Yale (1-1-0, 0-0-0) – Last Week 1
As I said about Brown, it is really too early to pass judgement on Yale. They are probably better than a 4-1 loss against Brown but again it was the first game of the season for the Bulldogs. Yale picked up a 3-2 victory against Princeton on Saturday. Yale will raise its National Championship banner on Friday night before a game against St. Lawrence, a game which I will be attending. It will give me even more time to pass judgement on the defending National Champs.
This Weekend: Friday vs St. Lawrence, Saturday vs. Clarkson
7. Harvard (1-0-1, 0-0-0) – Last Week 7
The Crimson stay pat this week, with a win against Bentley and and a tie against RPI on its record. Tuesday may been a tie, but it was as impressive as a tie as is possible. The Crimson went down 3-0 early in the first period but clawed its way back into the game late. It turned a sure loss into a tie and it looked like it became a team later in that game. With the two teams playing again on Friday at Harvard, the Crimson should have the momentum going into that one.
This Weekend: Friday vs RPI, Saturday vs Union
8. St. Lawrence (4-2-0, 0-0-0) – Last Week 9
St. Lawrence had its second consecutive split weekend at home, as it split a pair against Northeastern. Winning a 6-4 decision on Saturday night and dropping a 6-3 decision on Friday night. Matt Carey leads the team in goals, ya I said Matt not Greg, with seven. But the defense has been very inconsistent allowing 3.17 per game, which is 11th in the ECAC. These numbers will need to improve if the Saints will want to stack up in a tough conference. Up next for St. Lawrence is Yale and its usual juggernaut offense.
This Weekend: Friday at Yale, Saturday at Brown
9. Princeton (1-1-0, 0-0-0) – Last Week 10
The Tigers began its season with an overtime win on Friday night against Dartmouth, despite getting outshot 40-20. It shouldn’t be much of a surprise for those who have seen Princeton in recent years because it has been the norm for Princeton, getting outshot and winning. Goaltender, Sean Bonar looked quite impressive in the effort and backed it up on Saturday stopping 27 out of the 30 shots he saw. On Saturday, it dropped a 3-2 decision to the defending national champs, Yale.
This Weekend: Friday at Cornell, Saturday at Quinnipiac
10. Dartmouth (0-2-0, 0-0-0) – Last Week 5
I don’t think it would be fair for Dartmouth to move much further down than here because quite frankly it was the first weekend of the season and it dropped a pair of one goal decisions to Princeton and Brown. The Green outshot both the Tigers and Bears, but it seemed that it just couldn’t finish off its opportunities. It will be interesting to see if this is a trend or just a one time thing on the first weekend, but only time will tell.
This Weekend: Friday vs. Union, Saturday vs RPI
11. Union (1-2-2, 0-0-0) – Last Week 12
There is some good news on the horizon, as Ken Schott of the Schenectady Daily Gazette reports starting goaltender, Colin Stevens, could return this weekend. His presence will be a big one in the lineup, as the Dutchmen have struggled to keep pucks out of the net. Last weekend, it tied on the road against UConn 2-2. and again it struggled to score the big goal for the win. It has become an issue in the early going and despite moving up it really didn’t look much better in a tie. Getting shots on net, as Union had 49 in the tie, is one thing but actually burying them is another thing; that is what the Dutchmen have struggled most to do. I’m not completely convinced that Stevens’ return will make much of a difference if that doesn’t change.
This Weekend: Friday at Dartmouth, Saturday at Harvard
12. Colgate (2-4-0, 0-0-0) – Last Week 11
Since beginning the season 2-1-1, the Raiders have dropped three consecutive home games. Last weekend it was swept in a series against a solid St. Cloud State squad losing on Friday 4-2 and on Saturday 4-3. Colgate has allowed 15 goals in its last three games and all three goaltenders have struggled in recent weeks.
This Weekend: Friday vs Quinnipiac, Friday vs Princeton