The first weekend of conference action is in the books and some teams made some serious statements, Union and Quinnipiac, while others faltered even further, Princeton and Dartmouth. It was a fun weekend to watch and I am getting closer to seeing all of the teams in live action. This weekend Thompson Arena in beautiful Hanover will be my home away from home, as the North Country of New York will visit the North Country of New Hampshire. Both St. Lawrence and Clarkson have been impressive in the early going, but Dartmouth has been a tad disappointing.
Make sure to read this week’s Three Things I Think where I talk about Sam Anas’ early season success, the Yale-St.Lawrence thriller from Friday night and Dartmouth’s early season struggles. It will give you even more insight on the trends throughout the league and they are beginning to become numerous. Without further ado here are this week’s ECAC Power Rankings.
1. Quinnipiac (8-1-0, 2-0-0) – Last Week 2
Is there really any question right now who the top dog in the ECAC is? Not really, because the Bobcats are on an eight game winning streak and haven’t lost a game since opening in Alaska. Over the weekend the Q swept a road weekend. On Friday the Bobcats defeated Colgate 7-2 and on Saturday it defeated Cornell 3-0. Look for its success to continue despite the loss of talented freshman, Peter Quenneville.
2. Yale (2-1-1, 1-0-1) – Last Week 6
Yale raised its banner on Friday night in front of 3500 fans at Ingalls Rink. Yale looks like it picked up right where it left off last season, except for the first 10 minutes or so of the game. It managed a tie in a game that it probably should have won but credit St. Lawrence because they matched the Bulldogs step for step and then some. On Saturday night, Yale defeated former Power Rankings number 1, Clarkson, 6-3 in a game it controlled for the last 50 minutes of the game.
Yale looks good and this is the main reason for its move up the rankings. This second ranking sets up another 1-2 tilt between them and regional rival Quinnipiac this; and hey it is also a national championship game rematch so the stakes and bragging rights are on a high level. Before that matchup, Yale will travel to Princeton. It is a game they cannot overlook.
3. Clarkson (7-2-1, 1-1-0) – Last Week 1
Clarkson looked good on the weekend by defeating Brown but struggled on the road against a solid Yale team on Saturday, losing 6-3. The Golden Knights are a solid 7-2-1 on the season and have lost to two consistent NCAA contenders, Yale and New Hampshire on the season. Clarkson isn’t surprising me anymore, as I have begun to realize the talent was there all along, look for it to continue winning.
4. St. Lawrence (4-2-2, 0-0-2) – Last Week 8
St. Lawrence impressed me on Friday night to the point that I am putting them in the fourth position. The Saints were one of three teams that left the weekend undefeated in conference play, as it picked up two road ties against Yale and Brown. It will begin winning and it will win often this season. Not sure many teams can compete with Yale’s speed but they certainly did so with ease. They were also tough as nails after letting up a last second goal in the second period on Friday; few teams would have been able to recover to play such a great period of hockey in the third. They didn’t just hang on for the tie they played and even game with one of the best team’s in the country.
5. Cornell (3-1-0, 1-1-0) – Last Week 3
Cornell really does not deserve its fate of moving down in the Power Rankings, as it lost to Quinnipiac, but the loss was at home and home losses do matter. On Friday night, the Big Red defeated Princeton 4-2. Cornell has strung together a pretty nice opening to its season with the 3-1-0 start.
6. Rensselaer (5-2-1, 1-1-1) – Last Week 4
Of the teams in the top half, the one team that I am having a hard time reading is RPI. There is no doubt the Engineers have played the toughest schedule so far but as I said last week its second half of game performances are concering. It lost to Harvard on Friday night 2-0 and defeated Dartmouth 7-1. Considering Dartmouth gave up seven on Friday against Union as well, I am going to toss it under they were rattled category and take it out of the impressive category. The jury is still out in my mind, but there is no doubt this team belongs at the top of these rankings.
7. Union (3-2-2, 2-0-0) – Last Week 11
I am not going to overreact with one good weekend, because quite frankly the Dutchmen have more question marks than most teams in the league right now. Outscoring its opponents 11-4 in two road wins is quite impressive though. The difference on the weekend may have been the return of its goaltender and the lift that provided the team. It is often an underwritten thing but team’s can often play better in front of one guy than it does another. If that is the case for Union file it under the big o no for the rest of the league but I think it was more of a lift received then that.
8. Harvard (2-1-1, 1-1-1) – Last Week 7
Harvard picked up an impressive win on Friday night against Rensselaer at Bright but it disappointed the next night against Union, losing 4-2. Rensselaer is a top team but it is tough to gauge where exactly Harvard fits into the equation. It is early for the Crimson, just four games in. I suppose I will need to see more results.
9. Brown (2-1-1, 0-1-1) – Last Week 5
Brown lost to Clarkson on Friday night 4-3 but managed a point on the weekend with a three all tie against St. Lawrence. The weekend had to be disappointing considering its performance at the Liberty Invitational but Brown has three opportunities this weekend to send a message, as it travels to Quinnipiac, Princeton and UNH on Tuesday.
10. Colgate (3-5-1, 1-1-0) – Last Week 12
Colgate ended its 5 game winless streak on Saturday night with a win against Princeton at home. On Friday night, the Raiders were demolished by Quinnipiac, 7-2 on home ice. Whenever it gets defense and goaltending the Raiders win. In its 3 wins and its one tie it has allowed just three goals but in its five losses the Raiders are a different team, allowing 29 goals. Inconsistency has wrecked havoc on Gate’s season so far.
11. Princeton (1-3-0, 0-2-0) – Last Week 9
Princeton looked lost at times in a loss against Colgate on Saturday night and Friday night it looked the same in a 4-2 loss to Cornell. Its opening night win against Dartmouth is looking less impressive by the day, as Dartmouth continues to falter at 0-4-0 on the season.
12. Dartmouth (0-4-0, 0-2-0) – Last Week 10
Dartmouth looked downright awful on the weekend as it got outscored 14-3 in two games by Union and Rensselaer. Dartmouth will look for redemption and a rebound this week because they are much better than the two scoring lines over the weekend. 0-4-0 is hardly the way it would have wanted to start its season.