The second week of conference action is in the books and Quinnipiac continues to lead the conference, I mean at this point it seems expected after last year’s domination in the conference. But It has become clear, though, that no one team will run away with the conference like the Bobcats did last season. Top to bottom the conference is stacked with solid, balanced teams that do good things on both ends of the ice.
It has been a struggle for both Dartmouth and Princeton, as both of those teams are 0-4-0 in the ECAC. For Dartmouth, it has begun to score goals but the defensive side has been its biggest issue and for Princeton it has been ok on the defensive side but it has struggled to score goals. Both of those teams will get better. Read this week’s Three Things I think, as I had an interview with Bob Gaudet after Saturday night’s 8-5 loss to St. Lawrence. The ECAC was home to CHN’s Team of the Week, Clarkson, this week as well. There are minimal changes in this week’s Power Rankings, as things stayed relatively kosher. Without further ado here are my thoughts on who the top teams in the ECAC are.
1. Quinnipiac (9-1-1, 3-0-1) – Last Week 1
Quinnipiac continues to generate tons of offense and down right dominate opponents. On Saturday night, Quinnipiac and Yale played a National Title rematch, which ended exactly the way one thought it should, a tie. But the stats don’t lie, as the Bobcats outshot its opponent 51-20 in the game. On Friday night, against Brown, it was much of the same as QU outshot its opponent 47-20 in a 3-0 win over the Bears. Quinnipiac is hot right now and one shouldn’t pick against them until proven otherwise.
2. St. Lawrence (6-2-2, 2-0-2) – Last Week 4
I need to start giving St. Lawrence more credit and this week I am going to. The Saints were undefeated in four road games to begin the season, and over the weekend it swept Dartmouth and Harvard in convincing fashion. Of the teams I have seen, which includes Quinnipiac, the Saints are the best offensive team, by far, of any team that I have seen. Against Dartmouth if not for six or seven posts it probably could have put up double digits on an ECAC opponent, which would have been mighty impressive but eight was impressive enough. I was the first to jump off the St. Lawrence bandwagon in the preseason, putting them tenth in my preseason poll, and man do I regret it because this team is just downright good. From young talent up front ,some young talent on defense and of course Greg Carey I feel as though St. Lawrence could be even better come season’s end, in all honesty to me that is quite the scary proposition.
3. Clarkson (9-2-1, 3-1-0) – Last Week 3
Usually being team of the week means that one would move up in these rankings, but it’s a testament to just how good the ECAC is right now when it stays in place. Clarkson continues to find ways to win and it has become really good in one goal games. The Knights’ last five wins, have all been by one goal and Clarkson has just one loss in its last nine games. If the old adage is good teams find ways to win, and bad ones find ways to lose, the Golden Knights have passed the test and are going to be really good. I will assume it will continue happening. After this week’s games against Cornell and Colgate at home, Clarkson will have two weeks off and will next play on December 6th and 7th against arch-rival, St. Lawrence.
4. Yale (3-1-2, 2-0-2) – Last Week 2
There is so little separating positions two, three and four in these Power Rankings that Yale ends up in four after a tie to the top team of these rankings. Maybe I am looking into the shot counter on Saturday too much but Yale is still nonetheless doing good things. One thing that has been glaring, is that the Bulldogs have gotten OK goaltending in the early going. On Saturday night, the Bulldogs were out shot 51-20 but Alex Lyon made an impressive 48 saves in the game. If Yale continues to get solid goaltending, it should and will only start winning more big games.
5. Rensselaer (6-2-2, 2-1-2) -Last Week 6
RPI had an OK weekend as it tied Cornell on Friday night and trounced Colgate 6-2 on Saturday. The Engineers have done a great job defeating the teams that it should, including Sacred Heart twice, Colgate and Dartmouth. The real challenges lie ahead within its conference schedule, though.
6. Cornell (3-2-1, 1-2-1) – Last Week 5
I still think Cornell belongs in the top tier of these rankings and I am keeping them there, despite a road loss to Union on Saturday. On Friday night, the Big Red went to to Rensselaer and picked a big road tie but was unable to keep the momentum going on Saturday night, as it struggled to get anything going against Union. One thing that is quite concerning about Cornell right now is how much it struggles to get shots off. It is averaging 19 shots per game and on Saturday it managed a paltry 11 against Union. A team will win very few games with just 11 shots.
7. Union (4-3-2, 3-1-0) – Last Week 7
Union picked up an impressive win against Cornell on Saturday but a head shaking loss against Colgate on Friday, losing 5-3 to Colgate. Union is improving week by week but I still don’t feel they belong in the same group as the teams above them. The goaltending has improved with Colin Stevens’ return and the Dutchmen are scoring goals. Those were the things that were haunting them early in the season. Union could be better than I am giving them credit for but its biggest games lie ahead within the conference. Win some of those and the Dutchmen will enter into the top six.
8. Colgate (4-6-1, 2-2-0) – Last Week 10
It probably goes unnoticed but Colgate, according to Krach, has played the toughest schedule of all ECAC teams. On Friday night, Colgate went down early only to come storming back against Union for a 5-3 win. The win in all senses was pretty impressive given the fact Colgate has struggled when down. Colgate is still very inconsistent on the season, though, its defense still needs to improve to give it a chance to win more games.
9. Brown (3-3-1, 1-2-1) – Last Week 9
Brown had a bad game on Tuesday night against New Hampshire, in a 4-2 loss. It is not as bad as it showed me and it didn’t even come close to playing Brown hockey. Over the weekend, the Bears split a pair of games against Quinnipiac on Friday and defeated Princeton 6-3 on Saturday. Brown has a week off, a much needed one as it is nursing a bunch of injuries, it next plays Cornell and Colgate in a weekend series.
10. Harvard (2-3-1, 1-3-1) – Last Week 8
The next three teams belong in its positions of being the bottom three teams, and it just so happens that Harvard is the better of the three. Harvard has lost three consecutive games, to three really good teams in Clarkson, Union and St. Lawrence so the concerns should be minimal. They have been in every one of those games and have not been blown out, like the two teams below it. Harvard should improve as the season goes on, just give them time.
11. Princeton (1-6-0, 0-4-0) – Last Week 11
Since a season opening win against Dartmouth, which at this point looks hardly impressive, the Tigers have lost six consecutive games. Its best game was arguably last night when it competed and came within a goal of UMass-Lowell. The Tigers lost both games last weekend to Brown and Yale respectively, both in pretty convincing fashion. It is a top to bottom struggle seemingly for them right now. Princeton will try to right the ship against the one team below them in these rankings.
12. Dartmouth (0-6-0, 0-4-0) – Last Week 12
Dartmouth seemingly has a lock on 12th place in these power rankings, as it is its second consecutive week in this position. It is tough I suppose, Eric Robinson is lost for the season, Matt Linblad isn’t walking through that locker room door and former captain Mike Keenan isn’t either but someone must step up. This seemed to be Bob Gaudet’s biggest concern when I talked with him on Friday but it seemed to go away a bit on Saturday. For Dartmouth, though, if its defense doesn’t improve markedly it will be a long season. They were swept on the weekend in a 3-2 game against Clarkson and an 8-5 loss against SLU.