Almost unbelievable to realize that we are over a month into the season, as it seemed like just yesterday that Clarkson and Colgate began the season. Clarkson of course has been the biggest surprise over the first month of the season but many players have also made a splash on the scene. Quinnipiac, Yale, Clarkson and St. Lawrence appear to be the early class of the field but we know that will change with time, as the season is long and all 12 teams make the ECAC tournament at the end of the year.
Princeton and Dartmouth have struggled in the early going, as both have entered conference play 0-4-0. The latter will be my first point tonight, as I had a conversation with Bob Gaudet on Saturday night after an 8-5 loss to St. Lawrence. The format is one I have not used before feel free to Tweet your thoughts to me on what you thought about it. Without further ado here are my thoughts of the week:
Dartmouth Has Plenty of Time To Right the Ship
For Dartmouth it’s a long season and it has plenty of time to write the ship. It is allowing 5.16 goals per game and has not looked good in the early going. On this one I am going to post the conversation I had with Bob Gaudet on Saturday night, after his team’s 8-5 loss to St. Lawrence. The loss dropped them to 0-6-0 on the season and 0-4-0 in the ECAC.
Gaudet: “Down the stretch in this game we battled hard and we scored a couple. We continue to battle hard but they were a good team.”
Josh: You’re in a big hole but it is a long season. Plenty of time to figure it out?
Gaudet: “Ya it is step by step for us. We have to just continue to examine things and you know sure up our game. It seems like we do in one area and something else gives a bit. They are good kids and it’s a long season. We want to be a good team at the end and we are taking some lumps now but I like the way they battle and compete. It just hasn’t gone our way so far this season.”
Josh: Finding the back of the net five times tonight a confidence booster in anyway?
Gaudet: “Absolutely and that is a real positive thing. We are getting pucks to the net, we are shooting and I felt we were pretty tenacious around the puck, whether it was in front of the net or off of rebounds or pucks that went into the corner. I felt we were on top of it pretty good and I felt we got some pucks deep. They just took advantage of rush situations and are a really skilled team. But I like the way we have played offensively. Just need to do a better job of keeping the puck out of our net.”
Josh: Power-play has to be a positive?
Gaudet: “‘We are moving the puck really well and we got some good wrist shots and traffic. I thought for the most part we played a really solid game, so there are some bright spots.”
Josh: Last night you were mentioning that you were looking for guys stepping up did you see anything tonight?
Gaudet: “I think offensively we simplified the game and did some excellent things. You look at down the stretch tonight in comparison to last night, I thought we really generated some good offense. Time ran out on us but I thought we did some really good things and so the energy is there, the battle level and the offensive skill is there. We just have to bring the whole package together. Sometimes we’ve played solid defensively and other times its gotten away from us but there are some good bright spots. There are definitely some guys and we are starting to see some of the young get that experience. That is a big thing when you have guys in different roles and are having to step up. I see it starting to happen, it’s just not reflected in our record. We just have to keep on battling.”
Josh: You have played four home games to start you ECAC season do you think going on the road might actually be a good thing for your team?
Gaudet: “It’s two new venues and it’s a good way to get the guys together, as we have to go on the road to battle together in some hostile environments. I really like the team and I know we will take the steps to continue to grow. Our goal is trying to get better as a team and trying to get closer as a group. The guys are hanging in together and I know by the end of the season we will be a real solid group.”
Coach Gaudet said it better than I ever could have, but this team has the room to grow. It is taking lumps but it will get better. Getting outscored 31-15, though, in six games is really tough. Losing Eric Robinson is very difficult as well, but Dartmouth should be fine.
St. Lawrence May be the Funnest Team To Watch in the country
If you get a chance to get out to your local rink and see St. Lawrence, by all means you probably should. I have seen the Saints twice in as many weeks and they are down right fun to watch. It is assured to be an entertaining game with lots of offense. The defensive side puck is an adventure for the Saints but in all honesty the goal is to outscore the other team. It will be able to keep up with any offense in the country.
From Greg and Matt Carey, to Gavin Bayreuther on defense, to Jeremy Wick to Patrick Doherty, among many others that I have not mentioned, the Saints are loaded on the offensive side of the puck. It can seemingly possess the puck at will. They were able to keep up with the speed of Yale last Friday and it could have run up the score against Dartmouth, as it hit many posts and cross-bars on Saturday night against the Big Green in an 8-5 win. Few teams have the firepower on the offensive side of the puck that St. Lawrence has. Its transition game is a thing of beauty, go out and watch it.
Yale and Quinnipiac Did Not Disappoint
It was a rematch of last season’s national championship game and a rivalry game, as the two schools are separated by a mere 10 miles on Whitney Ave, and it did not disappoint as such a big game. Quinnipiac ran out to an early 2-0 second period lead, only to see Yale respond for three straight goals in a span of three minutes, 18 seconds. But unlike last season, which saw the two play four lopsided games (First three won by Quinnipiac and the National Title Contest won by Yale) the Bulldogs and the Bobcats would play a close nail-biter.
Quinnipiac actually in a sense dominated the game, sending 51 shots on goal to its opponent’s 20, but sometimes shots on goal are deceiving because Allain thought his team played well defensively in a game.. Quinnipiac tied it up late in the third period and the game went to overtime. It was a good tie, as every tie is. Two teams played hard for two points and both received. I guess bragging rights for this regular season will come down to its final meeting at Yale in February, of course no one expects that to be the last meeting of the season between the teams.