It was a great first half if you were an ECAC hockey fan. Quinnipiac looked so strong for so long to begin the season, Union came on late, Clarkson came out of nowhere to be a contender, Yale is still the defending National Champions, Dartmouth has fallen off everybody’s radar (Don’t forget them come playoffs), and St. Lawrence has had some impressive performances but also some serious head-scratchers. Those were some of the many storylines that come to mind for me, but as per usual the amount of storylines within the ECAC are exponential to the amount I could ever write in one article.
One of the big overlying storylines of the season is the emergence of so many young players on the scene. Matt Carey and Sam Anas both sit in the top ten of national scoring, while Michael Garteig has looked like a rock for Quinnipiac in net. Garteig isn’t exactly a newcomer but as a sophomore that saw limited action last season, his performance has been something that is kind of surprising. On defense, names such as Connor Clifton for Quinnipiac and Gavin Bayreuther have come about in a big way. The former has been a defensive stalwart, while the latter has put up a ton of points with the Carey brothers on the Saint defense.
Along with the “kids”, Greg Carey is still a scoring machine for St. Lawrence and Ryan Haggerty is just scoring a ton of goals for Rensselaer. Carey has 36 points in 19 games, while Haggerty has 18 goals and 8 assists in 17 games. Both are on a ridiculous pace in the scoring race, as Carey is on pace for 64 points by the end of the regular season (not including any tournament games ECAC or NCAA) and Haggerty is on pace for 34 goals. To say there are some elite guys in this league is an understatement, which made the midseason first team so difficult.
Looking at the Standings, Union sits all alone at the top with 16 points, while Quinnipiac sits two points back. Clarkson sits four points behind Union, with a game in hand on the Dutchmen and two points behind QU with two games in hand on the Bobcats. Colgate (11pts), Cornell (10pts), Yale (9pts) and Rensselaer (9pts) are all within seven points of the top spot and all seemingly with striking distance. So many teams are so close to the top, the byes and home advantage that the second half of the season promises to be a great one.
One interesting milestone to keep in mind, is that St. Lawrence’s Greg Carey has a pace so far this season that will give him 192 points at the end of the regular season. Every team is assured of at least two ECAC tournament games, but with a larger pace and a few more games Carey could be the first player to reach the 200 career point plateau since Michigan’s Tj Hensick accomplished the feat in 2006-2007. Carey needed a lofty 72 points on the season to accomplish the feat but his current pace would give him 64 points come the end of the regular season, with two tournament games assured that pace ticks up to 68. Considering the frequency of great scorers that leave early and the so called “dead puck era,” which has limited goal scoring for individuals the feat is certainly one to watch down the stretch run of the season.
Because everyone loves awards and stuff, I have decided to post some midseason awards because it is fun to think about I suppose. Most of the time, the first half is a good indication of how the end of the season will look, especially individually but there can always be surprises.
Player of the First Half: Greg Carey (St. Lawrence)
Goals often times win awards, which would have given this award to Ryan Haggerty, but the senior Carey sits first nationally in scoring by eight points over Johnny Gaudreau and has 13 goals of his own. No doubt who this award should go to, Carey has been the best player of the half in the ECAC conference.
Rooks of the First Half (Ya I couldn’t choose one): Sam Anas (QU) and Matt Carey (St. Lawrence)
Both of these freshmen deserve an accolade, as both have come out and just put up numbers that most upperclassmen would even dream of. Matt Carey sits ninth in the country in points with 24, while his freshmen counterpart is seventh with 25. If I had to choose just one of these players for this award, it would be Matt Carey because based on what I have seen he is the more explosive of the two. Carey has fit well on a line with his brother, Greg, and Chris Martin while Anas has been a great compliment on a line with the Jones twins. You can say Anas has more help as well, but having Greg Carey on a line is quite the helpful in its own right. Matt Carey had four goals in two games against SLU rival, Clarkson late in the first half. Look for both to continue scoring.
Puckstopper of the First Half: Michael Garteig
This seems to be a given, not sure there are many goalies that are touching Garteig’s numbers. I almost gave this award to Colin Stevens of Union, because of Union’s turn-around and his part in it but I decided against that. The only concern for Garteig is his save percentage, which sits at a rather average .906. Garteig, though, has four more wins than any goalie in the ECAC but also has the most help. That should have kept him out of the top but he won big games and held his grown, hence he is here. Look for the save percentage to only improve in the second half.
Where Did They Come From Award: Clarkson
Both media and coaches had Clarkson 12th in their preseason polls, and so did I. No one foresaw the start of the Golden Knights, sitting at ninth in the Pairwise and third in the conference standings. Can they keep it up is the big question going forward, though.
F. Greg Carey (St. Lawrence)
F. Ryan Haggerty (Rensselaer)
F. Kellen Jones (Quinnipiac)
D. Shayne Gostisbehere (Union)
D. Kevin Tansey (Clarkson)
G. MIchael G arteig (Quinnipiac)
F. Daniel Carr (Union)
F. Sam Anas (Quinnipiac)
F. Brock Higgs (Rensselaer)
D. Mat Bodie (Union)
D. Joakim Ryan (Cornell)
G. Colin Stevens (Union)
F. Sam Anas (Quinnipiac)
F. Matt Carey (St. Lawrence)
F. Eli Litchtenwald (Union)
D. Connor Clifton (Quinnipiac)
D. Gavin Bayreuther (St. Lawrence)
G. Steve Perry (Clarkson)
I tried to avoid surprises but I am sure there are still a few in there to most of you. Make sure to follow me on twitter @JoshSeguin24 for all the latest ECAC news and game-night updates. This weekend I should be live from my home away from home Thompson Arena, where Dartmouth hosts the Ledyard Bank Classic. Hope everyone had a Happy Holiday season and has a happy New Year!
ECAC Articles This Half