Another week in the books and more movement, up and down the rankings last week. Union has become the clear favorite to win the regular season crown, while Quinnipiac is lurking three points back. Colgate, Cornell and Clarkson all sit within three games of the lead but someone please tell me why Union shouldn’t be the favorite, because it is. Union enters the top of the rankings this week, taking over the top spot from Colgate who entered the number one position two weeks ago, when I last got to Power Rankings.
The biggest mover in the past two weeks has been St. Lawrence. The Saints picked up a win against Union two weeks ago, at home, and it picked up an even bigger win on the road against Quinnipiac on Saturday. For ECAC fans, the last few weeks have been special, as it seems any team can beat another on any given night. Another team that has come on in recent weeks, has been Rensselaer. Both of those team have been dangerous but the teams, especially 1-10 are about as close as can be. This should make for an interesting playoff and run to the playoffs, as fights will ensue for the byes and home ice. Without further ado these are my rankings for the week.
1. Union (19-6-3, 13-3-0) – Last Time 2
Union has just gotten to the top and run with it. Since a two game losing streak, the Dutchmen have gone out and won three in a row. It has defeated three solid teams in the process, as it defeated Clarkson on the road and Brown and Yale at home. The Dutch have won consistently no matter where they are playing and its 10-2-2 record on the road is good for the second best mark in the nation. Union has become the clear favorite to win the league and its three point lead seems insurmountable for even QU right behind it.
2. Quinnipiac (20-5-5, 10-3-3) – Last Time 3
The Bobcats are just 2-2-0 in its past four contests and shockingly that might mark its worst stretch of hockey since the beginning weeks of last season. On Saturday, St. Lawrence entered Hamden and trailed with just minutes to go. The Saints came back to tie the game and in the waning stages it picked up a power-play goal to take the lead, eventually winning the game 3-2. Quinnipiac, though, is still no doubt the best team in the league. The best doesn’t always win the league and that just might be there story. One thing to watch this weekend is the status of Jordan Samuels-Thomas, who was injured and didn’t come back on Saturday night.
3. Colgate (14-11-3, 10-5-1) – Last Time 1
Colgate’s impressive run in the second half, came to an abrupt halt two weekends ago. Colgate first lost, 5-2, in a less than stellar performance against Brown and the next night it came out flat again, in a 4-1 loss to Yale. The weekend pointed to the consistency issues that Colgate has had this season. Last weekend, though, Gate came out against travel partner, Cornell, and took it to them at home in a 6-1 win against the Big Red. The performance was impressive, as I had pegged Cornell as a team that could compete for the title. Colgate, though, keeps proving that no one should forget about them. Its win against Cornell put it in the hunt for an at-large bid in the NCAA tournament, as it currently sits in 15th in the Pairwise Rankings.
4. Cornell (12-5-5, 8-4-4) – Last Time 4
I like Cornell and I feel as though it belongs higher in these rankings, but it hasn’t beaten the three teams above it in these rankings and in the standings. It is 0-3-1 against the three teams above it, with games remaining against Quinnipiac and Union. The 6-1 loss to Colgate on Saturday, marked the first loss for Cornell since a November 30th loss to Boston University at MSG. It had a stretch of nine wins without a loss going until the defeat.
5. Yale (12-7-4, 7-6-3) – Last Time 6
The Bulldogs had been marred in a stretch where it hadn’t won consecutive games since the beginning of the year, but it finally went back to back with wins against Colgate and RPI. But it has yet to win three consecutive games this season, as on Saturday it was defeated by Union. Yale struggles to put performances together and that has become evident but if it does it will be scary. The Elis are also struggling with injuries and have a bunch of guys, but they are starting to get healthy. Yale continues to teeter on falling back a bit.
6. Clarkson (17-11-2, 10-6-0) – Last Time 5
Clarkson has fallen back a bit this half and that has continued in the last three weekends, as it has gone just 2-4-0 in league play. But if there is a silver lining, it has also played a tough schedule in recent weeks, with losses to Union, Cornell, Colgate and Quinnipiac. Tech had some bad news in the past week, as Ben Sexton is out for the weekend with an injury and sophomore forward T.J. Moor left the team. Along with those losses, Sam Labrecque, Pat Meganetty and Matt Zarbo are all listed as day-to-day. Clarkson has hit a rough patch but luckily it still sits in fifth in the standings.
7. St. Lawrence (11-14-3, 5-8-3) – Last Time 12
St. Lawrence was the biggest mover in the last two weeks, as wins against Union and Quinnipiac certainly help any team’s cause. Add a 7-1 win against Princeton and SLU appears like it is gaining its groove back after a stretch that saw them go 0-8-1 from November to the last weekend of January. The Saints are 4-3-1 against the top 12 in Pairwise and now have wins against the top two teams in the conference. Greg Carey has been relatively quiet in recent weeks, and its other guys that are finding the back of the net along with improved goaltending. Does SLU have its typical end of year run in it?
8. Rensselaer (12-12-4, 6-7-3) – Last Time 8
Rensselaer is another team that has come on in recent weeks. Since a four game losing streak, the Engineers are 4-2-0 in its last six tilts. Last weekend, it lost to Yale in overtime in a game which it held a lead going into the third period and it defeated Brown, 4-1. The Engineers still have one of the best goal scorers in the country, in Ryan Haggerty but his production has gone down considerably in the second half, just four goals in 11 games.
9. Brown (9-11-3, 6-9-1) – Last Time 7
A trend that has developed with Brown is it has started off well in both the first and second halves of the year, but like the first it has again begun to fall off the map. The Bears are marred in a three game losing streak and have lost four of its past five contests. A strong win against Colgate is all it has to show for in recent weeks and the Bears have started to fall in the standings, as it now sits in a tie for eighth with St. Lawrence. The one bright spot in recent weeks has been the play of Mark Naclerio, who should be in the mix for ECAC player of the year and First team honors come season’s end.
10. Harvard (8-12-3, 4-9-3) – Last Time 9
Does Harvard have another Beanpot bounce in it, after failing miserably in the first round against Northeastern and defeating BU in the consolation game? Who knows, but there is a silver lining, as Harvard sits in tenth position in the standings. The Crimson are two points out of eighth and the last home ice berth. Also of note, the Crimson finally won consecutive games for the first time this season over the weekend, with wins over Princeton and Boston University.
11. Dartmouth (4-16-3, 3-12-1) – Last Time 11
Dartmouth is 1-5-1 in its past seven contests, with its only win coming against Princeton two weekends ago. Dartmouth’s struggles continue and Tyler Sikura is still out, so the Green’s struggles will probably continue.
12. Princeton (4-19-0, 3-13-0) – Last Time 10
The bottom two are interchangeable because quite frankly they are clearly the bottom two teams in the league. Princeton is 1-12-0 in its past 13 games and just haven’t looked good. The Tigers were trounced by St. Lawrence on Friday, 7-1, and lost a close one to Clarkson over the weekend. Ya, they belong here, not sure there is any question on that.