From here on out, each league team will play two games a weekend. With only four weekends remaining in the regular season, every game seems to be huge. St. Lawrence is hard charging, having won five league games in a row. Quinnipiac is on a six game unbeaten streak and leads the league by three over the Saints. But the league as a whole continues to be close, as positions 3-9 in the league are separated by a mere four points and 4-9 just two points. Tenth place Union sits just three points behind Home byes, home advantage and the illustrious Cleary Cup all seem to be in play in the coming weeks.
Quinipiac and St. Lawrence have looked like the best teams this half. Those two teams look to be the favorites for the Cleary but I am sure some of the teams below them could compete for the title. Harvard got Alex Kerfoot back in the Beanpot semi, which quite frankly they should be proud of as a group. Sean Malone was also back in the lineup, but wasn’t on the bench for the thrilling end. Yale, Clarkson and Cornell all have struggled to find scoring this season, which makes me speculate whether or not any of those teams can make a run. An interesting one to me is Dartmouth, who swept the Capital Region teams at home last weekend.
Dartmouth is unbeaten in four, will it continue?
With positions 3-9 being so wide open, any team that makes a run could do some good for themselves. In recent weeks, Dartmouth has been making a move and it should hardly be a surprise. Last year it went on a tear and was the hottest team in the ECAC, save Union, at the end of the season. This year’s edition is unbeaten in four, with a 3-0-1 record in that time frame. Its wins are against Union, Cornell and RPI. One should expect the quality play to continue
Sitting in ninth place, might make it difficult to move up into a bye because of the shear number of teams it would have to pass to get a week off. Anything is possible however, as each team has 16 points it can collect. Dartmouth is a team I have liked all season and its possession numbers prove that it is at least better than the average team in the ECAC. It has consistently the best possession in the league this season. If it can get depth scoring is going to be the biggest test of time though, because at times it has strugged.
Its schedule is hardly favorable for a run and it is arguably the most difficult remaining schedule. Games against SLU, Cornell, Colgate, Yale and Quinnipiac in the coming weeks will prove the mettle, or lackthereof, for the Big Green. Robinson, Sikura and Schierhorn can only do so much but recently other guys are stepping up.
North Country Dreaming
Times are pretty good in the North Country recently, it is getting less snow than seemingly the rest of the world and its hockey teams have been pretty damn good too. Last weekend, St. Lawrence went down early to Clarkson only to come back to win it, 2-1. The win marked its fifth in a row in ECAC play and the win brought them within three points of first place Quinnipiac, whom it will play next Friday in Hamden. Clarkson may have dropped a game last weekend, but it still sits pretty in the standings hanging on to the last bye position.
Clarkson is a team that is going about its business rather quietly. Not only does it sit in fourth place in the league, it also has big league wins against Yale and Quinnipiac. It is actually undefeated against those squads, at 3-0-1. Four of Clarkson’s five league losses have come to Cornell and Colgate.
St. Lawrence has built its team on goaltender, Kyle Hayton.His numbers as a freshman have turned out to be staggering. Kyle Hayton has the best GAA in Saint history through his first 25 appearances at 1.98,which is also currently fourth in the nation. SLU is the only team that is scoring and shutting teams down at a high clip. It has a record of 12-0-1 in games that it scores three or more goals, which shows the consistency of its play. No team has improved more this season than have the Saints, just look at the shot metrics. The Saints will enter February with its best record since 2009-2010 at 14-9-4.
The North Country will welcome the Capital region this weekend. St Lawrence will host a struggling RPI team on Friday night, while Tech will host Union. Union boast the National player of the month for January, in Daniel Ciampini. He leads the nation with 41 points but was held off the scoresheet on Saturday against Dartmouth. RPI will enter the weekend with just three wins in its past 14 games.
Can we all just get along?
Quinnipiac’s Rand Pecknold and Cornell’s Mike Schafer will meet for the first time since the latter had some strong words in his postgame about the former. Cornell and Quinnipiac have hated each other for years, to put it literally. In the 2013 ECAC quarters, Quinnipiac won a game 10-0 which was filled with tons of extracurriculars and that hatred has seemed to only become more heated in recent years.
Cornell has come a long way since the team Quinnipiac saw in early November. Cornell is 4-2-1 in its last seven contests and has moved itself into the conversation for a first round bye. The big Red now are in a tie for sixth place with travel partner Colgate, who it would hold the tiebreaker on. It is one point behind fourth place Clarkson, who holds the last bye.
The last two meetings between the teams have been decided by a lone goal, while three of the last four have been decided in that fashion including a double overtime thriller that decided the 2013 quarterfinal series. Quinnipiac leads the league and will look to distance itself even further from the pack this weekend as it plays Cornell and Colgate. A little hatred and hard hitting always goes a long way.
1. St. Lawrence (14-10-2, 10-4-0 ECAC) – Last time 4 – Streak: 5-0-0
2. Quinnipiac (16-8-2, 11-2-1) – Last time 3 – Streak: 1-0-1
3. Yale (12-6-3, 7-5-2) – Last Time 1 – Streak 1-0-1
4. Dartmouth (9-8-4, 6-6-2) – Last Time 10 – Streak 3-0-1
5. Harvard (12-6-2, 8-4-2) – Last Time 2 – Streak: 0-2-0
6. Cornell (9-9-3, 7-6-1) – Last Time 8 – Streak: 1-0-1
7. Clarkson (10-12-4, 7-5-2) – Last Time 6 – Streak 0-1-0
8. Colgate (14-9-3, 6-5-3) – Last Time 5 – Streak 0-2-2
9. Union (13-11-2, 5-8-1) – Last Time 9 -Streak 0-1-0
10. Rensselaer (9-18-1, 7-7-0) – Last Time 7 – Streak 0-2-0
11. Brown (4-16-1, 1-12-1) – Last time 11 – Streak 0-5-1
12. Princeton (3-15-2, 1-12-1) – Last Time 12 – Streak 0-1-1
Harvard at Yale: 3-1 Yale
Dartmouth at Brown: 5-1 Dartmouth
Union at Clarkson: 3-2 Tech
RPI at SLU: 4-1 SLU
Quinnipiac at Cornell 3-2 Cornell
Princeton at Colgate: 4-1 Gate
Harvard at Brown: 7-0 Harvard
Dartmouth at Yale: 3-3 tie
Union at St. Lawrence: 4-1 SLU
RPI at Clarkson: 3-1 Clarkson
Quinnipiac at Colgate: 4-3 Gate
Princeton at Cornell: 3-1 Cornell
Harvard vs Boston College (Beanpot Consolation game): 4-2 BC
Thats it for the week folks. If you don’t already feel free to follow me on twitter (JoshSeguin24), I am usually somewhere on game nights providing live tweets. This weekend I will be in the North Country. Friday I will be catching Union at Clarkson and on Saturday I will see Union at St. Lawrence. Happy Hockey!