Archive for the 'ECAC' Category

ECAC Notebook 2/28

Thursday, February 28th, 2019

Heading into the last weekend of the Regular, I am not sure even true ECAC fans could have pictured just how close things are at the top. But here we are, as Cornell leads Quinnipiac and Harvard by a lone point, while Clarkson is just two points back of the Big Red. Cornell controls its own destiny, at the top, but with a tough game at Clarkson on Saturday, a lot could go wrong for the team from Ithaca. In a sense, because the Golden Knights own the tiebreaker, the Big Red could go from winning the Cleary Cup, to the four seed in just one game. Luckily for the Red, they have SLU on Saturday, which should assure them at least a bye.

Quinnipiac travels to Brown and Yale, while Harvard is in the capital region for a pair of games. Quinnipiac would hold singular tiebreakers on Cornell and Harvard, while Clarkson owns the singular tiebreaker on each of the other three in the top-4. Cornell would hold the singular tiebreaker on Harvard. Three-way tiebreakers would be a bit more complicated, but are a legitimate possibility. How cool would it be to see a four-way tie at the top, though. In that scenario, the cup is shared, but the seeding is ever important. Yale still can get a bye and are two points back of Clarkson, but the Knights would hold the tiebreaker, with its superior record against the other teams in the top-4.

This weekend is important for all of the above in regards to the pairwise, as well, as all but Quinnipiac are bubbilicious. Clarkson is 12th, Cornell is 13th and Harvard is 14th. Yale probably will need to win the ECAC tournament to get into the dance, as it is 24th in the pairwise.

Without further ado, here are my thoughts of the week:

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ECAC Notebook: 2/21

Thursday, February 21st, 2019

With the ECAC race as close as it can be, the couple of weeks will be very interesting to see play out. Cornell only took a point out of a weekend against Yale and Brown, after a disappointing tie to Brown and a heavy loss to Yale. The Big Red’s lead at the top of the league is just one point, as Quinnipiac sits on 24 points. Beyond those two, the league continued to be tight down to seventh as the top-seven teams are separated by just seven points. Ultimately, all those teams have a mathematical shot at the regular season title but I would keep the favorite as Cornell, with Quinnipiac right on their heels. Yale is two points back and has been getting hotter, of late, while Clarkson and Harvard are three points back. 

The final bye will probably be one of the things to watch, as Clarkson and Harvard are currently tied on 22 points, while Brown and Dartmouth are three points back. I could see Dartmouth getting in that mix, but Brown’s schedule is pretty tough down the stretch. Brown plays Harvard on Friday, while the Big Green have a crucial game against Yale. The home ice berths seem pretty comfortable for the team’s 6-8, as RPI is four points behind Union and five behind the pair in sixth. Union, of course, is an enigma and we await to see which is the real one that will show up in the tournament.

Quinnipiac is still pretty close to a lock for the NCAA tournament, as it sits pretty in the top-six of the pairwise. Positions third to sixth are pretty close in RPI rating, so a big weekend for the Bobcats could help it move up. Really, however, just one win counts for anything, the Clarkson game is huge. Cornell, Clarkson and Harvard are bubble-minded as the three are 10th, 13th and 15th, respectively. Positions 9-16 are relatively close in RPI ratings, so any stumbles could move those teams out of the picture.

Here are my thoughts for the week:

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ECAC Notebook: 2/14

Thursday, February 14th, 2019

With the stretch run in offing, the league is still insanely close in key spots. Cornell has built a three-point edge in the league standings as they are unbeaten in 12 of their last 13 games, dating back to a loss against Dartmouth in late November. Colgate, who also has other big results, defeated the Big Red in overtime a few weeks back. The run from positions 2-8, however, is really close as six points separate Quinnipiac from Union in eighth place. Positions 2-5 are separated by just a pair of points, while Brown finds itself a meager three points out of a bye (yes that Brown).

The top-team’s had plenty of success in non-conference and have the ECAC is reaping the rewards, as four league teams would currently make the tournament with all four being in the top-13 of the all important pairwise. This does not include both Union and Yale, who are 20th and 23rd, respectively in the pairwise. Both have long shots, but Union has some big wins that has propped it up all season. It has become evident that the league could be wide open in the tournament, which could mean a team outside these six could win the Whitelaw, like Princeton did last season.

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ECAC Notebook: 1/9

Wednesday, January 9th, 2019

Despite minimal conference games, the last few weeks have told us a ton about a lot of teams in the ECAC. Mainly there have been some positives, but many more setbacks as teams have tried to get back in a rhythm of playing regular games. The highlights of non-conference play, thus far, have been Union’s win over St. Cloud, who is second in the pairwise, and Clarkson’s recent win over Minnesota Duluth. The Golden Knights seem to be trending in the right direction and are certainly a team to watch going forward.

In terms of the Pairwise, Quinnipiac is fifth, while Union (15), Clarkson (16), Cornell (17), Yale (20) and Harvard (22) are bubble bound. If any of those bubble teams can pick up wins in the second half, it could mean good things for their chances of getting to the tournament come March. That said, the .477 winning percentage of league teams against the other conferences will make it tough for teams to break into the top-15.

As teams head into a more consistent conference schedule, it seems like teams like Clarkson, Brown and Harvard are trending in the right direction, while Quinnipiac, Yale and Dartmouth are trending down a tad. On Brown, we have to give them credit for the job they are doing in recent weeks…
The Bears are 4-1-2 in their last seven games and over the weekend won the Three Rivers Classic. They could have beat Providence, as well, just last week but fell just short., mainly because a questionable PC goal was allowed to stand.

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ECAC Notebook: 12/12

Wednesday, December 12th, 2018

Now that many teams have entered the annual holiday break, we can take a look back at the first half and everything that we have learned about the league. It is clear that power has shifted back to the Greater New Haven area, as Quinnipiac is the undisputed top dog in the and Yale will probably end up right on its heels. The Bobcats picked up a split against upstart Massachusetts over the weekend, while the Bulldogs dropped a lone game to the Minutemen.

QU has had most of the success in non-conference action in recent weeks, as the league’s record against the other conferences has plummeted. With many games still to go in the busy holiday stretch, that can improve and it will be integral for the few teams that have tournament aspirations. In terms of the conference standings, they are starting to take shape with Yale at the top with 13 points and Quinnipiac hot on its trails with 12. The Bobcats have a game in-hand, however, and in a cruel set of circumstances we will have to wait until mid-February before the two teams play in Hamden. Dartmouth, as I have nicknamed Jeckyll and Hyde this year, is in third, while Cornell is in fourth.

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ECAC Notebook: 11/26

Monday, November 26th, 2018

Up and down the out-of-town scoreboard, the ECAC saw success over the weekend. Rensselaer picked up a big win on the road against Umass Lowell on Friday night – an important outcome for Rensselaer. The Engineers led the River Hawks on Sunday, but ran out of gas and conceded four in a row in a 5-2 defeat. The steps RPI has taken this year have been impressive, and Dave Smith should be lauded for that. In all, the ECAC went 5-3-0 in non-conference play over the weekend

Both ECAC teams went 1-0-1 in Northern Ireland, with Union winning the Belpot in a 2-1 win over Boston University. Yale picked up a win against in-state rival, Connecticut, by a 6-3 scoreline. Quinnipiac continued its successful year with a sweep at the ever-difficult Alfond Arena against Maine. Odeen Tufto was ECAC player of the week picking up hat trick on Friday night and five points in the game. QU’s youngsters have also performed well, as Ethan De Jong won one of the ECAC Hockey Weekly Awards with a four point weekend. Princeton played in a highly entertaining overtime loss to UMass, and Harvard picked up a win against Cornell at Madison Square Garden on Saturday.

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ECAC Notebook: 11/20

Tuesday, November 20th, 2018

Quinnipiac made a big statement over the weekend with a sweep of Colgate and Cornell, while Princeton faltered twice on the same trip. This weekend Clarkson also had a really good weekend against Michigan Tech, sweeping the Huskies of the WCHA out of the North Country. The other North Country team, SLU, picked up a much-needed win against  Minnesota on Friday night in a great turnaround after its loss to Mercyhurst.

We are another week into the season, but the standings are still a mess. Although QU sits at the top with eight points, the uneven nature of the schedule means that Cornell is two points back, with a pair of games in hand. Dartmouth is also two points back and has played one less game. Interestingly enough, while QU has played six league games, the two north country schools have played just two. I wouldn’t write off Clarkson from being near the top at the end because they have played four less games and they have looked really good, at times, which I will talk about below. As I keep reminding everyone, look at standings and pairwise with a load of caution until, say, Christmastime.  

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ECAC Notebook: Nov. 12

Monday, November 12th, 2018

Another week, another one filled with interesting results. The Princeton Tigers appear to be the team to beat in the ECAC right now. The Tigers are 3-0-1 in the league and recently seem to score just for fun.  Behind them, a mess of teams has been on-again, off-again in recent weeks. Like Quinnipiac and Dartmouth. The Big Green lost to Brown on Friday, but beat Yale on Saturday. Likewise, Quinnipiac defeated RPI and lost to Union.

Since the RPI sweep, the Dutchmen have just a lone loss against Princeton. It is easy to see now: Those losses to the Engineers will prove costly. Cornell is obviously a team to watch, but the team has only played two league games. The Big Red swept Northern Michigan this weekend to make it four straight wins. Colgate deserved a better fate on Saturday against Ohio State, while Brown has looked better so far.

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ECAC Notebook 11/4

Sunday, November 4th, 2018

Another week in the books, but this one lacked big surprises. Cornell got back on track with a pair of wins, like I predicted they would. So did Union. I argued that both teams will still be good regardless of results in one week, and it seems both have come true to their identity. Union picked up a pair of wins against Clarkson and SLU, at home, while Cornell held serve against Brown and Yale. Quinnipiac got tripped up by Dartmouth, which provided the Bobcats their first loss, and Rensselaer went 1-1 after win against SLU and a loss to Clarkson.

It is much too early to talk about standings and stuff, but it is interesting to see RPI at the top after the struggles they have had in recent seasons. Dave Smith has instilled confidence in that group, which is only growing. A 6-0 setback to Clarkson on Friday was tough but the Engineers provided a good bounce-back in a 3-2 win against SLU. The pairwise is literally the same, you can look at it but it means zilch until about Christmas.

Without further ado, here are my thoughts:

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ECAC Picks 11/1

Thursday, November 1st, 2018

The first full weekend of league action begins this weekend with some juicy matchups. Princeton at Dartmouth is probably the game of the weekend, but Harvard hosting the Tigers and Quinnipiac are both right on its heels. In New York, it seems like the matchup of the week will be Union, who will try to recover from its weekend sweep at the hands of RPI, against Clarkson. As usual, league games will be tight and there will be a surprise here and there.

Friday

Brown (0-2-0, 0-1-0 ECAC) at Colgate (2-3-0, 0-0-0); 7pm.

Bruno probably deserved a better fate in both games it played last weekend, but it was unable to get a result. The Raiders started 2-0, but have lost three in a row, and will look to get on track. Gate won both meetings last season and will seek to regain the momentum it had to start the year. Despite the two game sweep of New Hampshire opening weekend, the Raiders will be looking for goals, as they have scored just six in five games.

Gate 3-2

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