Archive for the 'ECAC' Category

Three Things I Think: ECAC 12/9

Tuesday, December 9th, 2014

Another weekend down and for some teams it is now the winter break, the period of three weeks that most teams have off around Christmas. This to me is the most important time of the year for teams, it is often time a turning point in the year. A key example is Colgate last season, which had a huge second half after a rather mediocre first half.  Consequently it can lead a team in the opposite direction, like Dartmouth just two years ago. The break can either help or hurt a team, so embrace it and hope your team comes out that stronger.

ECAC play has finished for the first half and there are more surprises than there are what most could consider expected. Preseason number one, Colgate has struggled to find consistency in recent weeks and sits in a tie for seventh in the league standings. Preseason number 10, Harvard is the top team tied with preseason number five, Quinnipiac. Clarkson, picked ninth is in third place in the standings. I guess it is safe Seth Appert was right in saying the media and coaches are always wrong in preseason.

Denver and Cornell split at Lynah Rink last week, which for the Big Red is huge. Denver is one of the top five teams in the NCHC, which all were in the top 11 of the pairiwse entering last weekend. I explained in last week’s edition why this series was so big for them and the league. The split kept the ECAC in second place, behind the NCHC in inter-conference records at .559, which is very respectable. Of course the most noteworthy event of the weekend, was the hilarity surrounding the team’s Teddy Bear toss. That made it to deadspin, ESPN, Yahoo and pretty much every news outlet in the country this week. Even Cornell alum Keith Olbermann spotlighted the toss in his hilarious worst persons segment on his ESPN tv show. Any coverage is good and kids saw an ECAC hockey rink on SportsCenter, never a bad thing just we never thought it would be for a Teddy Bear. This will be the last edition of Three Things I Think of 2014, I will be right back at it in 2015. (more…)

ECAC Weekend Preview: 12/4

Thursday, December 4th, 2014

One last conference weekend before the break should shake up the standings even more in the ECAC. With everyone so close from positions 1-9, as a mere five points separate the top nine in the standings, movement up and down should be aplenty. Cornell and Colgate have big non-conference tests this week, as Cornell hosts Denver for a weekend series and Colgate travels to Providence for a lone game against PC. There should be tons of action around the conference this weekend and here is what I think is important to watch this weekend.

Clarkson Looks to find Consistency, while St. Lawrence looks to continue its great play

Whenever Clarkson and St. Lawrence meet on the ice it is a spectacle. It is always heated and being the third meeting of the season should make this game even more event-filled. The Saints took home a 4-0 win from Cheel Arena on November 1st and the two teams tied the night before at Appelton Arena. Those games didn’t mean as much as this one does because it was non-conference, but the season series is still up for grabs. For these teams bragging rights are ever important in the North Country. (more…)

ECAC Power Rankings 12/2

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2014

Because of the holiday last week, I was unable to find the time to do a power rankings but much has certainly changed in two weeks. Colgate’s struggles for consistency have continued, while Quinnipiac’s inconsistency has also come forward. The Bobcats dropped a decision to Clarkson two weeks ago, defeated St. Lawrence and dropped a home decision to UMass. It recovered, but damage has already been done because other ECAC teams had great two week stretches. The league standings tell us nothing about how the league is going because everyone is still too close to call. Quinnipiac sits at the top with ten points, but a four way tie for second place contains Harvard, St. Lawrence, Clarkson and RPI. Colgate, Yale and Cornell all sit within a weekend either three or four points behind.

The conference has been impressive of late in non-conference. Despite Clarkson’s 0-4-0 record against Hockey East and Quinnipiac’s 3-3-0 record against that other eastern conference, the rest of the league has put together quite the impressive 14-2-2 record against the usual “best conference in the country.” Note the quotation marks, because all of my ECAC fans will get the joke in that. Both Dartmouth and Harvard picked up huge wins against Boston University last week, with the Green doing so at home and the Crimson pulling out an overtime decision at BU’s, Agganis Arena. Overall the league is set up for future success in the Pairwise and has the possibility to get more than four teams in the tourney, because of its 35-27-4 record against the other conferences. That mark is good for second among the nation’s conferences. If the tournament began today, both Harvard and Yale would be in comfortably because of their 6th and 11th ranking respectively in the Pairwise. St. Lawrence sits on the bubble, but in, in 15th, while Quinnipiac, Colgate and Dartmouth all sit within distance in the top 20.

As for the power rankings, I am starting to see some trends that make my life easier. Harvard has proven it is the best team in the conference at this point, a thought I have had for a few weeks now but now I am comfortable to say it. Yale is the only team that has beaten Harvard this season and it has won four of its last five games. Its goaltending will get it far this season and its built from the net out nature makes it a dangerous team going forward. Those teams seem to be the clear top two and the rest seem to be really close together behind them. I feel more confident in these rankings than I have at any point this season. The league will again shake out this weekend, as eight conference games and teams will play league games. (more…)

Three Things I Think: ECAC 12/1

Monday, December 1st, 2014

Another weekend, another mixed bag of results in non-conference play for the ECAC. Harvard has taken the nation by storm in recent weeks. Last week was its best yet, as it not only knocked off a red hot Boston University on the road but it followed it up with a roadie against Lowell on Saturday night. Cornell picked up a huge non-conference win on Saturday night at Madison Square Garden against Penn State, which marked the first game between the programs. Clarkson’s offensive woes continued against Merrimack and they were swept accordingly on the road. Dartmouth also defeated Boston University on Sunday at home, another huge win for the league.

ECAC’s dominance this season of Hockey East foes has continued, but not on the level that the early season saw. Last weekend the league went 4-4-0 against the other conference that usually claims supremacy in the east, but on the season the ECAC is still 16-9-2 against Hockey East opponents. Overall, the conference is 35-27-4 in non-conference, which sets it up as the second best record of all the conferences. Only the NCHC has a better record in non-league play. The only alarming prospect of non-conference play so far is that it only has a winning record against Hockey East and Atlantic Hockey. The sample sizes, however, with the western conferences are really small. So take solace in knowing the best teams in the ECAC are actually doing better against top competition in than in previous years. Harvard’s wins against the Hockey East elite are certainly helping, I must say.

Next week will feature the last weekend of conference play before the winter and exam breaks that usually last near three weeks. It has been a fun half of hockey for ECAC fans and I am sure next weekend will be much of the same. Teams will be looking for positioning and there will be a potential first place matchup, featuring Harvard at Quinipiac next Saturday. All in all the league race couldn’t be any closer heading into the break. (more…)

The Takeaway: Leonard and Diebold Lead RPI to 2-1 Non-Conference Win at UNH

Tuesday, November 25th, 2014

Durham, NH - Rensselaer made the 200 mile trek to UNH for a Tuesday night tilt in which it frustrated the home team to no end. UNH controlled play for a good portion of the game and got the game’s first goal. John Furgele sent in a point shot from the right point, in which RPI starter Jason Kasdorf gave up a rebound. Warren Foegele found the rebound and buried it into the empty net giving UNH the 1-0 lead at eight minutes, nine seconds of the first period. Rensselaer responded six minutes later, as Curtis Leonard sniped a shot from the high slot to the top corner of the net knotting the game. A mere two minutes later, RPI took the lead for good off the stick of Parker Reno. The 2-1 lead held to the third period, as the Engineers frustrated UNH in the period, stifling most quality chances with sticks and bodies.

The third period saw the Engineers hold on with Scott Diebold putting on a show late. Diebold made 6-8 saves in the game’s last two minutes to preserve the win for RPI, which was its fifth in eight games after 1-5-0 start to the season. With the 2-1 win, Rensselaer improves its record to 6-7-1, while UNH’s record fell to 4-8-0 overall on the season. To view highlights visit this link, via the UNH athletics website and youtube channel. (more…)

Three Things I Think: ECAC 11/24

Monday, November 24th, 2014

With some teams having last weekend off while others played conference games, the league got a whole lot closer. Quinnipiac jumped to the lead after a weekend split but second place is a four team log-jam. Clarkson, with a four point weekend was the biggest mover as it jumped into the tie for second, which puts them just two points behind Quinnipiac. RPI, St. Lawrence and Harvard are the other three in that tie with Clarkson. All in all, the top eight are seperated by just four points. It is early, but early parity shows it could be a battle to the end in a wide open league.

Cornell got on track at home last weekend, as it swept Ivy league rivals Brown and Yale. Harvard is the early leader in that race with five points. Brown’s struggles continue, as it is now 0-6-0 ECAC play. The most telling stat of Brown’s struggles comes against its Ivy League rivals, where it has been outscored 16-2 in just three games. The Ivy League race, as much as most of us ignore it, is huge to those schools and thus I am going to try giving it a mention at least once a week. Brown’s struggles, though, probably wont fly for long and won’t be that bad as the season goes on.

St. Lawrence had Quinnpiac on the ropes on Saturday night. With a win the Saints would have left the weekend with the ECAC lead. I talked a couple of weeks back about SLU’s possession and in the last two weeks there has been improvement. SLU is so young that it can only get better. What I saw on Saturday bodes well for it too because the improvement is being seen almost by the minute. Quinnipiac is still the most impressive possession team in the league, but others are catching up to it. SLU and Clarkson both stayed with QU in possession. In all honesty, Clarkson’s performance was a memorable one for me and I mention below as to why. SLU though looked impressive late in that game but couldn’t find a way. The parity in the league is phenomenal right now. As fans of the league, we can do nothing but enjoy it. (more…)

ECAC Weekend Preview: Nov. 20

Thursday, November 20th, 2014

To think we are almost ready to have turkey with our families, is something I can hardly fathom. It also means that we are over a quarter of the way through the season. Where did the time go? Well I have no idea, but to soothe our troubles there are a plethora of games and a mixture of non-conference and conference games to make us happy. Four teams will participate in conference games this weekend, as Quinnipiac looks to take control of the conference. It is the only team that is tied at the top, which plays this weekend. It has two games in hand on both Harvard and RPI, who are also tied for first place.

As Quinnipiac looks for distance in the league, St. Lawrence has a monumental opportunity. The Saints play Princeton on Friday, while Quinnipiac plays at Clarkson. St. Lawrence sits two points behind the mess at the top, which includes Quinnipiac. If Both win on Friday, or both lose for that matter, SLU will be just two points behind the lead and will thus be playing for the league tie with the Bobcats or if both lose on Friday and SLU wins there could be a four way tie at the end of the week. All the possibilities seem pretty fun. I like SLU’s chance on Friday playing Princeton, but QU will be in a battle with Clarkson. Colgate and Yale would also be in the mix at five points, sitting a lone point behind SLU and three behind Quinnipiac. Before I get too carried away, in November, we should actually preview the games I guess. (more…)

ECAC Power Rankings: Nov. 19

Wednesday, November 19th, 2014

Another interesting week has led to even more movement in the Power Rankings. Yale impressed me in a weekend road trip to Harvard and Dartmouth. Quinnipiac, Rensselaer and Harvard are tied at the top of the ECAC standings, but hypothetically QU is the leader because it has two games in hand against the others. I am reluctantltly keeping Colgate at the top, but QU, Yale and Harvard are nipping at its heels. Without further ado, here is my weekly take.

1. Colgate (8-3-1, 2-1-1 ECAC) – Last Week 1

Colgate continues its reign at the top of the ECAC power rankings, a place it has yet to relinquish this season. The Raiders have been pretty inconsistent over the past few weeks, but they are still in my astute estimation the best team in the conference top to bottom. Injuries are plaguing them, with two of its top scorers out. That billing may change in the coming weeks, if the results continue to be inconsistent. Last weekend it beat SLU and tied Clarkson, at home. It hangs on to the top spot by a small margin.

2. Quinnipiac (7-2-1, 4-0-0) – Last Week 4

Maybe I should jump back on the Quinnipiac bandwagon? Well I am not fully ready to do so because I do not fully trust a few weeks of good goaltending and defensive play. I need a week more to think there is any more improvement. There seems to be on the surface, which is a good sign. With it the Bobcats could just be the best team in the conference. Regardless, they will still light up the possession stats but I say use caution. (more…)

The Takeaway: Harvard Blanks Dartmouth in Hanover for the First Time Since 1953

Tuesday, November 18th, 2014

Hanover, NH - Harvard and Dartmouth played one of those Tuesday night games no one shows up for, but on the cold night in Northern New Hampshire the two squads put on quite the show. Dartmouth controlled play throughout the contest and the attempts showed, but it was Harvard that would strike first. Patrick McNally carried the puck over the blue-line with no Dartmouth skaters in sight and took a snap shot over the glove of James Kruger, giving the Crimson a 1-0 lead at nine minutes, 26 seconds of the first period. The lead stuck until the third period.

Harvard held onto the to 1-0 throughout and added a an empty-net goal off the stick of Jim Vesey to defeat Dartmouth, 2-0. The shutout marked the first time Harvard had shutout Dartmouth in Hanover since January 10, 1953, in a 5-0 Harvard win. Harvard improves to 4-1-2 on the season, and 3-1-2 in the ECAC. Dartmouth falls to 2-3-1, and 2-3-1 in league play. Harvard with the win moves into a three-way tie for first place in the ECAC conference. Dartmouth out-attempted Harvard 90-49 in the game but only out-shot the Crimson 29-24 in the game. (more…)

Three Things I Think: ECAC Nov. 17

Monday, November 17th, 2014

Another interesting weekend in ECAC league play, brought another weekend that teams made statements. Quinnipiac continues to win, it has now won six games in a row. Yale swept Harvard and Dartmouth over the weekend on the road. Brown, Cornell and Princeton continue to struggle. Rensselaer continues to sit atop the ECAC standings, but it is now tied with Quinnipiac for the top spot. Again it is still early to really pay attention, but now into the second week we are starting to see some trends.

As an ECAC fan, we don’t want to look at the Pairwise yet because they are hardly being kind in the early going. Despite having three teams in the top 15, all three of those teams are on the bubble from positions 12-15. Yale looked good over the weekend, I was able to see them twice thanks to a last minute change in my schedule on Saturday. It was the smarter team and it looked the part of being a team that is just a year removed from being a national champion. I will speak more to this below, but also expect a feature in the coming days on why they were so consistent. But for now here are the three things I think after the second full week of conference games. (more…)