This week, the ECAC returns to full conference play, with Princeton and Quinnipiac having the weekend off. There are many intriguing matchups on the docket, but to me the game of the week is RPI and Cornell on Friday night. RPI has struggled of sorts of late, while Cornell has continued its strong play. Harvard and SLU will also meet on Friday night, with both teams carrying losing skids and in need of wins. A lot of teams can do themselves good in both the conference and national picture, but some teams need wins more than others. SLU and RPI would be most beneficial to the national picture if they could pick up sweeps, while teams like Harvard and Cornell could further their position in the league standings. All told, it should be a pretty good weekend of action throughout the league. (more…)
Archive for the 'ECAC' Category
Harvard struggled defensively last week, but its offense is still the most talented in the league. Despite a poor showing in the first period against Quinnipiac at Madison Square Garden, where they left trailing 4-0, the Crimson were able to come all the way back to force overtime. Quinnipiac got a goal from Derek Smith in a seeming fitting ending on the World’s Most Famous Stage. Struggles were abounded in non-league play, as SLU was swept by struggling Northeastern, while Colgate split with Maine in Orono.
This weekend marks the return of ECAC play for most league teams, while Quinnipiac and Princeton have the weekend off. Quinnipiac has a commanding lead in the standings, but it is not as large as it appears. Its lead over Cornell sits at nine points and it has a ten point lead on third place, RPI. But both the Big Red and Engineers have games in hand. Cornell has four games in hand, while RPI has three games on the Bobcats. Five points separate Harvard in fourth place and Union in tenth place. The battle for the last bye and home ice positioning looks to be as close as it usually is. but then again it is still early, with most teams yet to hit the halfway mark of the league slate. (more…)
The ECAC keeps winning in non-conference play and in recent weeks it has picked up in regularity. Last weekend both Harvard and Dartmouth took home holiday tournament titles, while Union also went undefeated at the Ledyard Bank Classic and missed out to its conference rival on goal differential. Brown took down one of the best teams in the nation, defending national champion Providence, looking good in the process. RPI also split a non-conference series with Miami. Clarkson did the same against Bowling Green. All told, the league is now second in inter-conference record with a .620 winning percentage against the other leagues.
ECAC teams have played strong schedules, partly because they have played each other but it is furthered by the fact it has played strong non-conference schedules. Dartmouth played a pair at Michigan, Brown played Providence twice, Quinnipiac hosted St. Cloud twice and so on and so forth. This helps the overall strength of schedule and because the league has won a good portion of these games, the ECAC is doing really well in the Pairwise. Quinnipiac and Harvard are one and two in the Pairwise, while four other teams join them in the top 15. All told, there are six teams in NCAA tournament positions (QU, Harvard, Cornell, Yale, SLU, RPI), five league teams in the top 10 of Pairwise and eight in the top 20. You can see how strong the schedules have been in the league, in CHN’s Krach ratings.
The most interesting addition in the top 20 is Dartmouth, who played a murderous schedule in the first winter and is 5-7-1, but because of its strength of schedule it is right in the thick of a tournament bid if it goes on a run in the second half. It could be a monumental year for the league in terms of the NCAA tournament and how many teams make it, if the trends continue. There will be no easy games in the second half of the conference slate. It seems as though there is a high probability of at least five teams, but six is a possibility. The worst case scenario seems to be four. (more…)
Union and Dartmouth both picked up wins, over Merrimack and Robert Morris respectively on Saturday night. Because the Ledyard Bank Classic has predetermined matchups, the format is setup with a point system (2 points for a regulation/ot win, 1 point for a shootout win) with goal differential being the tiebreaker if one or more teams are tied. Dartmouth and Union do not play on Sunday night in a de facto championship game, so we will be relying heavily on the system put in place.Union defeated Merrimack 3-2, while Dartmouth defeated Robert Morris, 5-1.
Union received goals from Matt Wilkins, Nick Cruice and Brett Supinski, which included two power-play tallies. Merrimack took the momentum in the third period but were never able to recover from being down two goals entering the third. Dartmouth took a scoreless game after a period and ran away with it late. It outshot the Colonials 37-18 and recieved goals from five different skaters. Hypothetically Dartmouth has the advantage going into Sunday night’s matchups, after winning by four. The Big Green face Merrimack, while the Dutchmen face Robert Morris. (more…)
As always, the ECAC is not where we thought it would at this point in the season. Yale isn’t the dominant defensive team we thought it would be, Harvard’s offense is second to Quinnipiac, Cornell (I picked them 11th in preseason dumb ehh?) looks like a team to be reckoned with come March and well who thought RPI would ever have a nine game unbeaten streak?
The ECAC standings are extremely tight heading into the second half, with Quinnipiac having 14 points and Cornell close on its heels at 13. Cornell’s only ECAC league loss came to Quinnipiac, in a game it had a three goal lead and couldn’t hold on. Harvard and RPI are tied for third at 11 points, while St. Lawrence and Yale round out the top six with nine and eights points respectively. Any of those six teams are contenders at this point, because the bottom half have been less than stellar, or as I would like to say there is a step down in quality.
One of the biggest ECAC storylines of the first half is the quality of hockey being played throughout the league. The inter-conference record has been sparkling, although it has come down a bit in recent weeks. The .632 winning percentage in non-conference play has the league setup well in terms of the pairwise, as currently five teams are in NCAA tournament positioning. Quinnipiac sits first in the all important Pairwise rankings, while Harvard, Cornell, St. Lawrence and Yale sit sixth, seventh, 11th and 13th in those rankings. Even RPI sits in good positioning, as it is 17th in those rankings. Last year, the NCHC had a .652 inter-conference record and it had six teams in the tournament. Even more important for the ECAC as a league, it has a 24-16-3 against the two best conferences in the country, the NCHC and Hockey East. Maybe the ECAC is the best right now? Ya, lets see how the non-league games go in the next few weeks.
Well and to finish off I would like to say Happy Holidays to all. Hope all of you have an enjoyable holiday, no matter what you celebrate. See you in a week or so for my annual trip to Hanover’s Ledyard Bank Classic. (more…)
Another full slate of league games awaits us this weekend, as the schedule is a tad more manageable this weekend in comparison to last week’s full slate of non-conference games. Yale hosts Quinnipiac in the game of the week, as the two New Haven area rivals renew their acquaintances at the Whale. Last season, the matchup was as close as possible with two ties in its two meetings. Quinnipiac is still undefeated at 13-0-2, which the best start since Colorado College started 15-0-2 in 1995-1996. St. Lawrence at Cornell is another highlight of Friday night, while RPI and Harvard will play for the second straight week after the Crimson took home the Shillelagh Tournament title back to Cambridge, with a 4-0 win, on Saturday.
Each weekend is crucial within conference play. RPI and Quinnipiac remain tied at the top of the standings with 10 points. The top 7 are separated by just four points, with Brown rounding out the bunch at seven. The conference still has six teams in the top 16 of the Pairwise and wins within league play are so important, because there isn’t a bad loss within the league because of a .648 win pct. in inter-conference play. There are many great matchups this weekend. as always I urge you to hit a rink to see your favorite team play. Also see this week’s Three Things I Think, for more of my thoughts. (more…)
Another successful weekend in non-conference play has the conference in pretty good shape going forward. In terms of strength of schedule according to Krach, league teams have been pretty successful and have played some of the more difficult schedules in college hockey. The ECAC owns 10 of the top 18 schedules nationally, which is a direct consequence of the league’s non-conference winning percentage. The inter-conference record dropped a tad over the weekend, but still sits at a national best of .648. This all means good things, as the ECAC currently has seven of the top 16 teams in the Pairwise. It probably won’t stay at that, but its fun to look at because there still is good chance the league will have four, maybe five teams. (more…)
As each week moves along, we learn more about all the teams in the conference. Over the weekend, RPI continued its seven game unbeaten streak, Quinnipiac remained undefeated and SLU made inroads and proved that maybe they belong in the conversation as well. Clarkson provided QU with its first blemish on the season, in a 1-1 tie in Hamden but were unable to back it up, dropping a 3-0 game to a much improved Princeton team that I will talk about in more depth below.
Rensselaer and Quinnipiac are tied at the top of standings, as the Bobcats squandered their chances to take an outright lead with two ties. Both teams are now 4-0-2 and have 10 points already in the bank. Harvard and Cornell are nipping on their heels, as the Big Red picked up a win at Brown and an impressive tie at Yale, but every team in the top six remain within three points of the lead. The Pairwise continues to be bloated, but this weekend will prove to us just how many teams are capable of being in the tournament. There are big games up and down the schedule this weekend. Harvard and RPI participate with Notre Dame and Western Michigan in the Shillelagh Tournament in South Bend. Dartmouth travels for a pair against Michigan, while Colgate and Brown participate in the Friendship Four. All told, the ECAC has six teams in the top 15 of the Pairwise, thanks mainly to a .667 win percentage in non-conference contests.
If you haven’t read the wonderful piece by CHN editor, Adam Wodon, on the Big Ten’s attempt to put an age limit in college hockey, I highly suggest you read it in the next couple of days. Also, as is normall customary for me, I would like wish all my readers a very Happy Thanksgiving. I hope everyone enjoys their families and falls asleep because of all the Triptofan. Oh and don’t forget there are great college hockey games on Friday morning, from Belfast when Colgate and Brown open the Friendship Four on NESN and TSN at 11am eastern time. (more…)
Most teams will be in conference action this weekend, while Union, Dartmouth and Harvard all have the weekend off. RPI plays a lone non-conference game on the road against Bentley. One has to wonder how long Quinnipiac’s winning streak will go on, as it approaches the absurd at this point. The 11 game winning streak to start the season is the longest such streak to start a year, since Air Force won 12 to begin the 2008-09 season. The Bobcats will host the North Country teams this weekend, after a 6-2 triumph on Tuesday against a struggling Uconn squad. Cornell-Yale looks to be the best game on the docket, but either Quinnipiac games should also be entertaining.
With RPI playing a lone non-conference game, its lead on Quinnipiac sits at two and the Bobcats will take the lead in the Standings this weekend playing two conference games. The Pairwise also looks good, but I caution one in taking too large of a look, but as a whole the league is in good position. Also check out my Three Things I Think from earlier in the week and a feature on RPI’s Cam Hackett. (more…)
Another weekend in conference action, again there were surprises. Brown left the weekend with three points, and almost four as it had an overtime goal disallowed that probably shouldn’t have been. RPI picked up three points and picked up a win against Yale on Friday, in arguably the biggest upset of the weekend. Quinnipiac continued to roll with wins over Harvard, Dartmouth and UConn. They have looked good and this Quinnipiac team is scary offensively, which I will talk about below. It is still much too early to look at the league standings but RPI is the surprise early leader by two points over QU, which has two games in hand.
The CHN pairwise is up, but I will caution against looking too deeply at it as the sample size is much to small. But the good trend is the number of ECAC teams that are in the top 20 and in the tournament spots today. QU sits at the top with their undefeated record, Cornell, Harvard, St. Lawrence ,Yale and Clarkson join it in the top 15. Rensselaer also sits on the outside looking in at number 23. But again it is much too early, what the league needs to do is continue its dominance in non-conference play that is has shown early in the season. Also be sure to check out my feature on Rensselaer’s Cam Hackett, who is a former Cornell commit and excelling in the absence of Jason Kasdorf