Archive for the 'ECAC' Category

ECAC Weekend Preview

Friday, January 23rd, 2015

Will the real favorite please stand up

The standings are close and so has the play been in recent weeks. My perceived top three of Harvard, Yale and Quinnipiac aren’t exactly looking as strong as they once were, while upstarts St. Lawrence and Rensselaer are hanging around in the top five of the league looking to pounce. One of the things I have been asking myself in recent weeks is who exactly is the favorite right now? The casual person will look at the standings and see the Bobcats up by four points, followed by Harvard and the rest of the mess in the top eight or so. So I guess Quinnipiac?

I will caution and let you watch the highlights of the Merrimack-Quinnipiac game on Friday. Teams that make mistakes so glaring aren’t usually contenders but Quinnipiac will be there and be better. When it is good, it is really good and when it is ugly, it is very ugly. Harvard was the most consistent team in the first half, while Yale was right with them. The Bulldogs have been constantly consistent this half as well, but Harvard is just 2-2 with a second loss to Yale and a blowout loss to SLU. Based on what I have seen this half I almost want to say Yale is the team to beat. The Elis have two huge weekends upcoming, which can change that.

Rensselaer is an interesting case study and I talked about them earlier in the week. What they do have, is a great defensive core and goaltender in Jason Kasdorf. It is also getting healthy, which is always something that needs to be taken into account. Teams like Colgate, Clarkson and Cornell are also lurking. I have no idea right now beyond what I presented, kind of a weird feeling at this point in the season. I think Yale? What do you guys think? (more…)

Three Things I Think ECAC 1/21

Wednesday, January 21st, 2015

Some interesting results in the past week, included a statement by St. Lawrence over Harvard. Quinnipiac continues to lead the ECAC by four points, over Harvard, while SLU and RPI sit six points back in third place. The standings as a whole are really close as second to seventh are separated by just four points. This weekend Yale and St. Lawrence play a huge game on Friday, while Rensselaer and Union play in their poorly named Mayors Cup (Should be Mayors’ Cup but I guess it is the Albany Mayor’s trophy despite the schools being in Troy and Schenectady). For now, here is what I think now that is out of the way.

The old Harvard is Back

I have seen two out of four Crimson games this semester and what I see is troubling. The thing that can be seen not only on box scores but from the press box is how Harvard seems disinterested with first periods. Since returning from the break, the Crimson are 2-2 but its first period statistics are downright ugly. The Crimson have been outscored 9-2 in first stanza, in four games. On Saturday, the Crimson looked awful and were outscored 3-0 by St. Lawrence. SLU was the aggressor, while it seemed the Crimson just wanted an easy night quite frankly. (more…)

ECAC Weekend Preview 1/15

Thursday, January 15th, 2015

An almost full slate of conference games this weekend, as Quinnipiac and Princeton are the only teams no playing an ECAC opponent. Quinnipiac holds a six point lead in the ECAC standings, which will almost certainly evaporate this weekend as its closest competition has two games this weekend.

There are no huge tilts this weekend, within league play. the biggest games on the calendar are the non-conference pair that Quinnipiac plays, when it hosts and travels to Merrimack College. For Pairwise purposes, the game is huge because of how close the season series is between the Hockey East and ECAC conferences. Quinnipiac is also within a game of going below .500 in non-conference. A sweep would make it difficult for them to solidify a spot in the Pairwise going forward.

Can Harvard recover?

Harvard looked, well bad against Yale last Saturday at Madison Square Garden, in New York City. The Crimson are better than their performance on national television last week. In all honesty, I had a hunch before the game the Crimson were going to struggle and they did. I was surprised however of how easy Yale made it look against its long time rival. I saw the first Yale, Harvard game in November and it was a great hockey game. Saturday night on the big stage was as lopsided as it could have been. (more…)

Three Things I Think: ECAC 1/12

Monday, January 12th, 2015

The national picture looks a lot better this week than it did last week. Despite a mediocre .495 non-conference slate, the conference has four teams in the top 15 of the Pairwise rankings. That is a far cry from last week, when only one team was in the top 15. Last weekend, Yale dominated its arch nemesis, Harvard at Madison Square Garden to move itself up. Harvard remains in the third position.

In one of the most surprising results of the weekend, Brown won the Mayor Cup on goal differential. It lost in overtime on Friday and defeated Providence College on Saturday night, 5-3.  Conference play returned in earnest over the weekend, with eight ECAC tilts. Quinnipiac and Colgate swept the capital region and North Country respectively. Quinnipiac pulled off the feat at home, while the Raiders swept at Appelton and Cheel. The latter is always an impressive feat and it seems as though Colgate is catching fire at this time just like it did last season. Ditto to Quinnipiac, which is one of the hottest teams in the nation since November 1st.

The league standings are still a work in progress, because everyone has played a different amount of games. Quinnipiac has an impressive six point lead, but as I said last week it has played more league games than anyone else. Harvard is six points back, but has three games in hand, while Colgate in third has four games in hand on QU. This weekend the league should start getting closer, as the Bobcats have a non-conference series, while everyone else plays in league. (more…)

ECAC Weekend Preview 1/8

Thursday, January 8th, 2015

A full slate of games this weekend, as most teams will return to conference play and some will play non-conference games. In the non-conference slate of games, rivalries will take center stage. Dartmouth travels to in-state rival New Hampshire, Brown will play Providence in the Mayor’s Cup and Yale faces off with its historic rival, Harvard at Madison Square Garden.

This could be separation week in the standings for a few teams, but as I caution below don’t take much into the league standings after this weekend because some teams will have more games remaining than others. The national picture will not be mentioned this week, because quite frankly it depresses me (ECAC has just one team in the top 15 and the last three out are from the league.). This weekend will also bring about one of the last chances for the league to do some damage in non-conference play, as four games against teams from the Hockey East are on the docket. Damage needs to be done this weekend because lately that has not happened. (more…)

ECAC Power Rankings: Jan 7

Wednesday, January 7th, 2015

Another weekend of league-wide struggles in non-conference play has made it difficult to really gauge where the league is and which teams belong near the top. The break is always a good thing for some teams, while for others it turns out to be a bad thing. For Harvard, it seems  that it came it at the wrong time. The Crimson are 10-1-2 on the season, with a win after the break against Rensselaer, but have played a lone game this half. Before a loss to Northeastern on Tuesday night, Yale had won three consecutive games and six of seven contests.

Most teams will return to league play this weekend. Quinnipiac currently leads the standings, but near every team has games in hand on the Bobcats. The national picture for ECAC teams is downright ugly and I will admit it. At the present moment the first three out would be ECAC teams, as Quinnipiac, Yale and Colgate are currently 16, 17 and 18 in the Pairwise rankings. With most non-conference tilts done, the ECAC will need to battle just to get two or three teams in the tournament. Unless some teams like Union and Dartmouth get going,it may be a rough March for the league. (more…)

Three Things I Think: ECAC 1/5

Monday, January 5th, 2015

While I have been eating leftover ham and enjoying the long holiday season, I have left you my readers begging for more in terms of writing. In which case I am sorry, but the return of three things is always something I look forward to. Over the weekend, I was able to see league members Brown and Dartmouth in the Ledyard Bank Classic. As always it was a good experience and one that I truly enjoy year in and year out (more on that below).  For the rest of the league, it was non-conference action, in a weekend that most fans of the conference would like to forget.

This weekend most of the league will head back into ECAC play, with the lone exceptions being Dartmouth, Harvard, Yale and Brown. The Green will play New Hampshire in a nationally televised game on Friday night (NBCSN), while Yale and Harvard will take part in the Rivalry on Ice at Madison Square Garden also on NBCSN, Saturday. The exposure will be great for the league and if you ask me, the league could’t ask for for four better teams to show the league over two weekends. Union also played on national television last weekend in a 3-3 tie at Boston University. (more…)

The Takeaway: Yale Stymies Holy Cross in 3-0 Win

Tuesday, December 30th, 2014

Worcester, Mass. - For Yale, it could have been a trap game and one of those weird results that often litter the beginning of the second half. But on this night, the Bulldogs held and dominated Atlantic Hockey foe, Holy Cross. The first period was all Yale and they were rewarded for it. Trent Ruffolo opened the scoring for the Elis at 11 minutes 23 seconds, backhanding a rebound home. Yale outshot Holy Cross 19-7 in the first period and took the 1-0 lead to the locker room.

Holy Cross played better in the second period, but penalties proved costly. The Crusaders’, Tommy Dwyer took a five minute major midway through the period. Yale capitalized halfway through the power-play to take a 2-0 lead. Later in the period another ill-advised cross-check to the boards gave Yale another power-play. The Elis again capitalized off the stick of Mike Doherty. Yale led 3-0 into the second intermission. The Bulldogs held serve in the third period for the win and Alex Lyon picked up his first shutout of the season. Holy Cross senior netminder, Matt Ginn, made 37 saves in the loss, while Rob O Gara picked up two points in the win. Yale improved its record to 7-3-2, while Holy Cross dropped to 7-6-4 on the year. (more…)

ECAC Midseason Review and Awards

Tuesday, December 23rd, 2014

It seemed like just yesterday that I was sitting on a conference call talking with the league coaches in preseason. Of course Seth Appert, as he usually does, gave us the best quote of the day when he said, “The coaches and media are normally wrong with their preseason polls.”  He of course was correct and we all knew that he was correct to begin with, but we still do them to give everyone an idea of where the conference is and who the favorites are.

Heading into the second half, Harvard and Quinnipiac top the standings but any team from 1-10 is in contention for the league. Brown has been the biggest disappointment so far but one could think they are due to pick up a bunch of wins. The top ten in the league are separated by just six points, which should make for phenomenal stretch run. There are some teams at the top half that I think will fall (Clarkson, RPI, SLU), while some may be poised to rise (Dartmouth, Gate, Union, and Cornell). Of course I say that because I have seen most of the teams in the league and have seen them multiple times.

If the NCAA tournament were to start now, the ECAC would have two teams in the tournament. Harvard sits second in the Pairwise rankings, while Yale sits in 15th. Quinnipiac, Dartmouth and Colgate are all in the running. Those three make a group of five ECAC teams in the top 20 in the country, in terms of the Pairwise rankings. That should bode well going forward but there are still a bunch of huge non-conference games in the coming weeks. (more…)

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…)