Three Things I Think: ECAC Week 14

Posted by: Josh Seguin

There were a mix of non-conference games and some in-conference games. In the biggest ECAC game of the weekend, Quinnipiac defeated Union 2-1. The win by the Bobcats propelled them back into first place in the conference. Harvard and Yale played the big stage on Saturday night in front 15,524 paying patrons, a game that Yale won 5-1. Princeton ended its long losing streak over the weekend, defeating another struggling team, Rensselaer, on Friday. But there were other games.

Be sure to check out the CHN standings page for the updates of where your team falls. The Pairwise is also a very good place to see just where your team is nationally, in terms of the NCAA tournament. If the tournament started today the ECAC would place five teams in comfortably, which would be a huge accomplishment for the league. Quinnipiac and Union sit in fifth and sixth place respectively in the Pairwise rankings, while Cornell, Yale and Clarkson are in positions 12-14. I think four of those five teams stay in there and another might find there way in, maybe Colgate? Without further ado here are is what I think this week.

Numbers Game

Looking at the top of the standings is probably an eyesore for most ECAC fans right now, as Quinnipiac and Union sit a point apart but six points ahead of the next tier teams. If you look closer, though, as I have done for you, the teams behind them have a ton of games on those two schools. Union really should be the basis to this piece because it to has two games in hand on QU. At some point this will catch up on QU, but teams also have games in hand on Union as well.

Clarkson sits seven points behind Quinnipiac in third place but have a remarkable five games on the Bobcats. The Knights also have three games in hand on Union. In its remaining games, Clarkson has four games against those top teams so I guess for the Golden Knights it will be its job to go out and prove that it wasn’t a first half fluke.

Looking deeper into the standings, Colgate and Cornell are in fourth and fifth place in the standings behind by eight and nine points, respectively, to Quinnipiac. Those two teams trail Union by seven and eight points, but they also have four games in hand on Quinnipiac and two on Union. Yale also has five games in hand on QU and three on Union, sitting 10 points and nine points behind those teams.

The moral to the story, for me, is that the league is a lot closer right now than most people think looking on paper. To prove this, I am going to project the standings based on current winning percentages. Please realize though that teams have a varying level of SOS remaining, which makes this an imprecise math. I am no mathematician so I am not going deeper than this but you could make the comment that Quinnipiac, Colgate and Cornell are going in the right direction, while Clarkson may falter. Nonetheless this is just for fun and to show you not to count out other teams.

Projected ECAC Standings (Based On Winning Percentages)

Projected League Record   Projected Points

1. Union (11)            18-4-0                 36

2. Clarkson (14)         16-4-1                 33

3.  Qunnipiac (9)       13-3-6                 32

4. Colgate (13)          12-7-3                 27

5. Cornell   (13)        10-7-5                 25

6. Yale  (14)            8-6-8                  24

7. Brown (14)            8-11-3                 19

8. Rensselaer (11)       6-10-6                 18

9. St. Lawrence (14)   6-11-4                 16

10. Harvard (11)         4-12-6               14

11. Princeton (10)       5-16-1               11

12. Dartmouth  (12)     4-17-1               9

Interesting numbers there as Clarkson would slot in second, but one of the teams from positions four to say sixth place drastically improves its winning percentage to pass one of the top teams if you ask me, my candidate would be Clarkson falling. This was just for fun really, but notice no team should be able to run away with the league like Quinnipiac last season. Also another interesting thing I have done for you is strength of schedule. Note that both of the calculations are derived just from each teams’ remaining in conference games only.

SOS ICG=  Combined conference winning percentage of conference opponents remaining

SOS Overall= Combined Winning Percentage of conference opponents overall records

SOS (ICG)    (SOS Overall)

1. RPI                   .526           .564

2. Union                 .516           .548

3. St. Lawrence       .514           .523

3. Clarkson              .514           .523

5. Yale                  .511            .524

6. Brown                 .510            .549

7. Dartmouth             .509            .520

8. QU                    .507             .532

9. Harvard               .495             .523

10. Princeton            .483             .522

11. Cornell              .458             .489

12. Colgate              .453             .498

Looking at this is kind of strange but it makes sense. It shows that Cornell and Colgate have quite the opportunity upcoming, as both are far below any other team in terms of schedule strength. I am not going to make any assumptions, but based on this one can wonder who might end up at the top at the end of the season. Do Cornell and Colgate have the time to get up to the top and contend, possibly? Also realize the big difference in in-conference records and out of conference, that speaks to the success that the league has had in non-conference play, nearly every team should get a boost in RPI back in league if it can pick up wins.

Yale loves big games

This seems like an easy one but Yale just loves tournament and big game environments. On Saturday night, Yale took advantage of a young Harvard team at Madison Square Garden in front of 15,524 College Hockey fans. It once again proved its muscle in pressure packed situations. Although its roster turned over a bit from its national title team, guys like Stu Wilson, Kenny Agostino and Jesse Root have been in these situations before.

When Harvard was down it pounced as three minutes was arguably the difference in the game. Yale got a bounce early in the second and it scored twice more in quick succession. This experience will help it going into the tournament again, but Keith Allain’s ability to coach these games in the past 365 days or so has to be commended as well.

During the press conferences, one can grow a respect for this Yale Bulldog team. It is an all businesslike approach and the answers are concise. Ya, some media members might struggle to understand the lack of words in the press conferences but really it should be respected. Some coaches say too much and others say just enough, all depends on style. Right now, there is no docking Allain and his players style of business and saying all the things necessary and no more.

Yale is no doubt the coolest team in College Hockey right now. Playing in front of 16,000 people, no problem for them. Its businesslike approach to every game is nothing but phenomenal to watch.

St. Lawrence and Rensselaer are falling fast

Don’t look now but Rensselaer and St. Lawrence are both winless going on over a month now. Rensselaer has just two wins in its past 12 games. It is currently on a four game losing streak, along with a six game winless streak. It last win was on December 7th against Princeton. St. Lawrence is on a five game losing streak, with its last win coming against North Dakota on November 29th. The Saints are 2-8-0 in its past 10 contests, with wins against RIT and North Dakota.

Rensselaer’s struggles are mind-boggling because it was picked first by the media in the preseason poll, and second by the coaches. There is a ton of talent on that team but the problem can be traced to the fact that only three players are finding the back of the net with any consistency.  Ryan Haggerty has been the brightspot for the Engineers, as his 18 goals are good for the second in the nation. Lately, a struggle in all facets of the game is RPI’s biggest problem, getting outscored 20-7 in its past four games.

St. Lawrence’s problems are easy to point out, as defensively it hasn’t been where it needed to be since the first game. The Saints have one of the best offenses in the country, sitting in a tie for sixth nationally scoring 3.55 per game, but 52nd nationally in defense is just unacceptable. Scoring 3.55 per game is great, but giving up 3.70 shows a bigger underlying problem. In its 10 losses it has allowed 45 goals. if those numbers continue, St. Lawrence will continue to lose hockey games. Hockey is simple score more than the other guy.

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