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.
1. Harvard (7-1-2, 3-1-2 ECAC) – Last Time 4
Since the last power rankings, Harvard has gone 3-0-0 and has earned this week’s CHN team of the week. It earned team of the week status with two wins over greater Boston rivals, Boston University and UMass-Lowell. Both of those games came on the road and Harvard always looked in control. The Crimson look to be a contender for everything and if anything they are only getting better by week. There are many differences between this team and last year’s team but the biggest is its play in key situations. Look for Harvard to continue winning and doing so impressively, it certainly has proved itself in the early going with its big wins. Also check this article out by The Harvard Crimson Staff Writer, Michael Ledecky, where he talks about Harvard hockey being the hottest ticket in town.
2. Yale (5-2-2, 3-2-1) – Last Time 3
I like Yale and I do not really know why. Its wins on the road against Harvard and Dartmouth are looking pretty good at this point. Its lone loss in the last five games has been to Cornell. Its other loss was to a hard charging St. Lawrence team, which isn’t a bad loss by any means. Like Harvard, the season is still young. It has the best goaltender in the league if you ask me, in Alex Lyon, so one should assume Yale will continue to pick up wins.
3. Dartmouth (4-3-1, 2-3-1) – Last Time 6
What a difference a little break makes for the Big Green. Last weekend it swept AIC and Boston University at home, but its the way it looked against BU that brings them up in this rankings. In its last four games, the Green have attempted over 90 shots in three of those games and it sent 87 attempts toward BU. Dartmouth hasn’t played bad hockey, it was just wasn’t the beneficiary of bounces. Right now I think it belongs in the top three, because it is the only team that has hypothetically been able to keep up with Harvard. Its top line is really talented and the infusion of Chuck Grant back into the lineup should mean wins will come for Dartmouth.
4. Colgate (9-5-1, 3-2-1) – Last Time 1
Colgate’s losses have added and up CHN colleague, Joe Meloni wrote a great piece on that you should read. Colgate is still the deepest team in the conference but its inconsistency in recent weeks is a direct effect of the losses of Tylor Spink, Mike Borkowski and a recent suspension of Darcy Murphy. Don’t rescind bets on the Raiders just yet.
5. Quinnipiac (9-4-1, 5-1-0) – Last Time 2
Losses to Clarkson and UMass over the past two weekends has shown the inconsistency that the Bobcats have had this season. Its struggle against Clarkson was finding offense, as the Golden Knights shut them down to the tune of just 15 shots in the game. The Bobcats had a different problem in its loss to UMass, in that it sent 39 shots at net but it couldn’t solve the Minutemen goaltender. I have seen every one of QU’s bad games this season, I admit it. We should know just how good it is after this weekend, as it hosts two teams I think are good in Harvard and Dartmouth.
6. St. Lawrence (8-5-1, 4-2-0) – Last Time 5
Sitting in a tie for second place is probably the last thing I expected of St. Lawrence at any point this season but a rebuilding year has turned into one with so much promise. If not for a late goal, great goaltending from the Q’s Michael Garteig and allowing a goal in overtime, the Saints could be in first place right now. SLU has a lone game this weekend against a struggling Clarkson team at home, after a weekend off.
7. Cornell (4-4-1, 3-3-0) – Last Time 10
Cornell has scored 10 goals in its last three games to go along with the best defense and goaltending, statistically, in the conference. Not surprisingly, the Big Red have won three in a row and four of its past five contests. On Saturday, Cornell defeated Penn State at Madison Square Garden in New York City. It sits third in the country in team defense allowing a paltry 1.56 goals per game. Look for Cornell to continue to rise in a deep ECAC.
8. Rensselaer (6-9-1, 4-2-0) – Last Time 7
RPI’s weird season continues along. Last week it defeated UNH on the road, but were swept at Michigan. A sweep at Michigan is never a bad thing in all honesty and I am sure the Engineers are disappointed but realize that at the same time. Since winning four of five, the Engineers have just one win in its past five. Jason Kasdorf didn’t play in the Michigan series, nursing a minor injury he sustained in the game against UNH.
9. Union (7-6-1, 1-4-1) – Last Time 8
Union had an interesting weekend to say the least. On Friday, the Dutchmen came back from a two goal deficit to beat Notre Dame on the road. On the next night, though, all its issues came to light in an 8-2 struggle against Western Michigan. Check out three things because it is truly mind-boggling.
10. Clarkson (5-7-4, 3-1-2) – Last Time 9
Just how deep the league is right now is highly evident in that a team tied for second place in the standings is sitting in the tenth place in my Power Rankings. Clarkson was swept at Merrimack last weekend in a weekend it scored just a lone goal. Its defense will win it games in league play, but any consistency will be brought down by an offense that is a work in progress. I think they will gain some consistency in the second half and with that defense I still think it is dangerous come ECAC tournament time.
11. Princeton (2-7-1, 1-5-0) – Last Week 11
Princeton picked up a big home win against BIG rival, Michigan State over the weekend. The win was its first since November 7th, a victory over Cornell. Princeton dropped a decision the next night but the weekend as a whole was a step in the right direction. Colton Phinney stopped 44 of 45 shots he saw in Friday night’s, 3-1- win. Princeton hosts Ivy League rivals, Harvard and Dartmouth this weekend.
12. Brown (2-7-0, 0-6-0) – Last Week 12
Brown is still without a point in conference play, but the Bears are 2-1-0 in non-conference play. Last weekend, Brown picked up a win against UConn on Saturday. ot allowing a goal was the biggest take from the game, as it has struggled to keep the puck out of its own net this season. On Sunday, the Bears gave five goals in a 5-0 shutout to Holy Cross. It was one step forward and one step back on the weekend, on what has been an all out struggle for Brown on the season. It has been unexpected and the break cannot come fast enough for them.