By Anton Khodakov
Last year, we at WHRB had a lot of fun putting together a team of the best names in the conference. So we’re going to do it again! Last year’s selections are obviously ineligible. Presenting our 2014 ECAC All-Name Team:
Emilio Audi, F, Union
Matt Buckles, F, Cornell
Gunnar Hughes, F, St. Lawrence
Guy Leboeuf, D, RPI
Joey de Concilys, D, Brown
Tyler Steel, G, Brown
Now we return to more analytical fare with our predictions for the first round of the ECAC playoffs this weekend. Given how close the finishes for the five seed and eight seed were, there’s already not much separating teams, and that’s before you account for the inherent wildness of a best-of-three hockey series…. so what we’re saying is that it won’t be a huge surprise if all of these are wrong.
#9 Brown at #8 St. Lawrence
The Bears have been playing awful hockey, failing to score a goal in the last weekend of the season. However, the Saints are a perfect opponent for a team struggling to score, sporting arguably the worst defense in the conference. In fact, St. Lawrence has managed to give up eight goals to Brown in a loss and a tie this year. To make matters more confusing, the Saints have been considerably worse at home this year. But we see the Carey brothers and company putting it together at Appleton this weekend and edging a demoralized Bears team. St. Lawrence in two.
#10 Dartmouth at #7 RPI
This series hinges on Charles Grant, who earned ECAC goalie of the month honors as he carried the Big Green on a late-season surge. The Engineers, meanwhile, alternated strong and disappointing performances on a weekly basis for the entire season. RPI won both meetings this year by a combined 11-3 tally, but they both came before Dartmouth caught fire. We’re going with the hot goalie. Dartmouth in three.
#11 Harvard at #6 Yale (#16/15)
The Crimson could not have drawn a worse first-round opponent. Yale ran circles around Harvard in three meetings this year, with the Cantabrigians lucky to emerge with even the one tie from those games. Yale also has a lot on the line, as they’ll need a deep ECAC run to secure a trip back to the national tournament. So despite Harvard’s typically strong February, we see the Bulldogs taking the series in front of a crazy Ingalls crowd. Yale in two.
#12 Princeton at #5 Clarkson
Princeton is the worst hockey team the ECAC has seen in a long time. Clarkson in two.