Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Breaking Down the ECAC: Week 1

It's that time of the week where we at WHRB look around the ECAC to get a sense of what's going on around the league. Last week we went through the teams alphabetically, this time we'll attempt a "power rankings." The rest is the same format as last time, with a key player for each team, and then a league-wide three stars.

1. Yale (1-0)
Last Time Out- Yale finally got their season underway this week, and a big win vaulted them to the top of the power rankings. The first win didn't have as much as an effect on that, an 8-0 exhibition pasting of the Ontario Institute of Technology, but the big win was when Yale skated into Princeton the next night and won 5-2, after a four goal third period.
Key Player- Denny Kearney had two PP tallies against OIT, before grabbing two assists against Princeton, one on the PP, one on the SH GWG.
Up Next- Yale travels to the Capital District to face RPI on Friday and Union on Saturday in ECAC play.

2. Quinnipiac (4-1)
Last Time Out- The Bobcats get into the top part of our power rankings despite a loss this weekend because of their four game winning streak to start the year. This weekend Quinnipiac split with Robert Morris (2-4-0), winning the first game 5-0, before losing 8-5 in the second game.
Key Player- Greg Holt had three goals this weekend for Quinnipiac, one in the Friday night game and two in the Saturday game.
Up Next- Quinnipiac opens up its ECAC season at home with a Friday night game against Clarkson and then a Saturday afternoon game against St. Lawrence.

3. Harvard (1-0, 1-0 ECAC)
Last Time Out- The Crimson kicked off ECAC play for the whole league as they opened the year on the road at Dartmouth, grabbing their first win away from the Bright Hockey Center since the 2008 ECAC Semifinals with a 5-3 scoreline. The Crimson were up 5-1 in the third and let the Big Green back into the game.
Key Player- Alex Killorn netted two goals and added an assist to lead the Crimson to victory.
Next Up- Harvard travels to upstate New York to take on the Colgate Raiders at Starr Rink before heading to Ithaca in one of the best ECAC rivalry games, as they skate into Lynah to take on Cornell.

4. Cornell (1-0)
Last Time Out- Cornell also opened up their season with a win, but it was a 3-2 OT victory against a now 0-5-1 Niagara team, and it was at Lynah. Certainly Cornell will always be tough to beat at home, but it is interesting that they needed an extra few minutes to put away a winless team.
Key Player- Colin Greening had a goal and an assist to lead the Big Red to victory.
Next Up- Cornell opens up their ECAC season at home, with a Friday night game against Dartmouth before facing big Ivy League rival Harvard on Saturday night.

5. Princeton (1-1)
Split weekend for the Tigers, although the results leave plenty of question marks. On Friday night, the Tigers opened up the season in the non-conference Ivy Showdown by facing the Brown Bears at Hobey Baker- and they required an extra session to put away Bruno with a 1-0 scoreline. Then on Saturday night, a 2-1 lead over Yale skating into the third period turned into a 5-2 victory for the Elis. Not how the Tigers envisioned their opening games at Hobey Baker.
Key Player- Marc Hagel had the OT game winner against Brown on Friday night and an assist against Yale on Saturday.
Next Up- Princeton faces St. Lawrence on Friday night at home and then Saturday afternoon they take on Clarkson, also at Princeton.

6. Clarkson (3-4)
Last Time Out- It's hard to judge what is a sub-.500 team at the moment, because Clarkson has played two very tough road trips, including last weekend at Minnesota-Duluth (5-2-1), where they lost 4-1 and 4-2 in the two game series. Clarkson is perfect so far at home however.
Key Player- Mark Borowiecki had a goal and an assist this week against UMD.
Next Up- Clarkson travels down to face Quinnipiac on Friday night, before taking on Princeton on Saturday afternoon.

After the jump, we'll have teams 7-12, as well as out three stars of the week and a new feature, our three games to watch this week.

7. St. Lawrence (4-2-1)
Last Time Out- The Saints had a home series against Sacred Heart (2-2-1) this past weekend. On Friday, SLU skated away with a 6-3 victory, but it was a 3-3 tie on Saturday. Saturday's game saw the Saints up 2-0 to start the game, but they needed a rally of their own after three unanswered Sacred Heart goals.
Key Player- Mike McKenzie had a goal and three assists on the weekend for the Saints.
Next Up- St. Lawrence is at Princeton on Friday night and then at Quinnipiac on Saturday afternoon as they begin ECAC play.

8. Colgate (2-2-3)
Last Time Out- It was a good weekend for the Raiders as they earned three points in their non-conference games. First, in a game against upstate rivals Army (1-4-2), both teams skated to a 4-4 draw at Starr. Then Colgate was able to keep Niagara winless with a 4-2 win, also at Starr. The last time those two teams played was at Niagara, and that was a 4-4 draw.
Key Player- Austin Smith had 2 goals and 2 assists on the weekend, including the game winner against Niagara (0-5-1).
Next Up- Colgate opens up ECAC play at home, facing Harvard on Friday night before a Saturday afternoon game against Dartmouth.

9. RPI (4-3-1)
Last Time Out- RPI had a great start to the weekend as they knocked off Capital District rivals Union on the road in Schenectady, in a 4-3 OT non-conference game. RPI did not follow that game with a win however, as they fell 2-1 to Army on Saturday (1-4-2).
Key Player- Chase Polacek had two PP goals for RPI, one in each of this weekend's games.
Next Up- It's Black Friday at RPI on Friday night, with the students dressing all in black to attempt to intimidate the visiting Yale Bulldogs- an event Harvard was the opponent for last year. Then on Saturday night, RPI hosts Brown.

10. Union (3-3-1)
Last Time Out- Only one game this week for the Dutchmen, but it is sure to leave a bitter taste in their mouths, as it was the loss to rivals RPI in non-conference play, a 4-3 OT loss. Union had a 3-2 lead with three minutes of play left, but gave up the game tying goal and eventually, the OT game winner.
Key Player- Stephen Boileau had a goal and an assist in the losing effort.
Next Up- Union hosts Brown on Saturday night before taking on the Yale Bulldogs on Saturday night.

11. Brown (0-1)
Last Time Out- I'm not much of one for moral victories, but that being said, losing only 1-0 on the road to Princeton may be one of those times a moral victory can be claimed- especially when it takes OT to beat you. Brown then beat up on a not impressive Ontario Institute of Technology in exhibition play, winning 6-1.
Key Player- Mike Clemente turned away 31 of 32 shots against Princeton on Friday night- he did not play on Saturday.
Next Up- Brown travels to the Capital District, first to take on Union, then to take on RPI.

12. Dartmouth (0-1)
Last Time Out- Dartmouth started and ended well in their lone game of the weekend, a 5-3 loss against the Crimson- but it was the middle they would like to forget. After going up early 1-0, they gave up five unanswered goals, including three in the second period.
Key Player- Adam Estoclet only had a goal on the day, but it was a very nice goal, and a PP tally to boot.
Next Up- The Big Green travel to the unfriendly confines of Lynah Rink on Friday night to face Cornell, before traveling for an afternoon game against Colgate on Saturday.

Three Stars of the Week
1. Alex Killorn, Harvard
2. Austin Smith, Colgate
3. Denny Kearney, Yale

Three Games to Watch This Week
1. Harvard @ Cornell, Saturday- I do promise that this weekly feature won't just promote one of the games we happen to being airing, but honestly, this might be the best rivalry in the ECAC. A packed house of Lynah Faithful, fish flying onto the ice, newspapers being "read", the Cornell Band playing the theme from Love Story- oh, and then there's the hockey game. Last two road wins for the Crimson before last weekend's win at Dartmouth? Both against Cornell, one at the Times Union Center, one at Lynah. The man in goal for the Johnnies? Kyle Richter.

2. Yale @ RPI, Friday- RPI and Puckman already have a strong reputation for having a great fan base. The first Friday home ECAC game, they turn it up another notch with Black Friday. Should be a good test for the Bulldogs to begin their title defense, as they play with a target on their back and a raucous, anti-Yale crowd around them.

3. Clarkson @ Princeton, Saturday- Clarkson is still seeking their first road win, but the Tigers are having some struggles at home as well. Considering the tough teams Clarkson has lost to, is their record just an aberration? Or will the Tigers prove the Golden Knights are only Golden in the North Country?