Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Breaking Down the ECAC: Week 2

A full weekend of ECAC play has passed by, so it's time for another edition of WHRB's weekly power rankings. Same format as last time- this weekend's results, a key player, and what games are ahead. Then after that, we'll have our three stars and our three games to watch.

Power Rankings
1. #3 Cornell (3-0, 2-0) Last Week: 4th
Last Week- Two convincing home wins for the Big Red bring them to the top of the power rankings in week two. On Friday night, Cornell knocked off the Dartmouth Big Green 5-1, never giving the Hanover crew a sniff at victory. Then on Saturday night, Cornell trailed their biggest rival, Harvard, 3-1 in the second period, before rattling off five straight goals, including four in the third period, to win a 6-3 game in convincing fashion.
Key Player- Blake Gallagher had three goals and an assist on the weekend for the Big Red.
Up Next- Cornell will be looking to get a win against the only team that consistently had their number last year, as they face the Yale Bulldogs on Friday night in New Haven. Then, on Saturday night, it's Cornell's fourth straight Ivy, as they take on Brown in Providence.

2. #20 Quinnipiac (6-1, 2-0) Last Week: 2nd
Last week- Two weekends ago, the Bobcats had their one blemish on the schedule with a loss to Robert Morris, but they are back to their winning ways after a series sweep of the North Country teams in Connecticut. On Friday, the Bobcats skated away with a 4-2 win over Clarkson, and then added a 5-2 win over St. Lawrence on Saturday.
Key Player- Mike Atkinson thrived when his team was down a man, netting a hat trick for the Bobcats against Clarkson with two shorthanded goals and an empty netter.
Up Next- Quinnipiac welcomes the Harvard Crimson to the TD Banknorth Sports Center for a NESN-televised game that starts at 7:30 PM. Then on Saturday night, they take on the Dartmouth Big Green.

3. (ARV) RPI (6-3-1, 2-0) Last Week: 9th
Last week- RPI started off their ECAC campaign with their seventh annual Black Friday game, and they were looking to remain undefeated on the occasion. It seemed like it would be difficult to do that with the league favorites Yale coming into the building, but the 'Tute had no trouble at all, winning 5-2. The next night, RPI suffered no letdown after the big win, beating Brown 3-1.
Key Player- Chase Polacek had five points for RPI (3 G, 2 A) in the weekend series, including the game winner against Brown. This is Polacek's second straight week as the Key Player for RPI.
Up Next- RPI has the always difficult North Country trip this weekend, starting at Clarkson on Friday night before facing St. Lawrence on Saturday night.

4. Colgate (4-2-3, 2-0) Last Week: 8th
Last week- Colgate was able to get two wins at Starr Rink this weekend, but neither win was exactly pretty. On Friday night, Colgate was down 3-0 to the Harvard Crimson and Alex Evin had been chased from the net, showing how bad the Raiders can be at their worst, but a four goal third period saw them skate away with a 5-4 win, showing how good they could be at their best. Then the Raiders had a back and forth battle with a hungry Dartmouth team, and were able to gain a slim lead and hang on to it at the end.
Key Player- David McIntyre had two goals and two assists for the Raiders on the weekend.
Up Next- The Raiders will be looking to get their first win on the road as they face the Brown Bears on Friday night and then Yale on Saturday night.

5. (ARV) St. Lawrence (5-3-1, 1-1) Last Week: 7th
Last Week- St. Lawrence opened up their ECAC season strongly, earning a 5-2 win at Hobey Baker Arena against the Princeton Tigers, but on Saturday night, they lost to Quinnipiac by the same score line.
Key Player- Alex Curran was one of three Saints players to earn a goal and an assist this weekend.
Up Next- St. Lawrence have their league home opening weekend as they start off Friday night hosting Union, before playing RPI on Saturday.

6. Union (3-3-3, 0-0-2) Last Week: 10th
Last Week- Union had two identical score lines this weekend as they hosted Brown and Yale this past weekend in the ECAC Home Opener for the Dutchmen. Both games ended in 3-3 ties. On Friday, it was Union that needed to battle back to earn the tie, then on Saturday, the Dutchmen had a lead by a last second goal evened things up with the Bulldogs.
Key Player- Mike Schreiber tallied two goals and an assist on the weekend for the Dutchmen.
Up Next- Union will be seeking their first conference win of the season as they travel to the North Country to face St. Lawrence on Friday and Clarkson on Saturday.

After the jump, we'll see how far last week's number one and number three teams have fallen, give our three stars of the week, and give our three games to watch.

7. #12 Yale (1-1-1, 0-1-1) Last Week: 1st
Last Week- On Friday night, Yale opened up their title defense skating into Troy, NY to take on RPI on Black Friday, and the Elis found out just how tough the league can be when you have a target on your back, as they were dropped 5-2. Then on Saturday, Yale looked ready to be handed their second loss of the weekend, but with six seconds left in regulation, they were able to tie the game with Union 3-3. Yale's five goals came from two scorers.
Key Player- Broc Little had both of Yale's goals on Friday night and added a goal on Saturday.
Up Next- Yale will have little time to turn it around, as on Friday night, they face another league favorite, Cornell, who will be skating into the Yale Whale looking to avenge their 0-3 record against the Bulldogs last year. Then on Saturday, the Bulldogs will host Colgate.

8. #19 Princeton (2-2, 1-1) Last Week: 5th
Last Week- It was another split weekend for the Tigers, as they started off on Friday night with a 5-2 loss to the St. Lawrence Saints. On Saturday, though, the Tigers were able to bounce back with a 4-1 win over the Clarkson Golden Knights.
Key Player- Matt Arhontas had two goals and an assist in Princeton's win over Clarkson.
Up Next- Princeton has an Ancient Eight weekend coming up, as they host the Dartmouth Big Green on Friday night, before taking on the Harvard Crimson on Saturday afternoon.

9. Brown (0-2-1, 0-1-1) Last Week: 11th
Last Week- Brown got off to an okay start to their ECAC campaign, leading Union 3-2 well into the third period before having to settle for the tie. Two of Brown's goals came on the penalty kill. Then on Saturday, they trailed RPI 2-1 well into the third period, before RPI added an insurance goal late in the game to make it a 3-1 final.
Key Player- Jeff Buvinow was a special teams master this weekend for Bruno, grabbing a shorthanded goal on Friday night before adding an assist on Saturday's PP goal.
Up Next- Brown hosts Colgate on Friday night and then take on fellow Ivy League-er Cornell on Saturday.

10. Harvard (1-2, 1-2) Last Week: 3rd
Last Week- The Crimson would be a lot higher in the rankings if hockey games were shorter, as on Friday night, they held a convincing 4-1 lead heading into the third period against Colgate, including a 3-0 first period that sent starter Alex Evin to the bench early. The Crimson, though, gave up four unanswered goals in the third to lose the game 5-4. It was a similar script on Saturday, as the Crimson lead 3-2 going into the third against their biggest foes, the Cornell Big Red, before Cornell put up four unanswered goals in the third, in a case of deja vu all over again. Harvard has shown they have the talent, but can they be consistent through 60 minutes of play?
Key Player- Chris Huxley had a goal, two assists, and some big hits while patrolling the Crimson blueline this weekend.
Up Next- The Crimson are on games four and five of their five game road-trip, this time traveling to Quinnipiac for a Friday night game and then down to New Jersey to face Ivy League opponent Princeton on Saturday afternoon.

11. Clarkson (3-6, 0-2) Last Week: 6th
Last Week- The Golden Knights are not looking too golden, as they are mired currently in a four game losing streak. Friday night, they faced the Quinnipiac Bobcats, and lost 4-2, giving up two shorthanded goals, before falling 4-1 to Princeton on Saturday. The Golden Knights are currently 0-6 away from home on the season.
Key Player- Scott Freeman was one of three Clarkson goal scorers this weekend.
Up Next- Clarkson returns to the friendly confines of Cheel Arena, where they will take on RPI on Friday night and Union on Saturday. Clarkson is 3-0 at Cheel so far this season.

12. Dartmouth (0-3, 0-3) Last Week: 12th
Last Week- The Big Green are still winless on the season, as they fell 5-1 to Cornell on Friday night, before dropping a close 3-2 game to Colgate in Hamilton on Saturday. Including their exhibition game against McGill, the Big Green have yet to put up a win this year.
Key Player- Mark Goggin was one of three Dartmouth goal scorers this week.
Up Next- Dartmouth will be trying desperately to get into the win column to end this three (four if you count McGill) game losing streak that began their season. It will be tough to do, however, as they are on the road, facing Princeton on Friday night, and then Quinnipiac on Saturday.

Three Stars of the Week:
1. Chase Polacek, RPI
2. Blake Gallagher, Cornell
3. Mike Atkinson, Quinnipiac

Three Games to Watch This Week:
1. #3 Cornell @ #12 Yale, Friday Night.
It's a rematch from last year's ECAC Championship game in Albany, which the Bulldogs took 5-0 to win the league. Cornell will be looking for revenge, while Yale will be hoping to bounce back after gaining only one point this weekend.
2. RPI @ St. Lawrence, Saturday Night.
Both of these teams are playing well right now, and both teams might be able to crack this week's top twenty with a weekend sweep.
3. Harvard @ Quinnipiac, Friday Night.
Quinnipiac will be looking to continue their great beginning of the season run when they host the Johnnies on Friday night. Meanwhile, Harvard will be looking to rebound from a weekend that saw them get outscored 8-0 in the third period. For an added bonus, it will be on NESN, which will surely get the crowd in Hamden out in full force.

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