Friday, January 29, 2010

Breaking Down the ECAC: Week 9

It's the weekly power ranking column for the ECAC here. We rank the teams, recap their weekends, pick some key performances, and look at what games to watch next week. We've also got the relevant national poll information too. So let's just jump right into it.

1. St. Lawrence (13-8-4, 7-3-2) Last Ranking: 4th
In The Polls- USCHO: Also Receiving Votes, USA Today: Also Receiving Votes, PWR: 24th
Last Time Out: The Saints picked up the home sweep as they defeated Brown 5-2 before knocking off Yale 4-2. It was the first four point weekend of the season for the North Country team, and they have collected 7 of 8 points in their 2010 ECAC contests so far.
Key Player: Travis Vermeulen put up 6 points, including 2 goals, this weekend, earning a point on 2/3 of St. Lawrence's scoring for the weekend.
Next Time Out: St. Lawrence takes to the road for a battle of upstate New York, as they head to Ithaca on Friday night to face Cornell, and then they play Colgate on Saturday night in Hamilton.

2. Cornell (10-5-3, 7-2-2) Last Ranking: 3rd
In The Polls- USCHO: 8th, USA Today: 8th, PWR: 14th
Last Time Out: The Cornell Big Red welcomed a rare WCHA team to Lynah Rink as the nationally ranked North Dakota Fighting Sioux came out to play a two game series versus the Ithacan Ivy. On the first night, the Big Red grabbed a 1-0 shutout behind a 28 save performance by Ben Scrivens, which some called possibly the best game in his career. North Dakota rebounded the next night to defeat Cornell 3-1.
Key Player: Who are we to argue with the folks at INCH? If Scrivens played the best game of his career for the win, we'll give it the Scrivens.
Next Time Out: The Lynah Faithful will be welcoming some fellow up-staters when St. Lawrence comes to town on Friday night looking for a key two points, and on Saturday when Clarkson follows suit.

3. Harvard (5-10-3, 5-5-3) Last Ranking: 5th
Last Time Out: The Crimson continued on a hot streak in ECAC play, starting with a 4-1 win on the road against a Union team that had not lost a conference game all season. The Crimson faced 48 shots, but Ryan Carroll made 47 saves, including a couple of game savers, to help the Crimson maintain a 2-1 lead that became 4-1 thanks to a pair of special teams' empty netters. The next afternoon, the Crimson earned a point with RPI despite a slow start and a goaltending change in the 3rd period, after Louis Leblanc tied the game at 3-3 with 2.3 seconds left in regulation.
Key Player: Ryan Carroll, for his career high 47 save performance against Union. He had a tougher outing the next night, but that can probably be chalked up to the fatigue of having to come up big the night before for the Crimson.
Next Time Out: The Crimson have only one ECAC game this weekend, a Friday tilt versus fellow Ivy Princeton, and are then back in action on Monday in the early game of the 2010 Beanpot as they face the Boston College Eagles, a team the Crimson have met and lost to in the final round of the Beanpot the last two years.

4. RPI (13-11-2, 6-5-1) Last Ranking: 6th
Last Time Out: RPI was able to grab three points at the Houston Field House as they overcame a slow start to defeat Dartmouth on Friday night 2-1, before a 2-0 lead going into the third evaporated into a 3-3 tie with Harvard on Saturday afternoon. The Engineers have lost only one game in 2010, a 3-1 loss to Union.
Key Player: Paul Kerrins had a goal each night, both similar goals from the top of the faceoff circle, to help RPI to its three point weekend.
Next Time Out: RPI travels down to face two more Ivy League teams, this time Brown and Yale on Friday night and Saturday night respectively.

5. Yale (11-5-3, 7-3-2) Last Ranking: 2nd
In The Polls- USCHO: 6th, USA Today: 7th, PWR: 16th
Last Time Out: It was a tough trip to the North Country for the Bulldogs, as the Elis had a close win over Clarkson 3-2 before falling to St. Lawrence 4-2 the next night.
Key Player: Broc Little had a goal and an assist in Yale's win over the Golden Knights.
Next Time Out: Yale will welcome #18 Union to the Yale Whale in a battle of ranked ECAC opponents before turning their attention to RPI on Saturday night.

6. Union (13-6-5, 7-2-3) Last Ranking: 1st
In The Polls- USCHO: 18th, USA Today: Also Receiving Votes. PWR: 19th
Last Time Out: Coming into this weekend, the Union Dutchmen were the only team to not lose a conference game, but despite a barrage of shots, the Dutchmen were no longer able to claim that after this past weekend, losing both of their home games. On Friday night, Union fell to Harvard 4-1 and then fell the next night to Dartmouth 3-1.
Key Player: Jason Walters had a PP goal on Friday night and added an assist on the consolation goal on Saturday in Union's two losses.
Next Time Out: Union will look to keep their ECAC lead and get back to their winning ways as they travel to face the Yale Bulldogs on Friday night and then face Brown on Saturday.

After the jump, teams 7-12, our three stars, and our three games to watch.

7. Princeton (7-10-2, 3-8-1) Last Ranking: 7th
Last Time Out: The Princeton Tigers have been facing injury problems all season that have hampered their offensive and defensive production. The Tigers have even been dressing a shortened bench due to the injuries, which prompted USCHO writer Brian Sullivan to jokingly ask Coach Gadowsky if he was scouting intramurals for some replacements. (Gadowsky's answer, by the way, was "We were very close, absolutely.") None of that was evident though as Princeton beat UConn 8-1 on Monday after a two week break that gave them some time to heal.
Key Player: Eric Meland was Mr. Do-It-All for Princeton against the Huskies, scoring a PP, SH, and EV goal to put together his first career hat trick. Honorable Mention goes to Athletic Trainer John Furtado and his staff for getting Princeton healthier during the two week break.
Next Time Out: Princeton travels to Ivy rivals Harvard and Dartmouth on Friday and Saturday respectively.

8. Colgate (9-9-5, 6-4-1) Last Ranking: 8th
Last Time Out: Colgate earned a win and a tie with non-conference opponent Robert Morris, winning 4-1 on the first night before a 3-3 tie on the second night.
Key Player: Jason Williams had a career high three points (1G, 2A) in Friday's win.
Next Time Out: Colgate returns to ECAC play, hosting Clarkson on Friday night and St. Lawrence on Saturday.

9. Dartmouth (5-14-0, 3-9-0) Last Ranking: 11th
Last Time Out: Dartmouth jumped out to an early lead on Friday night, but the one goal margin was not enough as RPI was able to defeat them 2-1. On Saturday, Dartmouth added to Union's misery by handing the Dutchmen their second consecutive loss in ECAC play with a 3-1 win.
Key Player: James Mello made 58 saves on 61 shots as he got two consecutive starts for the Big Green.
Next Time Out: Dartmouth will look to put together a win streak, first facing Quinnipiac on Friday before taking on fellow Ivy Princeton on Saturday.

10. Brown (6-12-1, 4-7-1) Last Ranking: 12th
Last Time Out: The Bears picked up a split on the always difficult North Country trip, losing to St. Lawrence 5-2 on the first night before defeating Clarkson 3-2 on the second night.
Key Player: Sean McMonagle had two goals and an assist over the weekend for Brown.
Next Time Out: Brown welcomes the Capital District teams to the capital of Rhode Island, as RPI skates in on Friday night before facing Union on Saturday.

11. Quinnipiac (13-10-2, 7-6-0) Last Ranking: 10th
In The Polls- USCHO: Also Receiving Votes
Last Time Out: Quinnipiac was hoping to turn things around with their final non-conference games, facing Niagara at home, but things did not go as planned for the Bobcats. On Friday night, Niagara blew out the Bobcats 6-2, and Saturday, Quinnnipiac was able to battle to a 3-3 tie. The Bobcats are winless in 8 games and are 0-7-1 in that span. Their last win was on December 12 vs American International College, and the last league win was on November 25 vs. Princeton.
Key Player: Scott Zurevinski had four assists out of Quinnipiac's five weekend goals.
Next Time Out: Quinnipiac plays just one game this weekend, facing Dartmouth on Friday night.

12. Clarkson (5-16-3, 1-9-2) Last Ranking: 9th
Last Time Out: Clarkson dropped a pair of 3-2 decisions at home, losing to Yale by that score on Friday and then losing to Brown by that score on Saturday. Clarkson has not won a league game since November 20 against Dartmouth and are 1-8-3 overall since then, with the win coming against Alabama-Huntsville. They are also on a four game overall and five game league losing streak.
Key Player: Matt Beca had a goal and an assist in the loss to Brown.
Next Time Out: Clarkson will look to improve on a 1-7-2 road record as they face Colgate on Friday night and Cornell on Saturday night.

Three Stars of the Week
1. Travis Vermeulen, St. Lawrence
2. Eric Meland, Princeton
3. Scott Zurevinski, Quinnipiac

Games of the Week:
1. #18 Union @ #6 Yale, Friday night
The only battle of ranked teams in the ECAC this weekend, both teams combined for only two points last weekend. Yale trails first place Union by only a point in the standings, and their home ice might be the edge that vaults them past the Dutchmen, but Union needs the win as well, in an attempt to shake off the memories of last weekend and gain some strength in the polls and pairwise.
2. Harvard vs. #14 Boston College, 58th Annual Beanpot, Monday Evening
This week's non-conference game of the week is one of the most well known traditions of college hockey as the four Boston-area teams battle it out at the TD Garden for local bragging rights. Harvard and Boston College met in the championship two years ago, a game that went to OT, and the teams met earlier this year, a 3-2 BC win in the beginning of December.
3. St. Lawrence @ #8 Cornell, Friday night
The Big Red and the Saints are tied for second in the ECAC standings (though Cornell has a game in hand) and tied 1-1 two weekends ago when they faced each other in the North Country. It would be a big win for the Saints in terms of the standings, but will they be able to overcome the home ice advantage that Cornell gets playing in front of the Lynah Faithful.

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