Friday, February 11, 2011

Women's Hockey: If the ECAC Playoffs Started Today 2

With the look at the men done, it's time to take a look at the women's side of things to see what the playoffs will look like as they come in just a couple of weekends. Note- this does not include the early games from today because a) they are still in progress as I start writing this and b) I can just incorporate them into next week's post.

Round One Matchups:
1. Cornell (23-1-1, 17-0-1) vs. 8. St. Lawrence (13-14-2, 8-9)
So despite the "upset" of Cornell at the hands of Clarkson, a 3-3 tie ruining the Big Red's perfect league stretch, there is good news in Ithaca. The three points on the weekend clinched them the regular season championship. For the Saints, they are currently fighting for that last playoff spot and are two points ahead of Yale. If they secure it, they could be a threat to the Big Red. The Saints, 7-8-1 on the road, lost the season series 0-2 to Cornell, but the road game was only a 3-1 loss and the home loss was 2-1.

2. Harvard (13-8-3, 12-4-2) vs. 7. RPI (10-12-7, 8-8-2)
Harvard turns its focus back this weekend to ECAC play but first, some congratulations are in order to the Crimson as well. Despite being down 3-0 to Northeastern on Tuesday night, Harvard rallied to force OT and then won in the shootout to keep their Beanpot title defense chance alive, as they'll face BC in the championship. With that out of the way, this is a big weekend for Harvard. While they cannot be first anymore, having home ice all the way through to the semifinals (7-2-1 at home, 6-6-1 away, 0-0-1 neutral) would be huge for Harvard and depending on how Dartmouth and Quinnipiac do, they can clinch second. They are also the only team besides Cornell to clinch a playoff spot. On the other side of the matchup, as we said last week, RPI has been a bit of a bogey team for the Crimson and the 'Tute will remember knocking Harvard out of the semis at the Bright if this series comes to pass. RPI has to avoid slumping though- they snapped a 4 game losing streak (13 goals against, 1 for) with a win and a tie at home last weekend. Also of note, the first game of that losing streak, a 2-1 loss at Harvard, the closest game of the four.

3. Dartmouth (15-9, 11-7) vs. 6. Princeton (12-12-1, 9-8-1)
This is a nice Ivy League matchup, the only one of the four playoff series (were they to end today) and it could be a great or terrible matchup depending on what Tigers team shows up. At home, Princeton brought Dartmouth to the wire, falling 3-2 in OT, but then they were massacred last weekend in Hanover by a score of 7-0. It was a surprising game, particularly since Princeton had just beaten Harvard 3-2 the night before, so the blow out was probably an anomaly. It'll certainly be remembered by the Tigers, most likely for motivation, if this series comes to pass.

4. Quinnipiac (18-10-2, 10-8) vs. 5. Clarkson (11-13-5, 8-6-3)
These two teams are evenly matched, with only a point separating the two of them and Clarkson holding a game in hand. Both teams won on the road against the other, Quinnipiac winning 3-2 at Clarkson and the Golden Knights winning 3-2 in OT in Hamden. All four playoff series look to be even affairs but this one might be the best slugfest of them all.

Outside Looking In
9. Yale (7-14-3, 6-9-2) and 10. Colgate (9-17-3, 6-10-2)
Usually I try to separate the two teams looking in but both teams are not only tied in points (with Elis holding a game in hand) but they also play tonight in a huge game. It's a big game for Yale in terms of staying ahead of Colgate and potentially catching St. Lawrence, especially with a tough road game at Cornell tomorrow. It is also big for Colgate- while both teams have Brown left on their schedule, Colgate gets a road trip to Harvard and Dartmouth next weekend while Yale gets to host Quinnipiac and Princeton, so the advantage in the schedule favors Yale at the moment. A game to keep an eye on tonight.

Officially Eliminated
11. Brown (2-19-3, 1-13-3)
Brown was barely hanging onto playoff hopes as it was last week. Being swept by RPI and previously winless Union got rid of any such hope. Trailing the last playoff spot by 11 points with only 5 games (and thus 10 points) remaining means the Bears can only play spoiler to Yale and Colgate's playoff chances.
12. Union (2-25-3, 1-15-2)
Union got its first win last weekend against Brown. Not much more to add as Union was already eliminated last week and I don't want to keep harping on it.

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