Saturday, March 19, 2011

Men's Hockey: ECAC Playoffs Update 7; Women's Hockey: NCAA Playoffs Update 2

Men's Hockey
Atlantic City, NJ- The ECAC semifinals marked their first season at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City and two shutout wins propelled two Ivy League squads to the ECAC finals. In the early game, Yale quashed Colgate's Cinderella run with a 4-0 win. After a scoreless first, Chris Cahill got on the board for the Bulldogs five minutes into the second period. In the third, Kenny Agostino, Andrew Miller and Antoine Laganiere added goals for the Elis with the last goal coming into an empty net. Ryan Rondeau made 22 saves for the shutout while Colgate faced 40 shots on net. In the late game, the Cornell Big Red scored two goals in a 24 second span late in the first period to coast to a victory over the Dartmouth Big Green. Sean Whitney and Armand de Swardt netted the goals in the first while Locke Jillson added an empty-netter in the third for the 3-0 shutout win. Mike Garman made 36 saves for the shutout while Cornell only mustered 18 shots despite the win.

Three Stars of the Night
1. Mike Garman, Cornell- 36 saves, shutout
2. Chris Cahill, Yale- 1 G (GWG), 1 A
3. Ryan Rondeau, Yale- 22 saves, shutout

Last Games of the Tournament Set
Consolation Game: 12. Colgate vs. 3. Dartmouth, 4:30 pm (Atlantic City, NJ)
Championship Game: 4. Cornell vs. 2. Yale, 7:30 pm (Atlantic City, NJ)

Women's Hockey
Erie, PA- The Cornell Big Red had their season ended last night by a team that was a traditional rival on the men's side of the game, as they fell 4-1 to the Boston University Terriers. Cornell got the first goal of the game from Karlee Overguard, but it was all BU after that as they scored four unanswered to take the win. Jillian Kircher scored the game winner in the second period for the Terriers. Amanda Mazzota gave up 3 goals on 30 shots faced and BU added an empty netter as well. The Big Red could only muster 15 shots on net. In the other game, Wisconsin defeated Beanpot champion Boston College 3-2 to advance to the championship game. Brianna Decker scored with 48 seconds left for the Badgers to get the win. Shots were 46-25 in favor of Wisconsin. The Badgers and Terriers will Sunday at 2pm for the Championship.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Women's Hockey: NCAA Playoff Update 1

A recap of the women's NCAA tournament with a focus on the ECAC game last Saturday
Ithaca, NY- The only NCAA championship game involving the ECAC was an all-league affair as the Cornell Big Red and Dartmouth Big Green saw a rematch just a week after the two teams had a 3-2 game in Cornell's favor for the ECAC Championship. This time, the game would not be so close as Cornell demolished Dartmouth 7-1 to advance to the Frozen Four. The Big Red didn't get onto the board until the 14:15 mark of the first with a shorthanded goal from Brianne Jenner. Camille Dumais answered on that power play for Dartmouth but Kendice Ogilvie put Cornell ahead for good, as they added two goals in the second and three (including two on the power play) in the third.

In the other games, Wisconsin defeated Minnesota-Duluth 2-1; Boston College defeated Minnesota 4-1; and Boston University defeated Mercyhurst 4-2.

Three Stars of the Night (ECAC Only)
1. Chelsea Karpenko, Cornell- 2 Goals (1 PPG), 1 Assist
2. Kendice Ogilvie, Cornell- 1 Goal (GWG)
3. Camille Dumais, Dartmouth- 1 Goal (PPG)

NCAA Frozen Four Set
The East has three of the four teams as this side of the country seeks its first women's hockey NCAA title in Erie, PA on the campus of Mercyhurst. There's plenty of local interest as half the Beanpot field plus ECAC side Cornell are the three Eastern teams.
4. Boston College vs. 1. Wisconsin, Friday, March 18 at 5pm
3. Boston University vs. 2. Cornell, Friday, March 18 at 8pm

Harvard Connection
The Crimson went 0-5 against the Frozen Four field this year, with two losses each to Cornell and Boston College (including the final of the Beanpot) as well as a loss to Boston University. The Crimson were 2-8 against all tournament teams (2-1 against Dartmouth and 0-2 against Minnesota).

Pre-NIT Press Conference with Coach Tommy Amaker

This morning, Coach Amaker answered questions on the Crimson, the NCAA tournament, the NIT, and the upcoming game against Oklahoma State. The full press conference is below.

Men's Hockey: ECAC Playoffs Update 5 and 6

A combined look at all of Saturday and Sunday's actions

Hanover, NH- On Saturday night, the Dartmouth Big Green got a new lease on life as they picked up a 2-1 OT win. The Big Green benefited from a couple of lineup changes, as Adam Estoclet, moved up to the first line, made it 1-0 Dartmouth. Harvard answered back in the second as Michael Biega netted a power play goal. The game headed to OT, where Harvard got the first flurry of shots but Dartmouth scored on their lone shot as Andrew Owsiak,  just inserted into the lineup, had his shot deflected past Ryan Carroll for the game winner.
On Sunday afternoon, a lengthy delay to fix a leaking coolant pipe delayed the game an hour and a half, yet the two teams came out with an abundance of energy. Alex Fallstrom rifled home a shot in the slot to give Harvard the 1-0 lead. Doug Jones answered in the first minute of the second, the first Harvard PP goal given up in the postseason. Michael Del Mauro put Harvard back in the lead in the third period but Dartmouth tied things up with Matthew Lindblad getting on the board. Harvard came close to taking back the lead but James Mello raised his pad to just manage a blind save by an inch and Dartmouth then came the other way and scored on their own scramble as Evan Stephens blasted one home to give Dartmouth his first lead of the game. Dartmouth scored its third straight as Lindblad scored on the power play. Harvard pulled Ryan Carroll with three minutes left and drew a power play on a Doug Jones cross-check. Alex Fallstrom scored for Harvard but with only 20.6 seconds left. The Crimson kept the net empty and drew another power play, an Estoclet slash, but with only 4.5 seconds left, the Crimson lost the faceoff and the game, ending their season.

Schnectady, NY- On Saturday night, Union jumped out to a two goal lead but Colgate responded with a big third period to even the series. Union scored a goal in each of the first two periods, but the Raiders added four straight in the third period. Robbie Bourdon netted the game winner and Colgate sealed it with an empty netter.
On Sunday night, both teams headed to overtime knowing the next goal meant Atlantic City. Andrew Buote got on the board for Union in the first, then the teams combined for three power play goals in the second to knot things at two all. Kelly Zajac added a goal for Union but Colgate answered with less than three minutes to send things to OT. There, Wade Poplawski completed the upset as the 12th seeded Raiders dispatched their second-straight Capital District team on the road and punched their ticket to Atlantic City.

Ithaca, NY- On Saturday night, a goaltending duel saw only one goal scored, Jeremy Langlois unassisted in the first period for Quinnipiac as the Bobcats knotted their series with Cornell at 1. Eric Hartzell made 24 saves in the 1-0 shutout while Andy Iles made 30 saves on 31 shots in the losing effort.
On Sunday night, the two teams required an extra period to decide who would head to Atlantic City. Patrick Kennedy scored a power play goal in the first and Joe Devin added to the hosts lead to make it 2-0 heading into the third. Quinnipiac responded with a two goal third period as they scored two goals in four minutes and forced OT. Over halfway through the first OT, Joe Devin added his second goal to send Cornell to Boardwalk Hall.

New Haven, CT- On Saturday night, the Yale Bulldogs cruised away from St. Lawrence with three unanswered in the second period on the way to a 5-2 victory. After both teams traded goals in the first, Yale put three on the board until Nick Pitsokoulis could get one back for the visitors. The Elis sealed the deal with a goal from Broc Little in the third to send the series to a game three.
On Sunday night, Yale netted two power play goals in the span of five minutes of the first period and never looked back as they coasted to a 4-0 win to eliminate St. Lawrence. Cahill and O'Neill had the PP tallies in the first while Limbert and Little added two more in the second. Ryan Rondeau made 21 saves to earn the shutout.

Three Stars of Saturday
1. Eric Hartzell, Qunnipiac- 24 saves, shutout
2. Andy Iles, Cornell- 30 saves, 1 GA
3. Andrew Owsiak, 1 G, GWG

Three Stars of Sunday
1. Joe Devin, Cornell- 2 G, GWG
2. Matt Lindblad, Dartmouth- 2 G, GWG
3. Alex Fallstrom, Harvard- 2 G

ECAC Semifinals Set
The Winner Takes All, Best of One "Series" are as follows from Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City:
12. Colgate vs. 2. Yale - Friday, March 18th at 4:30 pm
4. Cornell vs. 3. Dartmouth- Friday, March 18th at 7:30pm

Harvard Crimson Passed Over by NCAA Tournament, Will Face OK State in NIT

Cambridge, MA-- In a move that surprised few but disappointed many, Harvard's dreams of its first NCAA tournament appearance since 1946 as an at-large bid were dashed Sunday night, as the NCAA selection committee left the Crimson off of its 68 team tournament bracket. Harvard had initially hoped to secure a tournament appearance by defeating fellow Ivy League co-champion Princeton on Saturday night, but lost the lead as time expired to a buzzer-beater from sophomore guard Doug Davis, falling 63-62.

Even with the loss on Saturday night, however, there was a fair amount of buzz surrounding the Crimson’s chances of securing one of the “last four” at-large bids. While the Ivy League has never before fielded two teams in the same championship tournament, Harvard presented a compelling resume, including double digit wins over Colorado and Boston College and the 35th-best RPI (Ratings Percentage Index) in the nation.

In the end, a combination of factors—including Harvard’s losses to Yale and Michigan, and relatively weak strength of schedule (140th in the nation)—proved too much to overcome. Certainly not helping, either, was the selection committee’s decision to leave both Colorado and Boston College—two bubble teams from major conferences that, as mentioned above, represented marquee wins for the Crimson—out of the tournament, as well. Even so, Harvard, at 35, had the highest RPI of any team not to receive an invite to the tournament, and was 7 ahead of the next closest non-qualifier (Cleveland State, at 42).

A snub by the NCAA, however, does not mean the end of the postseason for the Harvard Crimson Men’s Basketball team. Shortly after their rejection by the nation’s premier championship tournament, Harvard accepted an expected invite to the NIT. A bit more unexpected to many in the Cambridge community was Harvard’s seeding by the NIT: whereas Harvard had been only hours before a so-called “bubble-team” listed as one of the “first six out” by ESPN’s Joe Lunardi, the NIT extended to Harvard only a sixth seed (out of eight). More mysteriously, the same major-conference teams that Harvard beat this season by double digits—Colorado and Boston College—are both one-seeds.

As a sixth seed, Harvard will travel out to Stillwater, Oklahoma to face Big 12 foe Oklahoma State on Tuesday evening at 7:30 PM. That game will be broadcast live on ESPN.

Ivy League rival Princeton, who defeated Harvard to claim the conference’s sole NCAA tournament autobid, was seeded 13th, and will play #4 Kentucky on Thursday at 2:45. Last year, Kentucky defeated the Cornell in the Sweet 16 to end the Big Red’s improbable tournament run.

The 2011 National Invitation Tournament (NIT) Bracket
(click to enlarge)

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Missed Late Call Lends to Tigers Victory?

By: Charlie Hobbs

WHRB Sports


With the shot clock off and thirty seconds left to play, the Harvard Crimson found themselves earlier tonight with the ball and trailing the Princeton Tigers by a single point, 61-60. Perhaps haunted by their last-second loss to the Yale Bulldogs at the same Payne Whitney Gymnasium two weeks earlier, the Crimson appeared resolved to take a shot when the opportunity presented itself, regardless of how much time remained in the game. That chance eventually came for sophomore guard Brandyn Curry, who saw a narrow lane and drove to the basket to give Harvard a 62-61 lead with 11.1 seconds remaining.

After the ball dropped through the basket, it was gathered by Princeton senior Dan Mavraides, who set up behind the base to inbound the ball for (what was clearly about to become) the final possession of the game. Upon closer review, however, it appears that Mavraides may have actuallystepped on the baseline before inbounding the ball (see picture, below--click to enlarge). According to NCAA rules, "the thrower-in shall not leave the designated spot until he/she has released the ball and the throw-in ball crosses the plane of the sideline or end line." By stepping on the line, Mavraides was considered to have left the designated spot, and, had the referees made the call, it would have been Harvard ball with 11.1 seconds remaining.

What does seem fairly clear is that the referees missed the call. Of course, that call is an almost impossible one for a referee to make in the waning seconds of a game like the one we saw earlier today, and to do would have been somewhat akin to deciding the Wimbledon of the Ivy League on a foot fault. Nor would a Harvard ball have guaranteed a Crimson victory, although it would have been likely: Harvard is the second-best free throw shooting team in the country, and so would not easily have surrendered its lead after Princeton fouled.

All told, the referees probably arrived at the right outcome: to let the players settle the game on the court, rather than to decide it amongst themselves. But I doubt you'd hear any complaints in Cambridge tonight if they had.

Editors note: This post was originally published late Saturday night, but due to an error on our part in an attempt to edit the formatting, was accidentally deleted. It has now been reposted in its original form.

Ice Problems at Thompson Delay Start of Harvard vs. Dartmouth Game 3

Due to a problem at Thompson Arena with the hole that was dug for the post on Harvard's end of the ice, the start of the Harvard vs. Dartmouth Game 3 of the ECAC quarterfinal on WHRB has been delayed briefly until the problem is resolved. We anticipate the problem will be resolved shortly and we will be able to bring you Game 3 action from Hanover, NH.

Heartbreak in New Haven

New Haven, CT-- Harvard suffered its second gutwrenching defeat in nearly as many weeks earlier today in New Haven, Connecticut, falling to the Princeton Tigers 63-62 at Payne Whitney Gymnasium by virtue of a last-second buzzer-beater from Tigers sophomore guard Doug Davis. Davis, who was 3 for 13 on the day before the shot, took the inbound from senior Dan Mavraides with 2.8 seconds remaining on the clock, convinced Harvard guard Oliver McNally to bite on a fake right, and then juked back left to release the game winner with 0.3 seconds remaining.

Junior co-captain Keith Wright led the Crimson with 16 points on a day when four Harvard players hit double-digits in points. Rebounding was more of a struggle: Harvard only managed to grab 24 rebounds compared to 36 for Princeton, including an impressive 14 for the Tigers off of the offensive glass. Sophomore Kyle Casey, who lit up the Tigers last Saturday with 24 points, got into foul trouble early and never seemed to hit his stride, going a lackluster 3 for 8 for 7 points and 4 rebounds.

This is the second time that the Harvard Crimson have lost this season at the Payne Whitney Gymnasium. On February 26th, Harvard lost to the Yale Bulldogs in similarly close fashion. Down 70-69 with the shot clock off, the Crimson ran down the game clock and gave the ball to Brandyn Curry for a last-second layup along the baseline that bounced off both sides of the rim and out. That loss against Yale gave Harvard its second loss in conference play, and helped to set up this afternoon's playoff game.

Even with today's loss, Harvard is not completely eliminated from NCAA tournament consideration. Although the Ivy League has never had two teams play in the NCAA tournament, Harvard is an conference co-champion and sports a strong resume that includes wins over Boston College and Colorado, and a close loss to Michigan. Harvard's RPI, or Ratings Percentage Index, was 32nd best in the nation entering today, and has only fallen 3 to 35th after the loss. ESPN's "Senior Bracketologist" Joe Lunardi puts Harvard on the bubble, although he does list the Crimson (along with BC) as amongst his "First Six Out." Perhaps more realistic for the Crimson would be an NIT bid, which--although not guaranteed to a non-NCAA Ivy League champion--would seem to be a good fit, and is certainly an upgrade over last year's berth in the Postseason Tournament (CIT). The Harvard Men's Basketball team has never played in the NIT.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Men's Hockey: ECAC Playoff Update 4

Hanover, NH- The tenth seeded Harvard Crimson rode a two goal first period and were able to hang on to a one goal lead in order to gain a 1-0 series lead over the Dartmouth Big Green. The Crimson got on the board with a power play goal from Alex Killorn early in the first period to get the game off to a fast start. After coincidental minors for a hook and embellishment, Dartmouth answered at the 16:00 minute mark as Adam Estoclet deflected a puck in off his body that stood up to video review. Moments later, Conor Morrison found Ryan Grimshaw coming off the bench and the defenseman saw his point shot tipped by Alex Fallstrom through James Mello's legs to take a 2-1 lead into the break. The game stayed that way until late in the second when Michael Biega found classmate Michael Del Mauro for a one timer with about a minute left in the second frame. In the third, Dartmouth pulled Mello with 2:33 on the clock after a Crimson icing. Alex Fallstrom had a chance to seal the game but defenseman Joe Stejskal knocked the 100 foot shot out of a mid-air to keep Dartmouth in it. Captain Scott Fleming than pulled the Big Green within one and with a 1:26 left, they pulled Mello again with a one-goal deficit. Shots poured in on Ryan Carroll and the best opportunity came with Carroll out of position, but P.O. Michaud dove across the goal line to make the save and the puck bounced to Carroll who covered, avoiding the penalty shot. Harvard held onto the win 3-2.

New Haven, NH- The St. Lawrence Saints scored the first and last goals of the game as they upset the Yale Bulldogs with a 4-3 OT win. After a SLU goal in the first minute, Yale scored three straight power play goals, including two from Jimmy Martin. But St. Lawrence rallied back in the third period to tie things, including a power play goal from Greg Carey to get the game knotted at 3 in the third and send the game to overtime. Carey then added the game winner for the Saints with three and a half minutes left in the extra frame for the win and 1-0 series lead.

Ithaca, NY- The Cornell Big Red defended their home ice as they defeated the Quinnipiac Bobcats 2-1. Joe Devin got on the board first for the Big Red early in the first. The Bobcats responded with about a minute and a half left in the period as Scott Zurevinski knotted things at 1 apiece. Joe Devin got on the board again to make it 2-1 with a power play goal in the second period and that stood up as the game winner. Mike Garman made 36 saves to protect the lead as neither team could find the back of the net in the third period. The Big Red have a 1-0 series lead.

Schnectady, NY- The top seeded Union Dutchmen rolled to an easy victory last night over the Colgate Raiders by a 4-1 scoreline. Union scored two goals in each of the first and third periods, with the lone Colgate goal coming in the second period. Wayne Simpson scored the second and fourth goals of the game, both on the power play for the Dutchmen. Colgate's lone goal came in the second period from Chris Wagner with 7 minutes left in that frame on only their 9th shot of the contest. Union outshot the Colgate Raiders 42-20 overall and took the 1-0 series lead.

Three Stars of the Night
1. Greg Carey, St. Lawrence- 2 goals (1 PPG, GTG, GWG)
2. Wayne Simpson, Union- 2 goals (2 PPG)
3. Joe Devin, Cornell- 2 goals (2 PPG, GWG)

Live Streaming Coverage of Harvard versus Princeton 3/12

Versus the Princeton Tigers
Where: Payne Whitney Gymnasium, New Haven, Connecticut
When: Saturday, March 13, 4:00 PM (Pregame at 3:45)
Coverage: Streaming live via low bandwidth and iphone streams.

Due to a conflict with WHRB's regularly scheduled Saturday afternoon broadcasts of the Metropolitan Opera, WHRB will be providing internet-only streaming coverage of Saturday's Men's Basketball Playoff game between the Harvard Crimson and the Princeton Tigers. The game, which is scheduled for a 4:00 start, will determine the recipient of the Ivy League's automatic bid into the NCAA Championship tournament, since both the Tigers and the Crimson are sporting a 12-2 Ivy League record. The last time these two teams met, on Saturday, March 5th, Harvard bested the Tigers 79-67 to secure the first Ivy League championship in school history. The Crimson controlled the tempo for much of the game, and were led by sophomore Kyle Casey, who put up 25 in his best effort of the season. Back in early February, the Tigers defeated the Crimson 65-61 at Jadwin Gymnasium in Princeton, New Jersey.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Men's Hockey: ECAC Playoffs Update 3

A recap of Sunday's ECAC playoff action
Princeton, NJ- The St. Lawrence Saints struck twice in the first period and were able to hold on to win their series against the Princeton Tigers 2-1. Greg Carey got on the board five minutes into the first period and Kyle Essery doubled the visitors' lead just five minutes later. Princeton capitalized on a second period power play with a goal from Derrick Pallis but that was as close as they would get as neither team could find the back of the net for the remainder of the game. Princeton threw everything they had at Matt Weninger who stopped 48 of 49 on the night, while St. Lawrence's offense only generated 16 shots despite the two goals. The disparity in the third period was the largest, with the Tigers throwing 24 shots on net to the Saints 4 while facing elimination. With the Game 3 win, the Saints advanced to the ECAC quarterfinals.

Troy, NY- It took almost a full extra hockey game to decide, but the 12th seeded Colgate Raiders sent the RPI Engineers to their second straight ECAC first round upset as the five-seed with a 2-1 2OT win. Autin Mayer scored shorthanded to put the visitors on the board first at the 13:08 mark of the first period, with RPI answering late in the second thanks to Tyler Helfrich. The two teams remained scoreless until halfway through the fifth period of hockey at Houston Field House, as Robbie Bourdon netted the game winner to send the Raiders onto the ECAC Quarterfinals. RPI had the shot advantage through two periods but the Raiders took the shot advantage for the third period and overtime. With the win, the Raiders became the third road team to advance from this year's opening round.

Three Stars of the Night
1. Matt Weninger, St. Lawrence- 48 saves, 1 goal against
2. Erik Mihalik, Colgate- 40 saves, 1 goal against
3. Allen York, RPI- 37 saves, 2 goals against

ECAC Quarterfinal Matchups Set
(We'll have a more specific look at some of the key statistics for each series tomorrow)
12. Colgate (2-1) at 1. Union (0-0)
Game 1: 7pm
Game 2: 7pm
Game 3: 7pm (if necessary)

11. St. Lawrence (2-1) at 2. Yale (0-0)
Game 1: 7pm
Game 2: 7pm
Game 3: 7pm (if necessary)

10. Harvard (2-0) at 3. Dartmouth (0-0)
Game 1: 7pm
Game 2: 7pm
Game 3: 4pm (if necessary)

8. Quinnipiac (2-0) at 4. Cornell (0-0)
Game 1: 7pm
Game 2: 7pm
Game 3: 7pm (if necessary)

Sunday, March 6, 2011

ECAC Hockey: Men's Playoff Update 2, Women's Playoff Update 5

Wrapup of Saturday's ECAC action
Men's Hockey
Potsdam, NY- A scoreless first period did not indicate the flow of the game as the Harvard Crimson and Clarkson Golden Knights combined for 10 goals over the next two periods in their ECAC First Round Contest. Harvard started the first period off with some offensive pop, generating 19 shots, one more than they had mustered in all of Game 1, but this time Paul Karpowich stood tall to keep the game 0-0. Nik Pokoluk opened the scoring in the second period, beating Ryan Carroll five-hole with a point shot to give the home Knights their first lead of the series. The teams traded goals back and forth and Clarkson entered the final frame with a 3-2 lead after Brandon DeFazio scored just 11 seconds after Alex Fallstrom had tied things up for the visiting Crimson. At the end of the period, Pokuluk was assessed a five minute major and a game misconduct for "contact to the head" and the Crimson started the 3rd with 4:22 of power play time. Daniel Moriarty scored twice on the major, with the second goal a pass deflected off the back of Mark Borowiecki's leg to give Harvard it's first lead of the game. Michael Biega and Ben Sexton traded goals with around 13 minutes to play before Alex Killorn sealed the win for the Crimson 6-4. Harvard swept the Golden Knights and advanced to the ECAC Quarterfinals.

Troy, NY- Nick Prockow scored less than two minutes into the first period and the visiting Colgate Raiders would never trail as they took on the RPI Engineers. Chase Polacek tied things up for RPI with a shorthanded goal in the second, but Francois Brisebois put the visitors up for good despite Polacek adding a PP tally later in the period. Down 3-2, RPI tried to equalize but Prockow and Brisebois each added their second goals of the night, both coming with the net empty, to give the visitors a 5-2 win and setup a decisive Game 3 on Sunday night.

Hamden, CT- It was deja vu all over again for the Brown Bears who once again saw themselves shut out by the Quinnipiac Bobcats by a score of 4-0. After a scoreless first period, the home squad wasted little time grabbing the lead in the second as Zach Currie converted on the power play at the 35 second mark for the eventual game winner. Jeremy Langlois doubled the lead two minutes later while the Bobcats added 2 more scores in the third period to put the game out of reach and chase netminder Mike Clemente after the third goal. Eric Hartzell picked up the win tonight, equaling teammate Dan Clarke's shutout performance the night before. With the win, the Bobcats swept the Bears to advance to the quarterfinals of the ECACs.

Princeton, NJ- The St. Lawrence Saints were on the brink of elimination but rallied from two one-goal deficits as they eventually prevailed over the Princeton Tigers. The Tigers got on the board first with Rob Kleebaum's tally at the 5:50 mark of the first but St. Lawrence answered back with a PP goal from Greg Carey less than four minutes later. Andrew Calof broke the deadlock in the second period, again in Princeton's favor, before Carey answered again on the power play to knot things up at 2 heading into the last period. Just before the halfway point of the third, the Saints grabbed their first lead of the game and it would stand up as the game-winner as Kyle Essery sent the Saints to a decisive Game 3 to be held Sunday afternoon.

Three Stars of the Nights
1. Greg Carey, St. Lawrence- 2 Goals (2 PPG)
2. Daniel Moriarty, Harvard- 2 Goals (2 PPG)
3. Chase Polacek, RPI- 2 Goals (1 PPG and 1 SHG)

Women's Hockey
Ithaca, NY- The Cornell Big Red avenged their only ECAC regular season loss as they defeated the Dartmouth Big Green 3-0 for the ECAC tournament championship in front of 2711 fans at Lynah Rink. Chelsea Karpenko opened the scoring six minutes into the first and then added her second tally on the power play in the second period to propel the Big Red to the win. The Big Red doubled Dartmouth in shots 28-14. With the win, Cornell earned its second straight league title, the ECAC double as well as the ECAC autobid to the NCAA tournament. The two teams will meet again for the fourth time this season in the NCAA tournament as Cornell, a 2 seed, will once again host the 7th seeded Big Green. The two are the only ECAC teams to make the tournament.

Three Stars of the Night
1. Chelsea Karpeno, Cornell- 2 Goals (1 PPG, GWG)
2. Hayley Hughes, Cornell- 1 Goal, 2 Assists
3. Amanda Mazzotta, Cornell- 14 saves, Shutout

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Men's Hockey: ECAC Playoffs Update 1

The ECAC playoffs kicked off last night as three of the four home teams grabbed wins in Game 1.

Potsdam, NY- The tenth-seeded Harvard Crimson came out flat but a good performance from Ryan Carroll in net helped the Crimson grab the road win against the Clarkson Golden Knights. Harvard got on the board in the first period as Danny Biega partially fanned on a shot but it had just enough on it to make it on net and bounce through goaltender Paul Karpowich's five-hole. Clarkson, 0-15 entering last night when trailing after one, looked the better of the teams in the second but Adam Pawlick's redirection late in the second just missed the outside of the post and Harvard took a 1-0 lead into the third. The Golden Knights got a bounce of their own in the third as Alex Boak's shot from the point was deflected high by a Harvard stick and popped over Ryan Carroll's head to make it 1-1 just seven seconds after Clarkson's power play had elapsed. Five minutes later, Harvard answered with the eventual game winner as after some chaos in front, the puck found its way onto Michael Biega's stick and he fired one short side to make it a 2-1 win for the Cantabs. Shots were 33-18 in favor of Clarkson, with half of Harvard's shots coming in the third period. Clarkson went 0-2 on the power play while Harvard was 0-1. The Crimson take a 1-0 series lead into tonight's second game.

Hamden, CT- The eighth seeded Quinnipiac Bobcats rolled to an easy win over the ninth seeded Brown Bears last night to take a 1-0 series lead. The Bobcats grabbed the lead at the 15 second mark as Jeremy Langlois got on the board. That would prove to be the game winner as the Bobcats would go on to shut out the Bears. The Bobcats added another in the first and then two more in the second, with the last goal a sibling connection as Kellen Jones received the feed from his brother Connor to make it 4-0 Bobcats, the final score of the night. Shots were 27-22 in favor of Quinnipiac as Brown went 0-3 on the PP while Quinnipiac went 0-5.

Troy, NY- The fifth seeded RPI Engineers got off to a fast start over the twelfth seeded Colgate Raiders with three goals in the first but the visitors made it interesting after a strong third period. RPI took the lead at 1:15 mark of the first and then added two power play goals to take a 3-0 lead all the way into the third period. Colgate then scored two to start the third, with Austin Smith connecting first, then Jeremy Price adding a power play tally to make it 3-2. RPI scored 40 seconds after Price's tally as Brock Higgs put home his second of the night to make the final 4-2. Shots were 27-26 in favor of RPI. The Engineers went 2 for 7 on the man advantage while Colgate when 1 for 5 on the PP. RPI leads the best of three series 1-0.

Princeton, NJ- The sixth seeded Princeton Tigers grabbed a 1-0 series win over the eleventh seeded St. Lawrence Saints last night. Rookie Andrew Calof scored just 1:40 into the game to give Princeton the 1-0 lead. Princeton added two more within a minute of each other in the second period, including a power play goal from Michael Sdao that chased Robby Moss from the St. Lawrence net. St. Lawrence struck back with a power play tally of their own as Kyle Flanagan cut into the deficit to make it 3-1 Princeton. Rob Kleebaum added a fourth tally for the home squad in the third and the final was 4-1. Shots were 36-23 in favor of Princeton, with the Tigers going 1 for 3 on the PP and the Saints going 1 for 2. Princeton goes for the sweep this afternoon at 4pm.

Three Stars of the Nights
1. Brock Higgs, RPI- 2 goals
2. Ryan Carroll, Harvard- 32 saves
3. Andrew Calof, Princeton- 1 goal, 1 assist

Friday, March 4, 2011

Playoff Preview: 10. Harvard at 7. Clarkson

The Harvard Crimson and Clarkson Golden Knights square off in a best of three series starting tomorrow night at Cheel Arena. Here's some of the key stats and storylines to watch for.

Regular Season Split
Back in November, Harvard was riding a modest two game winning streak into Cheel Arena, including disposing of the St. Lawrence Saints the night before, while Clarkson had just been drubbed 7-1 on their own home ice. Clarkson had already shown their bounceback potential, having lost earlier in the season 8-0 to Nebraska-Omaha before beating St. Cloud State 6-2 the following night. After a scoreless first, Clarkson dominated the second with 19 shots and two goals. Michael Biega got one for the visitors in the third on a drive but Clarkson sealed the game after Kyle Richter was victimized on a bad bounce. Notably, in this game, Alex Fallstrom suffered a lower body injury that put him out of commission for a while. The game started a seven game losing streak for Harvard.
Just last weekend, the two teams met again, not realizing they were destined to be playoff opponents. Both teams were again scoreless after the first while in the second, Alex Fallstrom's PP tally put the Crimson in front...for 34 seconds until Jake Morley tied things up. In the third, Marshal Everson grabbed Harvard's second PP tally and that proved to be the game-winner, while Alex Killorn added an empty-netter to seal the victory.

Harvard Player to Watch
This has to be Danny Biega. As we noted on our twitter account, the sophomore defenseman has been involved in (scored or assisted on)  21 of Harvard's 49 league goals, 42.8% of Harvard's scoring. He also leads the team in points. How good the Crimson will be likely depends on how good Danny Biega plays.

Clarkson Player to Watch
Clarkson's scoring has been pretty balanced, so I'm going to go with freshman Allan McPherson. With 5 goals and 11 assists, he leads the Golden Knights in league points.

Harvard Statistics
-The Crimson like to point to the two tough losses against RPI and Union on the road as the turning point in their season. May I suggest a hypothesis as to why? Alex Fallstrom seemed to be fully healthy during the Union game, making his way back into the lineup for the rest of the season. Harvard is 8-8-1 in games Fallstrom started (including a loss when he got injured) and 1-11 without Fallstrom in the lineup.
-Harvard's power play has climbed to 18.1%, good enough for the top half of the nation but it's in league games where the power play is truly shining. Harvard's PP is second in the ECAC for league games at 22.7%, just behind the top power play in the nation, Union.
-Harvard is now tied for last with Quinnipiac for scoring offense in league games, averaging 2.23 goals per game.
-Harvard draws the second-least amount of penalties (88 power plays) but also commits the second-fewest amount of penalties (81 penalty kills)
-Harvard is 0-7-1 in its last eight games in Cheel Arena, last winning their in November of 2004. Their last playoff win against Clarkson came later in that year.

Clarkson Statistics
-Last home playoff series was a sweep of Harvard in the 2007 Quarterfinals
-Goaltender Paul Karpowich is 10th in the league in save percentage at .910 but last in goals against average with a 3.28 GAA. He has a 2.98 GAA in overall games.
-Clarkson is 6th in scoring offense in league games, scoring 2.64 goals/game while they are 11th in scoring defense, giving up 3.55 goals/game.
-Clarkson is the most penalized team (125 penalty kills) and also draws the least amount of penalties (85 power plays) in ECAC games

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Women's Hockey: Playoff Update 4

Cambridge, MA- A poor second period proved costly for the Harvard Crimson as they fell 4-1 to the Dartmouth Big Green. The visitors got on the board first in the first period with a goal from Amanda Trunzo but Harvard equalized five minutes later with a Josephine Pucci goal. Dartmouth scored three unanswered in a 6 minute 36 second span of the second period, including two power play goals, to put the Big Green up for good. Despite outshooting Dartmouth heavily, 17-5, in the third period, the Crimson could not beat netminder Lindsey Holdcroft again and the game ended 4-1 in favor of the Big Green. Dartmouth keeps both their ECAC championship and NCAA at-large hopes alive while Harvard's season comes to an end.

Ithaca, NY- The Cornell Big Red continued their winning ways, this time in a close game at home against the Quinnipiac Bobcats. Cornell went up 1-0 late in the first and then doubled their lead with an unassisted goal from Jessica Campbell. Quinnipiac scored two minutes later as Erica Uden Johannson got on the board with an unassisted tally of her own. The two teams traded scores for the rest of the game and Quinnipiac was never able to find the equalizer, falling by a final score of 4-3. The loss ends Quinnipiac's NCAA chances while Cornell continues in their quest to win the ECAC double as regular season and tournament champions.

Three Stars of the Semifinals
1. Amanda Trunzo, Dartmouth (2 goals, 1 PPG, GWG)
2. Camille Dumais, Dartmouth (1 PPG, 2 assists)
3. Laura Fortino, Cornell (2 assists)

ECAC Championship
3. Dartmouth at 1. Cornell, March 5, 2011, Time TBD in Ithaca, NY
Cornell and Dartmouth split the series 1-1, with Cornell winning at home 6-1 and Dartmouth winning at home 4-2. It was the only league loss for Cornell all season.

The Beauty of Playoffs

It's playoff time around the ECAC, with the women's semifinals tonight and the opening round of men's hockey starting tomorrow night for seeds 5-12. There's plenty of excitement and perhaps the best part is the need for a winner. No longer for this season will tie games be capped off by a five-minute OT and then perhaps a tie (though ties are OK- still better than a shootout, if you'll excuse the editorializing). Instead, a full 20 minutes are put on the clock, the ice gets cut and then teams head out until there's a winner. And if there's no winner at the end of 1, the game keeps on going.

That very aspect of the playoffs was on full display last night, as the record for longest collegiate hockey game was shattered. Queen's and Guelph, in Game 1 of the Ontario University Athletic women's hockey finals, went an astounding six overtimes (the 1st OT was only 10 min.) and played 167:14 minutes of hockey before Queen's got the game winner in a 2-1 final. For some perspective, the only two NHL games that have gone six overtimes date back to the 1930's, a 164:46 win for the Maple Leafs 1-0 over the Bruins and a 176:30 win for the Red Wings over the Montreal Maroons in 1936, the lone goal coming from Mud Bruneteau. The most recent long game lasted a paltry 5 OTs in comparison, the 2000 Keystone Classic between the Flyers and Penguins that lasted 152:01. Even more amazing, Guelph was a mere 4.2 seconds away from winning the game until Queen's tied it up. This is Queen's fourth 2-1 multiple-OT win of the playoffs. The first three all went to double OT and the game winner came from Brittany McHaffie. In the last one, the game winner went to...McHaffie's twin sister Morgan. You can't make things like that up.

The ECAC is no stranger to overtime playoff games. Out of the top 5 longest overtime games in NCAA D-I men's hockey history, three were during the ECAC playoffs and another involved an ECAC team and a former ECAC team. Union Dutchmen fans are probably closing the story right now, as they've been on the losing end of the two longest NCAA games, a 3-2 loss to Yale in 2006 (five years ago tomorrow) after 141:35 minutes in the ECAC opening round, and what had been the longest collegiate game of all-time until last night, the 3-2 loss last year to Quinnipiac in Game 1 of the Quarterfinals after 150:22. In 2000, St. Lawrence beat Boston University 3-2 after 123:53 in the NCAA Regionals and in 2003, Colgate beat Dartmouth 4-3 in Game 1 of the ECAC Quarters after 121:05. On the women's side, the longest game is the 1996 ECAC Women's Championship game, a 3-2 win for New Hampshire over Providence after 145:35.

So are there any contenders to take the record back from Queen's and Guelph within the ECAC this year? Quinnipiac might be the favorite as they've had 7 ties in league play this season and 8 ties overall. They also went to OT twice more in the league, losing both times. History might say Union, since both of the longest games in NCAA history have taken place at Messa Rink. And of course, I have to point out that if all the favorites win in round one, the ECAC quarterfinals will be a rematch for Quinnipiac and Union at, of course, Messa Rink.

As for Queen's and Guelph themselves, well, unlike how Quinnipiac and Union last year then had to play again 18 hours later for Game 2, they at least get a little rest. Their Game 2 is Friday night. It's certainly one to keep an eye on.

For more on the story, head to the place we first saw it, Y! Sports' Buzzing the Net blog written by Neate Sager, and his twitter account, @neatebuzzthenet. And check the game report for the Queen's-Guelph game here.