Thursday, November 15, 2012

ECAC November Power Rankings

An early-season review of the Crimson will be posted later today, but for now, we have our first ECAC Power Rankings of the year. The hockey-inclined members of WHRB dislike preseason rankings, but with a month of hockey behind us, it’s high time to make some controversial assertions.

1. Dartmouth                         4-0-0 (5-0-1)

The winners of the Ivy Showcase have shot to No. 12 in the national rankings after a convincing triumph over Yale and a close victory over Union. The last undefeated team nationally, Dartmouth is killing 96% of penalties, thanks in large part to the fantastic play of Cab Morris in net. Sophomore Tyler Sikura has emerged as one of the most dangerous forwards in the conference with 11 points through six games.

2. Union                         3-1-0 (6-2-1)

Outside of the loss to Dartmouth, no blemishes on the schedule so far for the defending champs. The Dutchmen destroyed Harvard and are ranked No. 7 in the country. Most importantly, an MRI this Monday revealed no serious damage to the leg of Hobey Baker finalist Troy Grosenick, who has plenty of time to return to his goaltending duties as the team does not play this weekend.

3. Cornell                        1-2-1 (3-2-1)

The poor conference record is a surprise for the Big Red, who’ve lost to Quinnipiac and Princeton. A 76% penalty kill might be to blame, especially given Cornell’s low-scoring style. Two wins over No. 14 Colorado College and a national ranking of their own at No. 10 keep Harvard’s top rivals high in these rankings for now.

4. Yale                                    2-2 (3-2-1)

The Bulldogs looked quite good against Harvard and St. Lawrence but were trounced by the Big Green and shut out by Clarkson at home. One thing is for sure – the talent is there to earn a conference bye. The upperclassmen forwards, led by Antoine Laganiere and Andrew Miller, are having stellar seasons, and Jeff Malcolm continues to hold down the starting job in net.

5. Quinnipiac                         2-0 (5-3-1)

The Bobcats garnered 22 votes in the national rankings this week after a win over Cornell and three points from two games against Ohio State. Scoring has not come easy, but that doesn’t matter much when Eric Hartzell has a 1.65 GAA in eight starts. A weekend at Clarkson and St. Lawrence provides a good opportunity to separate from the pack early in the season.

6. Harvard                        2-2 (3-2-0)

A hard team to judge so far, the No. 17 Crimson have looked great against bad teams and vice versa. The freshman forwards, led by Jimmy Vesey, are as spectacular as advertised, but a faltering powerplay and sloppy work in the defensive zone prevented Harvard from competing with Yale and Union. Raphael Girard has shushed any talk of a goalie controversy left over from last year.

7. St. Lawrence            0-1-1 (5-2-1)

Despite only one point in conference play so far, the No. 16 Saints stay in the middle of this ranking thanks to impressive out-of-conference play, including a win over No. 9 Western Michigan. Kyle Flanagan is averaging two points per game as St. Lawrence has converted a fourth of their powerplays, rendering an 0-7 night in a loss to Yale all the more confusing.

8. Clarkson                        1-0-1 (1-4-4)

The Golden Knights lost their first four games. They tied the next three, entering the ECAC season winless, before suddenly taking three points from Yale and Brown. This strange team has defied analysis so far, but they’re going to need to score more goals to be competitive.

9. Princeton                         2-0 (2-2)

The Tigers scored three goals in the last five minutes to steal a game from Cornell, then shut out Colgate 4-0. They did not look good in the Ivy Showcase or their exhibitions, however, and it remains to be seen whether this team will exceed its low expectations. Princeton was ranked 11th in both the media and coaches preseason polls.

10. Brown                         0-2-2 (1-3-2)

The Bears came out with ties against St. Lawrence and Clarkson, and kept Harvard close till late in the third of a 3-2 loss. The team lacks scoring depth and life for Marco de Filippo in net has been difficult, as he is averaging over 30 shots against per game. So far, he’s performed admirably, and the Bears are once again displaying the never-say-die attitude that has become familiar to ECAC fans.

11. Colgate                        0-3-1 (4-6-1)

The Raiders tied Cornell and took Quinnipiac to overtime two weeks after beating the Bobcats in Cape Cod. The 4-0 loss to Princeton, however, might be more indicative of Colgate’s ability. They’ve been below average on special teams and neither Eric Mihalik nor freshman Spencer Finney look like viable answers in net to the ECAC’s best offenses.

12. RPI                        0-4-0 (1-5-2)

The Engineers have suffered from a difficult schedule, with their four losses coming to Harvard, Dartmouth, and Union twice. Unfortunately, easier opponents won’t necessarily improve RPI’s record, as the team has looked entirely lifeless in those games and ranks 10th or worse in the conference in every major statistic.

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