Tuesday, December 18, 2012

ECAC December Power Rankings

As the winter break begins for the ECAC, it is time for WHRB’s December Power Rankings. Seven teams are ranked in USCHO.com’s Top 20 nationwide, while three points separate 2nd and 9th place in the conference standings. We’ll have a midseason review of the Crimson between their December 28th showdown against Northeastern and the restart of conference action on January 4th.

1. Quinnipiac      8-0-0, 16 Pts                     (12-3-2)            November: 5th

After an unimpressive month of non-conference play, No. 9 Quinnipiac has run away with the ECAC lead, earning 100% of the points from eight games. The Bobcats have impressive wins over both Cornell and Union, and are allowing 1.12 goals per game against conference opponents while scoring almost four goals per game.

2. Union             3-2-3, 9 Pts                        (8-3-4)             November: 2nd

The Dutchmen, ranked at No. 13 in the nation, weathered injuries to standouts Troy Grosenick and Mat Bodie well, but are winless in their last four games as the defense has not been as airtight as usual. They have too much talent not to turn it around, however, and are still third in the conference despite the recent slide.

3. Dartmouth      4-1-1, 9 Pts                        (7-2-2)             November: 1st

Once the last undefeated team in the nation, No. 10 Dartmouth gained one point from Cornell and Colgate before a pair of easy non-conference wins. It is highly doubtful that their penalty kill percentage, first in the nation at 96%, is sustainable.

4. Cornell           3-3-2, 8 Pts                        (6-3-2)              November: 3rd

The No. 11 Big Red earned two points from five games in the first three weeks of November. Memories of that stretch are gone, as Cornell has responded with big wins over Michigan, Clarkson, and St. Lawrence. Andy Iles has saved 87 of 91 shots over the last four.

5. Colgate          3-4-1, 7 Pts                        (9-7-2)               November: 11th

The middle of the ECAC standings are a mess, and wins over Harvard, Dartmouth, and Clarkson earn the No. 20 earn the Raiders the fifth spot in our rankings as they’ve won 11 points from the last seven games. The freshman Spink twins have combined for 28 points.

6. Yale               3-3-1, 7 Pts                        (7-3-2)               November: 4th

What to make of the No. 15 Bulldogs? They tied Union, lost to Clarkson by a goal, were spanked by contender Dartmouth and bottom-feeder RPI. A number of quality non-conference wins suggest that this team is better than their seven conference points.

7. Clarkson        3-3-1, 7 Pts                        (4-8-5)                November: 8th

Outside of a 1-0 win over Yale, Clarkson has no impressive wins. Tied for fifth in the standings currently, this team doesn’t feel like a contender for an ECAC bye, and yet the Golden Knights beat Princeton 7-2 and have played much better than anyone trailing them in the standings. Clarkson has yet to play Dartmouth or Union.

8. Princeton        2-3-3, 7 Pts                        (3-6-3)               November: 9th

Two losses to Quinnipiac by a combined tally of 6-1 have dulled an otherwise impressive start. Upcoming matchups against Dartmouth and Harvard will show how good the Tigers really are. It isn’t unreasonable to see them claw their way to a finish in the top half of the conference.

9. Harvard          3-3, 6 Pts                        (4-4-1)                  November: 6th

Since winning against the Big Red in Ithaca, the Crimson has been mediocre at best, though a strange three-week rest may be partially to blame. With the loss of Patrick McNally and Max Everson, however, Harvard is suddenly short on defensive depth. Currently tied with Colgate for No. 20 in the national rankings, the Crimson will have to fight hard to stay in the picture for a bye.

10. St. Lawrence         1-4-2, 4 Pts            (7-8-2)                  November: 7th

A promising season has taken a turn for the worse for the Saints. Losers of five of their last six, St. Lawrence is giving up too many goals 5-on-5 and on the penalty kill to compete with the cream of the conference. Outside of the dynamic due of Kyle Flanagan and Greg Carey, no one is scoring either.            

11. Brown         0-3-4, 4 Pts                      (3-5-4)                  November: 10th

The Bears are the only winless team in the conference, but they get the nod over the Engineers thanks to gutsy performances against Harvard, Yale, and Union. Only one skater, Matt Lorito, has recorded double-digit points, but Brown is sixth in the conference in goals allowed.

12. RPI              1-5-2, 4 Pts                      (4-6-4)                 November 12th

Even after a 6-1 shocking of Yale, the Engineers are last in the conference in goals scored and 10th in goals allowed. A long season will only grow longer, as the Engineers face seven nationally ranked teams from now through February 2nd.