Friday, January 17, 2014

ECAC Mid-January Power Rankings

By: Anton Khodakov

The Crimson have a critical stretch of games in front of them, starting with tonight’s matchup against their hated rivals—Cornell. Before the Beanpot begins, Harvard will face four consecutive conference opponents, a stretch that will leave only 30% of the ECAC schedule remaining. Now, and not February, is the time to move into the middle four slots in the conference table and earn that first-round bye.  It won’t be easy, however, as the first three of those opponents fall into the top five of our mid-January power rankings. All national rankings per

1. #6 Union (9-2-0, 13-4-3)

Despite falling to the Bobcats in Hamden, the Dutchmen claim the top spot thanks to a scintillating 9-game winning streak that included a victory over then-#1 St. Cloud. Shayne Gostisbehere is third in the fan section of the Hobey Baker vote.

2. #5 Quinnipiac (8-2-3, 17-3-5)

The Bobcats ended Union’s unbeaten run with a 2-1 home win. No one will be surprised if this team, leading the nation in goals allowed per game at 1.80, makes it back to the title game.
3.  #8 Yale (3-2-3, 8-3-4)

On one hand, the Bulldogs have still yet to prove themselves against the best ECAC teams, in part due to the vagaries of the schedule. On the other hand, they looked every bit the defending champs while demolishing the Crimson in Manhattan. Just wait until Jesse Root starts finding the back of the net again.

4. #12 Cornell (4-3-2, 8-4-3)

The Big Red only have one win since November 30th. However, they’ve posted a series of impressive performances that have just fallen short—two ties against good teams and a one-goal loss to Boston University. They might be turning the corner…

5. Colgate (5-3-1, 9-9-3)

A tie against top-ranked Minnesota? In Minneapolis? Followed by wins over #2 Ferris State and #18 Vermont? The young Raiders are playing their best hockey of the season. All five players with double-digit points are sophomores.

6. #14 Clarkson (6-2-0, 13-7-2)

Just when I thought it was time to start believing in the Golden Knights, they’ve gone on a streak that has seen one victory from six games. An ugly 4-0 home loss to Merrimack will leave a bad taste in your mouth.

7. RPI (3-5-3, 8-10-4)

Four straight losses, albeit three to top-10 teams, have finally confirmed that this Engineers team will not make good on the preseason hype. Jason Kasdorf’s injury is a big part of that disappointment, but the truth is that they are weaker defensively as a team overall this year. The good news: seven more games against the teams ranked above them in these rankings to make up ground.

8. Brown (3-4-1, 6-6-3)

Four straight games with three goals or more for the offensively-challenged Bears, unbeaten in the last five. Brown has made it to .500, an achievement in itself, but can they keep scoring enough to give their competent goalies and decent penalty kill a chance to keep a top-8 berth?

9. St. Lawrence (2-4-2, 8-10-2)

Sixth in the nation at 3.55 goals scored per game. Eighth from last at 3.70 allowed. That’s been the story all year for the Saints, who haven’t won a game since November despite the talent all over the roster.

10. Harvard (2-6-3, 5-8-3)

Another thrilling win over Boston University, followed by a hard-fought tie against the Bobcats have the Crimson in position—oh, what’s that? I’m sorry, you say they played Yale on Saturday? At Madison Square Garden, on national television? Let’s not talk about that.

11. Dartmouth (2-8-0, 3-12-2)

The Big Green have finally started playing up to their potential (and pre-season expectations). At the same time, they’ve managed to make a habit of blowing winnable games in the third period. But there’s still time before the playoffs to put it all together, especially if a few of their defensemen or goaltenders actually start playing like they belong in Division 1 NCAA action.

12. Princeton (3-9-0, 4-15-0)

There are four teams nationwide that rank in the bottom ten in both goals scored and goals allowed. Army, Sacred Heart, Alabama-Huntsville… and the Tigers. Like the Crimson last year, they’ll at least be able to look back at a one-goal win over Quinnipiac that will likely prove meaningless in the overall picture.  

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