The Battle of the Titans in the ECAC took place this weekend, and Cornell came away with the victory over Vermont. The Cats then took it to Colgate the next evening, as the Red Raiders wound up on the losing end both nights this past weekend.
In the ECAC’s race-within-a-race, the Ivy battle continues, as Brown and Princeton got the upper hand with a win and a tie for three points each.
It’s still early in the ECAC, but the Big Red of Cornell has taken charge early on.
School Record Pts
1 Cornell 4-0-0 8 2 Princeton 2-1-1 5 3 RPI 2-0-0 4 Clarkson 2-1-0 4 Colgate 2-2-0 4 Vermont 2-2-0 4 7 Yale 1-2-1 3 Harvard 1-3-1 3 Brown 1-3-1 3 10 Union 1-1-0 2 St. Lawrence 1-2-0 2 Dartmouth 1-3-0 2 (not including Tuesday’s Harvard-Brown game)
Clarkson (4-3-0, 2-1-0 ECAC) & St. Lawrence (1-6-0, 1-2-0 ECAC) at RPI (4-3-0, 2-0-0 ECAC) Friday & Saturday, 7:30 p.m. & 7:00 p.m., Houston Fieldhouse, Troy, NY
St. Lawrence (1-6-0, 1-2-0 ECAC) & Clarkson (4-3-0, 2-1-0 ECAC) at Union (3-3-0, 1-1-0 ECAC) Friday & Saturday, 7:30 p.m. & 7:00 p.m., Achilles Rink, Schenectady, NY
Clarkson comes off of a week in which they defeated the neighboring Saints of St. Lawrence. Clarkson came out hot in the first with five goals, including three in the first 2:29 of the game. Chris Clark scored just ten seconds in, and Yan Turgeon and J.F. Houle added goals as well. Todd White gathered the hat trick in upping his total to seven goals on the season.
Dan Murphy stopped 31 shots in his fourth win of the year, though he was not really needed as the Golden Knights had it well in hand after one period of play.
"We didn’t start off the way we wanted," Saints head coach Joe Marsh said of the first period. Eric Heffler was chased from the SLU net early on, and Jon Bracco went the rest of the way.
Despite the loss, Marsh was optimistic. "We played considerably better in this game," he said. "I thought we were playing okay, and [then] we took a real bad penalty in the second period. We saw some bright spots, and a lack of discipline was what cost us.
"To generate some positive things against a good team is always what you are looking for," Marsh added.
Unfortunately, Marsh will now be without five of his starters: Clint Owen is still suspended, Joel Prpic is out one game with a disqualification, and forwards Matt Oikawa and Derek Ladouceur are gone for this weekend too. Bob Prier, who tallied two goals against Clarkson, is questionable as well.
RPI had a scoreless week. They were shut out by Mass-Lowell 3-0, and by Union 2-0. Matt Garver continues to be out of the lineup with a separated shoulder, and he is sorely missed.
Asked if Garver makes a difference on offense, head coach Dan Fridgen stated, "I’d say that’s a fair assessment." Fridgen also said this of his offense: "Someone’s got to step forward. One guy isn’t going to win the hockey game. He certainly makes a difference in our lineup, but the other guys have to pick it up, contribute, take charge. It’s a team contribution."
Joel Laing and Scott Prekaski continue their impressive freshman seasons in the nets. Though both lost this past week, they were nevertheless strong between the pipes.
Union comes off a great defensive game against RPI. Head coach Stan Moore has brought something special to this team, starting Trevor Koenig in each of the team’s six games so far. Koenig has made quite an impact. He currently has a GAA of 1.68 and a save percentage of .942, among the best in the nation in each category. There is no doubt that Koenig is among the premier goaltenders in the ECAC at this point.
Defense is a point of great pride for Moore. "The kids showed a lot of courage in their own end," he said. Union is holding opponents to 1.67 goals per game.
The forwards of Union showed a lot of talent in Saturday’s win over RPI, but still need to find the back of the net. Two different forwards scored on Saturday night, in Craig Reckin and Russ Monteith.
Clarkson at RPI: RPI has to find depth to get on the board against Clarkson. Clarkson has had an up-and-down year so far, but might have gotten on track against St. Lawrence. Their offense has proven itself, and RPI’s has not. Clarkson 5, RPI 3
St. Lawrence at Union: St. Lawrence is hurting. Prpic will be gone for this game, and he is arguably their best defensive forward. Oikawa and Ladouceur are out, and if Prier does not play, the Saints are in danger of going 1-7. Union can count on Koenig and the defense. Some scoring, perhaps? The defense lifts the Skating Dutchmen. Union 3, St. Lawrence 1
St. Lawrence at RPI: For this one, Prpic will be back, and maybe Prier, which will be a big boost. But the goaltending is still suspect. RPI should get their scoring back and start to click with another week of practice under their belts. RPI 6, St. Lawrence 3
Clarkson at Union: Can Clarkson play against defensive trapping teams? It had trouble with Yale and Princeton; clog up the forwards and they can’t score. Union’s defense is that good, and with Koenig, this could be an upset. Maybe I’m jumping on the Dutchmen’s bandwagon. Union 3, Clarkson 2
Colgate (5-2-0, 2-2-0 ECAC) & No. 10 Cornell (4-0-0, 4-0-0 ECAC) at Princeton (3-1-1, 2-1-1 ECAC) Friday & Saturday, 7:30 p.m. & 7:00 p.m., Baker Rink, Princeton, NJ
No. 10 Cornell (4-0-0, 4-0-0 ECAC) & Colgate (5-2-0, 2-2-0 ECAC) at Yale (1-2-1, 1-2-1 ECAC) Friday & Saturday, 7:30 p.m. & 7:00 p.m., Ingalls Rink, New Haven, CT
Colgate comes off a weekend sweep at home — but they were on the losing end. The Red Raiders were surprised by Dartmouth 3-2, and beaten by Vermont 5-4.
Understandable, head coach Don Vaughn was not happy about his team’s play this weekend. "I was a little disappointed at how we came out of the locker room. I thought we weren’t ready to go."
While Mike Harder (8-9–17) and Dave DeBusschere (9-8–17) have been there so far, Vaughn is looking for more, "We have to be more consistent with our game. [We take] bad penalties at times, and it continues to hurt us."
As for this weekend, Vaughn insists Colgate is focused. "We’re only looking at Princeton and not Yale right now; we have to take it one game at a time," he said.
Cornell has proved that last year was not a fluke with a 4-0-0 start, including a huge victory over Vermont, 6-4, Friday night. They followed that up with a 6-3 victory over Dartmouth the next evening.
New heroes are made every night in Ithaca, and this weekend the Big Red continued their balanced scoring. Vinnie Auger had two goals, as did Tony Bergin and Jamie Papp. Matt Cooney had three on the weekend as the Big Red remain undefeated and atop the ECAC standings.
Jean-Marc Pelletier made 19 saves against Dartmouth in the win, and Jason Elliot won the big one against Vermont with 28 stops.
Mike Schafer continues to have this Big Red team riding high, and it doesn’t look like they will come down for a while.
The Tigers of Princeton are off to a surprising 3-1-1 start, mainly because of the outstanding play of their defense. The Tigers have been playing with five defensemen for most games, and the unit has been surprisingly solid.
On the offensive front, two Tigers got their first scores of the season this weekend. Jeff Halpern and Scott Bertoli tallied two goals each in the 6-2 win against Harvard. Nick Rankin won his second straight ECAC game, with 30 saves against the Crimson, and Erasmo Saltarelli saved 21 in the tie with Brown.
A young Bulldog team at Yale is starting to earn some respect around the league. They tied Harvard 2-2 and played Brown to the end before losing 5-4. Alex Westlund was in goal for the Eli in the 2-2 tie, and replaced his partner Dan Choquette after one period against Brown.
Ray Giroux got two goals on the young season. This was to be expected, as he was the leading returning scorer from last year. The only problem with that statistic? He’s a defenseman.
Strong games by Keith McCullough, Jeff Glew, Dan Peraza, Jeff Hamilton and John Chyz have the Bulldogs very optimistic for a season just underway.
Colgate at Princeton: Don Vaughn wants to work on consistency and stay out of the penalty box. That should be accomplished. Don Cahoon has Princeton on a high right now — can the Tiger defense hold off the attack of the Red Raiders with only five blueliners? Probably not. Colgate 6, Princeton 2
Cornell at Yale: Yale is getting respect, and they will earn some more by playing the Big Red hard. But the balanced scoring and inspired play of Cornell is just too much for the Bulldogs. Cornell 7, Yale 3
Cornell at Princeton: After a frustrating game defensively against Colgate, the Tigers return against Cornell. It’s just too much for the Tigers to contain this kind of offensive threat. Cornell remains unbeaten in the ECAC. Cornell 5, Princeton 3
Colgate at Yale: Yale again plays the tough game, but the offensive firepower of Colgate is just too much. Colgate 6, Yale 3
No. 4 Vermont (6-2-0, 2-2-0 ECAC) at Dartmouth (2-3-0, 1-3-0 ECAC) Friday, 7:30 p.m., Thompson Arena, Hanover, NH
The big showdown at Lynah Rink on Friday went against the Cats; they allowed two goals in the third to lose, 6-4. They rebounded the next night with a 5-4 win over Colgate, but it was a tough weekend nonetheless.
After getting shut out in two games against RPI and Union, the French Connection came back. Martin St. Louis had one goal and three assists, J.C. Ruid two goals and two assists, and Eric Perrin three assists. They are back and showing that the scoring touch is not lost.
Tim Thomas was strong as usual, making 26 saves against Cornell and 39 saves against Colgate. In the win against Colgate, Thomas was so impressive, he earned this praise from Colgate head coach Don Vaughn: "We had our chances in the third, but Thomas stopped us, as is normal."
The Big Green posted their first ECAC victory of the season with a 3-2 upset over Colgate. Charlie Retter was the hero offensively as he put two into the net.
The story, though, was freshman Jason Wong in the nets. He made 20 saves in the win over Colgate, and came on in relief of Scott Baker at Cornell. Though he was tagged with the loss, he was strong with 12 saves.
Darren Wercinski and Ryan Chaytors also had two goals each as Dartmouth came away from the tough weekend with two ECAC points.
PICK: Vermont is 32-10-1 overall versus the Big Green and have won all but two of the last 14 games. Who gets the start in goal for Dartmouth? All fingers point at Jason Wong. Thomas again for the Cats. Offense is the key, and the power play, where there will a few goals. Vermont 8, Dartmouth 4
Brown (1-3-1) at No. 1 Michigan (9-1-1) Friday & Saturday, 7:00 p.m., Yost Ice Arena, Ann Arbor, MI
Brown had a good weekend, gaining three points with a win over Yale and a tie against Princeton. The Brown offense came alive just a little with eight goals, three by Adrian Smith.
Jeff Holwaty was strong in net with 37 saves against Princeton, and head coach Bob Gaudet credited him with the draw.
Michigan maintains their number-one ranking in the Around the RInks/USCHO Poll this week with a 5-1 victory over Michigan State and a 3-3 tie at Bowling Green over the weekend.
John Madden continues to be the man for the Wolverines. He tallied his eighth goal of the season against Bowling Green. The scoring punch of Big Blue is embodied in Brendan Morrison (4-14–18), Warren Luhning (6-10–16) and Matt Herr (8-6–14).
Marty Turco has gotten all 11 decisions on the season, and should see action in one, if not both games this weekend. Greg Malicke may get some time as well.
PICKS: Offense, offense, offense. It’s too much for Brown. Their trip to Yost ends in a Michigan sweep. UM 6-2, 5-1
UMass-Amherst (2-6-0) at No. 4 Vermont (6-2-0) Sunday 1:00 p.m., Gutterson Fieldhouse, Burlington, VT
Mass-Amherst is coming off a split last weekend with Merrimack, in which they got back on the winning side of things. Rob Bonneau leads the Minutemen with six goals on the season, including two in the 6-5 win over Merrimack on Saturday.
Brian Regan is going to have to be strong in the nets for head coach Joe Mallen. 31 saves against Merrimack on Friday, and Regan should see the start on Sunday.
PICK: The Cats are too strong for the Minutemen. Vermont 6, Mass-Amherst 2
Yale (1-2-1, 1-2-1 ECAC) at Princeton (3-1-1, 2-1-1 ECAC) Tuesday, 7:00 p.m., Baker Rink, Princeton, NJ
Both teams are previewed above.
PICK: Both teams will come off a tough weekend facing Cornell and Colgate, and you have to wonder just how tired they’ll be. Both teams are young, and are eager for a win. Go with the home-ice advantage. Princeton 4, Yale 3
Harvard (1-3-1) at No. 2 Boston University (7-1-0) Tuesday, 7:00 p.m., Walter Brown Arena, Boston, MA
After opening the season with a victory over Brown, the Crimson have now gone winless in their last four (0-3-1, up to Tuesday’s Brown game).
One of the bright spots for the Crimson has been the play of freshman goalie J.R. Prestifilippo. 30 and 22 saves against Yale and Princeton, respectively, give the Crimson hope.
The Terriers blew out Northeastern 5-2 and 8-1 this past weekend and have continued to earn their number-two ranking; they are shading ever closer to the top spot held by Michigan. Chris Drury now has eight goals on the season, and Tom Noble shone in goal with 33 saves against the Huskies.
PICK: BU is too strong for the struggling Crimson in this preview of the first round of the Beanpot. BU 7, Harvard 2
Thanksgiving weekend looms, and there are a bevy of games outside of the ECAC for the league’s teams. Next week in the ECAC:
Friday, Nov. 29 Saturday, Nov. 30 Boston University at St. Lawrence Princeton at Harvard Boston College at Clarkson Yale at Brown Merrimack at Dartmouth Boston College at St. Lawrence Rensselaer at Northeastern Boston Univ at Clarkson Miami (OH) at Colgate Ottawa at Union Miami (OH) at Cornell Rensselaer at Merrimack
Friday, Nov. 29 & Saturday, Nov. 30: Governor’s Cup (at Gutterson Fieldhouse, Burlington, VT) Maine/Mass-Lowell & Vermont/New Hampshire
Sunday, Dec. 1 Tuesday, Dec. 3 Northeastern at Harvard Colgate at Cornell Vermont at Providence
Jayson Moy is the ECAC Correspondent for US College Hockey Online.
Copyright 1996 Jayson Moy . All Rights Reserved.
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USCHO covers the ECAC all week long on the ECAC Blog, with weekend recaps on Monday, picks on Friday, and updates during the week.