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This Week in the ECAC

College Hockey:
This Week in the ECAC: December 6, 1996

ECAC PREVIEW: Dec. 6-11, 1996

ECAC Preview: Dec. 6-11, 1996 by Jayson Moy

The ECAC lead switched hands for three days last week, as the upstart Princeton Tigers laid claim to first place after Saturday’s victory. The Big Red of Cornell reclaimed the lead with a win Tuesday evening.

Both teams are in ECAC action this weekend and are looking to put some distance between themselves and third place. The difference between second and third is currently four points.

There are a lot of teams in hot pursuit, many of which have games in hand on the two leaders — and most of them are involved in ECAC action this weekend.

Clarkson (7-4-0, 3-2-0 ECAC) & St. Lawrence (3-8-0, 2-3-0 ECAC) at Brown (1-7-1, 1-5-1 ECAC) Friday & Saturday, 7:30 p.m. & 7:00 p.m., Meehan Auditorium, Providence, RI

St. Lawrence (3-8-0, 2-3-0 ECAC) & Clarkson (7-4-0, 3-2-0 ECAC) at Harvard (3-5-1, 2-4-1 ECAC) Friday & Saturday, 7:30 p.m. & 7:00 p.m., Bright Hockey Center, Cambridge, MA

Clarkson turned out to be the big winner this past weekend when Boston College and Boston University came to the North Country.

Two victories, 6-3 and 4-1 over BC and BU, respectively, have the Golden Knights back on the winning edge. They had not won a weekend series since sweeping the Buckeyes of Ohio State in the opening weekend.

One of Clarkson’s strengths is its balanced scoring. That showed this weekend as eight different Knights tallied goals. And the Knights have only lost three times in their last 20 games against Harvard and Brown. They swept both season series last year.

The Saints turned in one of the shockers of the season with a 2-0 win over then-No. 2 Boston University on Friday. Jon Bracco made 46 saves, a personal high, in the victory. His effort earned him ECAC Player of the Week honors.

The next evening against Boston College, Bracco gave up two goals in the first period to Brian Callahan. After stopping all 12 shots in the second, he gave up four more goals to the Eagles and dropped the 6-4 decision.

The Brown Bears had their hearts broken in overtime by the Bulldogs of Yale, 5-4. They had a 3-1 lead, but lost it late in the game. However, another bright spot at forward appeared as Jade Kersey put two goals on the board.

The Bears are 3-2-1 against St. Lawrence in the last three years, but their record against Clarkson is decidedly in the Golden Knights’ favor. The Bears have not recorded a win over Clarkson since 1992, going 0-10-3 in that span.

Harvard dropped an ECAC contest to Princeton, and rebounded with a non-league win against Northeastern, 4-3. That win saw three freshmen score — Mark Moore (2 goals), Trevor Allman and Matt Macleod.

This could be a good sign for the Crimson as they try to break out of their scoring woes. Their league-low 2.14 goals per game is one area of concern for Ronn Tomassoni. Another area of concern is the power play. The Crimson continue to flounder with the man advantage, going 0-for-54 since their opener.

PICKS:

Clarkson at Brown: Clarkson’s depth showed this past weekend with the sweep. The Bears continue to get one forward into the mix each weekend. They need to get more of the forwards going each game. Clarkson 6, Brown 4

St. Lawrence at Harvard: Harvard may be breaking out of their scoring slump. If the Crimson can get off the skids with the power play, they will have a chance. The Crimson get an unpredictable Saint goalie (Bracco or Eric Heffler) in this game. The power-play slide ends, and Harvard wins. Harvard 4, St. Lawrence 3

St. Lawrence at Brown: One gets the sense that Brown is ready to break out. They do it here. Brown 6, St. Lawrence 2

Clarkson at Harvard: Clarkson gets their second sweep in a row as Harvard can not slow down the forwards of Clarkson with their hitting. Clarkson 7, Harvard 2

Union (4-4-0, 2-2-0 ECAC) & Rensselaer (6-4-1, 3-1-0 ECAC) at Colgate (6-5-0, 3-4-0 ECAC) Friday & Saturday, 7:30 p.m. & 7:00 p.m., Starr Rink, Hamilton, NY

Rensselaer (6-4-1, 3-1-0 ECAC) & Union (4-4-0, 2-2-0 ECAC) at Cornell (6-2-0, 6-1-0 ECAC) Friday & Saturday, 7:30 p.m. & 7:00 p.m., Lynah Rink, Ithaca, NY

Union claimed a victory over OUAA member Ottawa this past weekend, 3-1. "It was as forecasted," Union coach Stan Moore said. "It’s a little harder to get up for a non-league game like this one as opposed to an important league game."

The league games coming up are important because Union, along with Rensselaer, has played the fewest ECAC games. If the Dutchmen do not wish to fall behind in the standings, they have to get some league wins in the games they have in hand.

This weekend the games come against a team with which Union has had little league success — Colgate — and one which it has had good success against: Cornell. The Dutchmen are 1-9-0 against Colgate, with the lone win coming in 1994 when they defeated the Red Raiders 7-6 in Schenectady.

The Dutchmen stand at 4-6-0 against the Big Red, even though Cornell won both games last year. The Dutchmen were 4-2 in the previous six games between the two teams, and Union won its first-ever league road game at Lynah Rink.

RPI comes off a 1-0-1 weekend with a tie at Northeastern, 2-2, and a win at Merrimack, 5-2.

Matt Garver returned to the lineup from his shoulder injury and set up three of the Engineer goals in RPI’s win over the Warriors.

Unfortunately, the Engineers might have lost another player; the team’s second leading scorer, Mark Murphy, injured his right arm/hand in the second period against Merrimack. At press time, Murphy was questionable for this weekend.

RPI has lost four straight ECAC regular-season games versus Colgate, and handed Mike Schafer his first ECAC loss last season.

Colgate comes off a shellacking by Miami (OH), 14-2, and a loss to Cornell on Tuesday evening, 3-1.

Colgate got out of the gates in a hurry, but has not done well recently. After starting the season 5-1, including a win against No. 2 New Hampshire, the Red Raiders have gone 1-4.

One of Colgate’s big guns, Mike Harder, has not scored a goal in four games after a great start. Harder has often gotten off to slow starts before breaking out after the new year. But the trend seems to have reversed a bit; also, linemate Dave DeBusschere has not scored in two games. The two of them have been neutralized by the opposition after starting the season on fire.

Cornell reclaimed the top spot in the ECAC standings with its win Tuesday, and once again there was another hero in Ithaca. Darren Tymchyshyn’s shorthanded goal 1:08 into the third period was the game-winner. Ryan Smart was the hero in Saturday’s loss to Miami, scoring two goals.

Cornell knows the woes of facing RPI with a fast start on the line. Last year, the Big Red were undefeated in the ECAC going into their December matchup. They suffered their first defeat of the ECAC season, 5-3, in Troy.

PICKS:

Union at Colgate: Colgate has to get back the offense that propelled their fast start, but Union continues to play the tough defensive game. The Dutchmen will frustrate the Red Raiders just like they have frustrated a lot of other opponents. Union 3, Colgate 2

RPI at Cornell: RPI has blended well, but still has some trouble defensively. It has to play well in its own end to win, and get good goaltending. The Big Red remember the first loss of last year. Cornell rebounded with a 4-0 shutout in Lynah last year, and that will carry over. Cornell 5, RPI 4

Union at Cornell: Cornell seems to be able to adapt its style and win against any defense. That will do it here, in a low scoring affair. Cornell 3, Union 1

RPI at Colgate: RPI has not beaten Colgate since the ECAC Semifinals on its way to the ECAC Championship two years ago. The Red Raiders will continue to struggle against RPI. RPI 5, Colgate 2

Princeton (6-2-1, 5-2-1 ECAC) at Yale (3-4-1, 3-4-1 ECAC) Saturday, 7:00 p.m., Ingalls Rink, New Haven, CT

Princeton was in first place in the ECAC for three days before Cornell regained the top spot on Tuesday.

The last time Princeton was 5-2-1 to start the ECAC season, it finished with its only .500 or better record. That was in 1990 when the final was 11-10-1. The Tigers were also briefly in first place that season.

Princeton continues to play sound defense and it continues to get more scoring than last year. Scott Bertoli is the second-leading scorer in the ECAC with 11 points (6-5).

Yale is a surprise in third place of the ECAC at this juncture. Not many expected the Elis to surpass last year’s total of four ECAC wins.

"We’re getting some shots," said head coach Tim Taylor, "We’re capable of keeping a lot of teams off balance."

For the second week in a row, the Bulldogs have an ECAC Rookie of the Week. Saskatchewan native Cory Shea scored the overtime goal in the come from behind win over Brown.

PICK: Princeton hopes to sweep the series from the Bulldogs in New Haven. The Tigers win a squeaker here. Princeton 4, Yale 3

Harvard (3-5-1, 2-4-1 ECAC) at Union (4-4-0, 2-2-0 ECAC) Wednesday, 7:30 p.m., Achilles Rink, Schenectady, NY

Both teams are previewed above.

PICK: One thing is certain with these two teams — they don’t score much. The difference will be capitalizing on turnovers. Union is the more physical team, and will force more of those. Union 3, Harvard 1

Boston University (8-3-1) at Yale (3-4-1) Friday, 7:30 p.m., Ingalls Rink, New Haven, CT

Boston U. managed only one goal this past weekend in its venture to the North Country. The big guns for the Terriers were held scoreless; Chris Drury and Shawn Bates did not garner a single point.

The Terriers will look to get the offense rolling with this non-league contest.

PICK: The big scorers do make a comeback in this game. While the Bulldogs have been impressive, they are not of the same offensive caliber as the Terriers. BU 6, Yale 3

Princeton (6-2-1) at Army (7-7-0) Friday, 7:30 p.m., Tate Rink, West Point, NY

Princeton is previewed above.

The Black Knights have had a respectable season, playing over-.500 hockey thus far. Keep in mind one fact, though: they are only 2-7-0 against major Division I schools, with those wins early in the season against Minnesota-Duluth and Mankato State.

The Cadets recently won the Williams tournament with a 5-4 victory over the Ephs in the Championship Game.

Army is led on offense by seniors Frank Fede (7-8–15) and Bill Morrison (4-8–12). In goal, the Cadets have seen Daryl Chamberlin put up some uncharacteristic numbers. Currently he has a .873 save percentage and a 4.17 GAA. His save percentage is 20 points lower than his career average, and he is 1.5 goals over his career GAA mark.

PICK: Princeton is too much for the Cadets. Princeton 4, Army 2

There’s light action next week, as schools break for finals and for the holiday season.

Friday, December 13 Saturday, December 14 Princeton at UMass-Amherst UMass-Amherst at Dartmouth

Jayson Moy is the ECAC Correspondent for US College Hockey Online.

Copyright 1996 Jayson Moy . All Rights Reserved.

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