Winners And Losers
Once again, last weekend saw all 12 ECAC teams in action twice with league games.
Cornell — Another four-point weekend for the Red, and a widened lead in the ECAC. Clinched a playoff spot, and with one more point, will clinch home ice for the playoffs. Rensselaer can still catch the Red.
Rensselaer — A big four-point weekend for the Engineers, topped off with a comeback overtime win over Clarkson on Big Red Freakout night. The Engineers, out of the playoffs two weeks ago, are now tied for sixth place.
Colgate — The Raiders also picked are starting to gain a foothold for home ice in the playoffs. A big game with Dartmouth looms this weekend.
Brown — Four points for the Bears as well, putting them into a tie for eighth place with momentum on their side. A big test in the North Country this weekend, though.
Harvard — The only ECAC game of the week was a win, but coupled with losses by Dartmouth and Clarkson, Harvard is in second place with three weeks to go.
Vermont — The Cats are sinking deeper into the cellar. A combination of three points lost between them and Princeton and the Cats are done for the season.
Yale — Another weekend of one-goal losses for the Bulldogs. Out of a playoff spot at the moment, they are shaking their heads.
Union — Two weeks ago, the Dutchmen had a great shot at solidifying home ice for the playoffs. Now, two points and four games later, they are hanging on to sixth place.
Dartmouth — The Big Green had one game last weekend, and did not capitalize as they lost to Brown. A chance to move up in the standings became a tie for fourth place.
We Did Okay
St. Lawrence — The Saints really had a must-win game against Union on Saturday and came through on the shoulders of Kevin Ackley. Eighth place, but barely.
Clarkson — The Golden Knights had a chance to take three points on the weekend and move into second; instead, they dropped an overtime decision to Rensselaer, and are third.
Princeton — One point for the Tigers, giving them an edge over Yale by one point for the last playoff spot.
Rolling, Rolling, Rolling
The Big Red continue to roll, as they took their eighth straight ECAC contest and have a solid seven-point lead as they head to Dartmouth and Vermont this weekend.
“We need to take care of ourselves and focus on what we’re doing here,” said head coach Mike Schafer. “It’s the time where everyone starts looking ahead and we go back up against Dartmouth, who beat us at home. That loss at home had the same effect on us as the loss at Harvard; our guys will be very focused on that.”
“We’ll be ready for Dartmouth. Our guys were extremely disappointed that we lost here, and more importantly, in how we lost the game and the power-play goals that we gave up. Our guys are going to be very focused to go back up to Dartmouth; [they] were talking about it after the game on Saturday.”
Note; Cornell’s senior class has never beaten the Big Green.
Raiding The Top Half
The Raiders just keep rolling. A three-point weekend has the Raiders tied for fourth place with Dartmouth. With six games left, only one is with a team ahead of them in the standings — Clarkson.
The Raiders got strong goaltending from David Cann, and another Raider stepped up his game as P.J. Yedon scored twice and helped the Raiders to the tie against Princeton on Friday night.
“That was the best game that [Yedon] has ever played here. The kid was in the zone,” said head coach Don Vaughan. “That line has played well for us. Brad [D'Arco]‘s been playing well too. They like playing together and are best friends. But Yedon was the best player on the ice [Friday].”
The Raiders face a huge matchup against Dartmouth on Saturday, one that could determine playoff positioning as the last two weekends approach.
The Rensselaer Engineers took two games this weekend at home. In one, the Engineers never trailed, winning 3-2 over St. Lawrence, and in the other, they never led until the final second ended. That night, Carson Butterwick capped a comeback as the Engineers overcame a 3-0 deficit with 12:43 left to play and won 4-3 in overtime.
“They didn’t throw in the towel, they didn’t give it up,” said Engineer head coach Dan Fridgen. “We had opportunities but we just kept coming at them and it paid off. They understand how hard it is to come back; the momentum was with us in overtime and it was a great play by Carson.”
The Engineers will head to Princeton and Yale and look to keep the momentum of a four-game unbeaten streak going. They are now three points out of home ice for the playoffs, but have a hard road to go through.
Rebounding For The Bears
The Brown Bears were swept the previous weekend, but came back strong with a weekend sweep of their own, taking down Dartmouth and Vermont to climb into the playoff picture once again and move into eighth place, just four points from a home-ice spot.
It wasn’t easy, as the Bears took a 3-1 lead over Dartmouth and held on for the next 40 minutes, then had to battle Vermont until the very end.
“I didn’t think we played a great game tonight,” head coach Roger Grillo said after the 3-2 win over Vermont. “But we turned it on when we had to in the third. We’re in a position where we can’t sit back now — we have to go out and try to grind out wins just like this one.”
The Crimson Luck Out
The Crimson were fortunate in that they saw their second-place standing remain after Rensselaer came back on Clarkson, but it wasn’t all luck. The Crimson did what they had to do, winning their only ECAC game of the weekend. With the 6-0 defeat of Vermont, the Crimson are seven points behind Cornell, but still have a chance for the Cleary Cup.
“I was very pleased with the way our team played,” said Harvard coach Mark Mazzoleni. “We knew coming into this game that if we have aspirations of a first- or second-place [finish in the ECAC], that this was a must-win for our team.
“I thought we came out with a real attitude tonight. We had a great four-line rotation and played with a lot of energy and on-puck intensity. We kept the puck moving and got it to their net.”
The Crimson head to the North Country and the big battle will be Friday as the Crimson take on Clarkson for second place.
Cornell is opening up a huge gap in the ECAC. We wonder how many ECAC supporters would love for the Big Red to run the table until the ECAC championship game, then lose it?
Why, you ask?
Well, perhaps with that run, the Big Red could get an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament and the tournament champion would get the autobid — two teams in from the ECAC.
Don’t tell me that this hasn’t crossed the minds of many.
The playoff possibilities this weekend include:
Well, at the beginning of the year, we challenged you to see who was better at predicting the ECAC’s year-end standings. Here were the picks:
Challenge Range Becky and Jayson
1. Clarkson (8) 1- 4 1. Cornell
2. Harvard (14) 1- 7 2. Dartmouth
3. Cornell (6) 1- 6 3. Harvard
4. Dartmouth (4) 1- 6 4. Clarkson
5. St. Lawrence 2- 7 5. St. Lawrence
6. Rensselaer 2-10 6. Vermont
7. Vermont 5-10 7. Rensselaer
8. Union 8-11 8. Union
9. Colgate 7-12 9. Colgate
10. Yale 6-12 10. Yale
11. Princeton 7-12 11. Princeton
12. Brown 9-12 12. Brown
So how are we doing? If you give one point for every place away from an exact pick of the current standings, whoever has the fewest points is leading. So who is it?
Let’s take the standings.
8. St. Lawrence
We’ll apply tiebreakers as the ECAC does for the playoffs.
The Colgate-Dartmouth tiebreaker goes to Colgate, as the Raiders defeated the Big Green, 3-2, a few weeks ago.
The Rensselaer-Union tiebreaker goes to Union, as the Dutchmen are 1-0-1against the Engineers this season.
The Brown-St. Lawrence tiebreaker goes to Brown, as the Bears defeated the Saints, 3-2 in overtime, earlier this year.
So the standings for our purposes:
9. St. Lawrence
Now let’s do our comparisons with the points in parentheses.
1. Cornell — Fans (2)/Becky and Jayson (0)
2. Harvard — Fans (0)/Becky and Jayson (1)
3. Clarkson — Fans (2)/Becky and Jayson (1)
4. Colgate — Fans (4)/Becky and Jayson (4)
5. Dartmouth — Fans (1)/Becky and Jayson (3)
6. Union — Fans (2)/Becky and Jayson (2)
7. Rensselaer — Fans (1)/Becky and Jayson (0)
8. Brown — Fans (4)/Becky and Jayson (4)
9. St. Lawrence — Fans (4)/Becky and Jayson (4)
10. Princeton — Fans (1)/Becky and Jayson (1)
11. Yale — Fans (1)/Becky and Jayson (1)
12. Vermont — Fans (5)/Becky and Jayson (6)
We’re even in points once again this week at 27 each. Will someone get a leg up here?
If It’s So Easy, You Try It
The Iron Columnists are coming back after a tie this week by Mike Johnson, but we don’t think he can make it last any longer.
The competition thus far:
Vic Brzozowksi t. The Iron Columnists — 7-2-1
The Iron Columnists d. Vic Brzozowksi — 8-3-1 to 7-4-1
Ben Flickinger d. The Iron Columnists — 11-4-2 to 10-5-2
The Iron Columnists d. Ben Flickinger — 5-1-4 to 4-2-4
John Beaber and Lisa McGill t. The Iron Columnists — 6-7-0
The Iron Columnists d. John Beaber and Lisa McGill — 7-5-3 to 6-6-3
Mike Johnson d. The Iron Columnists — 10-3-1 to 6-7-1
Mike Johnson t. The Iron Columnists — 5-5-2
So, Mike, take another shot at the Iron Columnists! The Iron Columnists are still angry! Whose picks will reign supreme?
Saturday, Feb. 16
And remember that if you are interested in putting your money where your mouth is, drop us an email to be eligible when Mike bites the dust.
Thanks to Jon Paul Morosi, Alex Clark and Sean Peden.
USCHO covers the ECAC all week long on the ECAC Blog, with weekend recaps on Monday, picks on Friday, and updates during the week.