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College Hockey:
First half: That’s a wrap

True, we are only a third of the way into the ECAC Hockey regular-season schedule, but many teams have seen a full 50 percent of their dockets already. Time to make some half-informed assessments!

Let’s face it, QU is the story

No point in tip-toeing around the Most Obvious Fact of the Fall: The Bobcats are 8-0-0 in league play, seven points ahead of second-place Dartmouth (although the Big Green have two games in hand). Quinnipiac has the ECAC’s best offense (3.88 goals per game) and best defense (1.12 goals against per game, nearly half the amount allowed by second-ranked Dartmouth).

Coach Rand Pecknold indicates that his stallions (the Jones twins, Matthew Peca, Jordan Samuels-Thomas, even Jeremy Langlois) have yet to hit full stride. That should be scary, but it may actually prove necessary if the Q hopes to keep up its blistering pace in 2013: 11 of QU’s remaining 17 games (and nine of 14 remaining league games) are against teams currently boasting winning records. (Nine of the Bobcats’ 17 first-half games were against teams that are above .500 today.)

Back on the bright side, history suggests that the Cats are likely just one good weekend away from locking up a first-round home series.

Knights slay Saints

It’s almost like it’s a rivalry.

Clarkson swept Route 11 rival St. Lawrence with wins in Canton and Lake Placid last week, claiming the season series with a game yet to be played (at Cheel Arena on Jan. 19). These were Tech’s first back-to-back victories over SLU since March 8-9, 2002… which were playoff games. At home.

So suffice to say, this doesn’t happen very often.

Granted, these tilts were not played on consecutive evenings – Clarkson topped SLU 4-1 at Appleton last Wednesday, and 3-1 in LP on Saturday – but there is no denying that it was a much-celebrated sweep for the guys in green & gold. Freshman goalie Greg Lewis stopped 34 of 35 shots for the Knights, the results sent SLU to its first two-game – then three-game – losing streaks of the year, and for an extra dash of salt it should be noted that the outcomes postponed a 1,000th-victory celebration for the St. Lawrence program for at least another week. The Saints’ next millenial bid: Saturday, at home against Vermont.

Michalek leaves Harvard… for now

If you were only looking at stats, this wouldn’t be worthy of much mention – and it still may well not be, in the long run – but I was finally able to get confirmation from Harvard head coach Ted Donato that highly regarded goaltending prospect Steve Michalek has left school for Cedar Rapids of the USHL, but that both parties hope for his return to the program at a later point in time.

The six-foot-two Minnesota Wild draft pick played in 24 games last season, and was the de facto No. 1 goalie for the Crimson for the first half of the season before sophomore (now junior) Raphael Girard took the reins. Michalek finished his rookie season with an .894 save rate and 3.19 goals-against average, and did not see any action this fall.

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