Welp, there are no more perfect teams in the ECAC… it will be up to the Ivies to try to duplicate Dartmouth’s accomplishment last year of being the last unbeaten team in Division 1. That said, Union (!!) is the only active league member under .500, somehow, as ECAC Hockey is currently 16-8-3 in early non-conference play. On to the details!
Bobcats making a splash
Rensselaer (2-0-0), Quinnipiac (2-0-0) and Clarkson (1-0-1) finished the weekend unbeaten, though it was perhaps the Bobcats – stop me if you’ve heard this before – who notched the most impressive results, preseason No. 1 UMass-Lowell 3-1, 3-1 in a home-and-home series.
They did so without the services of highly regarded rookie defenseman Devon Toews (injured against Alaska-Anchorage), and in spite of 12 penalties over the two nights. Yet the Q-Cats did what they do best: Kill penalties (all 12), block shots (over three dozen, possibly four), and score timely goals (2 for 9 on the power play). Five different Bobcats scored, including two from senior Jordan Samuels-Thomas, who finished the weekend with four points. QU improved to 3-1 on the season, dropping ninth-ranked and fellow 2013 Frozen Four participant UML to 1-3.
RPI heating up
RPI notched a bounce-back 3-1 win at No. 15 Boston University on Friday, fresh off last Sunday’s 7-2 shellacking at Boston College. The Engineers returned home to snuff out Sacred Heart 7-1 on Saturday, but the real story of the weekend may be the play of junior winger Ryan Haggerty. The Stamford, Conn. sniper tallied a dozen goals and 26 points last season, but is well on his way to shattering those numbers with a nation-best seven goals in four games this fall. The undrafted National Development Team alumnus scored twice against BU on Friday and added a hat trick Saturday. Meanwhile, junior Scott Diebold – in for the injured Jason Kasdorf – is now 2-0 with a .948 save rate and a 1.31 goals-against average.
Dutchmen drop deuce to Lakers
Union stumbled at home against unbeaten handful Lake Superior State, 6-5 and 3-2. Each side had 11 power plays on the weekend, with Union converting on three of those chances, and LSSU, two. Union out-shot the Lakers by the immense margin of 82-40 as well, which means all signs point to hot goaltending in the visitors’ net. That goalie was… two goalies.
The senior battery of Kevin Murdock (five goals against, 29 saves on Friday) and Kevin Kapalka (two goals, 46 stops Saturday) kept the Dutchmen at bay just often enough to pull out a pair of unlikely road wins, dropping Union to 1-2-1… all at home. Union has out-shot its guests in all four games (138-87 in total), but is barely ahead in the goal aggregate, 15-14. That means the U is shooting at an 11 percent success rate, but surrendering goals on 16 percent of shots-against. That’s simply not going to get it done over the long haul: Who was the last team to win a title with a save percentage of .839?