Goaltender Charles Grant backstopped the Big Green’s road sweep of Yale in the quarterfinals. Next up: a semifinal game against top seed Quinnipiac.
Last week: 8-3-1
It might be the second-to-last regular season weekend in ECAC Hockey, but it’s my final weekend of picks for the 2015-16 regular season, as colleague Josh Weinreb will handle the blog next week. I had a good time last time out; let’s see if that continues this weekend. All games start at 7 p.m.
Friday, Feb. 18
Clarkson at Brown
The wins have kept on coming for a healthy Golden Knights team, while the Bears have been hit with a slew of injuries and haven’t won since Jan. 3. Clarkson wins
Cornell at Harvard
The second half hasn’t been kind to the Big Red. Cornell had a three-point weekend on the road two weeks ago, but outside of that the Big Red have only two points in conference play since the start of January. Harvard hasn’t had the easiest go of it either, but I’ll take the Crimson, especially at home. Harvard wins
Quinnipiac at Rensselaer
Last Friday marked the first ECAC loss of the season for Quinnipiac. The Bobcats have slowed a bit in the second half, but are still dangerous, especially against an RPI team that is 1-4 over its last five games. Quinnipiac wins
Princeton at Union
Both these teams will likely be on the road for the ECAC playoffs, but I like the Dutchmen a little better right now. Union wins
St. Lawrence at Yale
This should be a fun game, as both teams have good speed and outstanding goaltending. The Bulldogs have won five in a row despite numerous injuries. I’ll give the Bulldogs a slight edge. Yale wins
Colgate at Dartmouth
The Big Green have put together some offensive spurts in the second half, while Colgate has struggled defensively for much of the season. Dartmouth wins
Saturday, Feb. 19
St. Lawrence at Brown
Brown has a great first line, but little other scoring in the lineup, while the Saints have eleven players with at least five goals. St. Lawrence has the edge in defense and goaltending, and that should be enough to send them home with a win. St. Lawrence wins
Princeton at Rensselaer
The Tigers haven’t won a league game in over two months, while RPI needs every point it can get in order to stay in the race for a first-round bye. Rensselaer wins
Quinnipiac at Union
Quinnipiac rolled over Union 5-0 in Hamden the last time these teams met. It shouldn’t be that lopsided this time around, but the Bobcats should come out with another win. Quinnipiac wins
Clarkson at Yale
As hot as the Golden Knights have been, the Bulldogs might be the one team in the league that is hotter. Should be a close game, but I think Yale has a slight edge. Yale wins
Cornell at Dartmouth
Yes, Cornell has struggled lately, but I could see goalie Mitch Gillam stealing two points for the Big Red. Cornell wins
Colgate at Harvard
It’s been a season-long struggle for the Raiders, who won’t be playing any postseason home games in Starr Rink’s final season. Harvard is in the fight for a first-round bye, and the Crimson’s forwards might to be too much for Colgate to handle. Harvard wins
With two weeks left in the regular season, there’s still plenty at stake in ECAC Hockey.
First-place Quinnipiac has clinched a first-round bye for the conference playoffs, while second-place Yale is in a good position to join the Bobcats in the top four.
At the bottom of the standings, Princeton, Brown, Colgate, and Union appear set to head on the road for the playoffs.
However, in between those six teams sits a tight race, with third-place Harvard separated from eighth-place Cornell by only five points. Those teams will meet in Cambridge on Friday night.
Another matchup down the road to keep an eye on is Yale at Quinnipiac on Feb. 27, the final night of the regular season. The Bobcats currently hold a five-point lead over the second place Bulldogs, but Yale (more on them below) has won five in a row, the fourth-best unbeaten streak in the country.
Bulldogs finishing strong
A road sweep at Colgate and Cornell is an achievement on its own. But the fact that Yale did it shorthanded makes it even more impressive.
The Bulldogs were without senior defenseman Rob O’Gara, who was suspended for two games by the league. Injuries to other players meant that Yale only dressed 17 skaters for both games this weekend.
The line of John Hayden, Stu Wilson and Joe Snively has emerged as legitimate offensive threat down the stretch for Yale. Couple that with an outstanding defensive group and goalie Alex Lyon, and the Bulldogs will be a dangerous opponent in the playoffs.
Saints on the rebound
A month ago, St. Lawrence was in the midst of a five-game losing streak. It’s turned around since then for the Saints, as the team enters the final four games of the regular season on a 6-1-1 run that has helped St. Lawrence move into fourth place. The team’s six-game unbeaten streak is the third-best active stretch in the country.
The Saints have averaged over three goals per game during that stretch, while holding its opponents to under two goals per game. Like Yale, St. Lawrence’s is strong on defense and has an outstanding goalie in sophomore Kyle Hayton. If the Saints keep it up, they’ll be a good bet to make it to Lake Placid for the second season in a row.
A look ahead at this weekend’s matchups in ECAC Hockey:
Friday, Feb. 12
Princeton at No. 20 Clarkson
A five-game winning streak has put the Golden Knights back into the top 20. It’s been an impressive run and has put No. 20 Clarkson back into the hunt for playoff positioning. With momentum on its side, at home against rebuilding Princeton, this one shouldn’t be a problem. Keyword: shouldn’t. Clarkson 4, Princeton 1
No. 10 Yale at Colgate
Wins against Dartmouth, Rensselaer and Harvard have pulled the Bulldogs up the rankings headed into the season’s final stretch. Now sitting at No. 10, Yale faces a Colgate team that is 11 points under .500 and has lost five of its last six games. With these two teams going in opposite directions, it’ll be hard not to pick the obvious outcome. Yale 5, Colgate 2
Brown at No. 15 Cornell
After finally stopping the bleeding, both literally and figuratively for Cornell coach Mike Schafer, the Big Red look to continue getting back on track. A matchup against Brown, winners of only four games this season and the sole occupier of the ECAC basement, might just be what the doctor ordered. Cornell 4, Brown 1
Union at Dartmouth
Dartmouth’s 5-1 loss to Yale last weekend pushed the Big Green out of the top 20 rankings. They face a hungry Union team that still has one of the worst records within the conference, though its overall record is much more favorable. The Dutchmen have won only once in their past six games, though the victory came against highly ranked Yale. Union 3, Dartmouth 3
No. 18 Rensselaer at No. 9 Harvard
The first of two great matchups this weekend. RPI has slipped in its past three games, all losses in outstanding fashion against St. Lawrence, Clarkson and Yale. Though its recent stretch has not been favorable, the Engineers still have the foundation of a solid first half to turn things around relatively quickly. For Harvard, with rival Yale right on its tail, every win counts. In their past six, the Crimson are 3-3. Harvard 4, RPI 3
No. 1 Quinnipiac at St. Lawrence
Given St. Lawrence’s past few games, it seems the turnaround may be complete. A matchup against the No. 1 Bobcats should be a good measuring stick for the Saints this weekend. Is the five-game losing streak of early January really in the past? Or does its remnants still linger? Quinnipiac 2, St. Lawrence 1
Saturday, Feb. 13
No. 1 Quinnipiac at No. 20 Clarkson
An interesting matchup, particularly one for the Knights, who are trying to stake a much more permanent position in college hockey’s top 20. But this puts Clarkson in a vulnerable position. Quinnipiac, you could argue, has less to lose here. For Clarkson, it’s time to make a statement. If it doesn’t, it might lose its chance. Quinnipiac 3, Clarkson 0
No. 10 Yale at No. 15 Cornell
Game of the weekend, part two. Yale might have caught the Big Red at the right time, still recovering from its most recent woes. The Bulldogs have had some success against the top 20′s fringe teams, including RPI and Dartmouth. For Cornell, Saturday’s game against Yale will be a chance to signal the turnaround complete. Cornell 3, Yale 2
No. 18 Rensselaer at Dartmouth
The outlook on this game could change depending on how beat up RPI is after its game against Harvard on Friday. Dartmouth seems adamant about not going down quietly this season, and a team that it has already beaten this season might be a chance to gain some ground. Dartmouth 4, RPI 2
Union at No. 9 Harvard
If Jimmy Vesey and Harvard can take care of RPI, then Union should feel like a cake walk. The Dutchmen hold one of the worst records within the conference this season. And depending on how well Yale does this weekend, Harvard will want to maintain its positioning. Harvard 5, Union 2
Princeton at St. Lawrence
Probably not a very enticing matchup on paper, but St. Lawrence still has some fighting to do and can’t afford to take games against rebuilding Princeton for granted. For the Tigers, however, this might be a good chance to pounce on yet another win in Ron Fogarty’s second season. St. Lawrence 3, Princeton 1
A few things gleaned from the weekend in ECAC Hockey:
Cornell stops the bleeding
It wasn’t the result they wanted on Friday, but it was a start. Either way, it was the first successful weekend the Big Red has had since Jan. 9 — a 0-5-1 stretch. After a 2-2 tie with Quinnipiac and a 1-0 victory over Princeton, Cornell now hopes it has turned a corner. The drop cost the Big Red spots in the national rankings and their place in the ECAC Hockey standings. But with Brown and Yale coming to town next week, maybe they can continue to put the past few weeks in the rear-view mirror.
Yale finding a way
It couldn’t have gotten much better for the Bulldogs last weekend, two decisive wins over No. 20 Dartmouth and No. 7 Harvard. Consistency has been an issue for Yale this season, but the team seems like it’s geared up for a late-season surge in the standings. Yale has gone 7-1-2 in its last 10 games since the New Year, and sits at No. 10 nationally.
Clarkson making it count
Don’t look now, but the Golden Knights have won five in a row. Their most recent victims were Union and RPI, an Engineers team that has taken a turn for the worse since Christmas. Clarkson seems to have found its offense, having outscored opponents 17-5 in the streak. Sam Vigneault leads the way with 10 goals and 22 points. Though Clarkson’s early-season struggles put it in the middle of the ECAC standings, this might be a chance to gain some ground. Princeton and Quinnipiac come to town next week.
Last time: 5-3-2
It’s the stretch run in ECAC Hockey. Seems hard to believe, doesn’t it? There are just three-season weekends left after this, so look for the standings to start to take shape as teams make a final push. All games are 7 p.m. unless noted.
Friday, Feb. 5
Harvard at Brown
Harvard is coming off another disappointing Beanpot opener, as the Crimson lost to Boston College 3-2 on Monday. Harvard had won three in a row prior to that, while Brown is in the midst of a seven-game winless streak. The Bears have gotten production from the trio of Tommy Marchin, Nick Lappin, and Mark Naclerio, but minimal offense from the rest of the lineup. That could be a problem against a Crimson team that may have one of the deepest forward groups in the conference. Harvard wins
Colgate at Princeton
It hasn’t been a great season for either team, but the Tigers are at home and have goalie Colton Phinney, who is averaging just over 34 saves per game this season. Princeton wins
Cornell at Quinnipiac
It’s been a tough month for the Big Red, who haven’t won since Jan. 9, going 0-5-1 in that span, including a pair of overtime losses at Clarkson and St. Lawrence last weekend. Quinnipiac has kept winning, although it hasn’t been as dominant as it was earlier in the season. I’m not sure if the Big Red will be able to keep up offensively with the Bobcats. Quinnipiac wins
St. Lawrence at Rensselaer
St. Lawrence seems to have moved past its midseason slump, as the Saints have won three of its last four. However, I like RPI at home, as the Engineers have been good at protecting the front of the net for goalie Jason Kasdorf. Rensselaer wins
Clarkson at Union
Clarkson hasn’t won at Messa Rink since March 6, 2005, while the Dutchmen own a 15-1 record in the last 16 meetings between the teams. But the Golden Knights are on a 4-0-1 run and have been a much better team once it has gotten back to full strength in the second half. Clarkson wins
Dartmouth at Yale
Outside of a heartbreaking 7-5 loss to Quinnipiac last weekend, the Big Green have been one of the hottest teams in the country of the last several weeks. Yale had an eight-game unbeaten streak snapped last Friday, but rebounded with a 3-0 win over RPI on Saturday. I think the Bulldogs will pick up where they left off last weekend. Yale wins
Saturday, Feb. 6
Dartmouth at Brown
These teams are trending in opposite directions heading into the season’s final month, and the Big Green have won the last four meetings between the teams as well. Dartmouth wins
Cornell at Princeton
A struggling Cornell offense won’t have an easy go of it against Phinney, but he might have little room for error, as Princeton hasn’t exactly been scoring at a prolific rate this season either. Cornell wins
Colgate at Quinnipiac
Defense has been a problem for the Raiders for most of the season, but Colgate hasn’t scored more than two goals in any of its last five games. That doesn’t bode well against a Quinnipiac team that has been good in both zones for much of the season. Quinnipiac wins
Clarkson at Rensselaer
I picked the Golden Knights to end their lengthy drought at Union, but I don’t think that will carry over to Saturday. This game is the annual Big Red Freakout and the home crowd should be ready to go. Rensselaer wins
St. Lawrence at Union
The Dutchmen beat Yale, a strong defensive team with speed, last weekend on the road. St. Lawrence fits that profile, but I think the Saints will pull out a win against Union. St. Lawrence wins
Harvard at Yale
These teams skated to a 2-2 tie during November’s game in Cambridge. It should be another close one Saturday, but the Bulldogs should have enough to shut down Harvard’s prolific offense. Yale wins
Monday, Feb. 8
Northeastern vs. Harvard (Beanpot consolation game), 4:30 p.m.
This is a game both teams have found themselves in too often over the years. While it’s hard to get up for the consolation matchup, the Crimson could use a win here to help propel them to a strong stretch run to close the season. Harvard wins
Several lengthy unbeaten streaks for ECAC Hockey teams came to an end over the weekend.
Yale owned a six-game unbeaten streak entering play on Friday, but looked flat in a 2-1 loss to Union. However, the Bulldogs rebounded on Saturday, beating a Rensselaer team that entered the night with six-game unbeaten streak, one that was extended Friday after the Engineers rallied from a 3-0 deficit at Brown.
And finally, Dartmouth saw its five-game winning streak come to a halt Friday, as Quinnipiac scored six third-period goals in a wild 7-5 Bobcats win. More on that below.
Quinnipiac stages wild comeback against Dartmouth
It was a quite a night in Hanover Friday, as Quinnipiac erased deficits of 4-1 and 5-2 against a Big Green team that had allowed eight goals during its five-game winning streak. Dartmouth hadn’t been called for penalty all game, but the Big Green were whistled for two infractions in the final period that resulted in a pair of Quinnipiac power-play goals.
Sam Anas scored twice in a span of just over four minutes to tie it, while Bo Pieper’s second goal of the season put the Bobcats ahead for good at 15:16. Harvard’s Jimmy Vesey is considered a favorite for the Hobey Baker award, but Anas’ 17 goals and 32 points in 26 games should put him in the conversation as well.
The win pushed Quinnipiac’s league record to 11-0-3;. The Bobcats have a six-point lead over second-place Harvard and have only lost one game all year; a 4-1 setback to non-conference opponent Boston University on Dec. 12. It wasn’t all bad for the Big Green, as Dartmouth rebounded with a 2-0 win over Princeton Saturday and only sit a point behind fourth-place Cornell.
Brown’s Lappin hit 100 career points
Stuck in a five-game losing streak, Bears head coach Brendan Whittet broke up the trio of Tommy Marchin, Nick Lappin, and Mark Naclerio for Saturday’s game with Union. Sophomore Charlie Corcoran centered Marchin and Lappin, while Naclerio slid on a to a line with Davey Middleton and Alex Brink.
It worked somewhat, as Brown and Union played to a 2-2 tie, with Lappin posting his 100th career point on first-period goal. Regardless of what line he skates on, Naclerio should join Lappin in the 100-point club soon; the senior currently has 97.
Here’s a look at this weekend’s games featuring ECAC Hockey teams:
Friday, Jan. 29
No. 16 Rensselaer at Brown
RPI is coming off a 5-2 win against Union last weekend and two ties to Quinnipiac and Colgate, giving it a 13-7-6 record heading into the season’s final stretch. While the Engineers have maintained their position within the ECAC, Brown has struggled. The Bears are in the midst of a four game losing streak. RPI should have no trouble with this one.
No. 14 Cornell at Clarkson
Cornell has struggled since mid-January, going 0-3-1 in their its four games. A 3-0 loss to Dartmouth on Jan. 22 and a 1-0 loss to RPI on Jan. 15 have been in stark contrast to the strong performances the Big Red put on display in the season’s first half. They’ll look to get back on track against Clarkson, a team that continues to break out of its .500 record.
No. 1 Quinnipiac at Dartmouth
Although you probably wouldn’t think it, this weekend’s biggest game is between the No. 1 team in the country and unranked Dartmouth in Hanover, N.H. Quinnipiac, as coach Rand Pecknold said last week, has struggled since Christmas. Dartmouth, on the other hand, is on a five-game winning streak. If there’s a time to face the Bobcats, it’s now. And they might be ripe for the taking.
Princeton at No. 7 Harvard
Harvard has kept its composure this season, solidifying it with a two-game sweep last weekend against Colgate and Cornell. Princeton, still in rebuild mode, will have a tough challenge against the Crimson.
Colgate at St. Lawrence
St. Lawrence has dropped out of the top 20, and for good reason. The Saints have gone 1-5 over their last six games, including ugly losses to Clarkson and Dartmouth. The others have been one-goal nail-biters, and while that might not say much about the program in general it does speak to their fortunes. Colgate might be the right elixir to fix their woes.
Union at No. 11 Yale
Yale has moved into fourth place in the ECAC standings with a 6-3-3 record within the conference. While its conference record might not be impressive, its overall record certainly is: 12-4-4 with a little more than a month and a half still to play. The Bulldogs face a Union team that has gone 2-7-3 within the ECAC.
Saturday, Jan. 30
Union at Brown
A battle of two of the bottom-feeder teams in the ECAC, with Brown slightly below the Dutchmen in the standings. Union’s record overall (9-9-6) is much better than the Bears’, which might work to its advantage.
Colgate at Clarkson
Another battle of two of the bottom teams in the conference. Colgate is coming off of losses to surging Dartmouth and strong Harvard last weekend. Clarkson, on the other hand, went off on Brown in a 5-0 win last Saturday. Offensively, at least, the edge might go to the Knights.
Princeton at Dartmouth
After facing the No. 1 team in the country on Friday, the Big Green will face rebuilding Princeton in Hanover. Either way, it’ll be a stark contrast to their game the night before, but a good chance to escape the weekend with at least one victory.
No. 14 Cornell at St. Lawrence
Given all the struggles Cornell has faced, a matchup against the struggling Saints might be just what the doctor ordered. The Big Red will be looking for their first win since Jan. 9.
No. 16 Rensselaer at No. 11 Yale
If momentum was a factor, Yale would have the advantage against two top-20 teams. The Bulldogs are 3-0-1 in their last four but have faced struggling Brown twice, Clarkson once and St. Lawrence once. RPI might be their first test down the stretch.
Monday, Feb. 1
No. 7 Harvard at No. 5 Boston College
Day one of the 2016 Beanpot is Monday night. Harvard still has its 6-5 loss to Boston University on its mind from Jan. 7, and will be looking for some revenge against its cross-town rival. One thing’s for sure: We’re looking forward to the Jimmy Vesey show.
Here are some notes from the weekend in ECAC Hockey:
Cornell struggles offensively
The Big Red managed only two goals this weekend, both of which came in a 6-2 loss to No. 9 Harvard on Saturday. Cornell is 0-3-1 in its last four since Jan. 15, a midseason skid that is in stark contrast to its strong first half. The team is 11-5-3 overall, 6-4-2 within the conference, with a chance next weekend against surging Clarkson and sliding St. Lawrence to stop the bleeding. One thing is for sure: Mitch Gillam and the Big Red defense need to be better.
Dartmouth extends winning streak
Don’t look now, but Dartmouth is in the midst of a five-game winning streak, including a 3-0 shutout win over No. 10 Cornell on Friday. For a team that struggled through the first half, this second-half resurgence is particularly impressive. The Big Green have outscored opponents 20-8 through the five-game stretch, led by seniors Jack Barre and Brett Patterson with seven goals each. On Friday, Dartmouth will host Quinnipiac, the No. 1 team that continued to tread water through another week with ties to Maine and Rensselaer. If there’s any time to face the Bobcats, it’s now.
RPI wins the Mayor’s Cup
The Engineers swept the season series against Union with a 5-2 victory on Saturday, getting help from five different goal scorers to do so. RPI is third behind Quinnipiac and Harvard in the ECAC standings, dropping a spot after the Crimson swept their weekend games against Colgate and Cornell. It is also ranked No. 16 nationally. But consistency hasn’t been the Engineers’ friend as of late — they’ve gone 2-2-2 in their last six games. Ties to Colgate and Quinnipiac have sent mixed signals. But if RPI will have a chance to make some noise down the stretch, it’ll be behind the play of goaltender Jason Kasdorf. RPI will play Brown and No. 12 Yale next weekend.
Last time: 4-8-3
Here’s a look at the schedule for the next few days in ECAC Hockey. All games start at 7 p.m. unless noted.
Thursday, Jan. 21
Rensselaer at Quinnipiac
It’s a meeting of the first and second place teams in the ECAC in a rare Thursday night conference game. At this point, Quinnipiac looks to have first place locked up, and now it’s just a matter of determining which teams get the last three first-round byes. While the Engineers only have one loss in their last eight games, the Bobcats are clearly the class of the league right now. Quinnipiac wins
Friday, Jan. 22
Yale at Clarkson
Lost amongst Quinnipiac’s year-long dominance has been Yale’s recent play. The Bulldogs are on a six-game unbeaten streak that stretches back to December. Clarkson has picked it up recently as well, as the Golden Knights have won three of their last four. Goalie Alex Lyon stole a game for the Bulldogs last Friday, and I think he and Yale’s power play (ranked tenth in the country) could be the difference against a Clarkson team that scored five goals against Harvard last weekend, but has struggled to score goals for stretches this season. Yale wins
Harvard at Colgate
Both teams have strong power-play units, so really it could come down to which one does the best job staying out of the box. The Raiders and the Crimson have several impressive forwards, but I like Harvard’s depth a little better. Harvard wins
Dartmouth at Cornell
Outside of Yale, there might not be a hotter ECAC team than Dartmouth over the last few weeks. The Big Green are 5-1 in 2016, including a sweep against Clarkson and St. Lawrence at home last weekend. This should be a tight game, but it’s hard to pick against Cornell’s season-long steady play, especially given that the Big Red are at home. Cornell wins
Brown at St. Lawrence
It’s been a rough go of things lately for the Saints, who are stuck in a five-game losing streak. The Bears outplayed Yale for stretches last Friday, and Brown’s top line of Tommy Marchin, Mark Naclerio, and Nick Lappin is quietly one of the better in the conference. But Brown had some turnover problems against the Bulldogs on Friday, and that could hurt them against a St. Lawrence team that plays at a fast pace. St. Lawrence wins
Saturday, January 22
Brown at Clarkson
Clarkson is 7-1-1 at home this year, so it’s tough to pick them to get swept at Cheel this weekend. Still, the Bears top line should be able to generate enough offense for Brown to head home with two points. Brown wins
Dartmouth at Colgate
Freshman Adam Dauda’s arrival has given the Raiders some needed depth, and the defense allowed four goals in a three-point weekend last time out against Union and RPI. Those are good signs for a struggling Colgate team, but Dartmouth has been playing extremely well lately and it’s tough to pick against the Big Green. Dartmouth wins
Harvard at Cornell
Harvard’s ridden a high-powered offense this year, but might have a hard time creating chances against the Big Red’s rock-solid defense. Cornell has shown the ability to score goals this season, and that should be enough to keep up with the Crimson. Cornell wins
Yale at St. Lawrence
This should be an entertaining game, as both teams play an up-tempo style and move up the ice quickly. But Yale’s Alex Lyon and St. Lawrence’s Kyle Hayton are arguably two of the best goaltenders in the conference, so don’t expect a lot of goals. Yale’s shown the ability to finish its chances lately and that should give them the edge. Yale wins
Union at Rensselaer, 7:30 p.m. (Mayor’s Cup)
Union looked like it was getting back on track earlier in the month, as a 5-4 win over Robert Morris on Jan. 3 pushed the Dutchman’s unbeaten streak to seven games. But Union is 0-2-2 since then, while the Engineers are 2-1-2 since returning from the holiday break. RPI is dealing with some injuries, but it’s a veteran team that shouldn’t repeat last year’s 8-3 loss to Union in the Mayor’s Cup. Rensselaer wins
Tuesday, Jan. 26
American International at Princeton
The Tigers are back in action for the first time since Jan. 8 following the school’s exam break. Princeton has show signs of improvement this season, and it should start the stretch run with a win against an American International team that doesn’t have a non-conference win this year. Princeton wins
While neighboring Quinnipiac has been in the spotlight for its 19-1-3 start, Yale has been on an impressive run of its own over the last month.
A sweep of travel partner Brown last weekend pushed the Bulldogs record to 5-0-1 since Dec. 11.
It wasn’t an easy weekend for Yale, however. The Bulldogs trailed 1-0 early on Friday against the Bears and were outplayed for stretches of the game. Yale was bailed out thanks to a season-high 34 saves from goalie Alex Lyon. It was another close game on Saturday, as Ted Hart scored in overtime to give Yale a 2-1 win.
It was a relatively quiet weekend for the officials in the series, as there were a combined four penalties called in both games, including only one (against Brown) in Friday’s game. That’s not surprising given that the Bears (60th) and the Bulldogs (59th) are each currently ranked in the bottom of Division I in terms of penalties minutes per game.
“That’s discipline and respect for the game,” said Yale freshman JM Piotrowski of the Bulldog’s low penalty total. Piotrowski’s first collegiate goal on Friday was the game winner against Brown, and came after Cody Learned forced a turnover in the Bears zone.
“You finish every hit but you don’t go over the line. For example [Friday] Cody makes a big hit and separates the guy from the puck and I’m able to go in and have a scoring chance.”
Friday’s game was the first time since early November that Yale forward Mike Doherty was in the lineup. The junior led the team in goals last season, and is averaging just under a point a game this year. While coach Keith Allain said the Bulldogs aren’t entirely healthy yet, Doherty’s return adds some needed depth to the team down the stretch.
North Country Teams heading in different directions
St. Lawrence was a force in the second half last year, only losing four regular season games in January and February. The Saints have already surpassed that number in the last ten days, as losses at Harvard and Dartmouth pushed St. Lawrence’s losing skid to five, dating to Jan. 8.
The good news for St. Lawrence is that it only has two more weekends on the road over the last month-and-half of the season. SLU hosts Brown and Yale this weekend.
As for Clarkson, the Golden Knights beat Harvard 5-1 Saturday after a loss to Dartmouth Friday. Saturday’s win was the second conference win for Clarkson after not winning a league game for the first three months of the season. Overall, the Golden Knights are 3-1 since a five-game losing streak that spanned December and January.
Big Green Streaking
Dartmouth’s impressive run in 2016 continued this weekend, as the Big Green swept Clarkson and St. Lawrence at home to move to 5-1 since the start of January.
It took some time for Dartmouth to come together, but the recent stretch has pushed the Big Green to .500 overall and in ECAC play as well. The team is also currently tied for 19th in the PairWise.
Senior Charles Grant continued his strong play with 62 saves over the weekend, while senior forward Jack Barre in second in the league in points since the start of January, only trailing Harvard’s Jimmy Vesey.