The first full weekend of ECAC action was an unpredictable one. Action abounded across the conference, with upsets including RPI’s stunning 4-2 victory over then-No. 1 Vermont, and Yale 5-2 over Clarkson.
Three teams managed a sweep of their opponents; they currently sit atop the ECAC standings.
Pos School ECAC Record Pts
1 Colgate 2-0-0 4 Cornell 2-0-0 4 Rensselaer 2-0-0 4 4 Clarkson 1-1-0 2 Princeton 1-1-0 2 St. Lawrence 1-1-0 2 Union 1-1-0 2 Vermont 1-1-0 2 Yale 1-1-0 2 Harvard 1-2-0 2 11 Dartmouth 0-2-0 0 Brown 0-3-0 0
This weekend the action continues — there are no non-ECAC opponents on the docket for any of the 12 teams.
Dartmouth (1-2-0, 0-2-0 ECAC) & No. 3 Vermont (5-1-0, 1-1-0 ECAC) at No. 10 Colgate (5-1-0, 2-0-0 ECAC) Friday 7:30 p.m., Saturday 7:00 p.m., Starr Rink, Hamilton, NY
No. 3 Vermont (5-1-0, 1-1-0 ECAC) & Dartmouth (1-2-0, 0-2-0 ECAC) at Cornell (2-0-0, 2-0-0 ECAC) Friday 7:30 p.m., Saturday 7:00 p.m., Lynah Rink, Ithaca, NY
Dartmouth lost their opening games on the ECAC schedule to Union and RPI, 7-3 and 5-4. One of the keys to the losses was the Big Green’s inability to stay out of the penalty box. Union was 3-of-9 on the power play, and RPI 2-of-8. At the same time, Dartmouth had a hard time scoring on their own man advantages. A 3-of-13 weekend included no goals on three separate 5-on-3 power plays against Union.
Curtis Wilgosh, Jon Sturgis, and Bill Kelleher netted their first goals of the year for the Big Green. Scott Baker made a total of 59 saves on the weekend, but gave up 12 goals for an .831 save percentage.
Vermont’s reign as number one lasted exactly one game. Upset by the Engineers of RPI, and then pushed to the limit by the Union Dutchmen, the Catamounts were reeling after the weekend.
"We’ve got a lot of work to do to get as good as we were last year," said UVM head coach Mike Gilligan. "Things that we haven’t done well all season consistently caught us."
The French Connection with American Protection line went scoreless on the weekend. Tim Thomas was off his game on Friday, but rebounded with 43 saves against Union in earning his ninth career shutout.
Cornell and Colgate swept Harvard and Brown in their ECAC openers with impressive victories. Cornell is the only perfect team left in Division I, with a record of 2-0-0. Jason Elliot is once again the premier man in the nets as he made 59 saves over two games and won both with some spectacular saves.
Expect a healthy Ryan Smart this weekend. He returned last weekend, but was not at full strength. He should be almost 100% this time. Freshman Ryan Moynihan has been impressiv, with four points against the Ivy League rivals. Darren Tymschyshyn has also caught the eye this season, as the UIC transfer has made an impact.
Colgate is running on all cylinders so far. At 6-1, they have faced some stiff competition and their premier players are still at it. Mike Harder added five points (two goals, three assists) to make his ECAC-leading total of 16. Dave DeBusschere is not far behind at 14 points, adding two goals and one assist on the weekend.
Dan Brenzavich continues to keep Colgate in the close games, as evidenced in Cambridge (24 saves) and Providence.
Dartmouth at Colgate: Colgate’s offensive power is highly respected. The Big Green have had trouble staying out of the penalty box, but if they can, they have a great chance. Even if they don’t, Harder and DeBusschere are too much for Dartmouth. Colgate 8, Dartmouth 3
Vermont at Cornell: An early-season ECAC Game of the Year candidate. Cornell has started where they left off last year, and this past weekend will leave doubts in the Catamounts’ minds. Cornell is not as gifted in the forward position as they were last year (see Chartrand, Brad). Can the French Connection be held scoreless for a third straight game? The last two games in this series ended in 2-2 ties, and Cornell has not lost to UVM since February of 1994. Tough, tough one here. Let’s call it a draw — in fact, let’s call it the same score as both games last year. Cornell 2, Vermont 2
Dartmouth at Cornell: Dartmouth looks to avoid a season-opening four-game losing streak, which they had last year. Again, the special teams will play a huge role, as Cornell burned Brown for three power-play goals on four chances in one period alone. Cornell is too much as Dartmouth gets blown away again. Cornell 7, Dartmouth 3
Vermont at Colgate: Another potential showstopper. This is going to be a real blitzkrieg if talent on paper translates to the ice. With great scoring power on both ends, the difference will be the goaltenders: Tim Thomas vs. Dan Brenzavich. Colgate falls for the first time in the ECAC on the strength of All-Everything Thomas. Vermont 5, Colgate 3
Harvard (1-2-0, 1-2-0 ECAC) & Brown(0-3-0, 0-3-0 ECAC) at Yale (1-1-0, 1-1-0 ECAC) Friday 7:30 p.m., Saturday 7:00 p.m., Ingalls Rink, New Haven, CT
Brown (0-3-0, 0-3-0 ECAC) & Harvard (1-2-0, 1-2-0 ECAC) at Princeton (2-1-0,1-1-0 ECAC) Friday 7:30 p.m., Saturday 7:00 p.m., Baker Rink, Princeton, NJ
It’s an Ivy weekend for these teams, with key games all around.
Harvard was without Henry Higdon and Ethan Philpott last weekend, but both are due back before Friday. Rob Millar continues to pick up the scoring slack — he registered two goals last weekend.
Harvard is trying a new defensive philosophy this season. It has worked to an extent, as the Crimson held Colgate and Cornell to five combined goals. The key has been the net play of freshman J.R. Prestifilippo, whose 34 saves against the Red Raiders and 27 against the Big Red helped keep the Crimson in the game.
The Bears of Brown were starting to click this weekend. Faults still remain on D, especially in the penalty kill. They gave up three power-play g oals on four attempts to Colgate in the second period last weekend. Jeff Holowaty tried to keep them in the games, as he stood on his head with 30+ saves each night.
Jade Kersey headed the offense last weekend with a goal and two assists, and freshman Dustin Sventy got his first goal, as well as an assist.
The Bulldogs lost at St. Lawrence 7-3, and then pulled the upset of Saturday night as they defeated Clarkson 5-2. ECAC All-Rookie Team member Alex Westlund came in to relieve Dan Choquette in Friday’s game and made 16 saves for half the game. He then turned back 31 shots in the win against Clarkson.
A young Yale team saw their forwards start scoring as junior Geoff Kufta put two goals and an assist on the board at Cheel Arena. Sophomore John Chyz also had two goals and an assist on the weekend, and Jeff Hamilton and Keith McCullough had three assists each.
Don Cahoon’s Princeton Tigers lost their ECAC opener to Clarkson 5-2, and then defeated St. Lawrence 4-3. The goaltending is a two-headed affair, as Erasmo Saltarelli played Friday and Nick Rankin Saturday.
On offense, the Tigers saw scoring from Mike Bois (1g), Jean Verdon (1g-1a), and Joey Pelle (2g). On defense, Around the Rinks host Adam Wodon likes what he has seen from Steve Shirreffs, as well as some of the freshmen on the blueline, especially Dominique Auger.
Brown at Princeton: This game could be pivotal, as two teams predicted to be in the middle of the pack fight it out. Both teams are showing promise and are continuing to try to find the right mix. It will come down to who makes the fewer mistakes on defense. Princeton 4, Brown 3
Harvard at Yale: Will the offense come around for the Crimson? The defense has. Was Yale’s win over Clarkson a fluke, or can they sustain that defensive pressure? This game will tell a lot about both teams. Whoever gets the offense going first will win. Harvard 5, Yale 3
Harvard at Princeton: Again, it will come down to defense in this game. Harvard has more offensive talent on paper, but once again they have to prove it. They will here. Harvard 4, Princeton 3
Brown at Yale: The surprise here might be an offensive explosion. It’s just a hunch, but there will be some scoring in this game. Brown gets untracked offensively in this one. Brown 7 Yale 6
We now turn our attention to games in which travel partners face each other. These games are usually the most heated because of the proximity of the two teams. The fans are usually the most intense ones, and have grown to hate each other. We have three such games this weekend.
Clarkson (3-3-0, 1-1-0 ECAC) at St. Lawrence (1-5-0, 1-1-0 ECAC) Saturday 7:00 p.m., Appleton Arena, Canton, NY
Potsdam and Canton are 10 miles apart on the map. Clarkson is a technological school — St. Lawrence a liberal-arts school. Clarkson has a relatively new arena — St. Lawrence plays in a rustic barn. One more thing: the two schools place a lot on this rivalry.
"It’s one of the best rivalries," said Clarkson head coach Mark Morris. "The proximity of Potsdam and Canton creates a lot of pride."
The communities also play a large part. "Beating St. Lawrence is one of the keys to a successful season in the eyes of the community [Potsdam]," Morris said.
Rivalries such as these produce a raised level of play, "regardless of the team records or which team is superior," said Morris. "They step it up without question; it’s a real intense game."
It should be intense as both teams split their opening ECAC series this past weekend. Clarkson defeated Princeton 5-2, then dropped one to Yale 5-2. As for St. Lawrence, they posted their first win of the season with a 7-3 decision over Yale, and then lost the back end to Princeton 4-3.
Clarkson’s victory over Princeton was the Todd White show, as he tallied two goals and an assist. But the loss to Yale confounded many. Yale held White to one assist, and chased freshman golatender Christian Marois halfway through the game in his first start. Expect to see Dan Murphy in the nets again as he made 30 saves on Friday, and 17 saves on Saturday in the relief effort.
St. Lawrence got their first victory of the season over Yale, a relief for many Saint fans. Paul DiFrancesco put four points on the board (two goals, two assists), giving him 100 in his career. Joel Prpic and Derek McLaughlin scored their first goals of the year. Princeton solved the Saints on Saturday. Eric Heffler, the walk-on, started both games, and made 23 and 26 saves in the two games. Expect him to continue playing.
PICK: Both teams are a mystery right now. Clarkson started off strong, got swept by Denver, and then lost to Yale. St. Lawrence is still searching for answers. Now, both teams need a big win to get them headed in the right direction. Clarkson seems to have more of it together, so that’s the pick. Clarkson 6, St. Lawrence 3
RPI (4-1-0, 2-0-0 ECAC) vs. Union (2-3-0, 1-1-0 ECAC) Saturday 7:00 p.m., Knickerbocker Arena, Albany, NY (non-conference)
RPI pulled off the shocker of the young college hockey season last week with a 4-2 victory over Vermont at Gutterson Fieldhouse. They did it with teamwork, and by stopping Perrin and St. Louis. "This was a team effort," said head coach Dan Fridgen. "The key was holding their top line down. They are pretty deadly. Our game plan was to take away their space in the neutral zone."
RPI also got by a pesky Dartmouth team 5-4, about which Fridgen added, "It turned out to be a great weekend instead of a good one."
The Engineers had a great weekend from sophomore Danny Riva (2-1–3), including the game-winner at UVM, and junior Eric Healey (1-3–4). Sophomore Matt Garver also had a nice offensive weekend with one goal and two assists, but will be lost for a while due to a separated right shoulder sustained against Dartmouth.
Union also defeated the Big Green with a four-goal third period, 7-3. The Dutchmen then took it to Vermont the next evening, losing by a score of 1-0.
The story so far for the Dutchmen has been goaltender Trevor Koenig. Koenig had 43 saves against Dartmouth and 27 against Vermont. On the season, Koenig has been simply spectacular, allowing only ten goals in his five games. He has a GAA of 2.01, and a save percentage of .932.
John Sicinski continues to tally goals; he put in two more this weekend for six on the year. Mark Szucs also got his first two of the year, as did Jay Prentice.
The matchup this Saturday is labeled the "Capital Skate Classic." Both teams and the Capital District community have wanted this game for a long time, but neither team wanted to give up a home date. A non-conference game was the solution, and the Classic is now upon us.
Both coaches praised the other team. "You’ll see two teams right now that have good confidence," said Union head coach Stan Moore. Fridgen added, "They’re a good, hardworking team, and Stan has brought some life into that program."
PICK: Despite the kind words from the coaches, these two teams despise each other, as do their fans. That’s how it’ll be on the ice: a matchup of two good goaltenders, sound defense, and offensive chances. Should be a good one, and RPI has more offensive power. RPI 4, Union 3
Brown (0-3-0, 0-3-0 ECAC) at Harvard (1-2-0, 1-2-0 ECAC) Tuesday 7:30 p.m., Bright Hockey Center, Cambridge, MA
A rematch of the first ECAC game this season, which Harvard won, 5-3. With a couple more games under their belts, they should play more smoothly.
Both teams are previewed above.
PICK: This game will resemble the first one. Who has gotten it together the fastest at this point? It’s still tough to say, but the Crimson forwards should be the difference. It’s a Harvard sweep on the season. Harvard 4, Brown 2
ECAC action continues next weekend, with key games including the renewal of the tech-schools rivalry in Troy. On next week’s ECAC schedule:
Friday, November 22:
Clarkson @ Rensselaer St. Lawrence @ Union Colgate @ Princeton Cornell @ Yale Vermont @ Dartmouth Brown @ Michigan
Saturday, November 23:
Clarkson @ Union St. Lawrence @ Rensselaer Cornell @ Princeton Colgate @ Yale Brown @ Michigan
Sunday, November 24:
UMass-Amherst @ Vermont
Tuesday, November 26:
Yale @ Princeton Harvard @ Boston U.
Jayson Moy is the ECAC Correspondent for US College Hockey Online.
Copyright 1996 Jayson Moy . All Rights Reserved.
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