This Week in the ECAC: January 14, 1997

ECAC PREVIEW: Jan. 14, 1997 ECAC Special Preview: Jan. 14, 1997 by Jayson Moy

There are three games on Tuesday, including one conference battle.

Cornell (8-4-4, 6-3-2 ECAC, T-2nd) at Colgate (11-7-1, 6-4-1 ECAC, T-4th) Tuesday, 7:30 p.m., Starr Rink, Hamilton, N.Y.

The Big Red settled for a 1-1 tie against Army this past weekend, which was not what they were looking for.

Trying to capitalize on an impressive 3-3 tie with the defending national champions, No. 1 Michigan, the Big Red were never able to get on track offensively against Army.

Cornell’s only goal of the game came from Frank Kovac in the second period, though Jean-Marc Pelletier was again spectacular in goal.

Cornell has not had quality scoring in its last four ECAC games. The Big Red have eight goals in those games, in which they are 0-2-2.

Colgate put on an offensive show after falling behind Army 5-1 on Friday. Four goals, starting in the latter stages of the third period, gave Colgate a chance to win it in overtime; defenseman John Dance came up with the game-winner at 2:49 of the extra frame.

Colgate has started to come back after suffering through some rough times in the ECAC. The Red Raiders swept their last ECAC weekend, and played strong games against Clarkson and St. Lawrence in the wins.

In order for Colgate to be successful, it needs to have Mike Harder and company going. Harder was strong on Friday night; he scored the game-tying goal with less than four minutes remaining.

In the first contest between these two teams, Cornell won 3-1. Cornell got goals at even strength, on the power play, and short-handed. Dan Brenzavich was shaky, and Jason Elliot was good as he gathered the win.

The only thing wrong with comparing this battle to the last one is that both teams are now in a different mode. Cornell has not had success lately in the ECAC — Colgate has. As mentioned before, Cornell is 0-2-2 in its last four ECAC games, while Colgate is 3-0-1.

PICK: In order for Cornell to get a win here, offensive production is imperative. Meanwhile, Colgate has found new life. A split of the season series. Colgate 5 Cornell 2

Yale (5-8-2, 4-7-1 ECAC, 8th) at UMass-Amherst (4-8-0, 8-12-0 Hockey East, 7th) Tuesday, 7 p.m., Mullins Center, Amherst, Mass.

Yale lost ground quickly in the ECAC, falling from third to eighth in just three weekends. Losses to Union, RPI and Vermont did not help the Bulldogs out. But a 5-4 win over Dartmouth on Friday gave Tim Taylor’s squad a much-needed lift.

Yale’s top line is one to be careful of. However, this weekend Matt Cumming, Jeff Hamilton and Geoff Kufta were held to one point, a goal by Kufta against RPI. Nonetheless, Hamilton has emerged as the favorite for ECAC Rookie of the Year.

While Yale seems to have turned things around, it needs to improve on special teams. Yale is dead last on the penalty-kill in the ECAC, both overall and in the league: 72.5 and 67.4 percent, respectively. With good power-play units facing the Bulldogs this weekend, these numbers must pick up.

Meanwhile, the Bulldog power play is not faring well either, at 19.7 percent overall. The Bulldogs have scored five fewer goals on the power play than they have given up.

UMass-Amherst turned in a poor showing against Providence on Saturday, falling 5-1. The Minutemen did not move the puck very well in the game, but scored in the third period to break up Dan Dennis’ shutout bid.

Joe Mallen feels there is still work to be done. From Hockey East correspondent Dave Hendrickson’s column:

"We’ve got enough manpower to get the job done right now. We’ve just got to get everyone to come to play and execute.

"At this time of year you’re trying to take your strengths and keep them going the right way while you eliminate your mistakes and weaknesses. Right now I think we’re starting to tighten up a bit more defensively, in terms of backchecking and our defensive structure. If we continue to improve that we’re going to win a lot more games and make a playoff run."

PICK: Yale’s top line will play a strong game; UMass’ Rich Moriarty may see time in net against them. It should be a close one, but the Minutemen will not pick up their first win over an ECAC team this season. Yale 4 UMass 2

RPI (11-6-2, 6-3-1 ECAC, T-4th) at Boston College (5-6-1, 8-11-1 Hockey East, T-5th) Tuesday, 7 p.m., Conte Forum, Chestnut Hill, Mass.

RPI lost a golden chance to move into second place in the ECAC; instead, Harvard did so, defeating the Engineers 6-1 on Saturday.

Offensively for the Engineers, Eric Healey is red-hot. Healey had his second hat trick of the season on Friday against Brown, and now has 20 points in his last 11 games.

In goal, the Engineers are suddenly concerned about Joel Laing. The freshman has been pulled in his last two games, losses to Princeton and Harvard, in favor of freshman partner Scott Prekaski.

Against Princeton, Laing had signs of the flu, but he felt fine this past weekend. He has allowed four goals in little more than half a game each time out, a real worry for Engineer fans.

Boston College has not played for 10 days, and should be rested and ready for this contest.

The Eagles also have the three players that were on the U.S. World Junior Team back on the squad. Jeff Farkas, Blake Bellefeuille and Marty Reasoner have had plenty of time to recuperate from the tournament, and some good practice time with their squad.

This is a young team, and the time off should help Jerry York’s team.

PICK: Two young teams, and some good play in this one. Offensive talent will shine. RPI 5 Boston College 4

Jayson Moy is the ECAC Correspondent for US College Hockey Online.

Copyright 1996 Jayson Moy . All Rights Reserved.

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