This Week in the ECAC: November 27, 1998

It’s that holiday time of the season once again. Colgate will enter it with the lead in the ECAC as the only undefeated and untied team in the league at 4-0-0. Princeton is also undefeated, but its record is 3-0-1. It’s way too early to judge the standings, so let’s just wait until sometime in February to do that.

It was a big weekend for Colgate and Yale, with both teams sweeping two ECAC games. That was followed closely by Princeton’s win and a tie. Garnering one win on the weekend were St. Lawrence and Union, while Cornell and Vermont each took one win and one loss in league play, and Brown got one point with a tie and a loss.

Dartmouth and Harvard were swept in league play, and Clarkson and Rensselaer lost single games.

The Thanksgiving weekend gives rise to one ECAC game as Harvard and Brown get to meet again, with Brown hoping to sweep the series from the Crimson. It also features a Tuesday night matchup between Harvard and Rensselaer.

Everything else is a non-conference affair. Five ECAC teams will battle with Hockey East foes in ten games this coming weekend. Clarkson and St. Lawrence will battle Boston University and Boston College, Vermont is in the Governor’s Cup wth Mass- Lowell, Maine and New Hampshire, and Princeton and Yale take on Providence and Merrimack.

The ECAC, with its three wins on Tuesday night, has pulled even once again at 8-8-0 with Hockey East in the annual battle for bragging rights.

Rensselaer and Union play host to Niagara this weekend, Dartmouth travels to Nebraska-Omaha for two games, and Colgate and Cornell battle each other in a non- conference affair.

Last Week: 7-7 Season to Date: 28-23, .549

We hope that everyone has a Healthy and Happy Thanksgiving and that everyone gets their big helping of the ECAC pie!

Harvard (2-5-0, 0-5-0 ECAC, 12th) at Brown (1-3-1, 1-3-1 ECAC, 7th) Saturday, 7:00 pm, Meehan Auditorium, Providence, RI Harvard (2-5-0, 0-5-0 ECAC, 12th) at Rensselaer (4-3-0, 1-2-0 ECAC, T-8th) Tuesday, 7:30 pm, Houston Fieldhouse, Troy, NY

On Tuesday night, Harvard saved itself from continuing on a path that was the worst in program history. A 5-3 victory over crosstown rival Boston University snapped a four-game losing streak and gave the Crimson a crucial second win of the season. Prior to the game, you had to go back almost 60 years to the 1940-41 Harvard squad that started out 1-7 before earning its second win of the season.

It has been a tumultuous beginning to the season for Harvard coach Ronn Tomassoni in his ninth year at the helm. Heading into the B.U. game, none of the Crimson losses this season have been pretty, while both victories have come in non-league action.

The team has surrendered 27 goals in five league games, while scoring only nine. Seven of those tallies have come on the power play and currently the team sports a – 79 plus/minus mark. Even the 1996-97 ECAC Rookie of the Year, J.R. Prestifilippo, has seen better times as he has allowed 5.58 goals per game against ECAC foes. He was pulled after one period against Cornell, and watched from the bench as backup Oliver Jonas picked up his first start and victory of the season against the Terriers.

"We have got to regroup," said sophomore Steve Moore, who is the team’s leading scorer with six points. "It has been one loss after another. We need to come together as a team and play for pride."

If you look deep into the Harvard statistics, then you’ll see a bright spot in that the Crimson power play is at a respectable 23-percent clip in ECAC action.

Aside from its special-teams play, the Crimson offense is struggling to find any sort of rhythm on the ice as even the potent duo of last season, Moore and classmate Chris Bala, have been unable to find the back of the net with any consistency.

"We’ve been struggling offensively all year long from the standpoint of five on five," Tomassoni said. "I think we’re going to get more cohesive offensively and we had some pretty good opportunities that we just haven’t finished off and overall as a team we haven’t been as thorough as we need to be. Hopefully with each week that passes we’ll get there."

The real problem for Harvard has been the defensive lapses. Against Cornell it let up three goals in 3:17 only to allow three in 2:31 the next night against Colgate. Much of the same was seen at Ingalls Rink as the Bulldogs pounded the Crimson for four goals in 4:25. The first reprieve for Harvard came against B.U. when Harvard played role reversal by netting three goals in six minutes to jump out to a commanding 3-0 lead after one period. The team has yet to show that spark in ECAC action, however.

It also didn’t help matters when the team’s most veteran blueliner — senior Ben Storey – – was diagnosed with mononucleosis days before the Cornell/Colgate series. Then freshman Peter Capouch, who had been the Crimson’s unexpected offensive spark plug with two goals, suffered a bruised shoulder on Friday night against Princeton and missed the game against Yale. You can also add in the fact that another veteran blueliner — Matt Scorsune — injured his knee and is indefinite at the moment.

"Anytime you lose two quality players it hurts you. On the other hand it’s not an excuse either," said Tomassoni, who reinserted Capouch into the lineup against B.U, but kept Scorsune out against the Terriers. "It’s an opportunity for others and we have to make the most of it because Ben is going to be out for awhile. We just have to play, we can’t worry about who is sitting in the stands."

Harvard will look for its first league win of the year against Brown in Meehan Auditorium on Saturday night. The team has been bolstered offensively by the return of freshman Jeff Stonehouse, who missed the early part of the season with injuries. In addition, after two years of being a role player, junior Brett Chodorow has finally showing a newfound confidence in the offensive zone as he stands second on the team in scoring with five points, including a one-goal, two-assist performance against the Terriers.

Roger Grillo shouldn’t have been too disappointed when his Brown team rebounded from a tough 5-3 loss to Yale with a 3-3 overtime tie against a surging Princeton team.

Unfortunately, the sting of the late-game woes must still haunt the second-year coach. On Friday night, the Bears held a 3-2 lead heading into the final period of play, but two Bulldog goals in a span of 1:10 midway through the stanza was all she would write for the Bears.

"Yale capitalized in the third and we didn’t," Grillo told the Brown Daily Herald after Friday’s game. "We had our chances and we should have been up two or three goals, but [Alex] Westlund came up big, then they got a couple and that was the game. I thought we played a very good game. I told the guys I was proud of the effort and the way they skated and played. In this league there’s a fine edge between winning and losing, and I think we deserved to win, but we can’t dwell on that, we just have to go out [Saturday] night and get the job done."

The following night, Brown gave the undefeated Tigers all they could handle. A third- period tally with seven minutes left by Jon Zielinski set the game into overtime, but it was all Princeton after that. The Tigers pelted five shots at the Brown net in the extra period, but Scott Stirling capped off his 33-save performance by staving off the Tigers and preserving the tie and much-needed point in the ECAC race.

"The positive was that we didn’t play extremely well, and we battled back to tie them," said Grillo following the Princeton game. "We had a couple chances to win it, but most importantly Scotty [Stirling] settled down and played well in the third period and overtime. We’re a young team and we need him to stand up big right now."

Penalty killing was once again a source of concern for the Bears, as they allowed two power-play tallies against Princeton and one versus Yale. Mike Bent, who was moved to the point on the power play, came through with his team-leading third goal with the extra-man advantage. John Petricig had his biggest game to date, notching two goals on the weekend, while Adrian Smith added a quiet two assists.

Rensselaer comes off of an overtime loss to Union at home last Friday evening. It wasn’t exactly what the Engineers had in mind against the Dutchmen. The Engineers fell behind 3-1 after one period of play, but even though the Engineers caught up, they fell in overtime.

"We got outworked in the first period, we didn’t play disciplined," said head coach Dan Fridgen. "We did a good job of battling back in the second and the third. We showed some character, making it even but the first period we got outplayed.

"Right away we dug ourselves a hole. We dug ourselves out of it, that was a positive, but we shouldn’t have been in that predicament and we have no one to blame but ourselves."

One of the things that continues to plague the Engineers are penalties. The Engineers have taken 90 penalties for 212 minutes compared to their opponents’ 65 penalties for 130 minutes. At the same time the Engineers have allowed 11 power play goals on 52 chances, a 21.2 percentage.

"I think that’s probably the most frustrating thing from the coaching staff’s perspective," said Fridgen about the penalties. "You tell these guys what to do and to go out and execute and there’s no excuse. Disciplined play five on five is how you need to play in order to win hockey games; unless you have fantastic penalty killers, and obviously we don’t."

Picks: Harvard at Brown – Harvard tends to fare well in Providence, and the victory over B.U. may have just been the jumpstart the Crimson needed. Look for Harvard to slowly drag itself out of the early-season hole it created. Harvard 4, Brown 2. Harvard at Rensselaer – Both teams haven’t exactly played their best hockey thus far, but the Engineers are no doubt a step ahead of the Crimson — at least at this point of the season. Rensselaer 5, Harvard 3.

Colgate (5-2-0, 4-0-0 ECAC, 1st) vs. Cornell (5-1-0, 3-1-0 ECAC, T-3rd) Saturday, 7:00 pm, Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, Uniondale, NY

The Red Raiders of Colgate have started the ECAC season with four straight victories, leaving them in first place in the league at this early stage. They defeated Vermont and Dartmouth this past weekend 7-2 and 6-1 respectively.

Despite the influx of goals scored by the Red Raiders, head coach Don Vaughan is still pessimistic about his offense.

"I don’t think they’ll come easy for us," he said. "I’m still not certain that we can get them in bunches. These are the kinds of goals we need to get, going to the net, special teams, rebounds, but it will still be tough for us."

One of the formulas thus far for the Red Raiders has been their goaltending. Shep Harder and Jason LeFevre continue to do the job. Harder has a 2.25 GAA and a .909 save percentage and LeFevre stands at a 2.33 GAA and a .908 save percentage, among the best in the ECAC this season.

Cornell was the last of the nation’s unbeatens after a 3-1 victory over Dartmouth on Friday evening. But the Big Red fell from the distinction on Saturday with a 5-3 loss to Vermont. The Big Red rebounded nicely with a 4-2 win over Northeastern on Tuesday evening.

"Give Vermont credit," said Cornell head coach Mike Schafer. "They came out flying (Saturday). We just didn’t do a great job of neutralizing their speed.

"We worked hard, but we didn’t play very smart."

The weekend also saw the first appearance in goal by freshman Matt Underhill. While Ian Burt has been going good guns, Underhill came in to replace Burt with a little over 15 minutes left in the third period against Vermont. Underhill got the start against Northeastern on Tuesday and got his first career victory.

"He did the job," said Schafer of the rookie. "Matt is a very capable goaltender. He did a good job in a tough situation for your first league action. He’s a pretty mature kid and we’ve got a lot of confidence in him.

"It was just a tough night for Ian [Burt] in the sense that defensively we didn’t give him a lot of support. He was giving up rebounds but our defense wasn’t doing a very good job of tying sticks up around the front of the net."

"We know we didn’t work hard tonight, and we know we didn’t play well enough to win the game, so we deserved to lose," said Burt. "We just have to go out and play like we did in the first four games of the season. We’re going to lose games this year, no doubt."

Pick – This is one of those travel partner games where you just don’t know who to pick, but you have to pick someone because your editor says that you have to. The decision here is which fans dislike us the most. Cornell 4, Colgate 2

Boston College (6-2-1, 4-2-0 Hockey East, 3rd) and Boston University(2-7-1, 1- 4-1 Hockey East, 8th) at St. Lawrence (6-2-0, 2-1-0 ECAC, T-5th) Friday – Saturday, 7:30 pm – 7:00 pm, Appleton Arena, Canton, NY Boston University (2-7-1, 1-4-1 Hockey East, 8th) and Boston College (6-2-1, 4-2-0 Hockey East, 3rd) at Clarkson (1-6-0, 1-2-0 ECAC, T-8th) Friday – Saturday, 7:30 pm – 7:00 pm, Cheel Arena, Potsdam, NY

St. Lawrence moves back into the number ten position in the U.S. College Hockey Online Division I Poll this week after defeating arch-rival Clarkson this past weekend 3-1. The huge rivalry always means a lot and this weekend it was no different.

"From a confidence standpoint that has to mean a lot," said Saint head coach Joe Marsh. "No matter what the records of the two teams are, it is always a huge game and lately Clarkson has had the better of it. We don’t want to get too carried away, but it is one we can sit back and savor a little bit."

Converted defenseman John Poapst scored two of the goals this weekend in the win. While Poapst is playing on a forward line, he still plays the quarterback on the Saint power play.

"(Poapst) has always been a big-game player and (Saturday) was no different, he really had a lot of adrenaline going and made some big plays," said Marsh. "Plus, Heff was brilliant again, even after getting shaken up in the third period. He can make an enormous difference for us in a lot of games and he has done it pretty consistently over the last two seasons. He made some big saves at key junctures and didn’t give them a lot of second chances and he got a lot of help from his teammates.

"While we gave up 40 shots, it was a pretty good defensive effort and a lot of those shots came from the perimeter. Whenever your defense and forwards go out and block as many shots as we did Saturday, you know you are getting the right kind of effort."

Heffler was named the ECAC Goaltender of the Week for the fourth time this season, establishing him as an early favorite for the Dryden Award.

"Heff is one of the reasons we have been so successful on the kill so far," said Marsh. "But the guys in front of him did a great job in the third period."

Clarkson fell to 1-6-0 with the loss, and it was another frustrating evening for head coach Mark Morris.

"We didn’t play smart," he said. "Our big players need to come to the forefront. We are not getting the type of production we have to have to beat anyone."

The lone goal came off the stick of Carl Drakensjo, but by that time is was too little, too late. The goal was his fourth of the season and Morris points out the Drakensjo is one of the Knights who is off to a nice start.

"I really like (Drakensjo’s) play so far," he said. "He’s worked really hard and he has improved quite a bit. But others have to step it up in order for us to be successful."

One of last year’s ECAC Co-Rookie’s of the year, Erik Cole, leads the team in scoring with five points (1-4-5), and Ben Maidment (1-3-4), Matt Reid (2-2-4) and Mikko Ollila (2-2-4) follow behind Cole in the offensive category for the Knights.

The Knights have scored 17 goals on the season but allowed 21 goals. 10 different Clarkson players have scored and 18 Knights have points on the season. The Golden Knights are close to breaking out.

Boston University and Boston College faced off in arch-rival weekend last week, with the teams splitting their pair of games. Like the Saints and Golden Knights, when these two teams get together, it’s a rumble and last weekend was no different.

For more on how the two teams fared and what they think of the upcoming North Country trip, refer to "Pilgrim" Dave Hendrickson’s Hockey East Preview.

Picks: Boston College at St. Lawrence – This is a nice early battle, and one that has already happened. The Eagles defeated the Saints to win the Icebreaker Cup in Minnesota earlier this season. Even though this time St. Lawrence has home ice advantage, the Eagles have so many offensive weapons. Boston College 4, St. Lawrence 2 Boston University at Clarkson – Two teams struggling and both teams are trying to right the ship. The Knights take that first step towards their annual second half run. Clarkson 5, Boston University 3 Boston University at St. Lawrence – The Saints come back and earn the split defeating the Terriers. St. Lawrence 3, Boston University 1 Boston College at Clarkson – Jerry York goes back to Clarkson and the Knights’ run is delayed a little bit. Boston College 5, Clarkson 4

Princeton (3-1-1, 3-0-1 ECAC, 3rd) at Providence (5-5-0, 3-3-0 Hockey East, T- 4th) Friday, 7:00 pm, Schneider Arena, Providence, RI Merrimack (5-4-0, 3-2-0 Hockey East, T-4th) at Princeton (3-1-1, 3-0-1 ECAC, 3rd) Sunday, 5:00 pm, Hobey Baker Rink, Princeton, NJ

You can’t but help like the way Princeton is playing right now. After sweeping through the North Country with two impressive victories, the Tigers returned home to Hobey Baker last weekend to collect three more points on this young season.

Don "Toot" Cahoon’s squad had its moments during its first homestand — some better than others, but in each contest there was no doubt which team is playing like a legitimate candidate for the league title come March.

Granted, that sentiment may be a bit overstated just three weeks in the ECAC schedule, but it’s hard to overlook the Tigers potential when Hobey Baker hopeful Jeff Halpern is overshadowed all weekend long by second-line center Syl Apps, who was named to the ECAC Honor Roll. The well-established defensive forward has chosen his final collegiate season to start piling on the scores, netting three goals and one assist in the two games to bring his season total to a team-leading seven points.

"There is a real integrity to his game and he plays as hard as any player I have ever coached," said Cahoon of his senior co-captain. "I think toward the middle of last year he started to assert himself more offensively and have more confidence with the puck. Obviously it gives people another person to be concerned with and someone who can hurt you with another shift. And Jeff will be the first to admit that the team goes much deeper than Jeff Halpern."

Offensively, the Tigers scored six goals on the weekend, but could have netted quite a few more had it been more efficient. Against Brown, the Tigers had their chances — both in regulation and even more so in overtime — to solidify its fourth ECAC win of the year, but instead left an eyesore in the statistical column. The Tigers outshot the Bears by a 2-1 margin, including a 5-0 differential in the overtime period. It was the same story against Harvard as the home team blasted 10 more shots on net than the Crimson skaters.

"I don’t think we’re playing poorly, but at the same time we aren’t where we need to be once we get into the heart of the season and into a playoff situation," Cahoon said. "I don’t want to think too far ahead, because we have a lot of room for improvement, but I am happy with the play of some people and I think the team is working diligently."

Despite the hefty expectations placed on the shoulders of the defensive corps and yet another Tiger Hobey hopeful, Steve Shirreffs, the Princeton blueliners have more than pulled their own weight. Through four league games, opponents have scored seven goals, six of them coming on the power play. And in the team’s 3-2 victory over Harvard, it was Jackson Hegland who snuck in from the left point to deposit the game winner.

And whatever happened to those questions surrounding the Princeton goaltending? It appears that Nick Rankin, with a little help from freshman Dave Stathos, have quieted most concerns, allowing a combined average of 1.94 goals per game in the four league contests.

Still, Princeton is far from invincible as was evident at times during this past weekend’s play. Killing off penalties continues to be a source of concern for Cahoon and Co., and consistency remains the inevitable question mark whenever one talks about Princeton. Case in point, what should have been a four-point weekend for the Tigers translated into only three, dropping them out of the top spot in the league race.

"We struggle with a man down and it hasn’t been that we have been bad from start to finish, we are just having mental breakdowns during each kill and teams are taking advantage of that and converting," Cahoon said. "We have gone through two weekends of league play and in anybody’s case you have to take care of league business. I think this weekend [with two non-league games] we need to settle down and examine the areas we need to improve upon. We just want to play well and improve and the wins and losses will take care of themselves. We are looking for some growth right now."

For more on Providence and Merrimack refer to the "Turkey" Dave Hendrickson and his Hockey East Preview.

Picks: Princeton at Providence – "Toot" Cahoon talked about using his team’s upcoming non-league games for some growth. Even on the road, the Tigers are mature enough to cruise by the Friars, allowing one power-play goal along the way. Princeton 4, Providence 1. Merrimack at Princeton – The Tigers will have what it takes to contain the offensive minded Warriors. Princeton 5, Merrimack 1.

Yale (2-2-0, 2-2-0 ECAC, T-5th) at Merrimack (5-4-0, 3-2-0 Hockey East, T- 4th) Friday, 7:00 pm, Volpe Center, North Andover, Mass. Providence (5-5-0, 3-3-0 Hockey East, T-4th) at Yale (2-2-0, 2-2-0 ECACT-5th) Saturday, 7:00 pm, Ingalls Rink, New Haven, Conn.

It was probably one of the more satisfying sweeps for Yale head coach Tim Taylor.

Following a two-loss weekend against Clarkson and St. Lawrence, the veteran coach was still undecided about the strength of his team. Oddly enough, after one of the toughest road trips on the schedule, the defensive unit (which came into the season as a menacing question mark) was strong, but it was the offense that wasn’t producing. This is an offense that features Hobey Baker hopeful Jeff Hamilton and a stacked crew of eight of the team’s top 10 producers from last year.

In its first homestand this season against Brown and Harvard, Hamilton proved that he is the most dominating forward in all the ECAC. The speedy sniper collected a hat trick and dished out two assists against Harvard and also added a goal and an assist against Brown for a seven-point weekend to earn ECAC Player of the Week honors.

"He’s got a scoring knack, there’s no doubt about it," Taylor said. "That kid can score. He gives me a little heart failure sometimes with some of his defensive shenanigans, but he can put it in the net."

Obviously, so can many other Bulldogs. Jay Quenville delivered the game winner against Brown and then dished out three assists in the rout over Harvard the following night. Keith McCullough also found his scoring touch, netting two goals and an assist on the weekend. In total, Yale had seven different goal scorers.

"We knew we had some ability to score some goals and create some things," Taylor said. "We were a little worried about our greenness on defense and after last weekend we played okay defensively and we just couldn’t score any goals. To get 12 goals on the weekend is really something. We scored goals in different ways. We got it off the forecheck, we got it on the power play, we got it on the rush. That bodes well for our team."

Defensively, the team allowed only four goals on the weekend with Alex Westlund picking up two victories after corralling 48 saves on the weekend. More importantly, however, was the fact that after falling behind, 2-3, against Brown, the Bulldogs held the Bears scoreless throughout the final 27 minutes of the contest to set the stage for the come-from-behind win.

"We worked on things this week in practice, and we worked on things that had crept into our team game," Taylor said. "I’m so proud of the guys. We knew that a sweep would be hard with two pretty good teams and right now we’re back in the thick of things. We’re back to .500 and we’ll see if we can get some positive points."

For more on Providence and Merrimack refer to the "Turkey" Dave Hendrickson and his Hockey East Preview.

Picks: Yale at Merrimack – Yale’s speed, headed by Hamilton and continued straight through the roster, can throw off a lot of teams. Merrimack will have a hard time keeping up. Yale 6, Merrimack 2. Providence at Yale – The Friars will face two of the hottest teams in the ECAC this weekend. It will be a tough weekend for Hockey East on this night once again. Yale 4, Providence 1.

Niagara (4-4-0, 4-4-0 vs. Division I) at Rensselaer (4-3-0, 1-2-0 ECAC, T-8th) and Union (2-6-0, 1-2-0 ECAC, T-8th) Friday – Saturday, 7:30 pm – 7:00 pm, Houston Fieldhouse, Troy, NY and Achilles Rink, Schenectady, NY

We took a look at Rensselaer above, now it’s time to take a look at the team that beat them in overtime last weekend, Union.

The Dutchmen captured their first ever ECAC victory over Rensselaer during the regular season at the Houston Fieldhouse, and one of the main reasons was goaltender Leeor Shtrom. Shtrom made 35 saves in the win, 17 of them coming in the third period, and two in the overtime.

"Some of those saves, they were ESPN highlights," said head coach Kevin Sneddon of Shtrom’s performance. "There have been a lot of one goal games for us and it was good to see one go his way."

The other thing that the Dutchmen did on Friday evening was put some goals on the board. Drew Taylor was named ECAC Rookie of the Week for his efforts, and the Dutchmen scored more than two goals for the first time since the opening game of the season against Niagara.

In that first game, the Dutchmen broke away in the third period with some key goals, one of them by Mark Szucs, the leading scorer for the Dutchmen. His linemates, Bryan Yackel, who scored the overtime winner versus Rensselaer, and Taylor, now have 12 points, seven goals and five assists. That accounts for almost one third of Union’s 38 points on the season.

Unfortunately the emotional win was followed by a 4-2 loss to Mass-Amherst the next evening. Freshmen Brandon Snee got his first start and made 30 saves, but fell short of the win.

Niagara has knocked off some of the heavyweights in the NCAA, but has still to get a win over an ECAC team. Losses to Union, Dartmouth and Cornell leave the Purple Eagles at 0-3 against the ECAC, but 2-1 over the CCHA and 2-0 against independents.

The Purple Eagles are definitely on their way, and they will look for their first win over an ECAC team this coming weekend. For more on Niagara, check out their Season Preview.

Picks: Niagara at Rensselaer – The Purple Eagles took it to Rensselaer last year, but did not come away with a win in a close fought 4-2 loss. This season, the Purple Eagles have more momentum, but you have to think that the Engineers will be hungry after an overtime loss the week before. Rensselaer 3, Niagara 2 Niagara at Union – The two teams have met once already this season with the Dutchmen winning in the J.C. Penney Classic, 5-3. With the home ice and some hard core hockey, the Dutchmen make it two wins over the Purple Eagles this season. Union 4, Niagara 3

Dartmouth (2-3-0, 1-3-0 ECAC, T-8th) at Nebraska-Omaha (1-9-0, 1-9-0 vs. Division I) Friday – Saturday, 8:00 pm, Omaha Civic Auditorium, Omaha, Neb.

Dartmouth was swept on the road this past weekend by Colgate and Cornell, dropping the Big Green to 1-3-0 in league play. But that is not a reason to be discourgaged.

"This team will win, I have no doubt about it," Dartmouth’s head coach Bob Gaudet said. "We have as good a freshman class as you can get in this league, we just need experience. We are playing eight freshmen regularly, and that will lead to a lot of ups and downs."

Some of the ups and downs will be in goal for the Big Green. Last weekend Eric Almon and Robert Delwo both saw a start. Almon gave up three goals in the loss to Cornell and Delwo gave up six goals in the loss to Dartmouth.

The Big Green will travel to take on the Mavericks of Nebraska-Omaha this weekend. The Mavericks have won only one game this season, and are coming off of a sweep at the hands of Niagara.

For more on the Mavericks, head over to their Season Preview.

Picks – This is going to be a tough series for Dartmouth as they will travel and they are a little banged up. But a split will emerge from this series. Dartmouth 4-2, and then UNO 6-4.

Governor’s Cup Vermont (6-3-0, 3-1-0 ECAC, T-3rd) at Mass-Lowell (4-5-0, 2-5-0 Hockey East, 7th) Friday, 8:00 pm, Tsongas Arena, Lowell, Mass. Consolation/Championship Vermont (6-3-0, 3-1-0 ECAC, T-3rd) vs. Maine (7-1-1, 4-1-1 Hockey East, T- 1st)/New Hampshire(7-1-1, 4-1-1 Hockey East, T-1st) Saturday, 5:00 pm/8:00 pm, Tsongas Arena, Lowell, Mass.

Vermont heads into this coming weekend’s Governor’s Cup action with a little bit of momentum. The Cats have won five of their last seven, and a lot of that was credited to goaltender Marty Phillips. Phillips shut out Rensselaer the weekend before and this weekend he held Cornell to one goal in the win.

"He was tremendous," Vermont head coach Mike Gilligan said of Phillips. "He’s somebody who has come up big this year."

Along with Andrew Allen, Phillips makes thing feel comfortable in the nets for the Cats.

Gilligan mentioned others players that have had a chance to stand out in the short season.

"Matt Sanders and B.J. Kilbourne have impressed me thus far," said Gilligan. "And freshman defenseman Mark Gouett has also impressed. Those guys are doing it up for us."

The Cats have the ECAC’s leading goal scorer with Phillipe Choiniere. Choiniere has six goals on the season. Also adding the offensive touch has been Eric Lundin. Lundin scored twice on Saturday against Cornell.

For information on Mass-Lowell, Maine and New Hampshire, head on over to Dave "Gobble, Gobble" Hendrickson’s Hockey East Preview.

Picks: Vermont at Mass-Lowell – The Catamount speed comes into play and it propels them into the Championship Game. Vermont 5, Mass-Lowell 3 Vermont vs. Maine/New Hampshire – Vermont will fall here, either to Maine or New Hampshire. Maine, 5-2 or UNH, 4-2

Next week in the ECAC: (ECAC Games in bold)

Friday, December 4 Princeton at Yale Clarkson at Harvard St. Lawrence at Brown Rensselaer at Colgate Union at Cornell

Saturday, Deceber 5 Yale at Princeton Clarkson at Brown St. Lawrence at Harvard Rensselaer at Cornell Union at Colgate New Brunswick at Vermont

Thanks to Juan Martinez, Michael Sharp and Steve Marsi for their contributions to this preview. All photographs used by permission of the appropriate Sports Information Departments. Any reproduction without authorization is prohibited.

Becky Blaeser and Jayson Moy are ECAC Correspondents for U.S. College Hockey Online.

Copyright 1998 Becky Blaeser and Jayson Moy. All rights reserved.