ECAC Column: Nov. 2, 2000

The ECAC In Western New York?

On October 2, 2000, Tim Dillon of Canisius and Mike Herman of Niagara made a presentation to the ECAC in regard to a joint application to gain admittance into the ECAC. The two Western New York schools are hoping to become the 13th and 14th members of the ECAC.

Will these two schools join?

“At this time, the group (ECAC administrators) feels comfortable where they are and are not looking to expand,” said ECAC Assistant Commissioner Steve Hagwell.

It seems that the ECAC will not go beyond 12 teams for the next few years at least, and that perhaps Canisius and Niagara’s bid to join would likely go unrequited.

“We certainly are not closing the door on Canisius and Niagara,” said Hagwell. “It is up to Tim Dillon and Mike Herman to determine what their next steps will be. They have to look and decide what it is they want to do.”

Other factors oppose the bid — one being the fact that the 12 ECAC Division I men’s teams want to mirror a women’s Division I league, something that has already begun, as evidenced by the realignment of the Women’s Division I league in 2001.

Then there is also the question of whether or not other schools such as Quinnipiac, which has expressed an interest in joining the ECAC, have a chance at becoming members within the next few years. Would Quinnipiac get the same decision?

“Right now, I would say that the answer is yes,” said Hagwell. “(The ECAC) is happy with the current setup.

Canisius and Niagara will most likely look elsewhere, and as a result, Quinnipiac’s options have also been narrowed. That’s not to say that down the road, the ECAC won’t be accepting these institutions, but the ECAC will remain at 12 teams for the foreseeable future.

It’s The Start Of The Season. That Means Harvard-Brown

There may be no Teddy bears or oranges thrown on the ice, nor special edition t-shirts made in honor of the occasion, but Harvard and Brown will take the ice at Meehan Auditorium on Saturday night to officially begin the ECAC season. Per the norm, the ECAC is the only league beginning its regular season in the month of November.

The Bears have a mini-step up on the Crimson after taking on Moncton last Sunday afternoon in an exhibition contest. Thankfully for head coach Roger Grillo, familiar names such as John Petricig, Keith Kirley and Jon Zielinski showed up on the scorecard at the end of the night. Last year’s top scorer, Matt Kohansky, finished off the night with the game-winning tally in overtime. Brown will gladly walk away with the win, even though it doesn’t really count towards anything. After all, they only experienced six total victories in all of last season.

The Bears will have plenty of new faces on the bench this season; Grillo is hoping that the new infusion of blood pushes the Bears to more goals and a better record.

“We’ve brought in 10 new young men and hope that they can help us in an area which hurt us last year, and that was scoring up front,” he said.

Aside from a scrimmage against Dartmouth, the Crimson has been untested this season. Their strength will lie up front with their forwards, particularly Chris Bala, Steve Moore, Dom Moore and newcomers Tyler Kolarik and Rob Fried. Both Bala and Moore showed up in Cambridge this season a whole lot bigger and stronger, while the freshman class has brought much-needed speed to the forward lines. The scouting report is pretty easy here: Harvard needs to score early and often in order to win games.

“We recruited a rather large class because we lost eight seniors and brought in nine freshmen,” said head coach Mark Mazzoleni. “Our strength will be up front with our forwards.”

The clear liability is defense. The team began the season with a depleted squad and quickly lost another key body in Graham Morrell. After missing all of last season with a shoulder injury, Morrell suffered another one early on and is out of the lineup indefinitely. That leaves only five true defensemen listed on the Harvard roster.

Fun In New Haven

The Bulldogs of Yale are certainly having some fun. Yale defeated Moncton on Saturday, 6-2, and in the process saw Jeff Hamilton pick up three points in his debut for the 2000-2001 season. The much-heralded return of Hamilton will be noticed by ECAC observers this weekend when the Bulldogs take to the ice on Saturday at New Hampshire and then at Boston College on Tuesday.

Head coach Tim Taylor, for one, is happy to have Hamilton back, and back to complement Ben Stafford. The two have the potential to be the most lethal combination in the ECAC this season.

It’s what’s underneath those two that has Taylor concerned.

“There aren’t too many teams in our league who have enough offense,” he said. “In Stafford and Hamilton I have two kids that could be 40-point guys. Hamilton had proven it and Stafford has the potential to take another 10-point jump.

“Those two kids are a given, and the question mark is if some of the single-point producers can get to the 10- to 20-point level, so that’s the challenge.”


Cornell/Sacred Heart
This weekend the Big Red of Cornell open their season at home against Sacred Heart in a reunion of sorts. Sacred Heart head coach Shaun Hannah captained the Big Red in 1994 and returns to face his alma mater for the first time as a head coach. On the Pioneer side of the bench will be Peter McRae: the forward turned defenseman will be facing his brothers, twins Mark and Matt, for the first time on collegiate ice.

These two teams renew their Capital District rivalry. The Capital Skates Trophy is up for grabs for the fifth time as the Engineers have won the game the last three times. This season the format shifts, as a regular-season game is now the trophy game rather than a third non-conference neutral site game. … Union’s administration has asked for a modification of the tradition of throwing oranges onto the ice after the first Union goal; instead of oranges, fans are asked to bring stuffed animals to throw on the ice. All thrown animals will be collected for charity.

Quinnipiac/St. Lawrence/Clarkson
The Saints and the Knights take on the preseason number-one MAAC team. The Saints had last week off, while Clarkson dominated Waterloo in an exhibition. Only Clarkson has played Quinnipiac before, and last season the Knights took a 4-0 victory in a game which was scheduled after Vermont canceled its season.

Colgate/Ferris State
The Red Raiders took last weekend off and head to Big Rapids for a pair. Last season the Red Raiders split a pair of games with the Bulldogs at home.

Dartmouth/Western Michigan
This is also another return half of a home series as the Big Green travel to Kalamazoo. Last year the teams split the series in Hanover over Thanksgiving weekend.

New head coach Len Quesnelle makes his debut behind the Tiger bench in regular-season competition; last weekend the Tigers tamed Wilfrid Laurier, 3-0. Last season the Tigers opened the season against Niagara in the Punch Imlach Classic and took it on the chin, losing 7-2.

The Catamounts play their second straight exhibition game. The Cats could not have been too happy with last weekend’s 5-0 exhibition loss to former Princeton Tiger Dominique Auger and his St. Francis Xavier X- Men.