Around The League
Random facts from around the ECACHL with just one league game remaining in 2004 …
• When Harvard and Vermont connected for a critical mid-week game on Tuesday, it marked the first time that former Crimson teammates Ted Donato (Harvard) and Kevin Sneddon (UVM) faced off as opposing head coaches. And while they shared many memories while playing on the 1989 national championship team, they were keeping the stories — at least the best ones — to themselves.
“We made a pact before the game to not tell any stories about each other,” Sneddon joked during an interview between periods of the Harvard radio broadcast on 1060 AM.
In talking about how his players were facing two days of exams as soon as they returned to campus, Sneddon couldn’t resist taking humorous aim at Donato.
“Teddy better win the Beanpot now,” he said with a laugh. “We played this game tonight to help Harvard and our league in the Beanpot. He better win.”
• Clarkson and Ohio State lock up for a pair of games in Potsdam this weekend with the all-time series tied at 6-6-1. The clubs last met in Columbus in October 2002 and the Buckeyes came away with 4-2 and 4-3 victories. Both head coaches — George Roll and John Markell — are Bowling Green alumni, while OSU associate coach Casey Jones was an assistant with the Knights from 1993-95.
• Dartmouth squares off against Massachusetts-Lowell on Friday. The Big Green leads the all-time series 3-2-0, including a 10-2 win on December 29, 2002 in the clubs’ last meeting. The Big Green then battle the U.S. Under-18 Team on Sunday. The talented youngsters, coached by former Clarkson and Harvard assistant Ron Rolston, own a 16-4-2 mark.
• Harvard plays host to another ranked opponent when the Black Bears visit on Saturday. Maine leads the series 5-4-0 all-time with its most recent victory coming in the opening round of last season’s NCAA tournament. In that game, the Black Bears rallied for four goals in the third period to shock the Crimson 5-4.
“Sometimes it is tough to get up for back-to-back big games,” said Harvard coach Ted Donato. “I know the history with the two teams, but it is a new season. I love the character in our room. I’m sure we’ll be ready to go.”
Maine has won the last three contests between the clubs, all by one goal.
Brown Bears (5-4-2, 4-3-2 ECACHL, t-3rd place) — Off until the UConn Hockey Classic on December 29-30, the Bears are 4-0-1 since handing the goaltending reins over to rookie Adam D’Alba … This week’s Rookie and Goaltender of the Week, D’Alba has helped turn his club’s season around with a nation-leading .962 save percentage and a second-best 1.35 goals against average (GAA) … Brown has outscored its opponents 15-8 in third periods … Sophomore Brian Ihnacak leads with seven goals and 12 assists … The Bears have connected on 17.5 percent of power plays, but opponents are clicking at a 25 percent clip … 2-1-2 at home … 4-4-0 in November.
Clarkson Golden Knights (3-11-1, 1-5-1, 11th) — Host No. 8 Ohio State (11-4-1, 9-2-1 CCHA) for final games before opening the Badger Showdown on December 31 versus Ferris State … Have not won since November 12 and have lost five straight … Seniors Mac Faulkner and Jay LaTulippe lead with six goals apiece … Faulkner is tied for third in the country in shorthanded goals (three) … Rookie Shawn Weller is the lone ECACHL representative on the 2005 U.S. World Junior team … Despite a 2.86 GAA and .901 save percentage, junior Dustin Traylen is 1-7-1 … The Knights have been outscored 19-12 in both first and third periods, while also being outshot 170-125 in opening frames … 1-9-1 when allowing the game’s first goal … 1-8-1 away from Cheel Arena … 1-5-1 in November.
Colgate Raiders (12-4-0, 5-1-0, t-3rd) — Final game of 2004 is an exhibition contest against Ottawa on December 18 … Lead all league teams in overall victories … Senior Adam Mitchell is tied for third in the nation with three shorthanded goals … Junior Jon Smyth leads club with nine goals and is tied with classmate Kyle Wilson in points (15) … Winners of four straight, the Raiders have not lost back-to-back games since November 2003 … 9-2-0 at home … Senior netminder Steve Silverthorn is 11-3-0 with a 2.02 GAA and .913 save percentage … Outshooting opponents 157-104 in third periods … 10-1-0 when leading after two periods … 6-3-0 in one-goal games … The Raiders are tied for third in the country with five shorthanded goals … Sophomore defenseman Mike Campaner is three points shy of tying his rookie total (16).
Cornell Big Red (7-2-2, 4-1-1, 6th) — Off until opening Florida College Classic against No. 5 Boston College on December 28 … Sandwiched winning steaks of four and three games (current) around 0-2-2 stretch, all road games … 7-0-0 at home … Outscoring opponents a whopping 37-9 in Lynah Rink and 41-16 overall … 2-0-1 against teams with winning records … Junior Matt Moulson leads Big Red with eight goals and 14 points … 19 players have registered at least two points, 18 have at least one goal … Sophomore David McKee has played all but nine minutes and sports a 1.46 GAA (third-best nationally) and fourth-best save percentage (935) … Outscored opponents 19-4 in second periods … Fourth in the country on the power play (23.2 percent) and sixth on the penalty kill (88.9) … Tops in the nation in team defense (1.45 goals per game) and sixth in offense (3.73).
Dartmouth Big Green (4-4-1, 3-3-0, t-8th) — Friday contest against Massachusetts-Lowell (7-5-1, 0-5-1 HE) will be first game in two weeks … Spend all of December at home, including lone remaining ECACHL contest against UVM … Big Green have allowed just 16 tallies in nine games, but have scored only 18 … Three players are tied for the team lead in goals (three), while sophomore Tanner Glass and junior Mike Ouellette are tops in points (seven) … Senior Dan Yacey leads the nation in GAA (1.32) and is second in save percentage (.944) … 1-4-0 when allowing the first goal … Big Green are first in the nation in penalty killing (91.2 percent) and second in the country in team defense (1.78) … 3-3-1 in November.
Harvard Crimson (8-3-1, 6-3-1, 1st) — Host No. 11 Maine (10-6-2, 6-3-1 HE) on Saturday before traveling to Minneapolis for the Dodge Holiday Classic … Crimson have won four straight and eight of last nine games … 6-0-0 at home … Senior Tom Cavanagh leads the team in goals (six), assists (11) and points (17) … Ranked fourth in the nation on the power play (23.1 percent) … Senior Dov Grumet-Morris owns a .930 save percentage (tied for seventh-best nationally) and 2.09 GAA … 6-1-1 when leading after two periods … Senior Andrew Lederman is two points shy of matching his career total (11) … Skate six NHL draft picks on defense … 5-3-0 in November.
Princeton Tigers (4-7-1, 4-6-0, 7th) — Round out six-game road trip with contests at Merrimack (4-10-2, 1-8-1 HE) this weekend and Massachusetts on December 29 … Have lost three in a row and five of last seven … 2-5-0 on the road … Second in the nation on the power play (29.4 percent) … Junior Dustin Sproat leads team with 10 goals and 18 points … Senior defenseman Luc Paquin (4-12-16) has surpassed his career totals in goals (one), assists (nine) and points (10) … The Tigers have allowed opponents to connect on 24.3 percent of man-advantages … Outscored 20-13 in third periods … 0-5-0 when allowing first goal … 4-1-1 when leading after two periods … The Tigers have converted on 30.8 percent of power plays in ECACHL contests … Four players have at least 15 points through 12 games, while only one did last season … Have already matched last year’s win total on the road (two).
Rensselaer Engineers (8-8-2, 2-5-1, 10th) — Host No. 14 Boston University (9-6-0, 8-1-0 HE) on Saturday in final contest of 2004 … 3-5-0 in November … Have not won back-to-back games since October 30-November 5 … 7-5-1 when allowing three goals or less … 7-1-0 when scoring more than three times … Senior Nick Economakos is tied for second in the country in assists (16) … Classmates Kevin Croxton and Economakos are tied for the team lead in points (21) … Senior Andrew Martin owns a team-best .902 save percentage and 2.47 GAA … 1-6-1 in one-goal games … The Engineers have outscored opponents 24-17 and 2-14 in second and third periods, respectively, but are even in each period in league action … 2-7-1 when allowing game’s first tally … 7-0-2 when leading after two periods … Junior Kirk MacDonald leads team with 10 goals.
St. Lawrence Saints (7-9-1, 3-4-0, t-8th) — Off until next weekend when the Saints host Lake Superior State in final games of 2004 … 3-4-0 in November … Have lost three straight … Junior T.J. Trevelyan leads team with nine goals, four power play markers and 18 points … Senior netminder Mike McKenna is second in the country with 948:08 minutes played … The Saints are tied for third nationally with five shorthanded goals … Connecting on just 10.9 percent of power play chances … 6-0-0 when leading after two periods … 0-4-1 when tied after 40 minutes … McKenna owns a team-best .904 save percentage and 2.97 GAA … 2-7-1 versus teams with winning records … Nine of 15 games in 2005 are on the road … Rookie Justin Pesony’s first career game against Lowell snapped McKenna’s streak of having played 29 consecutive starts.
Union Dutchmen (7-8-1, 6-2-0, 2nd) — Travel to Wayne State (9-6-1, 3-2-1 CHA) this weekend to wrap up 2004 slate of contests … Have lost three in a row and are 0-3-1 since winning six straight … 6-1-1 in November … Senior Jordan Webb leads team in goals (12) and is tied for fourth nationally … Junior Scott Seney tops club with 11 assists and 17 points … Webb leads the country with eight power play goals … Rookie Justin Mrazek is third in the nation with a .937 save percentage and fourth with a 1.59 GAA … The Dutchmen are 4-0-1 when scoring first … 4-2-0 in one-goal games … 3-0-0 at home in ECACHL games … Have connected on 23.1 percent of power plays in league contests.
Vermont Catamounts (9-5-3, 4-1-2, t-3rd) — Travel to Dartmouth on December 19 for final league game of 2004 … Catamounts saw their 11-game unbeaten streak snapped at Harvard on Tuesday … 6-0-2 in November … Senior Scott Mifsud is tied for second in the country with 23 points and knotted in the fourth spot with 12 goals … Rookie Torrey Mitchell has 14 points in 16 contests … Mifsud is tied for fifth in the nation with seven power play goals … Freshman Joe Fallon owns an 8-3-3 mark with a 2.01 GAA and .926 save percentage … Connecting on 28.6 percent of power plays in league games … Have killed off an amazing 95.6 percent of man-advantages by ECACHL opponents … 7-2-1 when scoring first … 7-3-1 at Gutterson Fieldhouse.
Yale Bulldogs (1-11-0, 1-9-0, 12th) — Have three weeks off before playing host Wisconsin at the Badger Showdown on December 31 … Lost first nine games to start the season before snapping streak with win over Princeton on November 27 … The Elis have scored more than two goals in a game just twice, going 1-1-0 versus the Tigers … Have allowed fewer than three goals in a game just once this season … Bulldogs have not won back-to-back games since January 30-31, 2003 … 0-7-0 on the road … Sophomore Brad Mills leads team with 12 points … Junior Christian Jensen is top goal scorer with 12 tallies … Outscored 23-6 in second periods … Opponents are connecting at a 34.2 percent clip on the power play … Sophomore Matt Modelski is 1-2-0 with a team-best 4.77 GAA … Have lead for only 69:02 all season.
The Tigers travel to Merrimack for a pair of contests this weekend, with Princeton holding the all-time edge 4-2-2. The Warriors won both contests in New Jersey last season, 5-1 and 3-0. … RPI takes on the nationally-ranked Terriers on Saturday in Troy. BU leads the all-time series 31-26-2 and defeated the Engineers last October, 5-2, on Commonwealth Ave. BU has won each of the last four games between the clubs after RPI rattled off a three-game streak over its one-time ECAC mates. … Union travels to the Midwest for a pair against Wayne State in the first-ever meetings between the programs.
Tickets to the ECACHL Championship in Albany, N.Y., go on sale Monday, December 13. Games among the final four teams in the tourney will be played Friday and Saturday, March 18-19. Friday’s contests are set for 3:30 and 7 p.m.; Saturday’s third-place game is set for 5 p.m., followed by the title game at 8 p.m. For more information, fans can visit www.pepsiarena.com.
• One quick note on a personal and work-related front. Earlier this year, Vermont’s Athletic Communications Director Gordon Woodworth announced he was leaving Burlington at season’s end. I’ve been covering this league in one capacity or another for one outlet or another since 1991 and have dealt with all types of sports information staffers over that time. In a position that sees its fair share of turnover, Gordon’s been a fixture at UVM, and for good reason. He’s been extremely helpful, knowledgeable and accommodating to all interview and information requests along the way. It is no secret that the work of sports information staffers makes reporters and columnists look much smarter than we really are and for that, we’re fortunate to have had Gordon to turn to at UVM. Thanks and best of luck, Gordon.
• Finally, a unique and appetizing postseason tradition in the Harvard press box made its first appearance in the regular season on Tuesday. For a few years now, Assistant Director of Athletic Communications Jamie Weir has baked a cake for each playoff game. Thus far, the Crimson are 8-0-0 when she plays the role of Chef Weir. Earlier this week, she turned to the flour, eggs, milk and chocolate — oh, the chocolate — once again, this time in honor of Gordon Woodworth’s last regular-season visit to the Bright Hockey Center. Unfortunately for UVM, the Wonder of the Weir Whisk struck again.