This Week in the ECAC WEST

Hobart’s (lack of) Power Play

Last weekend wasn’t quite what Hobart coach Mark Taylor was hoping for.
The Statesmen hit the road for games at Utica and Manhattanville, and
Hobart was swept.

“The games weren’t what we wanted outcome-wise,” said Taylor. “We
wanted to come out of there with some points, and didn’t. So we need to
make up some ground. The game Friday night [at Utica] was nice, because
it wasn’t a penalty-ridden game. We just didn’t capitalize on some of
our opportunities. We had quite a few grade A scoring chances that we
didn’t finish on. Both teams over the weekend finished better than we

Hobart outshot both Utica and Manhattanville in the games, but could
only muster a total of three goals on 55 shots. It didn’t help that the
Statesmen went 0-for-11 on the power play Saturday against the Valiants,
while Manhattanville scored two power play goals and chipped in an

“We didn’t capitalize on our power plays at Manhattanville,” said
Taylor. “That is obviously something that we need to improve on.”

The Statesmen are currently last in the league in power play success,
only converting on ten percent of its opportunities.

Hobart has been rotating starts between two goaltenders this season.
The Statesmen haven’t had a goaltender dual since the 2000-2001 season
when Chris Connolly and Sam Weiner split time in net as seniors.

“I started Keith [Longo] to get experience at Potsdam, started Dimitri
[Papaevagelou] at Utica, and then Keith at Manhattanville,” said Taylor.
“I’m playing those two out and see how they separate from each other. I
feel both of them have done very good. It is healthy for them to feed
off of the competition of each other.”

At least statistically, it looks like Longo might be gaining the upper
hand. He has put up strong numbers as a freshman (.915 save %, 2.01
GAA) and turned aside 22 shots in Hobart’s 6-2 win over Potsdam to start
the season.

Lebanon Valley Rides Special Teams

Surprisingly enough, Lebanon Valley is at the other end of the special
teams extreme from Hobart. The Flying Dutchmen have the most potent
power play in the league at this early stage of the season, converting
on seven of seventeen opportunities for a stellar 41.2 percent success rate.

“Sometimes your power play is good, and sometimes it is lucky,” said
Lebanon Valley coach Al MacCormack. “Right now we are lucky. With
today’s penalty calls, we work the power play every day.”

Lebanon Valley started out with a tough loss at Geneseo, where the
Dutchmen tallied two quick 5-on-3 power play goals early in the contest
only to eventually lose 9-2. However, Lebanon Valley has bounced back
from that setback and piled on fourteen goals in wins against Cortland
and Assumption.

“I am very happy with our scoring,” said MacCormack. “We missed a few
chances against Geneseo, but we are creating a lot of scoring

While the offense is clicking along, life in Lebanon Valley’s own zone
isn’t so rosy. The Flying Dutchmen are worst in the league in defense,
allowing an average of 6.33 goals per game, almost double what the next
worst team is running.

“We’ve had some success, but if you look at the scores I’m not that
happy with the number of goals that we have given up,” said MacCormack.
“It’s not that we are giving up a lot of opportunities, it’s just that
I’m not happy with our goaltending and defense.”

Last year’s steady goaltender, senior Sonny Holding, was yanked just ten
minutes into the game against Geneseo after letting in two weak goals.
Since then, sophomore Craig Vardy has seen all the time in net but has
only managed to amass an .830 save percentage.

Lebanon Valley will need both Holding, Vardy, and the rest of the
defense to stiffen up in order to continue its new found success this

Actual Walls?

Hobart’s Geneva Recreation Center is the only non-enclosed rink left in
the nation in which NCAA hockey games are played. Despite several
attempts over the years to either enclose it, or build a new rink on
campus, fans and players continue to shiver during the winter months
while enjoying throwback hockey in the great outdoors.

Soon, just maybe, that may all be coming to an end. A proposed project
is currently under review by the Geneva city council to finally enclose
the rink.

“It is in the political cycle with the town and is in process,” said
Taylor. “I think something will be resolved in the next month or so.
There is support from a number of resources.”

The rink is owned by the city of Geneva. Hobart hockey is a major
tenant, but it is also used by youth hockey teams, for open skating by
townspeople, and in the summer as a roller hockey arena and open air

This project has a projected cost just shy of $400,000 and includes
donated labor and materials by local businesses. Rendering drawings
have been made, and call for insulated glass panels on all four sides of
the building, a dehumidification system and upgrades to the building’s
HVAC system.

What makes this effort different from previous failed projects is from
where the driving force is coming. Previous attempts at enclosure have
all been originated by Hobart College. This time, the effort is being
led by a local businessman, who has formed a committee to drive the
project to fruition.

“It is being driven by a city businessman, who is a city tax payer and a
youth hockey parent,” said Taylor. “The only reason he discovered it
was a good cause was because his son plays youth hockey.”

With the driving force coming from local businessmen and taxpayers, this
project definitely appears more likely to succeed than past attempts.

Off the Schneid

After both teams went winless on the road last weekend, Elmira and
Hobart are each desperate to get some points this weekend when they face
each other at the Geneva Rec Center. The two teams split last season,
each winning on home ice.

“The league has proven by some of the scores that it is going to be a
pretty tight league,” said Taylor. “For both Elmira and us, this is a
big game because we both need to get points. With three games, it is
going to make it a more interesting league.”

The specter of posting three league losses this early in the season
provides both teams with plenty of motivation for this game.