Angst to grind: ECAC yet to earn rankings

Players of the Week*

*These are my selections; ECAC Hockeys can be found here.

Player of the Week: Denny Kearney, Yale

A short-handed assist, a natural hat-trick, a +4 rating and a game-winner all in one outing? Yeah, that’s PotW material.

But tag on another goal, three helpers and a +3 the following night, and Kearney may have his honor carried over into next week, too. The senior sniper – who is now two points shy of 100 for his career – totaled four goals, four assists and a +7 in his first weekend of action against Brown and Dartmouth. Last year, he finished with 12 goals and 25 assists, so he might have to set the bar a bit higher this season.

Honorable mention: Broc Little, Yale (3-3–6, +6); Brian O’Neill, Yale (3-2–5, +3); Corbin McPherson, Colgate (2-1–3, +2 vs. Sacred Heart); Jeremy Welsh, Union (1-2–3, +2 vs. UConn and RPI)

Rookie of the Week: Dustin Mowrey, Cornell

The Burnaby, B.C. native scored two power-play goals ten and a half minutes apart in the third period against New Hampshire, drawing the Big Red to within two goals late in the game. Cornell may have lost the game, but Mowrey should offer promise of a decent power play finisher on a team that is looking to replace exactly those kinds of players.

Side note: an astute (albeit impolite) reader pointed out a major oversight last week, in that St. Lawrence’s Greg Carey deserved RotW recognition as well: he scored all three goals in SLU’s 3-3 tie with Western Michigan, and if that’s not of note, nothing is.

Honorable mention: Daniel Carr, Union (1-1–2, with a PPG against UConn); Dennis Robertson, Brown (2-0-2 at Yale); Matt Zarbo, Clarkson (1-0-1, GWG in OT against SLU)

Goalie of the Week: Paul Karpowich, Clarkson

The third-year St. Louis Blues draft pick earns this week’s ‘netminder honor for stopping 34 of 35 desperate St. Lawrence shots in Clarkson’s 2-1 OT victory at Lake Placid. Karpowich stopped all 10 first-period shots, 13 of 14 in the second period, and all 11 in the third to keep Clarkson in it, and lowered his goals-against average to 2.07 with a .935 save rate so far this year.

Honorable mention: Alex Evin, Colgate (first career shutout with 21 saves vs. SHU); Marco DeFilippo, Brown (28 saves on 29 shots vs. Princeton in first NCAA game); Sean Bonar, Princeton (27 saves, 29 shots in first NCAA game against Dartmouth)

Respect on hold

ECAC Hockey doesn’t tend to make big waves, nationally speaking: no state schools, few “major market” teams, more than half of the programs don’t even offer scholarships, not to mention the long title drought… so it’s little surprise when teams like St. Cloud sneak into the rankings at 3-4-1, or Denver sits way up at No. 13 with a 3-3-2 record. All the while, No. 18 Rensselaer (3-1-3) and unranked Clarkson (4-2-1) and Quinnipiac (4-2-0) hold winning percentages at .643 or better. Where’s the love?

Not so fast.

As much as I love ECAC Hockey – and those who have paid attention should know that I sincerely do – I have to point out that perhaps we’re not quite ready for world-beater status just yet.

You see, despite solid results, RPI’s opponents are only 13-19-9 this year. Clarkson’s are 12-17-5, and the Bobcats’, 9-15-2.

Now this clearly isn’t a comprehensive run-down of the poll (which is irrelevant anyhow, of course) or the teams that comprise it; I really don’t have the inclination to do all that. It’s just a small reality check before heading into the meat-grinder that is the ECAC regular season.

I’d love nothing more than to be able to vote ECAC teams numbers 1-12 on my ballot, but that pleasure will have to wait.

My Top 20

1. Boston University
2. Miami
3. New Hampshire
4. Michigan State
5. Nebraska-Omaha
6. Minnesota-Duluth
7. Yale
8. Michigan
9. Notre Dame
10. Boston College
11. Maine
12. Wisconsin
13. Michigan Tech
14. Colorado College
15. Union
16. North Dakota
17. Denver
18. Alaska
19. Minnesota
20. Clarkson