Soaring to the Top

Four of the five teams started league play this past weekend.  With a pair of big road wins over Uitca and Manhattanville, Elmira jumped right to the top of the standings.
The Soaring Eagles weekend started out at Utica, and the Pioneers got their 3,800 fans into the game early when Steve Zappia scored just 6:39 into the contest.  Despite being outshot 22-13, Utica held the 1-0 lead into the third period.
Elmira kept working away, and D’arcy Oakes scored at 6:10 of the third period to tie the game.  Joe Gagne added another goal with less than five minutes remaining to give Elmira the lead, and then Jesper Strale chipped in an empty-netter to seal the 3-1 victory.
“We did not have a ton of great scoring chances, and it caught up to us in the third period,” said Utica coach Gary Heenan.  “We had solid goaltending, but we got a few unlucky bounces, and we didn’t play as well on the power play as we would have liked.  Elmira is a very good team, and they deserve a lot of credit for sticking with it through 60 full minutes.”
Utica’s only goal came on a power play, one of seven extra-man opportunities on the night.
Elmira continued its weekend road trip to Manhattanville Saturday night, and again fell behind in the first period 2-1. 
The second period was the Kevin Willer show for the Soaring Eagles.  Willer scored three goals and assisted on another as Elmira surged to a 5-3 lead by the end of the second period.  Willer wasn’t done though, and added a short-handed goal 3:59 into the third period to seal the 6-3 victory.
“[Willer] has been our most consistent player this year,” said Elmira coach Aaron Saul.  “He is an exceptional player at both ends of the rink.  He is our Mighty Mite.  He is only 5 feet 6 inches, but he does it all.”
In other action around the league, Hobart shutout Manhattanville Friday night 4-0.  Three different freshmen, Peter Ryan, Bronson Kovacs, and Ian Coleman, scored their first goals as Statesmen during the game.   It was a very rough game, including 24 penalties evenly distributed between the two teams for 59 total minutes.
Outside the conference, the ECAC West had a perfect weekend.  Hobart finished off its weekend trip dropping Salve Regina 5-1 on Saturday.
Utica got back on the winning side of the ledger with a 7-1 drubbing of Saint Michel’s on Saturday.  It was the first time these two teams had ever met.
Lastly, Neumann fended off a tenacious Curry team 5-4 on Sunday.  Cory Park scored a pair of goals while Dave Gervais added a goal and two assists.


  1. Ugly to look at the Pairwise and see only 1 ECAC team in position. Seems the teams that had decent out-of -conference starts to the year bombed in the ECAC play, and those that are doing well have weak non-conference records. If St. L loses to QU in the ECAC final, I’m not sure 2 teams make the NCAA, let alone 3.

  2. I still think the ECAC is underrated. I’m a Dartmouth season ticket holder and they have played everyone tough. Tied Denver, beat BU with a full roster, lost to BC with three minutes to go. Lost to the Saints while outshooting them 39-22. Lost to QU in Hamden in OT. I can’t imagine only one team in the tourney. If Dartmouth is in the middle of the pack, then the whole league is pretty good.

  3. Ted: The league (ECAC) is not underrated. The league has a terrible non-conference record and is deserving of its pairwise ratings. They are forth in non-conference matchups and have a losing record against every other league except the AHA. RPI lost 8 of 10 non-conference matchups. Dartmouth was 0-4-3 from Jan2 – Jan17 lost BC, VT, tied NH and tied Denver. You want a prize for that? Q dropped two to Merrimack. The list goes on. The very sad part to this is that the F4 is in Boston this year and its going to be a huge disappointment if we don’t have at least one ECAC team at the party. PS – Dartmouth has never ever even won the ECAC Tournament. ECAC teams have to go out and schedule tough out of conference teams and win some. Scheduling non-conference games against conference opponents buys you nothing. Its tough on the IVY’s because they only have 7 non-conference games. The only ECAC team that did everything right this year was Harvard but they were decimated by injuries. I am just hoping that one ECAC teams makes it to Boston. I don’t care which one. My fear is that only one will make the NCAA playoff and that team will get eliminated long before that. Then we will be back to the EZAC.

  4. The Pairwise is as rigged as the Grammys. ECAC, winner of last two National Championships get 2 low seeds. A joke. The hockey “establishment” working its magic… ND Fighting Sues and BCs of the world get every break based on reputation and (self-fulfilling) strength of schedule. The conference should be furious. ECAC penalized for relative parity. No respect.

    • The Pairwise is NOT rigged and is very objective. However, once the teams are picked, where they get placed, ie. in what region and against what competition, is subjective and one could claim with a lot of validity, that BC and HE always get preferential treatment, over the ECAC :)

  5. I thought for sure this would be a rebuilding year for QU, because this is a very young team. But, true to form with Pecknold’s squads, this team continues to exceed expectations. I think they have what it takes to fill in for the loss of Barron, Federico and Peca after this year, and next year could be an even better year.

  6. Need to get rid of the third Lowell-UMass as soon as humanly possible. Both teams should play a non-league team when playing a non-league game. If they want bragging rights between the two state teams, play the two games home/ home and the winner of the “cup” or whatever it is can be determined by two game/total goals or a 10 minute OT the second night. The third game doesn’t help either team for a berth in the NCAA tournament.


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