The “snowball effect” goes both ways

Good news, everyone!

(Anyone who read that with Professor Farnsworth’s voice in mind, well done.) Union finished the week 2-0-1, taking two league points from Dartmouth on Wednesday and all but sweeping No. 1 St. Cloud on the road this weekend. A huge pair of results that are sure to knock the Huskies off their one-week perch and boost Union near the Top 5.

“All-in-all, for the adversity this team faced with the tough stretch of games, the players did a great job and I’m proud of them,” coach Rick Bennett said, as quoted by Ken Schott of the Schenectady Daily Gazette. “It was a good road trip,” he continued. “If you had told the coaching staff before the trip that we would come away with a win and a tie against the top team in the nation we would have been pleased. But we are far from satisfied.”

Union is making a serious run, now unbeaten in 10 games (9-0-1) and 11-1-2 since starting the season 1-2-1. At the top of the ECAC standings through nine games, the Dutchmen have two points and a game in hand on second-place Quinnipiac. Yeah, it’s too early to start calculating “magic numbers” and all that, but it has nonetheless been an impressive 2013 half of the 2013-14 season for the Garnet & White.

Holiday downers

Rensselaer, Colgate and St. Lawrence – on the other hand – had weekends to forget. RPI lost and tied No. 20 Denver in Troy. The Raiders were swept at home by what had been a four-win Massachusetts club (now 6-11-2). The Saints, once looking like a top-10 team, have lost seven of their last nine games… including Saturday’s 5-1 loss at Vermont.

This leaves ECAC Hockey with nine teams entering the holiday break on a down note: Colgate, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Princeton, Quinnipiac, RPI (exhibition win over US National Development Team notwithstanding), SLU, and Yale all concluded their pre-Christmas schedule with losses and/or winless skids.

Haggerty, Girard and the rest

Statistical tidings following this game-light weekend:

• RPI’s Ryan Haggerty continues to lead the nation in goals (18) and goals per game (1.06). He is the only player with a goal a game… besides Cornell goalie Mitch Gillam, who has one goal in one game.

• SLU star Greg Carey, meanwhile, leads the country with 36 points and 1.89 points a game. He also has 13 goals, good for a four-way tie for second with Boston College’s Johnny Gaudreau, younger brother and Saints teammate Matt Carey and Quinnipiac freshman Sam Anas.

• Union junior Shayne Gostisbehere is one off the national lead in shots on goal, with 86. Oh yeah, reminder: He’s a defenseman. No other blueliner in the nation even has 60 shots on goal, much less 80; Gostisbehere is also more than a shot-per-game ahead of any other defenseman in the country.

• Harvard senior Raphael Girard leads Division 1 with a .948 save percentage.

• QU’s Michael Garteig leads the country in minutes played – 1,146:53 – but there is just one goalie who has played every non-open-net minute for his team, and that is Holy Cross’ Matt Ginn.

• Clarkson keeper Steve Perry is third nationally with a 1.72 GAA.

• QU (+1.58) and Union (+1.33) are the only league teams to boast goal differentials over +1 goal per game.

• SLU leads D-I with a 29 percent power play. Wow. Cornell (26.9 percent) and Union (25.8) round out the top three.

• QU (90.9 percent) and Harvard (90) boast terrific penalty kills, too.

• Finally, the Bobcats and Dutchmen are 1-2 nationally in shot margin per game. Quinnipiac averages more than 14 shots per game than its opposition; Union, more than nine additional SOG’s.