League evens up as Dutchmen start to pull away

There’s no more games in hand from here on out, as all of the ECAC teams are at an even amount of conference games played with three weekends left. Still, there’s little settled heading down the stretch run.

Colgate jumped back into first-round bye with a 6-1 thumping of Cornell Saturday. It was the Big Red’s first loss since Nov. 30, a span of nine games.  Quinnipiac, Clarkson and Yale each split, while Union swept to take a three-point lead over the Bobcats for first place. The Dutchmen play four of their final six games on the road, but went 3-1 without suspended head coach Rick Bennett, who will be back behind the bench Friday at Cornell.

Clarkson should be in the mix for first-round bye, although the Golden Knights travel to Union in two weeks and host Quinnipiac on the final day of the regular season. As for Yale, the defending national champions chances at a top-four spot are slowly slipping away, but there’s still a chance. The Bulldogs have four games left at home and two on the road. Those away games are against struggling Harvard and Dartmouth, but don’t lock up four points for Yale just yet. The Bulldogs lost to the Big Green 4-1 on Dec. 6, and followed that up with a 2-2 against the Crimson the next night.

Golden Knights and Bobcats wear each other down.

First, there was some history. Then, there were whistles. A lot of them.

Quinnipiac forward Connor Jones scored ten seconds into Friday’s win over Clarkson after scoring eight seconds in against Dartmouth last weekend. Jones is the first player in NCAA history to score a goal in the first 10 seconds of a game twice in his career.

Matthew Peca scored 1:04 later to make it 2-0 Quinnnipiac, although the Golden Knights tied it early in the second period with two quick goals of their own, before the Bobcats regained the lead for good midway through the period. But a barrage of penalties marred what was an exciting game that featured three video reviews of shots that went off iron.

“In the end, that’s not how college hockey is supposed to be played,”  Bobcats head coach Rand Pecknold said. “That’s late 90s, early 2000s. We’re supposed to clean all that stuff out of the game, the hooking, the holding, the cork-screwing. I was disappointed the game escalated to that. Both teams were at fault. We’re supposed to play a wide-open, entertaining type of hockey. I guess once in a while, everything falls back to that.”

Quinnipiac was called for 12 penalties totaling 24 minutes, while Clarkson had 47 penalty minutes on 18 infractions.

“I thought it was a situation where two teams were battling pretty hard,” Golden Knights head coach Casey Jones said. “You’re battling for league points; hopefully it doesn’t get to the point where someone gets hurt  I didn’t think that was the case. I thought it was a situation where two teams where battling pretty hard.”

The Bobcats were only 1-for-11 on the power play, but Jones said that using Clarkson’s top players on the penalty-kill unit wore down the Golden Knights as the game went on.

Equipment malfunction

There’s already been one game cancelled this season due to a compressor failure.  Friday’s game between Harvard and Dartmouth wasn’t cancelled, but a zamboni broke down at the Bright-Landry Hockey Center, delaying the start of the game until 8:49 p.m. and resulting in this sequence.  The Crimson blanked the Big Green 3-0, and face Boston University Monday at 4:30 p.m. in the Beanpot consolation game.