ECAC Hockey stratifying ahead of Ivy season

UC, CU setting the pace

Leading the pack out of the gate, Union and… well… the ‘Gate are making convincing October arguments for national relevance.

Of the 53 active D-I programs (the six Ivies drop the puck on exhibition games next weekend), Union is one of ten remaining unbeatens (4-0) following this week’s 3-0 and 5-2 wins at Maine. Before Dutchmen fans begin planning a second parade, it’s worth noting that opponents American International, New Hampshire, and Maine are a combined 1-8-1. That said, wins are wins and the schedule is what it is. Union is on a 21-game, two-season unbeaten run and nobody can argue with that.

Up Hamilton way, the Raiders opened their home season with consecutive 3-0 snuffings of Northeastern. Sophomore goalie Charlie Finn earned both shutouts, doubling his career clean-sheet total and dropping his season GAA to 1.01. The offense has been diverse, with eight different goal-scorers – junior Kyle Baun (three goals) is the only player with more than one – but the biggest quantifiable difference between Colgate and its opponents so far is the Raiders’ 9.2 percent shooting percentage compared to foes’ 3.6, so there is a question of sustainability. Colgate will have an opportunity to match early 2008’s feat of three straight shutouts next weekend with two games at Sacred Heart.

Rivals Rensselaer and Clarkson suffering from the same malady

RPI opened the year with a surprising 3-2 win at Notre Dame, but has only scored once since. The Engineers suffered consecutive shutouts against No. 1 Minnesota and No. 16 Denver, then fell again to DU by a 4-1 score on Saturday. This is not necessarily an issue of small population size either, as RPI is being out-shot by an average of nearly 14 shots a game; suffice to say, this is no mere stretch of bad luck.

Up in Potsdam, Vermont beat Clarkson by a 5-1 aggregate in the weekend’s home-and-home series. Unlike RPI, the Golden Knights actually out-shot the Catamounts on the weekend (49-44), but were done in by an ineffective power play. Clarkson failed to convert on any of its nine PP opportunities (and is 1/15 this year), whereas UVM scored once in seven advantages. Sophomore goalie Steve Perry isn’t yet living up to last year’s standards, holding a pedestrian .910 save rate despite his 1.75 GAA.

Sophomores standing out

There was little doubt that Quinnipiac soph Sam Anas would be a force to be reckoned with again this fall, following a powerhouse 22-goal, 43-point rookie campaign. Six of QU’s 11 goals this season have been scored on the power-play, and Anas has accounted for half of that production (three goals, all PPGs). With two power-play assists as well, Anas leads the Bobcats in goals and points.

Perhaps more surprising, second-year Union forward Mike Vecchione is already a quarter of the way to his total freshman-year production. Vecchione’s three goals and nine points each lead the league, and his 2.25 points per game is the third-highest in the nation among skaters who have played at least two games. Vecchione notched 14 goals and 34 points last season centering a line with ’14 graduate Daniel Carr and current senior Daniel Ciampini; rookie Spencer Foo has filled Carr’s spot seamlessly with a point a game so far and the line has combined for seven goals in four games.