No easy weekends
Well, what with Harvard’s 2-1 home loss to Yale on Saturday, ECAC Hockey is officially out of the “Last of the Unbeatens” race. In fact, Quinnipiac is the only team still unbeaten in league play (4-0), having edged Union and Rensselaer in the Capital District this weekend. With all dozen teams playing league games over the last 72 hours, only the Bobcats and Bulldogs took the full four points. (For the record, Michigan Tech out in the WCHA – at 10-0-0 – is the only undefeated team in Division 1 at this point.)
There were a lot of people buying tickets for Brown’s Dark Horse Express before the season started… I’m guessing many of them have since disembarked. The Bears have struggled mightily through five games, scoring nine goals while allowing 21 (5-19 in league play). Reliable junior point-producer Nick Lappin nearly doubled his career penalty-minute total in two games, earning him a two-game suspension to match; Bruno lost those two Lappin-less games by a combined score of 12-2. There is no one major problem with the Bears right now: The power play (.077), penalty kill (.611), team save percentage (.883) and team shooting percentage (6.1) are all bad to awful. The team’s leading scorer is senior Massimo Lamacchia, with one goal and three points. There is a lot of potential in Providence, but boy, it isn’t exhibiting itself in the slightest right now.
Nobody should have any excuse for overlooking Quinnipiac anymore, yet here we are two months into the season, and the Bobcats are still managing to sneak up on us. Sophomore Sam Anas is absolutely red-hot right now with seven goals and 15 points in 10 games, including five goals on one of the nation’s second-best power play (30.4 percent as a team, trailing only Bentley’s 36.4). Perhaps equally remarkable, Anas is the only player in the country to average more than six shots on goal per game (6.2); D-I’s leading SOG/game totals over the past two years have been 4.54 and 4.91, to give you some sense of scope. Not surprisingly, linemates Matthew Peca (senior) and Landon Smith (freshman) are having good years-to-date as well, with seven goals and 21 points combined. Second-line center Travis St. Denis notched a hat trick at RPI on Saturday, so look out if that line stays hot… and junior goaltender Michael Garteig may have a sub-optimal .903 save rate overall, but in league play that percentage shoots way up to .956. Heads up, ECAC… this is no rebuild; it’s a reload.