Many people like to call the fall portion of the college hockey season the “first half”, but really, it’s more like the first period. The majority of the non-conference games are in the books (holiday tournaments the obvious exception), but most ECAC teams have only played eight of their 22 league games (Cornell and Colgate have only played six conference contests). So let’s look at the three things that caught our eye over the waning seconds of our metaphorical opening frame.
Strong locally, weak nationally
ECAC Hockey has compiled a cumulative 37-34-4 non-conference record, not including non-con games between league teams (e.g. the Clarkson-St. Lawrence home-and-home over the Halloween weekend). That’s all well and good, especially considering the league’s 17-13-2 record against “big brother” (or little brother, depending on how you value history) Hockey East. ECAC Hockey is also 12-5 against Atlantic Hockey foes, but that’s where the good news ends. ECAC teams seem to fare just fine in their own back yards, but further afield, the conference is just 7-16-2 against Big 10, WCHA, and NCHC opponents. Is this a travel issue, or a quality-of-competition issue? Tough to say, but it’s certainly a half-full/half-empty proposition.
Minnesota State beats Princeton; flu beats Minnesota State
An outbreak of influenza did what no team has been able to do to Minnesota State all year: Keep the Mavericks off the board. The No. 3 team in the polls routed Princeton 5-0 on Friday night, but Mavs athletic director Kevin Buisman declared the team unfit for play the following evening following a sudden outbreak of flu-like symptoms among a number of players. The game was declared a “no contest” – as opposed to a forfeit – and will be effectively erased from each team’s results as though it had never been scheduled in the first place. Friday’s shutout was MSU’s third in five games, while the loss was Princeton’s fourth in a row and ninth in 10 games (1-9).
Odds ‘n ends
• Clarkson has scored 10 second-period goals in league play thus far, leading all teams in single-period scoring… yet the Golden Knights are also the only team to be blanked in a period for the entire fall: Clarkson has not scored a third-period league goal yet.
• Five teams have surrendered 14 goals or fewer in ECAC competition. Brown has allowed 15 in first-period play alone.
• Harvard’s Jimmy Vesey, Kyle Criscuolo and Alex Kerfoot get a lot of ink lately, but the league’s top scorers are actually Dutchmen: Senior forwards Daniel Ciampini and Max Novak lead the league in points per game with 1.50 and 1.38, respectively. Freshman teammate Spencer Foo also leads the league’s rookies in scoring to date, averaging a solid point per game.
• There is Steve Perry, then there’s everyone else. Clarkson’s sophomore goalie is way out ahead of the pack in GAA (0.99) and save percentage (.958). The nearest competitor is Harvard senior Steve Michalek (1.59, .950).