Dartmouth, Harvard and Union each swept its opening-round playoff series, with Rensselaer beating Clarkson in three games. That sets up the following matchups in the quarterfinals this weekend:
No. 10 Union at No. 1 Quinnipiac (Season series: Quinnipiac, 2-0)
No. 9 Rensselaer at No. 2 St. Lawrence (Season series: 1-1)
No. 6 Harvard at No.3 Yale (Season series: Yale, 3-0)
No. 5 Dartmouth at No. 4 Colgate (Season series: Colgate, 1-0-1)
Union explodes at Lynah Rink
The Dutchmen joined travel partner RPI as the two road teams to win last weekend, sweeping Cornell by an aggregate score of 11-2.
After losing the opening game 4-2, Big Red head coach Mike Schafer started backup goaltender Hayden Stewart Saturday for the first time since Jan. 24. That move backfired, as Cornell allowed a season-high seven goals, with Stewart giving up three goals on eight shots before getting replaced by Mitch Gilliam for the last two periods.
“It unraveled,” Schafer told the Ithaca Journal. “Everything that could possibly go wrong in this hockey game went wrong for us.
The shutout was the eleventh of Union’s Colin Stevens’ career, tying Kris Mayotte for the school record. The win also improved Dutchmen head coach Rick Bennett’s postseason record to 21-2, including 14-0 in the ECAC playoffs. It was the seventh time Cornell has been shutout this season. The Big Red averaged 1.81 goals per game this year.
Cornell finished 11-14-6, the second time in three seasons it has finished below .500. The Big Red have finished with a sub-.500 record four times in Schafer’s twenty seasons in Ithaca. It’s also the first time Cornell has been knocked out before the ECAC quarterfinals since the 1998-99 season.
Harvard gets another chance at Yale
During the early part of the season when the Crimson were the No. 1 team in the country, Ivy League rival Yale was the only team that had its number. The Crimson had two losses through Jan. 16 – both to the Bulldogs. Since then, Harvard has gone 6-9-1, including the sweep of Brown last weekend. The Crimson’s scored ten goals in the series against the Bears, but played Game 2 without top center Alexander Kerfoot, who was injured during Friday’s game.
However, Harvard’s Colin Blackwell, who missed all of last season and much of this with concussion-related symptoms, scored three goals last weekend. Brian Hart took Kerfoot’s place with Jimmy Vesey and Kyle Criscuolo on the Crimson’s top line, which scored three-first period goals in Saturday’s 4-3 win. It’s the first time Harvard won an ECAC playoff series since 2012.
Engineers advance with Game 3 road win
Like Harvard, RPI hadn’t won a playoff series since 2012. That came to an end Sunday night, as the Engineers beat Clarkson 3-1 to knock off the Knights in three games. RPI’s last playoff-series win also game on the road against Clarkson. With the win, the Engineers will head back to the North Country next weekend to face St. Lawrence for the first time in the playoffs since the 2000 ECAC championship game.
RPI goalie Jason Kasdorf had a solid bounce-back effort Sunday after getting pulled in a 5-0 loss in Game 2 that sent the series to the distance. The junior stopped 33-of-34 shots to help RPI advance.