League continues to shine in non-conference play

It’s the start of January, which means it’s time to start giving the PairWise more consideration. ECAC Hockey’s strong showing in non-conference (51-31-8, second to the NCHC). As a result, the conference currently has six teams in top-16, including the top two seeds in Quinnipiac and Harvard. Conference play should drop some of those teams, but it’s been a very strong season for the league so far.

Harvard, Dartmouth take home tournament trophies  

Two tournaments and two trophies for the Crimson, who rallied to beat host Minnesota 4-3 in the Mariucci Classic Championship Saturday night. Kyle Criscuolo tied the game with an extra-attacker goal with under a minute remaining, and then won the game 2:39 into overtime. Criscuolo was named the tournament’s MVP, and was joined on the all-tournament team by forward Seb Lloyd and goalie Madsen Merrick.

After winning the Shillelagh Tournament in November, Saturday’s win gave Harvard two tournament wins for the first time in the program’s 118-year history. It was also the first time the Crimson had won at Minnesota since 1950.

The historical win comes as Harvard enters a tough stretch, starting with Boston University at home Thursday. The Crimson follow that with a game against Quinnipiac at Madison Square Garden Saturday, and then travel to St. Lawrence and Clarkson the next weekend.

Of course, the biggest in-season tournament of the year will take place next month for Harvard. The Crimson are set to meet Boston College in the opening game of the Beanpot on Monday, Feb. 1.

As for Dartmouth, the Big Green hosted the Ledyard Classic this weekend and won it for the first time since 2008, beating Merrimack 3-0 Sunday after winning against Robert Morris on Saturday. It’s the first time this season Dartmouth has won two games in a row.

The tournament has pre-determined matchups, and both Union and the Big Green went 2-0, but Dartmouth won thanks to a higher goal differential.

Bears take down No. 1

Brown handed Providence its second loss of the season Sunday, beating the Friars 4-3 in overtime on a goal by freshman Tommy Marchin. It was the second and final game of the Mayor’s Cup between the in-city rivals. Providence beat Brown 4-1 on Dec. 10, and won the Cup thanks to a 7-5 goal differential in the two games.

It was an impressive win for the Bears, but it also showcased Brown’s inconsistency this season. The Bears beat Colgate 7-5 on Dec. 29 in the Catamount Cup, but then were shutout the next day by Lake Superior State.

On Sunday, Brown outshot Providence 46-34, with goalie Tim Ernst making 31 saves. Those are good signs, but more importantly, the Bears had three players – Andrew Doane, Josh McArdle, and Charlie Corcoran – score their first goal of the season.

Secondary scoring will be important for the Bears down the stretch. The top line of Marchin, Nick Lappin, and Mark Naclerio has combined to score 24 of Brown’s 41 goals this season. Lappin leads the way with 10, while no other skater outside of that line has more than two.

Union on a roll

A seven-game unbeaten streak, including five wins in a row, has the Dutchmen currently positioned at 18th in the PairWise.

The offense has been clicking for Union, as it has scored at least three goals in every game during the stretch. I already it mentioned last week, but keep an eye out on the Dutchmen in the second half. Union has an uninspiring 2-5-1 record in league play, but seems to be putting it together at the right time.