ECAC Hockey teams were involved in ten games this weekend, and four went to overtime. On Friday, Connecticut and Colgate tied 4-4, while Maine beat last year’s national runner-up Quinnipiac 4-3.
The Bobcats came back Saturday with a 3-2 overtime win against the Black Bears, while Union relinquished a two-goal third period lead and settled for a 4-4 tie at Sacred Heart.
While it’s unlikely that 40 percent of the league’s conference games will head to overtime, this weekend was a good test for several ECAC Hockey teams. With so many key departures in the league, the competition should be especially tight when league play picks up in January and February.
Just over one minute separates Union from a 3-1 start on the road. Leading 4-2 in the final period at Sacred Heart Saturday, the Dutchmen allowed two quick goals to the Pioneers en route to a 4-4 tie.
Still, a 2-1-1 start away from home is solid for a team that that was 6-7-2 on the road last season. Union has its first home games this of the year this weekend, hosting RIT and Niagara at Messa Rink before starting league play with a home-and-home series with travel partner Rensselaer.
North Country teams looking formidable
Merrimack and New Hampshire might not be Hockey East powerhouses this season, but that shouldn’t take away from impressive home weekends by Clarkson and St. Lawrence. The North Country teams went 3-1 at home this weekend, with Clarkson’s 5-3 loss to the Wildcats Saturday the only setback on the weekend.
It’s early, but St. Lawrence appears poised to keep on rolling with first-year coach Mark Morris. The Saints are 3-1, and have outscored their opponents by two goals per game. Junior Kyle Hayton is already the best goalie in the league, and while St. Lawrence likely won’t continue to average four-and-half goals per game, it should generate enough offense to win most nights.
Don’t discount Clarkson, either. The Golden Knights are 2-2, but freshman goalie Jake Kielly was a highly touted recruit who should improve on his .900 save percentage thus far. Senior goalie Steve Perry was injured for the first weekend of the season, according to a team press release, but should provide depth once he is back.
The Golden Knights have also been without defenseman Terrance Amorosa for the first two weekends of the season. His return will improve the defense and also provide some offense as well; the junior led all Clarkson defensemen in points per-game last season.