Some thoughts as ECAC Hockey returns to action

Happy New Year! Here are some quick thoughts from the last weekend of 2017 in ECAC Hockey.

Strong start for the Saints

It took St. Lawrence just two days to double its first-half win total. The Saints beat Vermont and Massachusetts-Lowell over the weekend to win the Catamount Cup at Vermont.

St. Lawrence scored three goals in each of the games over the weekend after only reaching that mark three times over the first half. Sophomore goalie Daniel Mannella was named the tournament’s most outstanding players after posting his first two collegiate wins along with his first collegiate shutout Saturday against the Riverhawks.

Injuries decimated the Saints throughout the first half, but if St. Lawrence can stay healthy, it might make my midseason prediction look bad by the end of the year.

Big win for the Big Red

Any game after an extended break can often be a little sloppy, but that wasn’t the case for Cornell. The Big Red beat Canisius 6-2 Saturday, its first game since Dec. 2 at Miami.

However, as Big Red assistant director for communications Brandon Thomas noted, the game had important PairWise implications for Cornell. Outside of Clarkson, the Golden Griffins represented the only team in the top-twenty of the PairWise that the Big Red would face for the rest of the season. A loss could have hurt Cornell, but the Big Red won’t have to worry about that thanks to a hat trick by freshman Kyle Betts.

There’s still a long way to go in the season, but the Big Red are currently ranked four in the PairWise, meaning they would be a top seed in an NCAA Regional.

Dartmouth continues steady play

Dartmouth was the last ECAC Hockey team to play before the holiday break and one of the first to get back in action over the past weekend. That relatively short break might be a good thing for the Big Green, who have shown signs of putting a recent rough stretch behind them.

Dartmouth ended the first half by rallying for a 5-4 win at Denver on Dec. 16 and then started the second half with a win against New Hampshire in the Ledyard Bank Classic. The Big Green tied Minnesota-Duluth Saturday, but lost the tournament via shootout.

Yes, the Bulldogs were down several important players due to the World Junior Championships, but it was still an impressive showing for Dartmouth, who are now 2-0-1 in their last three games following a seven-game winless streak. All of the fifteen remaining games for the Big Green are conference games, including nine at home.