Did You Know: The Clarkson Hockey program has amassed 10,001 goals since the 1920-21 season?

Thursday, January 26, 2006

ECAC (HL) Preview

Our first preview of the league brings us arguably the best rivalry in the league and four other match-ups, that while not known for historic rivalry, are very interesting at this juncture of the season. This weekend features the return to the ice of the Harvard Crimson after a 3 week break and the biggest test for the hottest team in the league, the Yale Bulldogs.

Yale / Brown @ Colgate / Cornell
The aforementioned Bulldogs are 4-1-1 in their last 6 and are 6-0-1 in their last 7 league games. Yale is coming off a 4 point weekend at home against Union and RPI. Prompting coach Tim Taylor to say things like this, "That first period was our best offensive period of the year," and "Everyone was playing with confidence and talking to each other on the ice and on the bench." And caused many students on campus to say, "When's the Harvard game?" and "Why isn't Columbia on the schedule?" Columbia or no Columbia, Yale has made a run, which will come to a screeching halt this weekend. This is based on the famed postulate, “All good things must come to and end, and most good things end at Lynah rink." I don't know who said it first but they were later taunted in unison from sections A-N at Lynah after giving up three in the first period.

But before the good turns bad at Lynah, the Eli’s must go into Starr rink and take on the league's top team, the Colgate Raiders. Colgate is like the Road Runner. The more time you come up with an elaborate plan to beat them, the more pissed off you are when you leave the ice in defeat. After losing at Princeton, the Raiders have ripped off three wins in a row, and have not lost a league game at home this year, 5-0-1. Colgate swept Clarkson and St. Lawrence this past weekend, in games where they were out shot 43-27 by Clarkson, including a 22-6 NHL '95 style third period, and a game where they surrendered two separate one goal leads, only to win 50 seconds into overtime against SLU. Head coach Don Vaughn was noted to say after the win Saturday night, "I thought we were a little sluggish in the first, but then we played some of our best hockey in the last two periods. It started with our legs, our wingers started winning face offs, and we started working the boards." He then yelled "Meep meep" and then ran off into the desert leaving the reporter holding an empty bottle of earthquake pills.

Remember October? When Cornell wasn't as good as they were last year? Yeah, that team left. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss. When this team put a stinker up against Princeton last weekend something clicked, and kept clicking all over the previous #1 team in the conference and #3 in the PWR. Then continued on against a Clarkson team that gave it everything it had, and still came up two goals short. Prompting head coach Mike Schafer to say this, “They’re probably one of the better offensive teams we’ve played this year. It was a good battle back win for us.” Which is a nice way of saying, "We can hold fast skating offensive-minded teams to two goals. I pity all who travel to the land of gorges. Muwahaha, Ahahahaha!" He then ate a smurf.

Brown.... is a fine institution, with a very bad hockey team this year. After being out shot 78 - 50 this weekend against RPI and Union, head coach Roger Grillo was seen talking to the lacrosse coach to see if he could get some pointers. After realizing that this was dead end he returned to his office and called Yann Danis and hung up when it went to voice mail. He then called back immediately and left a voice mail asking Yann if he wasn't busy maybe he could swing by, you know, catch up on old times, but only if he had the time. He then hung up and stared out the window. Somewhere in the distance, a dog barked.

Gobe’s Predictions:
Colgate 3 - Yale 2
Colgate 6 - Brown 1
Cornell 6 - Brown 0
Cornell 4 - Yale 1

Ron’s Predictions:
Colgate 3 - Yale 1
Colgate 3 - Brown 2
Cornell 3 - Brown 0
Cornell 5 - Yale 3

RPI / Union @ Harvard / Dartmouth
RPI is injured. They are so injured that even their injuries have injuries. Last Monday senior defenseman Alexander Valentin’s knee injury went down with a case of walking pneumonia. While not available for comment, the knee injury was limited to a strict liquid diet and hoped to get back to game shape by the weekend. Even with all these setbacks RPI has managed to hang tough in the league and heads into New England looking to get in the hunt for a first round playoff bye. "It defines what kind of team you are," said RPI head coach Dan Frigden. "The first thing you have to do is accept it as reality, which I think we've done, and adjusted fairly well. It's not an excuse, it's a bigger challenge to each player. In the end, you hope that it makes you a better team." He then sprained his tongue and is expected to be out 4-6 weeks.

RPI squares off Friday against Harvard. Harvard has not played a game of hockey since a 3-2 defeat in Troy at the hands of the very same, and less injured, Engineers. Harvard is looking to make the most of its league games due to their unbalanced schedule which leaves them less wiggle room to catch the league leaders. The Crimson have to also deal with their participation in the Boston University invitational which adds two Tuesday games into a very difficult schedule. Head coach Ted Donato was unavailable for comment this week but he was overheard calling in to “Car Talk” asking the best way to remove rust from a ‘74 Chevy Nova.

The league's two biggest enigmas square off Friday night in Hanover as Union takes on Dartmouth. Dartmouth is coming off three non-conference games in which they lost a heartbreaker to UNH, beat a surprisingly solid Sacred Heart team, and lost to an equally solid Holy Cross team. Dartmouth really can’t get out of their own way this year. Which is why this is the perfect time to play Union, a team that is struggling to find its identity. It’s a game only Dr. Phil could love.

Gobe’s Predictions:
Harvard 2 – RPI 1
Harvard 4 – Union 1
Dartmouth 3 – Union 3
RPI 4 – Dartmouth 2

Ron’s Predictions:
RPI 5 – Harvard 2
Harvard 3 - Union 2
Union 3 - Dartmouth 2
Dartmouth 4 - Rensselaer 3

Clarkson / SLU
Every sport has its classic rivalry game. The NFL has the Bears and Packers. The NHL has the Wings and Avalanche. The NBA has Ron Artest and Piston Fans. Every one of these rivalries is different and sentimental to those who are close to the cities they take place in. College rivals are different. They spread across state lines, even international lines and affect not only the current students of the schools participating, but the parents of these students and the alumni of these colleges which are spread throughout the nation and world. There are no words that can describe the electric atmosphere at the faceoff of a Clarkson, St. Lawrence game in Appleton Arena, or to describe a game winning overtime goal in Cheel. These are moments that can only be summed up in live experiences that I hope all of our readers get to have once in their life. Clarkson, SLU cannot be summed up in one blog entry, nor can be summed up in one million blog entries, for this is an event that can only be truly enjoyed live or told, in person, by those who were there to experience first hand. There is a sports cliché that states, “You can throw out the records when these two meet.” In this case this is true. Both teams could be 0-29-0 right now, but you better believe the intensity on the ice would be that of two teams playing for the NCAA Championship. That in a sense is the Clarkson, SLU rivalry, two schools, 10 miles, 4 points, and everything at stake.

Gobe’s Predictions: Clarkson 4 – SLU 3; Clarkson 2 – SLU 1
Ron’s Predictions: Clarkson 4 – SLU 1; SLU 1 – Clarkson 0


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