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

Friday, February 17, 2006

CHF's ECAC(HL) Preview for 2/17/2006

Coming down the stretch in the ECAC(HL) and it's still a tight race between the top six teams. We know Cornell can not miss home ice for the first round of the playoffs, and that Brown can not play at home at all in the playoffs this year, other than that it is just a normal year of parity that the fans have come to love or hate in the ECAC.

Harvard / Dartmouth @ Colgate / Cornell

These are the matchups of the week as the top four teams in the league face off in central New York. The four game set features what some would consider the best rivalry in the ECAC. These people would be wrong, but we'll save that for another discussion. Harvard comes into Lynah coming off a solid 5-0 win over Northeastern in the BU Invitational Consolation game. Cornell is coming off a rough weekend in the North Country earning only one point from Clarkson and SLU. Harvard head coach Ted Donato had this to say after the Northeastern game Monday, "I think we went a stretch where we were having trouble scoring for six or seven games there, so we tried to simplify things, throw a lot more pucks on the net. We knew we weren't going to score more goals by shooting less. We need to give ourselves a chance to get second and third opportunities."

Despite using nearly every hockey cliche known to man, he was able to convey the point that Harvard had not been scoring lately, which wasn't entirely true as they had scored five goals in their previous game against Princeton, but had not scored more than three goals since November 26th in a 4-3 win at SLU. A more poignant quote would have contained a mention of Harvard's play in one goal games as they are 8-6 in such contests. The Beanpot third place game marked the third time in the last nine games in which Harvard was not involved in a one goal game.

The Big Red have seen their fair share of one goal games, and have emerged with a 6-2 record in them. Ithaca gears up for this game and the team responds to the crowd on the ice. Throw in the added enthusiasm generated from having the game televised on CSTV and you're looking at a home-ice advantage that really can sink a visiting team. This home ice and Cornell's propensity for winning close games will be the margin of victory for Cornell.

Dartmouth has rattled off a six game unbeaten streak and is looking to lock down a first round bye this weekend. They are the one team in the league that consistently gives Cornell fits. This plays well for Dartmouth as Cornell might be thinking ahead to Saturday night. Schafer is a good coach and probably wouldn't allow this to happen, but it's hard to keep any team focused, especially in a trap game such as this. The key for Dartmouth is to get an early lead and play fundamental hockey while allowing a young goaltender to get hot and stymie Cornell's chances is in the third, aka the Clarkson System. This is easier said than done.

Colgate is slipping into another bad stretch and is clinging onto second place. They are currently in a four game winless streak in which they have lost three by a combined total of five goals. Granted, this is the Raiders toughest stretch of the season, but losses are losses and Colgate needs some help this weekend. Colgate took care of Dartmouth in Hanover, but could not handle Harvard at Bright back in November. Colgate plays very well at home while Harvard and Dartmouth are less than stellar on the road. Look for Colgate to play two physical games to booster their chances with teams that might just have Cornell on their minds.

Gobe's Picks:
  • Colgate 4 - Dartmouth 2
  • Colgate 3 - Harvard 2
  • Dartmouth 3 - Cornell 1
  • Cornell 2 - Harvard 1

    Ron's Picks:
  • Dartmouth 2 - Cornell 4
  • Harvard 3 - Colgate 2
  • Dartmouth 2 - Colgate 3
  • Harvard 3 - Cornell 2

    RPI / Union @ Quinnipiac / Princeton

    In a series that is more important for RPI and Union than it is for Quinnipiac and Princeton, the two Capital District teams will be a couple men short. RPI will be down its normal squad of injured reserve. To RPI's credit they have made the best of a bad situation and have won enough games to hold on to a home playoff spot in the first round. A marked improvement compared to where they were sitting last year at this time. RPI is two points ahead of eighth place Clarkson. With the right combination of wins and some help from other teams, they could be looking at a first round bye after the weekend is out.

    Union is two points ahead of RPI and has first round bye on their collective minds. This task was challenged this week when two freshmen were suspended for the rest of the season. These suspensions did not seem to bother Union last weekend as they swept Brown and Yale, posting a five spot on the Bulldogs. However these were two of the team's best freshmen and Union will need to have its senior leadership step up. This leadership starts in net, with senior Kris Mayotte. In conference play Mayotte is first in the league with a .928 save percentage and second in the league with 2.16 GAA. If Mayotte can continue putting up these numbers, Union will be in solid shape for home ice.

    Princeton is coming into the weekend following two overtime losses to Harvard and Dartmouth on the road. This snapped the Tigers five game ECAC unbeaten streak. Princeton now sits in tenth place and is three points out of a home playoff spot. The Tigers are 6-4-1 in Hobey Baker rink this year and are very dependent on goaltender Eric Leroux. If Leroux can get on a streak the Tigers should be able to hang with the Capital District teams.

    It's a similar situation for Quinnipiac. After strong play in the early going and recent 5-1 stretch the Bobcats fell to Dartmouth 5-4 in Hanover. This put The Q into 11th place but only four points out of a home ice spot. With a 9-4-0 record at home the Bobcats are a formidable opponent in Northford or Ingalls, and should prove to be a good test for both RPI and Union.

    Gobe's Picks:
  • RPI 3 - Princeton 2
  • Quinnipiac 3 - RPI 1
  • Union 4 - Quinnipiac 2
  • Princeton 3 - Union 2

    Ron's Picks:
  • Princeton 3 - RPI 2
  • RPI 4 - Quinnipiac 2
  • Princeton 3 - Union 1
  • Quinnipiac 3 - Union 2

    Yale / Brown @ Clarkson / SLU

    After making some noise a few weeks ago, the Yale Bulldogs have gone on an 0-4-1 snap in their last five league games. They are 2-8-2 on the road this year and have been outscored 46-29 away from Ingalls. This does not bode well for Yale as they take on two of the top home teams in the league. Following the 2-1 loss at RPI last Friday head coach Tim Taylor had nothing but high praise for his teams effort. "I liked so much of what I saw out there in the second and third periods, but we just have to stay out of the penalty box. We have to be more disciplined. We are playing well enough to win but need to tweak a few things."

    This did not help the Eli's the next night as they were pasted by Union 5-1. The story for Yale this weekend will depend on whichever team shows up.. With two solid efforts the Bulldogs can be in very strong home ice contention, with two poor efforts, they will be looking at a first round match up, possibly back in the North Country.

    The last time Brown won a league game it was a sweep of the North Country duo at home in November. It's been a long winter in Providence. Since that weekend Brown has had nine overtime games and has yet to win a game that goes into the extra frame. They have yet to win a game on the road and have been outscored by a 2 to 1 margin away from home. Brown is pretty much locked into the 12th spot and will be on the road in the first round of the playoffs.

    SLU has the most to gain from this weekend. After taking three points from the leagues top pair, the Saints have worked into a tie for fourth place in the league, but at the moment lose the head to head tiebreaker against Harvard. The teams have one game remaining against each other, but SLU is looking to jump past the Crimson this weekend as Harvard is facing a difficult road weekend. SLU will come out fast and look to stake an early lead. Expect the top line of Trevelyan, Zbriger and Zeiler to put up some decent numbers against two of the softer D's in the conference.

    After a rough start to 2006, Clarkson looks to continue its improved play and cement themselves into a home ice spot for the first round. Taking three points from Cornell and Colgate put the Knights into 8th place in the league and determined a starting goaltender. David Leggio was given the Saturday night starters job for the first time all season. His 24 saves gave him 47 for the weekend and earned him ECAC(HL) Honor Roll accolades. In some peoples opinions he should have earned Goaltender of the Week, but who are we to doubt the infinite wisdom of the ECACHL?

    Clarkson looks to continue its strong play at home in which they are 10-2-2 this season and 3-0-1 in the calendar year 2006. Home ice in the first round is critical to the Knights, look for the team to put a strong effort in front of what should be a good home crowd.

    Gobe's Picks:
  • Clarkson 5 - Yale 2
  • Clarkson 6 - Brown 1
  • SLU 4 - Brown 0
  • SLU 5 - Yale 3

    Ron's Picks:
  • Clarkson 3 - Yale 0
  • Clarkson 5 - Brown 2
  • SLU 5 - Brown 1
  • SLU 4 - Yale 3


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