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

Friday, February 03, 2006

ECAC(HL) Weekend Preview - 2/3/06

This week in the ECAC(HL) we have two home and home matchups between travel partners, the North Country duo making its longest road trip of the season, and three games that will have a big impact on the standings of the league.

Colgate / Cornell @ Cornell / Colgate

The league's top two teams meet for the 125th and 126th time with Cornell holding a 62-53-9 edge over the Raiders. After being swept by Princeton three weeks ago, both teams have gone undefeated in their last five with Colgate going 5-0 and Cornell going 4-0-1. However, Cornell had a bit more difficulty against Yale and Brown, needing overtime to defeat the 12th place Brown Bears. The effort of his team prompted head coach Mike Schafer to say, "I'm not very happy with the way we played," and "It's only character building if they come back tomorrow night and they're ready to execute."

The effort was questionable again the second night as the Big Red could only muster a 2-2 tie against the Bulldogs of Yale. Leaving Schafer with this, "It definitely was a hard fought, brawl type game. It's a tough tie. In a lot of ways it feels a little bit like a loss." Unconfirmed rumors have been spreading that there were quite a few dogs kicked in Ithaca that night.

Bruised canines aside, that kind of reaction from Schafer in addition to the magnitude of the weekend leads one to believe that Cornell will come out and play inspired hockey. This however should not take away from the great play of the Colgate Raiders. The Raiders are 11-2-1 in conference and could take an absolute stranglehold on the league this weekend. They are a tough, gritty hockey team who seems to find ways to win game in and game out. They have balanced scoring with six players over 20 points and three lines that can score the big goals when they need to. Colgate is looking to leave little doubt in anyone's mind that they are the team to beat in the ECAC.

This type of series could go 2-0 either way and no one would be surprised. It could go 1-1 and no one would be surprised. It could go 0-0-2 and one person would be surprised. It's the type of series you just don't want to pick, because you're going to be wrong. While the popular consensus would be to take each team on their home ice, I am not a man of popular consensus. I will step on to the branch not known to many and predict a sweep by the Colgate Raiders. Yes, while Ron and Tim McDonald will predict ties and splits. I will put my record at stake and say that Colgate has the upper hand and is playing better hockey at the current moment.

Gobe's Prediction:
Colgate 3 - Cornell 2
Colgate 4 - Cornell 2

Ron's Prediction:
Colgate 2 - Cornell 2
Colgate 3 - Cornell 2

RPI / Union @ Union / RPI

The second home and home series features the Capital District duo facing off for what would be known in D-III football as the battle for the shoes. These two grid iron warriors play for a bronzed set of shoes once worn by someone important a long time ago. It's that kind of crazy trophy that leads us into the wild world of hockey. Union is like your little brother. He's socially awkward, he has acne, his voice cracks, and he's just kind of pain in the ass. However once in a while he beats you at Parcheesi. He never seems to win more than half of the time, in fact you can probably pin his winning percentage at 40%. Nothing great, but enough wins to get you upset. Then he gets the nerve to say he's proud of his winning percentage and is happy when ever he can take 4 out of 10 games with you. Then in the middle of a game, when he gets his first piece to the center of the board, what does this guy do? He throws an orange at you! An orange! This has nothing to do with anything you or he stands for. This was just a piece of fruit that was lying on the counter. Not to mention the fact that it was his first piece. He still has 7 to go. An orange! Now you're pissed. You fight back with all your might and you get two pieces in the center, while he's still gloating about the first. Then when he lands his second piece, here comes another orange. After the second orange comes flying the Parcheesi ref comes in and assesses your brother a penalty. This in turn causes you to bring home the rest of your pieces with out much distraction from your brother. He is still high-fiving his buddies about the last orange he threw. You win the game but you still can't get that annoying kid out of your face because he threw an orange at you. This best describes the relationship between RPI and Union.

Gobe's Prediction:
RPI 2 - Union 1
RPI 3 - Union 0

Ron's Prediction:
Union 3 - RPI 2
RPI 3 - Union 2

Harvard @ Brown; Dartmouth @ Yale / Brown

These three games could have the biggest impact on seeding for the ECAC tournament and could have a big impact on Roger Grillo's 2006-2007 employment status. Brown played its heart out in central New York last weekend and all it got in return was a sweep. After the particularly rough 4-3 OT loss to Cornell, head coach Roger Grillo said, "It's kind of a microcosm of our season. It's a little frustrating for us, but I was pleased with how our guys battled at the beginning."

Sadly, he was correct. After starting out the season 2-2 with a sweep of SLU and Clarkson, Brown has gone 1-11-5 in their last 17 games and has been eliminated from contention of the ECAC regular season title. About the only thing going well for Brown is that they play Harvard on the week before the Beanpot. Harvard is entering their odd stretch of the schedule by coming off a 2-1 loss to Union. Take that loss and throw in the fact that Monday they will be taking on one of the hottest teams in the country, Boston University, in a tournament that the Terriers almost always win the first round in, and you have what could be known as a trap game. Harvard can not lose focus against Bruno, otherwise things could become unraveled in a hurry. If Brown is going to save Grillo's job then this is the game to do it in. I also realize that in this paragraph, I have created double the excitement that will be felt inside Meehan Auditorium on Friday night.

Dartmouth is coming off an impressive sweep of RPI and Union and looks to continue their strong play and strengthen their position for a first round bye. The matchup with Yale on Friday provides one of the best for the weekend. Yale, while only picking up one point last weekend, has been playing their best hockey all year and has outscored their last three opponents at home 13-7. Dartmouth is 2-6-1 on the road and 0-10-0 when trailing after the second period. Look for Yale to try and get the jump on Dartmouth early.

Gobe's Predictions:
Yale 3 - Dartmouth 1
Harvard 2 - Brown 2
Dartmouth 5 - Brown 1

Ron's Predictions:
Yale 5 - Dartmouth 4
Harvard 4 - Brown 0
Dartmouth 3 - Brown 2

Clarkson / SLU @ Quinnipiac / Princeton

After an intense split in the North Country, Clarkson and SLU head out on their longest trip of the year, traveling to New Jersey and Connecticut to take on the league's 10th and 11th place teams. Even though last week's series was draining for the Knights and Saints, to prove to the rest of the league that they belong at the top, they need to take four points from the teams below them. Clarkson is mired in a 1-5 stretch with all five losses coming on the road. About the only thing the Golden Knights have to look forward to is the inconsistent play of their opponents this weekend. Quinnipiac is currently on a 3-1 stretch with 2 weekends against Niagara and RIT. However they are 2-11 in their last 13 league games and have not fared well in the ECAC since November.

Princeton is another team bogged down by inconsistent play. The Tigers had their first sweep of ECAC opponents since 2002 when they swept the league leaders Colgate and Cornell. They then followed this performance up with an uninspired 5-2 loss to Robert Morrris on Tuesday. Princeton has always been a team that depended on its physicality. They had a tough time keeping against the much faster Saints and Knights in their last meeting. Based on the inconsistency of their play combined with the North Country duo coming off an emotional weekend I will predict tough sledding for the Tigers this weekend.

Gobe's Prediction:
Clarkson 4 - Quinnipiac 1
Clarkson 5 - Princeton 2
SLU 4 - Princeton 3
SLU 3 - Quinnipiac 1

Ron's Prediction:
Clarkson 5 - Quinnipiac 3
Clarkson 4 - Princeton 2
SLU 4 - Princeton 1
SLU 5 - Quinnipiac 4


Blogger Maestro said...

Nice preview - how'd your picks turn out last week? As poor as your beirut skills?

1:30 PM

Blogger gobe said...

I went about .500, which is about how UVM fared against Merrimack.

1:36 PM


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