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

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Where it stops, nobody knows!

Tim Taylor, the coach for the Yale Bulldogs for the last 28 years was removed from his coaching duties and has been offered to be reassigned to another area in Yale Athletics. He has coached the most games in ECACHL history and has more victories than any other coach ever at Yale. His record at Yale was 342-433-55. There's been no announcement on his replacement or the selection process as of yet, but the ECAC coaching merry-go-round continues.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Clarkson's Newest Fan

At this time I'd like to welcome the newest Golden Knights fan into the fold. Last night, March 28th, at 5:21 PM Amy Ayers and her husband, and site contributor, Ron Ayers brought in Ronald "I already forgot his middle name" Ayers into the class of 2028. At last check both baby and mom were doing very well and Ron was on his way to grab a burger and beer. The more things change, the more things stay the same.

Ron said he'll get a picture up when he gets the little guy all dressed up in Clarkson garb.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Hurley = All-American

Kira Hurley was named to the All-American 2nd Team in Women's Ice Hockey on Friday by the American Hockey Coaches Association. Hurley, a junior is Clarkson's first ever All-American in Division I NCAA Hockey. Hurley was one of the busiest goalies in the country, starting 35 games this season, and coming away with a 21-12-1 record. Her 10 shutouts were tops in the NCAA this year, and she was consistently ranked in the top five throughout the season in every goaltending category nationally. Needless to say, Clarkson would not have been anywhere near as successful without her great play throughout the year.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Shakeup at the top!

In what could be considered a surprise move, USCHO is reporting the ECACHL head of officials Butch Bellemore and Director of Officiating Development, Brewster Earle will resign when their contracts expire over the summer. For those more interested in speculation, the rumor mill is buzzing over in the USCHO Forum.

In on ice news the ECACHL has announced an inter-conference early season tournament at the Pepsi Arena. The event will feature RPI, Union, Quinnipiac and Colgate in a four team tourny on October 28th and 29th. This might be considered the strangest tournament in the country and will be a chance for the league to gauge how many people will actually come to the Pepsi center for a tournament game between RPI and Union, as this has proved impossible in post season play.

New Recruit

According to Chris Heisenberg's website Clarkson has added another recruit. Matt Beca is a forward for the Oakville Blades of the OPJHL and has put up a very solid line this year of 49 games, 43 goals, 43 assists and 54 PIMs. His 86 points were good enough for 5th in the OPJHL. He was named the division MVP and is currently the team's leading scorer in the playoffs with 16 goals and 17 assists in 17 games. Currently the Blades are up 1-0 in the semi-finals against the Stouffville Spirit. Their next game is Saturday.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Wheels in Motion

The first victim of the 2005-2006 offseason was RPI head coach Dan Fridgen. Fridgen resigned on Tuesday after many weeks of speculation that he was either going to step down or be fired by the school. RPI has launched an "international search" for a new coach. In 12 years at the helm of RPI Fridgen put up a 211-193-38 record with a 116-116-31 in ECAC play. RPI won the ECAC tournament title under Fridgen in 1995.

Depending who you ask there are a myriad of people that could find their way into the top spot at RPI. Right now the fan favorite is former RPI star and NHL veteran Joe Juneau. However no names have officially been released by the school. We'll keep track of this as it develops over the coming weeks.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Hurley, Dodge, Guthrie Receive Accolades

Clarkson Women's Team netminder Kira Hurley, the ECACHL Goaltender of the Year, netted herself a little more recognition this week when USCHO named her to their All-USCHO 2nd Team. Patty Kazmeier finalist, Riitta Schaublin from Minnesota-Duluth was named the first team goalie.

Clarkson Sophomore Nick Dodge was named to the ECAC All-League 3rd Team and Shea Guthrie was named to the All-Rookie team for their efforts in the 2005-2006 season. TJ Trevelyan of St. Lawrence was named the ECACHL player of the year,

We suspect more hardware on the shelves is in order for these three in the future.

NCAA Hockey: Bringing in New Fans?

As the NCAA tournament approaches how will ticket prices bring in new fans and how will it keep them there?

Let's take a look at the hypothetical family of four. Mom, Dad, and two sons who are very interested in hockey. For convenience let's say Mom and Dad are Michigan State alum, and they live in the Capital District. They decide they want to see their alma mater close to home and take their sons to the arena to see high quality hockey on a national stage.

First things first, they have to order tickets. A check of Ticketmaster.com says that there are no events coming to the Pepsi Arena. Hmm, that's odd. Well after some searching around we discover that we have to order our tickets directly through the Pepsi Arena website. With credit card in hand we commence the purchasing.

Our first look at pepsiarena.com tells us that an All-Session pass for the games are $72 for adults and $66 for children ages 12 and under. Great, we click on the links which lead us to our first decision, do we want to go to all the games this weekend or just see the first two. Well seeing how this is the next step to the Frozen Four, let's go for the gusto and get the two day pass. Now it seems as though the prices have changed on us. Instead of $72 and $66 it is now a flat $70 for either upper or lower bowl. So let's order four tickets in the lower bowl. Ahh, now we get our chance to take the two children's tickets. If we had selected best available tickets, we would have been stuck with four adult tickets. So on the order we have two adult tickets at $70 a piece and two child tickets at $64 a piece. Throw in the $43.50 service charge and our sub total is $311.50. Now we're ready to check out, but before that there is a $3.10 will call charge tacked on, bringing our grand total to $314.60. If we had bought four adult tickets the total would have been $326.90, so by buying two youth tickets, we saved $15.40.

Now we are at the rink. After paying $15 to park the car we head inside to watch some hockey. At the arena we buy four hot dogs at $3.25 a piece and four sodas at $3.00 a piece. To remember our trip we buy two Frozen Four t-shirts at $19.95 plus tax and a program for $2.25. Keep in mind it's only Saturday and we get to buy the hot dogs and soda again tomorrow. Kinda wish they sold beer at NCAA events now....

So let's review our family of four's excursion to the Pepsi Arena:
Tickets from the Pepsi Arena site - $268
Service Charge - $43.50
Processing Fee - $3.10
Parking - $30
Hot Dogs - $26
Sodas - $24
T-Shirts - $40
Program - $2.25

Our grand total for the weekend is $436.85. And we haven't even begun to look into hotel rooms for the out of towners.

When the attendance figures are released and the numbers appear to be down or lower than previous years, people will question whether or not hockey can ever succeed as a national sport on the levels with NCAA Basketball and Football. The answer is no, and the reasoning sits in the outlandish prices people are asked to shell out for teams in their region they have little interest in seeing, and certainly no interest in seeing for $36 a game. If the NCAA wants to boost it's attendance in the regional round, of what many feel is a quality product, they need to take a hard look at their ticket prices and make an effort to give the fans their money's worth.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

NCAA Tournament is Set!

After scoring 24 goals in three games against SLU, Dartmouth and Cornell, Harvard is on its way to the NCAA Tournament with the Whitelaw Trophy in its possession for the third time in five years. Harvard stomped Cornell 6-2 in the final at Albany which featured two of the most lopsided wins in tournament history by the Crimson. Dartmouth took the consolation game 3-2 over Colgate. Cornell and Harvard had already secured their places in the NCAA tournament with their semifinal victories, but Harvard bumped themselves up to the top #2 seed in the tournament with their championship victory. Dartmouth, despite their consolation victory ended up with the unenviable title of last team out of the tournament. Oddly enough both conference regular season champions, Colgate and Dartmouth did not qualify, along with WCHA 2nd place team Denver who was just out as well. Will this change the way the committe looks at the tournament in the future? Who knows.

Here's this year's official NCAA Tournament Bracket.

Those not paying attention to the D-III Frozen Four in Elmira missed out on two pretty exciting games. The first game turned into a shoot out with St. Norbert's prevailing in overtime over Hobart, 5-4. St. Norbert tallied the game winner on a rebound of a shot that appear to have hit the bar inside the net to begin with. The second game, was much tighter featuring the host team Elmira against Middlebury. Middlebury scored a powerplay goal with two minutes left in the game, setting up a rematch of last year's championship matchup. The attendance was pretty paltry unfortunately, a combined 4300, with one of the games being the host squad is pretty sad for a Frozen Four at any level, or at least it seems that way to me for the level of ice hockey these teams must be playing to be one of the final four teams standing in the country. Hopefully the people will turn out en masse for the final. A quick note, if one of the names on the Elmira staff seems familiar, it is. Coach Tim Ceglarski is the son of former Clarkson coach Len Ceglarski, and looks like he's doing a pretty good job of following in his father's footsteps, and probably making some of his own.

Brett should have some thoughts on the tournament when he gets back.

Saturday, March 18, 2006


Well, looks like everyone's predictions for the Harvard / Dartmouth game was just a tad bit off last night. Harvard received goals from eight different players en route to a 10-1 victory in Albany last night. In the nightcap, Cornell defeated Colgate in a much closer matchup downing the Raiders 2-0. This one went down to the wire as Colgate had their goalie pulled on the power play in the final two minutes, but couldn't cash in, while the Big Red found the empty net. Surprise, surprise, Cornell and Harvard in the finals, both of them seem to be locks for the NCAA tournament, so this one is for a big trophy, pride, and seeding.

My prediction for tonight's game:
Cornell 3 - Harvard , An empty-netter finishes the job.

Brett is off to Elmira today to catch the Division III Frozen Four and he'll be bringing back a little recap action, plus hopefully a little insight from former Golden Knight and Hobart assistant coach Phil Roy.

If you don't pay attention to other conferences or other teams, you may have missed this, but Bentley of Atlantic Hockey is making a run in their conference tournament, despite having a 12-14-5 record entering the tourney. After beating Army in 2OT, they defeated Mercyhurst last night in the same fashion. A victory by Bentley would pretty much flip the NCAA Tournament onto its head, as Holy Cross, their opponent in tonight's final would actually get a PWR boost, allowing them to secure an at-large bid, and giving Atlantic Hockey two teams in the NCAA. We're really looking forward to the ensuing controversy and flame wars across the Internet if this happens.

More interesting to Clarkson fans would be a familiar face from the 2002-2003 season on the Bentley Falcon's roster, the European Sensation, Marc Zwicky. Zwicky is currently fourth on the team in scoring, and has had a goal in both playoff victories. After leaving Clarkson, he played for Brockville, retained his eligibility and now has the chance to play in the NCAA Tournament with a victory. Not too shabby!

Friday, March 17, 2006

ECAC(HL) Men's Semi-Final Preview - Part 2

Our second preview takes a look at the third match up between travel partners Colgate and Cornell. Cornell swept the regular season home and home series in two games that seemed to loom larger at the time than they did in the end result of the regular season.

Why Colgate will win:
The Raiders have a difficult task of stopping a Big Red team coming off two very emotional, double overtime victories over a highly talented Clarkson team. However the Raiders come into the game loaded with offensive talent and backstopped by the ECAC Goaltender of the Year, Mark Dekanich. Dekanich will have to show the league that he is deserving of the award if Cornell matches their shot total from the previous weekend.

Up front Colgate is led by sophomore Tyler Burton and senior Kyle Wilson, who on the year have amassed 80 points on 45 goals and 35 assists. Add to this three more 30 point scorers and Colgate brings one of the most dangerous offenses to Albany. However, in their last eight games, Colgate's two losses came by shutout. The key for Colgate to move on is to keep the first two lines contributing throughout the game and to get to McKee early. Cornell is 0-5-1 when trailing after 1 and is 1-6-1 when trailing after two. Flip that stat and Cornell is 20-2-1 when they are tied or leading after 1 and 19-1-3 when tied or leading after two. Colgate needs to get an early lead and let Dekanich go to work.

Sophomore Mark Dekanich has a 18-9-6 record with an outstanding .923 save percentage and a 2.35 GAA. Put him behind a solid defense of Mike Campaner and Nick St. Pierre and it's very apparent why Colgate shared the league title. However if Colgate allows Cornell to tee off on Dekanich things might get ugly fast. Expect the more seasoned D corps of Colgate to find ways to trim down Cornell's offensive chances which were plentiful last weekend.

Colgate's one fatal flaw, however is penalty killing. Colgate ranked 9th in the ECAC with a 82.8 percent kill rate. Colgate will need to step up on special teams to keep the Cornell power play from taking control of the game. On the power play Colgate was the leagues best at 19.1 percent. Colgate will need to figure out the Big Red penalty kill which was perfect last weekend against Clarkson.

Why Cornell will win:
The Big Red come into this game riding a giant wave of emotion and momentum after sweeping their budding rival Clarkson. Overtime wins in hockey can lead to great things, as it can lift a team up from devastating loss, or what some may have been calling a "disappointing season." The Big Red came into last week failing to meet expectations of an Ivy League and regular season championship. With two wins last weekend, in which the offense posted over one hundred shots, the Big Red will be looking to carry that momentum to the finals and beyond.

The biggest question mark for Cornell is their goaltender David McKee who looked very average in the two wins against Clarkson. Granted he won the games and made the stops when he had to but he allowed a couple soft goals on the weekend including a shot from center ice in which it seemed he was not paying attention to the game. McKee will need to be focused on Colgate or the big two could have a field day. In front of McKee, Cornell defense will look to shut down Burton and Wilson but need to be careful as to not let players like John and Ryan Smyth and Jesse Winchester beat them. I expect a big game from Ryan O'Byrne on the blue line and expect Cornell, for the most part, stop Burton and Wilson.

On offense Cornell will keep looking for heroics from captain Matt Moulson. Even with their 8th ranked powerplay Cornell managed to use the power play to their advantage last weekend. The Big Red will keep this rolling by scoring at least one powerplay goal on Colgate's soft penalty kill. Head coach Mike Schaefer will probably use the line of Moulson, Bryan Bitz, and Topher Scott for power plays. This was clearly the best line last weekend and will be expected to produce against the Raiders.

Colgate needs to win to make the NCAA's. With a win Cornell is an NCAA lock. Colgate will play with desperation tonight but McKee will have one of his finest games of his career and will move his team into their 5th championship game of the decade.

Cornell 2 - Colgate 0

Thursday, March 16, 2006

ECAC(HL) Men's Semi-Final Preview - Part 1

Our first preview takes a look at the all Ivy match-up between the league co-champion Dartmouth Big Green and the Harvard Crimson. Dartmouth is vying for their first tournament championship ever, while Harvard is looking to take it's 3rd league title in the past 5 years.

Why Dartmouth will win:
The Big Green come into Albany riding a hot streak that is unmatched by any of the remaining teams. Dartmouth has gone an impressive 12-3-2 in 2006 and has won their last five games. In those past five games they have allowed only four goals and have scored nineteen. ECAC player of the year candidate Mike Ouellette had two goals and two assists in a two game sweep of Yale last weekend and his line was responsible for four of the teams eight goals on the weekend. Dartmouth will look to keep the offense rolling against Harvard.

On defense the Big Green are lead by Sean Offers and Ben Lovejoy, however all three pairs are solid on the blue line and will give the Crimson all that they can handle. Offensively Lovejoy and Grant Lewis will chip in. The biggest factor in Dartmouth's run has been the play of Mike Devine. Devine has racked up 17-7-2 record and has put up a 2.16 GAA and a .921 save percentage, both good enough for second in the league. Devine is the backbone of the defense and Dartmouth will look to ride his strong play to the championship game.

These two teams have not seen each other in a long time and many things have changed since the regular season match-ups. The two met in the first game of the season in a 6-2 Harvard win, however Dartmouth turned the tables in the return engagement in December with a dominating performance in a 5-1 win. Since that game Dartmouth has only gotten stronger while Harvard, has won enough games to be safe for NCAA play, has yet to find an identity and will have their hands full with this talented Big Green squad.

Why Harvard will win:
Harvard is in the best shape of the 4 remaining ECAC teams to receive and at large bid to the NCAA tournament. However do not think that Ted Donato's club will be slacking off. Harvard knows two wins on the weekend will most likely give the Crimson a two seed and possibly a number one, depending on other results. The Crimson will also be looking to take three league championships in five years and establish themselves as the league's premier team of the decade.

Harvard comes into the semi-finals featuring a balanced offensive attack which while not the most potent in the league can still bear it's teeth as shown in a 8-4 drubbing of St. Lawrence on Sunday night. Harvard is lead by junior Kevin Du who has scored eight goals and added twenty-nine assists for the crimson. There biggest goal scoring threat comes from senior Dan Murphy who has scored 16 goals on the season including four game winners. Du and Murphy are not the only threats on offense however, Jon Pelle and Dave Watters are talented sophomores and on the blue line Tom Walsh and Dylan Reese contribute regularly.

Speaking of the blue line, again Harvard is not a league leader, but they are steady enough to win games. This theme of consistent, not flashy, play is best defined by goaltender John Daigneau. The senior has spent most of his time at Harvard backing up Dov Grumet-Morris but in his first real chance to prove his talents he has posted a 17-9-2 record and has put up a .913 save percentage and a 2.44 GAA. Again, not flashy numbers, but consistent enough to put Harvard in contention every night.

Dartmouth is the fast skating, offensive minded team riding a hot streak, Harvard is the steady as they go, score when they need too, consistent team that can stop them. Harvard needs to try and set the tempo early and not allow the big line of Dartmouth to score first. This will be a very close game as both teams will be looking to find the other's fatal flaw. I expect a back and forth game with a couple lead changes but in the end I expect Dartmouth to pull it out.

Dartmouth 4 - Harvard 3

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Clarkson Hockey Fans Chat with Adam Wodon - 3/15/06

CSTV Hockey Analyst and one of the masterminds behind College Hockey News, Adam Wodon, joins us for a little chat as the college hockey season comes down to the wire and we head into a big tournament weekend in Albany. Adam has been covering college hockey since 1988, as a student reporter at Ithaca covering the Big Red. He has been the play-by-play man both Princeton and Cornell hockey. More recently he has been a regular on CSTV's College Hockey coverage, and you may have seen him breaking down the Frozen Four on ESPN. Bottom line, the guy knows college hockey, and he's willing to deal with us. That's a pretty good combination.

Ron Ayers (CHF): Did you get a chance to see Clarkson play at all this year? If so, what were your impressions of this squad?

Adam Wodon (CSTV/CHN): I actually didn't see much of them, unfortunately, though I do check in with people there quite a bit. I saw them play against Cornell, too. I like the way things are headed, that's for sure. It still looks like they could use some more strength and discipline. But the skill is back. Another couple recruiting classes, and I'm hopeful that George Roll will have the program back where it belongs.

Ron (CHF): With the top four seeds left in the ECACHL playoffs. Who do you think is going to win this year's tournament and why?

Wodon: Boy I hate questions about predictions :) But ... I think the ECAC would love to see Dartmouth or Colgate win it, so three teams get in the tournament. This would also require Cornell beating Harvard in the consolation game, just to be safe.

I think Dartmouth and Harvard are playing the best lately. But Dartmouth's track record in Albany isn't great. I think all the teams have A LOT of talent. The talent level is highest it's been in the ECAC in quite a number of years. Based on what I've seen, I think Harvard has a 26% chance of winning. Dartmouth and Cornell are 25% and Colgate is 24%. How's that?

Brett Gobe (CHF): So you would consider Harvard a lock at this point? Win or lose?

Wodon: For the NCAAs? Yes.

Gobe (CHF): Could this be the "quietest" lock in NCAA history? Harvard has seemed to get the least attention of any of the top four this year. Can they make noise in the NCAA's?

Wodon: Well, they've lost in the first round each of the last four years. I keep wanting to believe, but then it doesn't happen. They've come so very close. But there's something about this team that seems to have something going for it. Maybe it's just simply because their non-league record looks really good this year, compared to past years. They lost a lot of defensive talent from last year's team, but there's a character to this team that surpasses what I've seen in the past. And the underclassmen have skills, clearly.

The reason Harvard is in better shape than the others in the national picture is the quality of the non-league wins. None of the other three have that. Of course, they might have to play North Dakota in Grand Forks in the first round ... so ... there goes that :) On the other hand, if they win the ECACs, you could be looking at a real high seed and a very favorable matchup.

Gobe (CHF): They did beat UND at home this year.

Wodon: Good point. Different NoDak team at the time, and NoDak will be home in the NCAAs.

Ron (CHF): There's been a lot of talk about some massive discrepencies in the PWR coming into this final weekend. You mentioned last week that Cornell could've been the top seed if it weren't for an opening split, and you've mentioned that Holy Cross could be a three seed if they lose to Bentley. If Cornell doesn't make it, is this because of a flaw in the PWR, or because they're just not one of the top tier teams this year? Will people say they were robbed?

Wodon: Well, people will always say that such and such a team was robbed. But we should mention, Cornell is almost a lock at this point, so they'll probably make it. But if they don't, then I don't think that's a flaw in the Pairwise necessarily. The Big Red are around 15th in KRACH right now, which is a better indicator, in my opinion. If they had beaten Michigan State in that game, they'd be No. 1 in PW, but 10 in KRACH. So, there you go. Holy Cross is a different story, because their climb would be based on a Pairwise quirk.

Gobe (CHF): Is there a fair resolution between KRACH and PWR? And do you think the selection process will change anytime soon?

Wodon: I don't think it will change soon. For one, I think the NCAA is scared to change. I also think they will say that - all other sports use RPI, so hockey has to also... And, also, the KRACH would put more WCHA teams in the tournament, and less ECAC. So I think the NCAA is just going to continue to look the other way, figuring that it's not good for the sport to exclude the little guy to that extent. And maybe that's a good philosophy, but I think there's other ways to reconcile that than by ignoring the obvious superiority of KRACH.

Gobe (CHF): So looking at everything, using current methods, who is the last team in, and who is the last team out the NCAA's?

Wodon: Last team in right now is Nebraska-Omaha, hanging by a thread. Denver is the last team out. Since they are not playing this weekend, things can't change for them - although things that happen elsewhere can shift their RPI, and cause some changes. But it's not likely to have enough of an impact. Of course, if Dartmouth wins the ECAC, UNO would be bumped.

Gobe (CHF): Will anyone step up and stop the WCHA run of national champions?

Wodon: I think there's a lot of people that hope so :) I do think it's just better for hockey to spread things around, but most sane people have nothing against the WCHA or the teams or coaches, personally.

Minnesota seems heads and shoulders above everyone, even Wisconsin, right now. So I think the real question is, will anyone defeat Minnesota? I think it will take an upset to do so. I have nothing against Minnesota at all ... but for the sake of spice to the tournament, I think some upsets would be nice to see.

The most likely teams to knock them off are North Dakota and Wisconsin, so take that for what it's worth. North Dakota could bump them off, at home, in the 2nd round. That wouldn't be a surprise.

I'm not convinced BU is national championship caliber. And Miami hasn't won an NCAA game under Blasi, so perhaps that inexperience will hurt. Michigan is always lying in the weeds. And it looks like Michigan State is clicking. So all of those are possible.

Gobe (CHF): You're not giving Bentley/Holy Cross/Bemidji much of a shot against the Gophers?

Wodon: Ummm... no.

Gobe (CHF): Fair enough. Who, if anyone, is the favorite for Hobey Baker?

Wodon: Well ... speaking of the Gophers, Ryan Potulny is the favorite. He has stepped up big time this year, in every way. It certainly helps to have such a great supporting cast, that allows him to concentrate on the things he does best. Not every player has that luxury. That's why I gravitate towards players like Andy Greene at Miami, and Greg Moore at Maine. People think I'm crazy for pumping Moore over a guy like Chris Collins at BC. But Moore is such a huge influence on that Maine team in so many ways, and I like everything he's about. To be fair, there's nothing wrong with Collins, and Collins plays two-year pretty well too, and he's carried BC at times too. So nothing against Collins at all. ... Matt Carle at Denver is also awesomely talented, but team play will have to come into the picture. Same for Scott Parse at UNO. ... So, I'd say that Potulny is the favorite, followed by Brian Elliott at Wisconsin. Brett Sterling could still have a chance if CC goes nuts in the regionals.

Ron (CHF): Lets go back to the ECAC for a moment. You've been covering the ECAC since when? What's your all time favorite ECAC moment? Feel free to tell us it was Clarkson's upset at Lynah in 2004, we won't mind.

Wodon: That would not be one of them :) ... Though it was apparent as that series went on that Cornell was just not the team everyone hoped.

My covering the ECAC goes back to being a student reporter at Ithaca College, covering Cornell hockey starting in 1988. Followed the team quite a bit.

My favorite ECAC moment? Tough call. Perhaps Princeton winning the ECAC Tournament in 1998 (over Clarkson, sorry guys). ... But my favorite memories come from watching ECAC teams in the NCAAs. They often lose, but still :) ... I think of SLU beating BU in 4 OT to make the FF. I think of the 1996 NCAA Regional in Albany, in Schafer's first year. Cornell came SOOO close to beating Lake Superior State when no one thought they had a shot. PC Drouin hit a crossbar in the closing moments, and that sound still reverberates through my ears. That would've tied the game. The next day, St. Louis-Perrin, etc.. defeated LSSU to make the FF. And of course, Cornell's run in 2003, which I got to be the broadcaster for. That was great. Cornell had UNH beat if that game went 15 more minutes.

Being at Lynah Rink in Schafer's first year when they BLITZED Colgate in the playoffs- that was fun. That's when I knew Cornell could win an NCAA game - although they just missed. But the best thing I've ever seen in the ECAC was getting to see Martin St. Louis and Eric Perrin play together for four years. They are the best combo I've ever seen.

I've told this story many times - but no one out West thought those guys were for real. Then they played LSSU in the NCAAs. Off the opening faceoff, St. Louis got it, passed to Perrin on a give and go, Perrin passed it back to St. Louis -- and St. Louis drop passed it between his own legs to himself and ripped off a slap shot that missed the net by 2 inches. It was a stunning move - the whole crowd went "ohhhhh" and everyone said -- ummm ... maybe these guys CAN really play. That was the best.

Gobe (CHF): Who do you think takes the ECAC POtY this year?

Wodon: Boy - that's a tough one - there's no frontrunner. I think T.J. Trevelyan is the most talented player, and his numbers are really good. So I'd love to see him win it. Though he did go stretches without scoring - and like the whole team, they piled up shots but went cold at times.

Ron (CHF): When you were broadcasting for Cornell you probably had the chance to visit every arena in the league, which means you had a chance to eat and drink at a lot of places. What's the best place to get a beer in the ECAC.

Wodon: Cornell fans will want me to say Dunbars - but let's leave that out of it for now :) In fact, I'm partial to anywhere in Ithaca - so let's put that aside Oh ... I know... let's say Maxie's near Albany airport ... karaoke until 4 a.m.

Gobe (CHF): I could name some of the worst places...

Ron (CHF): You're a night owl. Dunkin' Donuts or Tim Horton's? Or are you one of those foofy Manhattan Starbucks guys now?

Wodon: Dunkin Donuts by far ... no Starbucks - I only go in there if I need net access

Gobe (CHF): That's the best answer we've had to that question so far.

Ron (CHF): You're the head honcho for College Hockey News, give us a little background and a plug.

Wodon: Well, we created CHN as an alternative to the others, because I'd like to see some things being done that weren't being done. Actually, I'd love to see everyone figure out a way to work together, but that's not always possible. So there was a chance to start something new, and we did. USCHO has a 10-year head start and they do a great job, so the biggest hurdle is just getting the word out that we exist. But slowly but surely, we'll build the resources to make it work -- at least we hope. In the mean time, what we do produce, will be as top notch as possible within the confines any startup faces. And, most of all, it doesn't need to be either/or ... Fans can benefit from getting interesting information and articles out of all places - whether that be the various web sites, or the occasional article at NHL.com, etc... or the local papers.

Ron (CHF): Last question. We understand you have an extensive collection of college hockey jerseys. Which one is your favorite?

Wodon: Ha ... nice try fellas ... the trick question at the end ...... Yes, I own one jersey - a replica Clarkson jersey bought in 1991. I've worn it twice... don't tell anyone. I liked the colors. Always had a lot of respect for the program. I do remember the one time I wore a Cornell Hockey sweatshirt on the Princeton bus. Don Cahoon literally had a cow. I don't remember where that thing went. :)

And I, for one, temporarily welcome our red overlords!

Two new blogs to our ever expanding list of blogs, both shockingly ECAC related. First, there's Greg Berge's blog Removing All Doubt which follows Cornell Hockey about 50% of the time with some rambling thrown in for variety. It would probably be a much more enjoyable read next week when the headlining entries aren't referring to glorious victory over the Knights. We'd also like to point out Big Red Puckhead which is exclusively a Cornell Hockey recruiting blog. We'd mention how awesome it would be to have a Clarkson Recruiting Blog, but then again, there's not exactly a lot of roster spots available at the moment, perhaps that's a better project for the 2007-2008 season.

Women's Recruit Update

No new news on recruits on the women's front, but Carlee Eusepi, a defenseman committed for the 2006-2007 season is still on the ice this season for the Toronto Junior Aeros of the PWHL. The Junior Aeros went undefeated in league play with a 27-0-3 record, scoring 137 goals and only allowing 28. You know you're good when you allow less than a goal a game. Eusepi has two goals and twelve assists from the blue line this season as the Aeros head into the playoffs.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Recruit Update

Things are slowing down in the college hockey world. This is also true in the Canadian Junior world as they are entering the final rounds of their playoffs. A quick poke around the internet has dug up the following information.

Tim Marks has missed all of the playoffs for Nepean with an unspecified injury, and is expected to miss the rest of the post season.

Jeremiah Crowe has played 12 post season games for Markham and has a line of 0-2-2-6. Markham trails St. Michael's 3-0 in their best of seven quarterfinal series.

Scott Freeman has played seven games and has put up four goals and four assists with six penalty minutes. Currently his Bowmanville Eagles lead their quarterfinal series 1-0.

Brian Rufenach and the Lindsay Muskies were eliminated from the postseason, Brian finished up with a 1-1-2 line in four post season games.

Matt Smith did not play in any of his teams four post season games as Mississagua was eliminated early in the OPJAHL playoffs.

Finally, in what can only be considered a surprise, Air Force transfer Brandon Merkosky's name has disappeared from Chris Heisenberg's Class of 2006. When the picture on this becomes clearer, we'll report our findings.

Monday, March 13, 2006

I didn't see that one coming.

Sure, I called Brown to upset Princeton in the semis of the Women's ECACHL Final Four at Appleton last weekend. But if you told me that it was going to be Harvard and Brown in the finals, and it was going to be decided by a fifteen minute shootout in the first period, I probably would've said you're crazy. Brown even had the requisite three goals in the finals that I'd been clamoring for all along, and then let a 3-1 lead slip away in six minutes. What a crazy way to end the ECAC season. Harvard, Princeton and St. Lawrence all move on to the NCAA's with St. Lawrence getting a home game against Minnesota-Duluth on Saturday at 7:00pm.

D III Frozen Four

The Hobart Statesmen have advanced to the Division III Frozen Four in Elmira, New York by defeating the Norwich Cadets 3-1 in Norwich. Hobart will face St. Norbert in the first semi-final with Middlebury facing Elmira in the second semi. The championship will be Sunday at 2. Being a hockey junkie, I will be heading out to Elmira for the games and will try to get a word in with Hobart assistant coach Phil Roy '00.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Hurley Named ECAC Goaltender of the Year

Congratulations go out to Clarkson's Kira Hurley who was named the ECACHL Goaltender of the Year on Thursday in a league where goaltending talent is abundant from top to bottom. Hurley, a junior had a 1.29 GAA and a .937 save percentage in 37 games for the Golden Knights. She currently leads the nation in minutes played, although that mark could fall after the NCAA tournament. She's currently tied for first in the country in shutout with ten, seven of which came against ECACHL opponents. Hurley was also named to the ECAC's All-League First Team. Defenseman Sophie Doyon was also named to the ECACHL's All-Rookie Team. The ECACHL Player of the Year was St. Lawrence's Sabrina Harbec, who was the unanimous choice for the award.

Season ends in 2OT

Clarkson 2 - Cornell 3
The Knights and Red do it up big time in a second 2OT thriller.
Leggio stands on his head stopping 56, 106 for series.
Brekelmans scores from near the red line.
Kolu and McKinven chip in.
Clarkson ends season 18-17-3
They'll be back next year.

Stay tuned this week for a season recap, our Albany preview, and an interview with CSTV's Adam Wodon.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

The Final Countdown

Clarkson 3 - Cornell 4
Golden Knights and Big Red in a 20T classic.
Leggio shines stopping 50 in loss.
Clarkson storms back from a 3-1 deficit.
Two disallowed Big Red goals in OT almost cause riot at Lynah
Gobe's text messages to Ron during game feature many expletives!
Game 2 Tonight at 7:00!

Friday, March 10, 2006

ECAC(HL) Men's 2nd Round Playoff Preview - Part 4

When I started seriously paying attention to Golden Knights hockey I was a senior in High School. I knew I would be attending Clarkson in the Fall. I had family connections through the university and I went to my first game at Cheel in the spring of 1998, a 5-2 victory over Princeton. When I attended the university that year, the team was coming off a heartbreaking loss to the Tigers in the 1998 ECAC finals. They used that game and rallied back to win the 1999 regular season and post-season championships. The clinching game for the regular season was at Lynah Rink. Clarkson won 4-1 and had a certain swagger about them the entire game. They knew that they were going to win and they proved it on the ice. Not one semester later at the same rink Cornell, and a group of freshmen with names like Baby, McRae, Murray and Paolini, blew the Knights out of the water 10-4. It was the worst Clarkson game I have attended, and that's when it started.

From that game on for the next four years, with only two exceptions, the Knights could not skate with the Big Red. At Cheel things were close, but Cornell could find ways to win. At Lynah, forget about it. Clarkson came into that rink and they looked scared, not Friday the 13th scared, but they would drop the puck to start the game and the score would already be Lynah 1 - Clarkson 0. Granted, the Knights had their chances, a close game in 2002, a bad break in '04, but in the regular season, Clarkson could not win at Lynah. Then late in 2004 something happened.

Clarkson knocked out Union on the road and traveled to Lynah for the quarterfinals. With Cornell riding in with a #2 seeding and coming off a trip to the previous year's Frozen Four, even the most resilient of Knight fans began to dread this series. A few brave souls, myself included, made it out to Lynah on Friday night to perhaps witness a small miracle. Instead, we saw a massacre. All the bad mistakes of the past came roaring back. Sloppy passes, bad turnovers, and that Lynah crowd bearing down on each one. The only solace that we could take was the fact that it would be over on Saturday. Even our brutish defenseman Matt Nickerson was defeated in the only fight I've seen in a college hockey game. However in this small defeat came a a victory. In an odd call Nickerson was not given a game disqualification, while Cornell's player was. Combine this with an injury to Cornell's captain and leading scorer, Ryan Vesce, and there was a glimmer of hope.

The next night Clarkson held on in a see-saw game and prevailed 5-4 setting the stage for a game three. Lost in all of this was the fact that Clarkson had won at Lynah for the first time in five years. The monkey was not entirely off their backs, but his grip had slipped a little. In game three Cornell did not expect a fierce Clarkson attack, and with the help of a few kind bounces Clarkson prevailed 5-1. The trumpets blared and Knights and Big Red fans reeled back in amazement. Clarkson won two consecutive games in the toughest arena in the ECAC, and probably the NCAA, and was moving on. The curse had been lifted.

However the next year, things were not as kind to the Golden Knights. The loss left a impression on the Big Red who used it as a rallying point and ended Clarkson's season in a sweep. However, for the first time since 1999, Clarkson was not intimidated by the arena, they were beaten by a better team, but the Lynah mystique did not rattle the Golden Knights.

Now Clarkson again travels to Lynah rink for a best of three quaterfinal matchup. In what could be the best series of the weekend across the country, Cornell and Clarkson have a grudge match that is truly up for grabs.

Why Cornell will win:
Cornell comes into the weekend with the #1 defense in the league allowing 2.17 goals per game. This is also good enough for fifth in the nation. Cornell has prided themselves on defense for the past six years and look to continue to use their D to advance to Albany. Their defense will be challenged by Clarkson's offense who is scoring just over three goals a game. Cornell will need Ryan O'Byrne, who is coming off an injury, and Sasha Pokulok to have solid weekends.

Behind the D comes the critical cog in Cornell's machine. David McKee is having an "off" year and has posted an 18-7-4 record, a .904 save percentage and a 2.14 GAA. Most teams dream of these kind of "off" years. McKee can steal a game and at home this year he is 10-3-2. Expect McKee to look to exact a little revenge on Clarkson for the game at Cheel, in which he was pulled after giving up a three goal first period. In Dave's defense he did have the flu and his team in front of him was not at the top of their game. Even with this in the back of McKee's mind, the advantage from the blue line back clearly sits with the Big Red.

Up front Cornell is led by senior captain Matt Moulson who has 33 points on 16 goals and 17 assists. 11 of these goals have come on the power play for Moulson, who is Cornell's biggest weapon with the man advantage. Moulson is surrounded by a sound group including the Abbot brothers, Topher Scott, and Byron Bitz who can score in big situations. These are all players the Big Red will need big performances from to advance. Cornell also has a talented freshman class who has chipped in big goals throughout the season. Clarkson can not lose focus and ignore these role players who can slip by defenses and win games.

This matchup features the top two penalty kills in the league with Cornell killing penalties 87 percent of the time and Clarkson killing penalties at an 86 percent clip. This is the X factor of the series as both teams will be hoping for a clean game and not allowing one team to take an advantage on the man up. On the power play, Cornell has slipped a little from it's usual perch at 1st or 2nd in the league to 5th. Clarkson is ranked #2. Cornell will look to take as few penalties as possible to try and keep the Knights at bay. If Cornell can stay out of the box and keep its kill fresh they have a great chance to take the series.

Why Clarkson will win:
Clarkson comes into this series with everything to gain and nothing to lose. Unlike the Big Red who hang precariously onto a final at large spot for the NCAA tournament, Clarkson has no other option but to win this series and the ECAC Championship to gain an invite to the big dance. Following a rough patch in January and February the Knights have been playing very well as of late going 5-2-1 in their last eight including the 3-1 victory over Cornell at Cheel. Clarkson played it's best game of the season last weekend in a 5-0 victory over Princeton. The Knight's look to ride this momentum into the games this weekend.

Clarkson is another team in which the success of the team hangs on the shoulders of the goaltender. David Leggio has keyed Clarkson to their 5-2-1 record after being named the starter following the Cornell weekend. Leggio has never played at Lynah and will surely be tested there. In the past 8eight games Leggio has only given up more than two goals only once and will be trying to continue his solid play. For the season Leggio has a 11-7-3 record with a 2.60 GAA and a .908 save percentage.

On offense Clarkson saw scoring from all four of its lines last weekend including a three goal performance from forward Mike Sullivan. To move on Clarkson needs to maintain it's balanced scoring and score timely goals from the top line of Dodge, Sullivan and Cayer. Look for Shea Guthrie to try and break out from his injury three weeks ago against the banged up defense of Cornell. Expect Chris Brekelmans to be back in action this weekend as well.

This is the first time in a while that the Cornell crowd has seemed a little bit nervous heading into a series in a while. While fans don't play the game, they can be a good barometer of how things are going on the ice. While I fully expect both Mike Schafer and George Roll to have their teams ready for the weekend I think Clarkson has a slight edge with their recent play. However any momentum going into Lynah can be quickly erased with a poor performance on Friday.

Clarkson takes the series, but it's 3 games and at least one goes to OT. This will be the best series in the country this weekend.
Clarkson 4 - Cornell 3
Cornell 4 - Clarkson 2
Clarkson 3 - Cornell 2 (OT)

The blogosphere fluctuates!

Man, we just love saying blogosphere. Perusing the USCHO forums today, we happened to notice that the RPI Hockey Blog launched a couple of weeks ago underneath the radar. Apparently firefridgen.blogspot.com was unavailable. As Brett helpfully pointed out to me, it does appear to be very.. pink.

We've linked them up on the sidebar along with Colorado College Hockey Blog and Runnin' with the Dogs over at UMD. Sadly, we've removed the UMass-Lowell blog. After having a Quinnipiac like start at the beginning of the blogging season, they just dropped it. I thought this recent run over BC and Vermont might have rekindled the flame, but they're done.

ECAC(HL) Men's 2nd Round Playoff Preview - Part 3

Last weekend SLU survived a serious scare from a hot goalie and a lack of offense in a two games to one series victory over Brown, two of which required overtime to be decided. The Saints now travel to Bright Hockey Center in Cambridge to take on the Harvard Crimson in what could be a very close series. However if the team that took the ice last weekend in Canton makes an appearance, the Saints can say goodbye to a trip to Albany.

Why SLU will win:
In their two regular season meetings SLU lost twice to the Crimson. Both gams featured the Saints taking first period one goal leads and allowing Harvard to come back and earn one goal wins. Needless to say the Saints will need to correct this problem if they expect to play on in 2006. SLU's success will utimately fall on the shoulders of one player: sophomore Justin Pesony. Pesony is going to have to be much stronger in net than he was last weekend if the Saints' are expecting to make a run at the semifinals.

Pesony allowed nine goals on 73 shots last weekend for a pretty dismal .877 save percentage. Had it not been for some clutch goal scoring, the Saints would be watching these games from Spring Break. Oddly enough this has been the case all year for St. Lawrence. Play well enough on offense to cover for Pesony's .888 save percentage and 2.80 GAA, and end up with a 19-12-0 record in games Pesony starts. If the Saints can find some offense this weekend and have Pesony play just well enough to win, the Saints can take the series.

Last weekend the Saints found some offense in unexpected places. Freshman defenseman Jared Ross who had only scored three times in 23 games in the regular season has a three goal weekend including both goals in the loss on Saturday. Junior Andrzej "I'd like to buy a vowel" Sandrzyk scored his first goal of the season and second of his career on Sunday, and Brock McBride scored the series winner with his sixth goal of the season. SLU needs to keep this balanced scoring to take some of the pressure off of Trevelyan and Zbriger, who went for six points in the two wins over Brown and were blanked in the loss

Harvard was the least penalized team in the league this year at 14.4 PIM's per game. This will make things very difficult for a SLU powerplay which could be considered, slightly less than anemic. However, despite the problems in the regular season, SLU managed to tally three power play goals against Brown. SLU needs to take advantage of any power play that Harvard may surrender this series.

Why Harvard will win:
Harvard's success also depends on the quality of play of their goaltender. Senior John Daigneau has quietly put up a 15-8-2 record with a .915 save percentage and a 2.32 GAA and has three shutouts on the season. His name has not made too many lists for the Dryden award due to the flashy play of Colgate's Dekanich and Union's Mayotte, but Daigneau is a very good goalie who's is playing some of his best hockey right now. He has led the Crimson to five wins in their last six games including a win at Lynah rink, something Harvard had not enjoyed since the Clinton administration.

In front of Daigneau is a defense that has allowed 2.48 goals per game and an offense that has scored 2.83. While these offensive numbers are not sparkling, Harvard has won 11 of their 17 one goal games and is 11-1-1 when scoring first. The Crimson are also undefeated when taking a lead into the first period intermission. Up front only Dan Murphy has double digit goals, but Harvard has gotten goals from about three quarers of its roster this season. Everyone on this team contributes and they can find ways to win. They are a hard working team and they have been rewarded with home ice, and a possible NCAA bid as they're currently the highest ECACHL team in the PWR. A Crimson sweep this weekend should solidify a spot in the tourney.

While SLU has the gaudy offensive numbers, Daigneau is playing well and Harvard is strong at home.

Harvard 4 - SLU 2
Harvard 3 - SLU 2

Thursday, March 09, 2006

CHF's Women's ECACHL Semifinals Preview - Part 2

#3 Brown v. #2 Princeton

I've picked on Brown in nearly every preview opportunity, especially after their six shot performance against Clarkson that ended up ending in a 1-0 victory for the Bears. Their sweep of Dartmouth last weekend should silence many critics, and leads to a very intriguing matchup against Princeton in the ECACHL semifinals. Brown had a rough stretch in February, only managing a single win at home, but they managed to scrape together enough ties to secure the three seed in the playoffs, despite having allowed more goals than scored in the regular season. They're consistently outshot by their opponents, yet this team has an innate quality to score and hold tight leads when it matters, with a 6-2 record in one goal games.

Keaton Zucker and Hayley Moore came through for the Bears last weekend, but it was senior Margaret Ramsey who came to life for the Bears when they needed it most, scoring two goals in the second game, including an unassisted tally to give the Bears a little bit of breathing space against a tough Big Green team. Brown will need to see Zucker and Moore stay hot offensively, plus have a couple more Brunos turn into scoring threats if they want to beat Princeton's talented Roxanne Gaudiel. Senior O'Hara Shipe stopped 21 shots on Friday night, but surprisingly freshman Nicole Stock got the call on Saturday and stopped all 18 shots to record her second shutout of the season. I still suspect that Brown will go with O'Hara Shipe, but having two confident goalies should make the rest of the team feel more comfortable regardless of who they put out on the ice.

Princeton is coming off of a two game sweep of a young Colgate team that gave them fits in game two before falling to the Tigers 5-4 with under two minutes left in the game. A quick look at Princeton's schedule should scare any team. They've gone 12-1-0 since January 13th, with their only loss being a 3-1 defeat at the hands of St. Lawrence. They too play well in one goal games with an 8-5 record, but more importantly Princeton can open fire offensively and have several blowouts underneath their belts. This recent run included a 6-1 victory over Harvard and a 7-2 victory over Dartmouth, and neither of those teams are a cakewalk. The Tigers average over three goals per game, and that number inches towards four if you just talk about conference matchups.

Kim Pearce and Annie Greenwood have lead the Tigers offense in scoring all season, but the Tigers have six skaters with twenty points or more this season, showing threats all across the board. Christine Foster had a hat trick in the series opener against Colgate, scoring all three of Princeton's goals. This offense is dangerous. Combined with the goaltending abilities of Gaudiel who has been consistently been one of the strongest goalies in the ECACHL throughout her career, and that spells trouble for any team.

Brown and Princeton split the season series this year, unsurprisingly in a pair of one goal games. Brown beat the Tigers 4-3 on home ice in January, and Princeton returned the favor in a 3-2 win two weeks ago. Brown needs to keep their scorers hot if they want a win on Saturday. The Bears average less than two goals a game, and that won't be enough to beat a team like Princeton unless Shipe has been practicing standing on her head this week. If they can score three goals like they did last weekend, they've got a legit shot to beat the Tigers. The Tigers need to get on the board fast, overwhelm Brown and crush their spirits quickly. A five goal outburst should be an instant victory for the Tigers, just add water. If the Tigers can't get on the board, that could spell trouble against a Brown team that seems to excel in one goal games. I think this one will either going to be a blowout, or a one goal upset. I like roulette, I like putting money down on double-zero, I'll go with the upset in this one.

Prediction: Brown 3 - Princeton 2

At the buzzer...

The NHL trade deadline came and went at 3:00pm today. Former Knight, defenseman Willie Mitchell was traded to the Dallas Stars along with a 2nd round pick. The Minnesota Wild received defenseman Shawn Bell and Martin Skoula in return. This does leave open the tantalizing possibility that Mitchell could some day be paired with former Knight Matt Nickerson to form one of the nastiest D combinations ever.

Hockey's Future recently did an article on Clarkson rookie Shea Guthrie which is an excellent read.

It turns out former Clarkson standout Erik Cole was "lucky" that his injury wasn't any worse according to this article from the News & Observer. Cole is having a standout season for the Hurricanes and will hopefully be back by playoff time.

No Clarkson players were selected to represent the east in this year's inaugural NCAA Skills Challenge which will happen on April 7th at the Bradley Center in Wisconsin. Despite this fact, I've always been a big fan of the NHL Skills Challenge on All-Star weekend, and I think this sort of event gives players who don't make the Frozen Four their time to shine in the spotlight. There's plenty of guys on Clarkson's roster who could make an appearance in the future. Matt Moulson of Cornell was selected and will be a representative in the East / West competition.

CHF Interview with Josh Bartell - 3/9/2006

Josh Bartell, "Robin", to Bob Ahlfeld's "Batman" on Cool 95.3's broadcasts of Clarkson Hockey, joins us before this weekend's three game series to chat about hockey, steel cage matches, and the possibility of us getting a free beer on him. Josh has been broadcasting since 1998, and was a Golden Knight defenseman himself from 1992-1996, amassing a solid 207 penalty minutes in four seasons. He's pictured second from left, along with the rest of his golf foursome from 2003, Erik Cole, Chris Line and Marc Garceau. Yes pictures of this guy are this hard to find.

CHF: Cornell is pretty dominant at home. How does a team with as bad of a record on the road as Clarkson win two games in the hardest rink in the league?

Josh Bartell: I think when you have nothing to lose then a team can just relax and play hockey. You have to sell yourself on the fact that Lynah is a fun place to compete and turn their home ice advantage into motivating factor for you. This is what we used to do at the Gut when UVM was in their prime. I would rather play at Cornell then at Harvard. Much better atmosphere.

CHF: Who has to step up their play to give Clarkson a shot this weekend?

Josh: I don't know that he has to step it up (he has been playing well,) but this is the time of year that a goalie has to provide his team with a little MOJO. Leggio has that opportunity to play well and then give his team that added confidence.

When you go into a series like this, your best players need to be at their best also. Whatever your role is with the team it has to be executed to near perfection. The margin for error is so slim in the playoffs.

CHF: Any word on if Chris Brekelmans will be back in the lineup this weekend?

Josh: No idea... He is a tough SOB so likely if he can, he will.

CHF: Who are the guys on Cornell that you think this team will need to clamp down on to win?

Josh: Moulson & the Abbot brothers are very quick and hard to defend. The thing to guard against is that you can't spend all your effort trying to shut down Moulson's line, and then let your guard down when someone else is out. Cornell has good depth. The key against Cornell is to get the lead early and then keep it. It takes them out of their "comfort zone."

CHF: Any fond memories of Lynah Rink that you would care to share?

Josh: Non Clarkson related, The Empire State Games were in Ithaca and the hockey was hosted at Lynah, great hockey. I played for Central and we played Western in front of a near capacity crowd.

CHF: Have you been in touch with Coley (Erik Cole) since his recent injury? If so, how's he doing?

Josh: Just briefly... He is in a lot of pain, very uncertain on when he may be able to return.

CHF: Is it true that you've been considering coming out of retirement just to throw down with Brooks Orpik?

Josh: You know I am disappointed in the NHL for this reason: If they want to get rid of fighting then it is up to them to hand out greater punishment. Would that hit take place if Orpik knew he would get his jaw broken next time he played the Canes? Jail is a good deterrent not so much because you have to spend time away from your wife, rather you’re scared of what will happen to you once you get there.

CHF: I take you and Gary Mikel and put you in a steel cage. I leave a steel chair in the ring, and Bob is the ref. Who wins?

Josh: Chili wins by TKO, see what happens is that Bob in his excitement, knocks the steel chair into my head as I have Gary pinned to the mat. Knocks me out. I am not sure I would ever get into a steel cage with Gary and Bob.

CHF: That seems classic Vince McMahon to me. Speaking of refereeing, the guys in the stripes have been taking more lumps than usual on the message boards, are you noticing anything out there?

Josh: Actually I have not been that critical of the officials this season. I just want to see consistency in their calls through out the game and to not interpret a great hit for a penalty. Sometimes I think the officials see a big hit and panic, thinking that if two guys hit each other that hard then some one must get a penalty.

CHF: You’re off to Ithaca in a few hours, with a solid base of Clarkson fans following you shortly after. Any recommendations on pre or post-game venues?

Josh: You know I have only gone out once in Ithaca, not realy sure where to go before or after a game. The Statler Hotel on campus has a nice bar/lounge next to the lobby

CHF: Are you buying?

Josh: Bob is putting it on the Cool 95.3 tab. Just kidding, that will get him into trouble. If Clarkson wins then I am buying the first round in Albany.

CHF: So we’ll be seeing you in Albany next weekend?

Josh: It's no Lake Placid but I will be there.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

ECAC(HL) Men's 2nd Round Playoff Preview - Part 2

Our second preview takes us to Hamilton, NY and Colgate's Starr Rink where the regular season co-champions take on the upset minded Quinnipiac Bobcats. The Raiders took both games in the regular season, but Quinnipiac is coming off impressive two game sweep at RPI and has been playing some of their best hockey as of late.

Why Quinnipiac will win:
The Q comes into Starr with upset on their minds. The Bobcats roared into RPI and set the tempo early on Friday night with two first period goals. RPI could not recover and the Bobcats came out with a 2-1 victory. Expect the same style of play this week at Colgate as the Bobcats will look to take advantage of Colgate's 6-8-4 record when giving up the first goal and Quinnipiac's strong 15-6-1 record when scoring first. Playing with an early lead seems to fire up this squad and even though RPI took a very fast 1-0 lead on Saturday, the Bobcats battled back to take 3-1 lead at the end of the first. Expect Quinnipiac to use some early energy at Starr to quiet the crowd and set the tempo of the series.

Heading into the games last weekend, the biggest question was how rookie Bud Fisher would answer the call of his first post-season games. Three goals on 64 shots and two wins was proof to the rest of the league that with Fisher in net, Quinnipiac is capable of pulling off the road upset. Fisher showed in a 33 save performance on Saturday that he can steal a game even with a team bearing down in the third period. If Fisher can keep up his hot play, Quinnipiac will continue to be the talk of the league in Albany.

In what could be the biggest surprise of the weekend, Quinnipiac won game one by a 2-1 score. Previous to last weekend Quinnpiac had won 17 games, only six of which had come when the Bobcats scored three goals or less, and only one time all year had the Bobcats emerged victorious when scoring two goals. Winning 2-1 had to be just as surprising to the Bobcats as it was to the Engineers. If the Bobcats can mix in low scoring wins along with the 6-4 and 5-4 variety shootout wins then expect The Q to make a strong presence at Colgate this weekend.

Why Colgate will win:
The Raiders come into the weekend boasting the league's best defense, allowing a stingy 2.09 goals per game. Led by Dryden Award candidate Mark Dekanich in goal. Colgate's defense has allowed 14 first period goals all season. This defense will be looking to put the clamps on Quinnipiac's task of gaining control early. Things don't get much easier in the second or third as Colgate has only allowed 19 goals in the 2nd period and a suffocating 13 goals in the 3rd all year long. To beat Colgate you need to get the lead and hang on as the Raiders will not surrender a lead often. Colgate is 9-0-3 when leading after the first and a perfect 12-0-0 when entering the third period with a lead.

Colgate's biggest task will be using its top ranked defense to stop the speedy forwards of the Bobcats. Look for top rookie defenseman Nick St. Pierre along with fellow back guards Mike Campaner and Eric Main to log serious minutes this weekend to slow down the potent Quinnipiac offense.

When Colgate scores first they are 12-2-2 and at home they are an impressive 11-3-3 on the year. If looking at Quinnipiac's 9-11-0 record on the road does not instill confidence in the Raiders, the 4-10-0 record when surrendering the first goal will. This series may very well hinge on who scores first on Friday night and can set the tempo and flow of the series and early on. Colgate will be looking for a tightly called series as they hold the best powerplay in the conference, matched-up against the league's 11th ranked penalty kill. If Quinnipiac gets into penalty trouble it could be a short weekend.

Quinnipiac will put a scare into the Raiders and take one game, but Colgate will prove too strong on Sunday night.

Colgate 3 - Quinnipiac 1
Quinnipiac 2 - Colgate 1
Colgate 5 - Quinnipiac 3

CHF's ECACHL Women's Semifinal Preview - Part 1

#1 St. Lawrence v. #4 Harvard

Harvard comes off what might be the toughest four game stretch of the year, all against a stingy Clarkson team that took game three of last week's quarterfinals into double overtime before Jennifer Sifers rifled in the game winner. The victory advances the Crimson into a semifinal matchup against St. Lawrence who will be hosting this year's ECACHL Final Four. In last weekend's matchup, Clarkson grinded Harvard to a halt, forcing Harvard to play Clarkson's game of fighting for pucks and looking for defensive breakdowns. Harvard will likely need to do the same thing to St. Lawrence to have any chance of advancing to the finals the next day.

Harvard's "Evil Jennys" as I like to call them (Raimondi, Sifers and Brine) had a hand in every single goal in the last four games. They'll need to keep up this scoring tear throughout the rest of the playoffs. They'll also need some supporting help from Carrie Schroyer and Lindsay Weaver who both had an excellent series against Clarkson. Ali Boe was average in her performance last weekend. Each of the goals that were scored on her, she seemed handily beaten by, either by great passes, or being out of position after a big rebound. She didn't let any soft goals in, but she did seem to have problems playing the puck outside of the crease. She'll need to tighten up her game, because the St. Lawrence offense is much less forgiving than Clarkson's.

St. Lawrence comes off a decisive sweep 6-2, 6-3 sweep of Yale in last weekend's quarterfinals, and everyone was lighting the lamp. Seven different SLU players scored goals in the series, bump that up to thirteen if you want to go by points. SLU buried Yale with 89 shots, including 53 on Saturday, and their offense was clicking. They did give up 30 shots to Yale on Friday, but the defense tightened it up on Saturday bringing it down to 19.

Both Meghan Guckian and Jess Moffat saw time in net last weekend, and both played well. We suspect the starting nod will go to Patty Kazmeier candidate Moffat in her senior year, as she's seen her share of big games. Emilie Berlinguette had four goals last weekend and looks to keep lighting the lamp. abrina Harbec is second in the country in scoring with sixty points on the season, just a single point out of the top spot, and is nearing the two points per game mark. She leads the country in assists, while teammate Carson Duggan leads the country in goals with 33.

SLU leads the series 1-0-1 this season, with Harvard tying the Saints at Bright in November. SLU is 20-0-0 when taking a lead out of the first period. If Harvard tries to play SLU's open game, I feel like they will get over-run by the Saints potent offense. Harvard will need to play Clarkson's game against SLU. Dragging the game to a near halt, and looking for opportunities to spring Sifers and Raimondi on breaks. Harvard needs to be smart when slowing the game down and cannot take penalties. SLU scores nearly a quarter of the time on the power play, and if Harvard averages their usual 12 penalty minutes a game, that's one to two goals per game. The longer that Harvard can keep the Saints scoreless, the better chance they'll have to win. This is a tall order, considering SLU scores an average of four goals a game, but three teams have gotten the best of SLU this year, so it can be done. I think Harvard plays SLU tough, but the Saints powerful offense combined with what should be a huge home-ice advantage will take St. Lawrence to the finals.

Prediction: St. Lawrence 3 - Harvard 0 (ENG)

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

ECAC(HL) Men's 2nd Round Playoff Preview - Part 1

Our first preview of the week takes us to Hanover, NH where Dartmouth hosts fellow Ivy League member Yale. 11th seeded Yale is coming off an impressive upset of 6th seed Union in Schenectady. The Bulldogs swept the Dutchmen in two overtime classics including a 3-2 victory in the longest D-1 men's hockey game of all time, which went to five overtimes on Saturday. Yale was rewarded for their effort with a best of three series at the home of the league co-champion and the league's hottest team.

Why Yale will win:
Yale will win for one reason, Alec Richards. In the two games at Union, Richards made 40 saves on Friday and 57 saves on Saturday night. Richards is heating up at the right time and will need to put up similar numbers this weekend if the Eli's have any chance this weekend. One cannot help but be surprised at Richards' play this past weekend, as he had lost his previous six games by a combined 23-8 score. This didn't seem to phase Richards this weekend as he played two of his best games of the season.

Yale will need to find some offense this weekend as well, as Dartmouth lead the league this year with over three goals a game. Yale will need to look to Hristovski and Zappala to put up bigger numbers than the two assists they registered this past weekend. Yale got timely goals from some underclassmen in Cohen and Meckler this weekend, but a repeat performance of five goals in two games will not earn Yale a series win in Hanover.

During the series at Union, Yale racked up 63 penalty minutes. Granted this was over 10+ periods, but this is not the first time Yale has taken too many penalties over the weekend. Yale lead the league this year with 25.4 PIM's per game. Unfortunately for the Bulldogs, Dartmouth comes in with a powerplay conversion rate at 19.2%, good for third in the conference. If Tim Taylor's squad is going to keep the Cinderella story alive they need to figure out a way to spend less time in the box this weekend. If Yale can cut down on their penalties, find some consistent offense, and have Alec Richards steal a game, the Bulldogs can pull off another road upset.

Why Dartmouth will win:
Dartmouth swept Yale 9-4 in Hanover and 6-4 in New Haven. The league's co-champion is also the league's highest scoring team at 3.48 goals per game. The Big Green boasts the talented trio of Mike Ouellette, Eric Przepiorka and David Jones who all have tallied 30 points or more this year. Jones, a sophomore, is the team's leading scorer with 16 goals and 16 assists. Aside from the big three, Dartmouth boasts nine other scorers in double digits and has what could be considered the most balanced attack in the league. Dartmouth will look to keep the offense rolling against a Yale defense that has surrendered on average 3.71 goals per game.

In net, sophomore Mike Devine has come forward as the team's best netminder, and has made an impression league wide with a .917 save percentage and a 2.26 GAA in 26 games this year. Devine has gotten stronger as the year has progressed and is riding a three game win streak and has lead Dartmouth to a 12-2-2 record in the second half of the year. If Devine can keep up this fine play Dartmouth will have an easy time with the Bulldogs.

At home this year Dartmouth sport's a 10-1-0 record and has only surrendered 32 goals in Hanover this year. This will the biggest advantage for the Big Green this weekend as the Bulldog's post 4-10-2 road record and have allowed 55 goals when out of the friendly confines of Ingalls this season. Dartmouth will use this advantage to end the miracle run of the Eli's this weekend.

Yale keeps it close on Friday but can't stop the sweep the next night.

Dartmouth 5 - Yale 3
Dartmouth 7 - Yale 2

A for Effort

Congratulations go out to juniors Kyle McNulty and Brodie Rutherglen, as well as sophomore Nick Dodge. Along with juniors Emma Madigan and Andrea Maluta on the women's side, they have all been named to the ECACHL All-Academic Team. "Players are eligible for the All-Academic team if they have completed at least one academic year, have a cumulative grade point average of at least a 3.00 on a 4.00 scale, and have competed in at least one-half of his or her team's games during the current season. Goaltenders must have played in at least 33 percent of the team's minutes."

Monday, March 06, 2006

Cooking with Gas!

This week will be just as crazy as the last, as Brett will preview each of the ECAC quarterfinal matchups on the men's side, plus I'll take a look at the ECAC Final Four on the women's side. We'd like to think that we both handled ourselves pretty well last week, except for the Brown women making my Dartmouth upset prediction look foolish, but then again nothing could be worse than Brett's o-fer earlier in the season.

Clarkson Hockey color man Josh Bartell will also join us to recap the Princeton series, and take a closer look at the Clarkson v. Cornell series before he heads off to Ithaca to do his schtick at Lynah Rink.

We'd also like to take a moment to thank Western College Hockey for the links and support, they make us feel good about ourselves, but we really think they just want to be invited to our Commissioner's Cup Party. They're also doing some solid previews of the CCHA and WCHA so if you're interested in hockey out west, now is the time to stop by.

Colorado College also has a blog now meaning Lets Go DU has someone to trade witty comments with. UMD has yet another blog called Runnin' With the Dogs which is a bit more surreal than the majority of hockey blogs out there. Finally, I actually ran into CSTV's Rink Rat over at Bright Hockey Center during Friday night's playoff game. He was stopping in during a swing through Boston and blogged his experience at the game. Plus the man looked up scores for the Princeton / Clarkson game for me, and anyone who provides me with the news that Clarkson is thumping another team in the playoffs gets a thumbs up from me.

D-III Update

Normally D-III hockey wouldn't fall on our radar but the Hobart Statesmen, with assistant coach Phil Roy '00, have qualified for the 10 team NCAA tournament. The Statesmen finished their season ranked #6 in the nation, with a 19-6-0 record. They finished 2nd in the ECAC West division. The Statesman were also the first team to hand division winner, Manhattanville, their first conference loss. Hobart travels to 4th ranked Norwich for the first round. with the winner moving on the the D-III Frozen Four.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Off to Lynah!

The #12 Brown Bears gave it their all in Canton, coming back from two down in the third, and sending it to overtime with three seconds left, but St. Lawrence scored early in overtime to give the Saints a 5-4 win and the series victory. The Brown bench was apparently incensed as they thought the goal was kicked in by a St. Lawrence player, while the SLU announcers thought it was redirected off of a skate. Regardless, this means Clarkson will head to Lynah rink to meet their traditional quarterfinal rivals Cornell next weekend in a best of three series.

Here's next week's quarterfinal matchups:

#11 Yale at #1 Dartmouth
#10 Quinnipiac at #2 Colgate
#8 Clarkson at #3 Cornell
#5 St. Lawrence at #4 Harvard

The Women's ECACHL Final Four will be at Appleton Arena in Canton:

#1 St. Lawrence v. #4 Harvard
#2 Princeton v. #3 Brown

Cole Fractures Vertabra in Neck

Former Clarkson Golden Knight and member of Team USA, Erik Cole of the Carolina Hurricanes was injured after he was driven headfirst into the boards in a game against Pittsburgh last night. He is expected to be out for six to eight weeks, at least for the duration of the regular season. If he returns on schedule he could be back in time for the playoffs. Cole currently has sixty points, thirty goals and thirty assists for the NHL leading Hurricanes.

Women's Season Ends in 2OT, Men Play the Waiting Game

Kira Hurley kept them in it the entire way, making an incredible 51 saves in 4+ periods of hockey, but Jennifer Sifers rifled a Liza Solley pass from the top of the right circle past Hurley in double OT, sending the Crimson into a frenzy and advancing them to the semifinals in Canton next weekend. Marie-Jo Gaudet scored Clarkson's goal halfway through the first assisted by Christine Balikowski. Harvard answered with Sifers first goal late in the second. Clarkson's season ends with an amazing 22-14-1 record, a solid record, for a solid team that will deserve NCAA consideration in the year to come, and will lead to spirited discussions over the next few weeks.

Clarkson's men's team will have to wait and watch tonight's matchup between Brown and St. Lawrence. Thanks to a 56 save effort from Adam D'Alba, Brown eeked out a 3-2 victory to force game 3 tonight at 7. If Brown wins tonight Clarkson heads to Harvard, if SLU is victorious the Knights head to Ithaca to face Cornell.

In case you missed it..

Yale and Union played the longest game in NCAA history last night at Messa Rink, with Yale coming out victorious 3-2 in the fifth overtime. Yale wins the three game series and advances to the quarterfinals, against an opponent to be determined. Actually everyone is still waiting to make their travel plans for next weekend as Brown forced a game three at Appleton against St. Lawrence. A St. Lawrence victory means Clarkson will head to Lynah Rink to face Cornell, and a Brown victory sends the Knights back to Cambridge to face Harvard.

Saturday, March 04, 2006


Clarkson 5 - Princeton 0
After David Cayer scored his 12th of the year in the first, Clarkson opened the floodgates and scored 3 times on the Tigers in the 2nd. Chris D'Alvise sandwhiched 2 goals around Mike Sullvian's 3rd goal of the weekend. Mike Willemsen put the icing on the cake in the third with his first career goal. David Leggio stopped 20 shots for his first career shutout. Clarkson dominated Princeton is all phases of the game tonight and this could have been worse if not for the play of Princeton's Eric Leroux. Clarkson outshot Princeton 32-20, with 25 of these shots coming in the first two periods.

Clarkson Women Force Game 3 in a Nail Biter!

Katie Morrison got the game winner with 38 seconds left in overtime to give Clarkson a 2-1 win at Harvard. Clarkson had another outstanding all-around effort from the women to even up the best-of-three series. After a ho-hum period from both sides in the first, both squads came out flying in the second, with Clarkson playing with the confidence they seemed to be lacking the previous night. Clarkson slowly began taking control of the game, skating the puck into the zone, cycling behind the net, and they were rewarded with a goal by Micheleen Devine to go up 1-0. In the third, emboldened by the one goal lead, Clarkson continued to pressure, creating several breakaway and odd-man opportunities, but were unable to cash in.

With just under three minutes left in the third, it looked like disaster had struck, when the Jenny's (Brine, Raimondi and Sifers) converged on Hurley in a scrum in front of the net. Brine snuck the puck over Hurley who was down, and the game was heading for overtime. After 19 minutes of back and forth overtime play, Clarkson created an odd-man rush and the numbers game paid off as Marie-Jo Gaudet and Amanda Dittmer managed to get Boe out of position, and Katie Morrison stuffed the game winner from the right side of the goal to send the series to a decisive game three tomorrow at Bright Hockey Center in Cambridge at 4:00pm. Kira Hurley made 33 saves for the victory, Clarkson's first ever playoff win.

Some astute observations:

Marie-Jo Gaudet has been playing out of her mind. She has single-handedly become a menace on the ice, outracing Crimson defenders for pucks and creating scoring opportunities. Kira Hurley has been solid in net. Both goals scored on her this weekend have been tough luck, the first on Friday rolled in off her save, and the one this evening came off a mess in front of the net. Christine Balikowski has been exceptional on defense, she seems to be involved in a lot of big plays at crucial times. There's no points for Emma Madigan on the sheet, but she continues to sneak in and create rushes which force Harvard back on their heels. If Clarkson can continue to have confidence in their passing and carrying the puck into the offensive zone, and they can keep piles of people away from Kira Hurley, in particular the Jenny's who continue to create havoc in the Knights zone, they can win this series.

ECAC Playoffs

Here's a breakdown of what happened in the other 3 games in the league last night.

#5 SLU 3 - #12 Brown 2 (OT) - Brown took a 2-0 lead on SLU at the midway point of the game. SLU came back and tied it up on a Jared Ross powerplay goal to force overtime. SLU took advantage of an icing call on Brown and the senior leadership stepped up to win it just 25 seconds into the 4th period as Mike Zbriger got the game winner. Brown goaltender Adam D'Alba made 51 saves in the loss.

#11 Yale 2 - #6 Union 1 (OT) - In a game which featured 43 penalty minutes Yale's Matt Cohen got the game winner at the 9:21 mark of overtime to give Yale a 1-0 lead in the series. Union's playoff woes continued as they played their fourth consecutive overtime playoff game. Yale took 12 penalties including Jean-Francois Boucher's 5 minute kneeing penalty but Union could only cash in one time on the man up with a Torren Delforte goal to tie things up in the second.

#10 Quinnipiac 2 - #7 RPI 1 - Quinnipiac earned the other upset of the night by outworking RPI for a 2-1 win in Troy. The Bobcats scored 2 goals in the first five minutes and that would be all they would need as Bud Fisher made 28 saves to earn the Bobcats their first ECACHL post season win. Jamie Bates got his 19th and David Marshall tallied his 22nd goal on a powerplay in what was the eventual game winner. Oren Eizenman netted his 15th goal of the season to cut the lead in half early in the 3rd but that's all the Engineers could muster.

If all series end tonight the second round will look like this:

#11 Yale at #1 Dartmouth
#10 Quinnipiac at #2 Colgate
#8 Clarkson at #3 Cornell
#5 SLU at #4 Harvard

Friday, March 03, 2006

It's Mike Sullivan's World

We're all just living in it.
Sullivan gets both goals in a 2-1 Clarkson victory.
Leggio stands tall in 23 save effort.
Princeton grinds things to a halt, but Knights grind through it.

John Murphy arrives early in Potsdam.
Weller tossed on a questionable hit from behind.
Brekelmans out, Guthrie in.
Playoff Hockey Underway!

Clarkson women fall to Harvard in Game 1

Despite an outstanding effort by Clarkson goaltender Kira Hurley, the one goal that snuck by was all that Harvard needed to defeat the Golden Knights in the first game of the best-of-three series in Cambridge, MA this weekend. Jennifer Sifers scored the lone goal when Carrie Schroyer took an odd bounce off of the boards and sent it over to Lindsay Weaver. The feed was sent over to Sifers who wristed one on net and which squeaked by Kira Hurley after it looked like she had made the save. Hurley kept Clarkson in the game by stopping 20 of 21 shots in the 1st period. Clarkson only had six goals in the third, but turned it up in the 2nd and 3rd, creating several breakaways and two on one opportunities, but unable to convert any of them to tie the game up. Clarkson pulled Kira Hurley at the end of the 3rd, and threw a shot on net at the buzzer, but it was blocked down by the Crimson defense giving them the victory. Clarkson ended up outshooting Harvard in the final two periods, bringing the shot total to 32-24.

For your viewing pleasure..

Here's all of our ECACHL Playoff Coverage!
Updated: March 3rd, 2006

Men's Coverage

Part 1 - #12 Brown at #5 SLU
Part 2 - #11 Yale at #9 Union
Part 3 - #10 Quinnipiac at #7 RPI
Part 4 - #9 Princeton at #8 Clarkson

Women's Coverage

Part 1 - #8 Yale at #1 SLU
Part 2 - #7 Colgate at #2 Princeton
Part 3 - #6 Dartmouth at #3 Brown
Part 4 - #5 Clarkson at #4 Harvard

ECAC(HL) Men's 1st Round Playoff Preview - Part 4

Finally it's the preview we've been waiting for pitting the #9 seed Princeton Tigers against the #8 seed Clarkson Golden Knights at Cheel Arena. Clarkson gets another shot at its recent ECAC playoff rival who have met up six times since 1995. Clarkson holds a 4-2 edge over the Tigers at the moment. Here's a look at those previous meetings:

1995 Semi-Finals
Princeton 2, Clarkson 1

1997 Semi-Finals
Clarkson 5 - Princeton 1

1998 Championship
Princeton 5 - Clarkson 4 (OT)

1999 Semi-Finals
Clarkson 6 - Princeton 5

2000 Quarterfinal
Clarkson 3 - Princeton 2
Clarkson 2 - Princeton 1

However, this is all history and 2006 brings us a new meeting which should prove to be as exciting as the last six.

Why Princeton will win:
Princeton come in coming off a solid three point weekend at Brown and Yale which propelled the Tigers into the 9th spot. Lead by junior forward Grant Goeckner-Zoeller the Tigers offense has averaged 2.76 goals per game. However Princeton's offense has been clicking as of late averaging 3.5 goals per game in their last eight games. Combine this with a Clarkson defense which gives up three goals per game and the Tigers are in solid position to make things challenging for the Knights. The Tigers 4-10-1 road record isn't the best in the conference, but the Tigers have taken big wins on the road against Notre Dame and Denver this season.

In net Eric Leroux can steal games. In a weekend sweep of Colgate and Cornell Leroux made 59 saves on the weekend on 62 shots, including 34 in a shutout of Cornell. The defense in front of him led by senior Brian Carthas will need to try and clamp down the Knights attack and play better than their regular season three goals allowed per game pace.

On special teams the Tigers will have to work hard to solve Clarkson's 87% penalty kill. Princeton has been scoring at an 18% clip on the powerplay which was good enough for 4th in the league, the Tigers will need to continue this pace to be competitive with the Knights who are 2nd in the league in penalty minutes. If Princeton can figure out the Knights on the power play they have a legitimate shot to take two games in Potsdam.

Why Clarkson will win:
There was a collective sigh of relief when the results came in on February 18th. When it was known that the Knights had locked up a home playoff spot, hope sprang eternal from many Knights fans. The Golden Knights are an impressive 12-2-2 at home this year and are 8-1-2 at home in league play. The Knights have not lost at home since November. However playing at home will not ensure victory. To quote head coach George Roll, "Princeton would be a tough matchup for us...just playing at home doesn't guarantee us a win." Guarantee, no, but home ice advantage will play a major roll for the Knights this weekend.

Clarkson is led by player of the year candidate Nick Dodge who has put up 15 goals and 37 points this season. The Knights feature a balanced attack, which when they play to their full potential, is the arguably the most talented team in the league. Coach Roll will need to tap into that potential and get the Knights to put forth two sixty minute efforts this week. If Clarkson relaxes for a period or two, things will get ugly for the Knights.

The Golden Knights feature the 3rd best offense in the league with a 3.21 goals per game average. Princeton gives up about three a game on average which should play into the Knight's hands. On the power play Clarkson was second in the league with a 19.7% conversion rate. This matched up with Princeton's 83.3% penalty kill and the Knights will be looking to cash in on special teams. This is the one aspect of the game that will decide the series.

In net Clarkson will start sophomore David Leggio who won the starter's role three weeks ago with an impressive showing against Cornell and Colgate. Though Leggio stumbled a bit against Dartmouth, Coach Roll went with him the next night and he made 37 saves in a one goal loss to Harvard. A healthy defense in front of Leggio will prove to be a major factor as Chris Brekelmans is expected to play despite injuring his back last weekend.

Speaking of injuries the Knights will have star rookie Shea Guthrie back in the line up after a week out with a separated shoulder. Shea provides a spark for the Knights on a line with Shawn Weller and Steve Zalewski. His return to the lineup should be a motivation for the Knights. The less dependent on the Dodge, Sullivan, and Cayer line the Knights are, the better their chances are for taking this series.

Princeton will keep it close on Friday, but won't avoid a sweep the next night.

Clarkson 4 - Princeton 3
Clarkson 5 - Princeton 2