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

Friday, March 10, 2006

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


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