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

Friday, March 09, 2007

Harvard @ Clarkson: ECAC Quarterfinals

Coming off their first weekend of rest in nearly three months the Clarkson Golden Knights look to advance to Albany and the ECACHL final four. Armed with the league's top goaltender, David Leggio, and the second ranked offense and defense in the league the Knights would appear to have a clear advantage going into this best of three game series against the 7th seeded Crimson. However the press surrounding this series has been anything but one sided. Of the three major on line college hockey sites Clarkson is predicted to win the series twice, and two of the three predicted the series to go three games.

Why the predictions? Harvard has been playing it's best hockey since being swept out of the Beanpot, going 4-1-1 with a sweep of Colgate and Cornell in the last week of the regular season and a sweep at home of the Yale Bulldogs in the first round of the ECAC's. Senior netminder Justin Tobe has allowed just five goals over the past five games and the Crimson offense has found it's stride scoring 14 goals over the same span. Everything is coming together for Harvard, but now they have to take the show on the road. A road which has treated Harvard to a 5-9-2 record this year, including a loss at Cheel.

Clarkson at home is another story, and it will be the deciding factor is this match-up. The Knights are 10-3-4 at home this season and 24-5-6 at home over the past two years. They have only lost two games at home on the same weekend once in the past two years. This is a superior team at home and this weekend will prove it. Harvard has had a good run but the reasoning behind why some people think they will have success this weekend is borderline ludicrous.

The main argument for a Harvard series victory is this: "Harvard will advance to Albany because they have advanced to Albany the past 6 years." While this is true, it does not take into account a starting goaltender who has a career 11-10-0 record as a senior. Not exactly the battle hardened veteran that has lead the Crimson in the past. Dov Grumet-Morris had played in 114 career games and John Daigneau had 42 career starts when they were seniors. Tobe in his career has 27 starts, in his career. David Leggio has 32 starts this year. The advantage lies in Clarkson's court.

In the past when Harvard had down years, the Crimson had at least 7 NHL draft picks on the roster. The talent was there, but the team just took a long time to gel. This year the number of draft picks is five. Again, there is talent there, but not in the multitudes of years past. Clarkson has the talent, as we have all seen, and has come together around George Roll's system. And while the occasional clunker is still possible, the team is clicking right now and is looking to prove it is worthy of the national hype. Not unlike Crimson teams in the previous 4 years.

To base future performance off of past experience in sports is a dangerous road to tread. To make the comparison to baseball, we know the Yankees have won the AL East for the past 9 years. Is this a guarantee that they will win the AL East this year? While some might say yes, they would be wrong. There are too many intangibles in sports to base a future prognostication on past performance. Harvard will put up a fight, but their presence in Albany will not be felt this year.


Blogger Michael said...

nice synopsis Brett.

12:14 AM

Anonymous Rob Wolleben said...

If the best team always won, sports would be predictable. Using this thought process, let's hope Clarkson isn't the best team!

1:04 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Calrkson should should winn two in a row easily hands down

10:59 AM


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