ECAC Race Uncrystal Clear
Two Weeks Left in Regular Season, Uncertainty Abounds
As the ECAC men's hockey race enters its penultimate weekend, the only thing known for sure is that absolutely nothing is known for sure.
Confused? Just look at what happened last weekend.
Harvard's two losses in a weekend series at home was the first such event in seven years, as the squad dropped 2-1 and 5-0 contests to Dartmouth and Vermont respectively.
Martin St. Louis broke Vermont's single-season assist mark with three against Harvard for a total of 42 on the year.
Vermont goalie Tim Thomas also gained a spot on the ECAC Honor Roll for his shutout of the Crimson, stopping 35 shots as well as thwarting 11 Harvard power plays.
But luckily for the Crimson, the rest of the league's top teams fared just as well, for the most part.
Harvard was helped by league-leading Clarkson's dropping two games at home, 2-1 to Cornell and 8-5 to Colgate. Clarkson fell from fifth in the country down to number-10 in this week's Troy Record poll, the biggest drop of the season for any team. This happened just one week after the Golden Knights jumped up four spots after an impressive weekend.
The Cornell-Clarkson game witnessed the return of Big Red goalie Eddy Skazyk, who anchored the Cornell win with a 27-save effort. Skazyk has spent most of the season backing up super-frosh Jason Elliott.
Clarkson's loss against Colgate also featured impressive individual performances by the visitors. Chris DeProfio of Colgate had two goals and three assists against the Golden Knights, earning him honor roll status.
But the true superstar of the weekend was Colgate's own Mike Harder. The sophomore had two goals and four assists in the 8-5 victory, after notching two goals the night before against St. Lawrence. Harder grabbed this week's ECAC Player of the Week award.
Despite Harder's efforts, St. Lawrence was able to eclipse the Red Raiders in overtime, 5-4. Paul DiFrancesco scored the game-winner for the Saints, as well as two assists against Cornell. The freshman garnished this week's ECAC Rookie of the Week award.
Goalie Jon Bracco also had an outstanding weekend for the Saints, earning his second and third-straight wins.
Unfortunately for Harvard, Brown swept both Dartmouth and Vermont, moving it into a first-place tie with Clarkson. Goalie Mike Parsons stopped 45 of the 46 shots he faced on the weekend, earning him one shutout--5-0 against Dartmouth--and honor-roll status.
Rensselaer picked up three points on the weekend, nipping Yale, 4-3, and tying Princeton, 2-2. Bryan Richardson tallied a goal each night for the Engineers. Yale goalie Todd Sullivan was the star in the RPI game, though, stopping an ECAC season-high 52 shots.
RPI now stands just one point behind Harvard, setting up high drama for this Friday's matchup against the Crimson in Troy. The game will be televised as Prime Network's College Hockey Game of the Week. (It can be seen in Cambridge on NESN starting at 7:30 p.m.)
Union split games against Princeton and Yale, knocking off the Tigers, 7-4, but falling to the Elis, 5-2. Trevor Koenig stopped 46 shots in the win for the Dutchmen, including 25 in the second period.
With two weekends to go, not one ECAC playoff spot is known for sure, and the final 24 regular-season games are sure to shake things up even more.
However, as long as Harvard wins but one of its final four games or one of a plethora of other things happens, the Crimson will be assured of a playoff spot.
ECAC STANDINGS OVERALL ECAC Team W L T W L T Brown 13 8 2 12 5 1 Clarkson 17 7 4 11 4 3 Harvard 12 11 1 10 7 1< /B> RPI 15 11 2 9 7 2 Colgate 15 12 1 9 8 1 Vermont 15 11 2 8 8 2 Princeton 12 9 4 7 8 3 St. Lawrence 13 14 1 8 10 0 Cornell 8 12 3 6 9 3 Yale 8 13 3 6 9 3 Union 8 13 3 5 10 3 Dartmouth 7 14 2 5 11 2
NCAA POLL 1. Maine (24) 25-2-6 293 2. Michigan (6) 23-5-1 276 3. Boston U. 22-6-3 234 4. Colorado College 25-9-0 216 5. New Hampshire 21-7-3 154 6. Bowling Green 18-10-2 113 7. Denver 20-11-1 108 8. Minnesota 18-11-3 82 9. Michigan St. 17-10-3 76 10. Clarkson 16-7-4 61
Compiled by the Troy (N.Y.) Record. First-place votes are in parentheses, followed by team record against NCAA Division I schools and total points.