Around the ECAC: Men's Hockey Clinches Home Ice
The Harvard men's hockey team split its two ECAC games over the weekend with a 3-2 loss to Union and a 1-0 win over RPI.
With the win over RPI, the Crimson (12-14-1, 11-8-1 ECAC) is assured of a spot in the top-five of the ECAC standings and will therefore have home ice for the first round of the playoffs. The Crimson is currently tied with Cornell for first place in the standings, but a sweep over Yale and Princeton this weekend could move them up in the ranks pending the results of the other league games.
St. Lawrence (16-10-4, 13-4-3) is sitting precariously in first place, with Clarkson just one point behind and away games against Dartmouth and Vermont coming up for the Saints this weekend.
Sophomore Blair Clarance played a pivotal role in the Saints' wins last weekend over Colgate and Cornell. Clarance scored two goals and assisted on the third in St. Lawrence's 3-1 win over Colgate on Friday night. He then followed that up with the game-winning goal in the 3-2 victory over Cornell on Saturday night.
Captain Erik Anderson was unable to play due to an ankle injury, but it looks like the Saints are filling in the gap in the offense.
Clarkson (18-9-3, 13-5-2) is in great position going into the last two games of the season, only one point out of first place and on a five-game winning streak. The Golden Knights secured their high ranking going into this weekend with a Friday night win over Colgate and a Saturday night win over Cornell.
Freshman right wing Rob McFeeters scored one goal and assisted on the other in the 2-0 triumph and sophomore goaltender Mike Walsh finished the night with 18 saves.
In the 3-2 win over Colgate, junior right wing Chris Line scored a goal and assisted on another tally. The Golden Knights have won seven of their last eight games going into this weekend, when they will go on the road to face Vermont and Dartmouth.
Cornell (12-10-5, 10-7-3) took two losses this weekend to bring the Big Red into a tie for third with the Crimson in the ECAC. The Big Red suffered a tough 3-2 loss against No. 1 St. Lawrence on Friday night and was shut out Saturday night by Clarkson 2-0.
Junior goaltender Matt Underhill was taken out of the game during the last 48 seconds after making 37 saves in the hopes of tying the game, but to no avail. Cornell goes up against Rensselaer and Union at home this weekend.
Dartmouth (12-11-4, 9-7-4) clinched its spot in the playoffs with a 1-1 tie against Princeton, but Yale broke the Big Green's five-game unbeaten streak with a 6-3 loss the following night.
Sophomore goalie Nick Boucher was a huge factor in both games, with 23 saves against Yale and 25 versus Princeton, including one of his best saves of the year on a breakaway shot by Tiger forward Ethan Doyle.
Dartmouth is now fifth in the ECAC standings, but has a tough home set this weekend against St. Lawrence and Clarkson.
Yale (14-13-0, 10-10-0) is currently in a tie for sixth place thanks to two dramatic wins over the weekend. In Friday night's game against Vermont, the Elis prevailed with a 7-6 win that was highlighted by senior forward Jeff Hamilton's goal and assist, which made him the school's all-time leading scorer.
Sophomore forward Nick Deschenes also contributed with his first career hat trick. The Elis also picked up a 6-3 win against Dartmouth, in which Hamilton lit up the ice with a hat trick. Yale has gathered momentum off of its three straight wins--each of which featured a Yale player notching a hat trick--and will next face off against Harvard and Brown this weekend.
Rensselaer (15-13-2, 9-9-2) split its two ECAC games this weekend, with a 1-0 loss to the Crimson and a 4-2 win over Brown.
Junior forward Jim Henkel scored two goals against the Bears, including one empty-net goal to secure the win. Freshman goalie Nathan Marsters had 37 saves on the night.
The Engineers go on the road this weekend against Cornell and Colgate.
Princeton (9-14-4, 8-9-3) slipped into eighth place this weekend, with a 2-1 win against Vermont on Saturday and a 1-1 tie against Dartmouth on Friday.
Against the Big Green, junior goaltender Dave Strathos shined with 34 saves.
The only Tiger goal was scored by Freshman defender Matthew Maglione.
The game against Vermont remained scoreless through the first period until the two teams scored a goal apiece to bring them into overtime. Maglione scored the game-winning goal, his fourth goal of the season, 2:54 into overtime to hand the Tigers the win.
Princeton is just one point behind RPI and Yale for sixth place, but also only one point ahead of Union, so its position in the standings is shaky. Princeton will travel this weekend to face Brown and Harvard.
Union finished the weekend with a 2-2 tie against last-place Brown and its 3-2 win over the Crimson.
In the Friday night game against Brown, to the shock of the Dutchmen and about 1700 fans, the Bears evened the score just as the third period expired and held onto the tie.
The win over Harvard was the Dutchmen's last home appearance for the season and gave Union the rank of ninth in the ECAC, ahead of Vermont by two points. Union goes on the road this weekend to play Colgate and Cornell.
Vermont (11-15-2, 7-11-2) lost both of its ECAC games this weekend against Yale and Princeton. In the game against the Elis, freshman forward Jeff Miles scored a goal and assisted on another and senior defender Mike Torney scored a goal and had two assists in this high-scoring affair.
Sophomore goaltender Shawn Conschafter came in for senior Andrew Allen halfway through the game and recorded the loss despite only allowing two goals.
In the loss to the Tigers, junior forward Graham Mink scored unassisted in the second period and then Princeton came back with a goal in the third period to put the game into overtime. The Tigers scored the game-winning goal to hand Vermont its second loss and the tenth spot in the ECAC.
The Catamounts are home this weekend, but are facing a difficult pair of games against Clarkson and St. Lawrence.
Colgate (9-19-4, 7-12-1) lost to both the Golden Knights and the Saints this weekend, dropping them into eleventh in the ECAC, just out of playoff contention by one point.
In the game against Clarkson, senior defender Cory Murphy and junior right wing Etienne Morin scored the goals for the Red Raiders in the first and third period. Freshman goaltender Dave Cann made 26 saves on the night.
Colgate will face off against Union and Rensselaer this weekend while Vermont is facing the two best teams in the ECAC. With a win or two, the Red Raiders have a very good chance of knocking Vermont out of the playoffs.
Lastly, Brown (4-20-3, 2-15-3) finished the weekend with a loss against Rensselaer and a heartening tie against Union. Sophomore defender Paul Esdale and freshman forward Nick Ringstad scored goals for the Bears and Brown made an attempt to tie up the game with an extra man when they took goaltender Yann Danis out of the game, only to watch the Engineers score an empty-net goal.
In a dramatic game with Union, the scene was set for the tie with 17 second left in the game and a face-off in the Union zone. Junior defender Josh Barker worked to keep the puck in the Union zone and Esdale took a shot that was redirected by senior forward Doug Janjevich to tie up the game as the time expired.
The Bears are out of playoff contention, but are able to play the role of spoiler in their remaining games against Princeton and Yale to end the season on a high note.