It’s been a while since we at The Back Page took a look at the state of ECAC women’s hockey. We apologize, but it’s been a little cold here in Cambridge, and we’ve been hibernating. Conference play is back in full swing, though, and the playoff picture becomes clearer every week—although, of course, the regular-season champion has been all but a foregone conclusion since November. See who’s up, who’s down, and who’s essentially out in this week’s edition of the power rankings.
1. Cornell (20-1-0, 14-0-0 ECAC, 1st in ECAC)
At this point in the regular season, the only question left at the top is whether or not anybody can bring down juggernaut Cornell. Though it’s been unseated at the top of the national polls by Wisconsin, the No. 2 Big Red’s in prime position to run the conference table—a feat that has only been accomplished twice in league history, most recently by the 2007-08 Harvard team. And to top it all off, Cornell avenged its only loss of the season last Tuesday, blanking No. 5 Mercyhurst on the road.
2. Harvard (10-7-2, 9-3-2, 2nd)
With its second straight two-win weekend, the Crimson vaults into second place in both the conference standings and the power rankings. After dropping a heartbreaker at Rensselaer on Jan. 8, Harvard has rebounded nicely, winning consistently against weaker opponents and spreading out the scoring load. A road trip to Yale and Brown ought to run the Crimson’s win streak to six.
3. Dartmouth (12-8-0, 8-6-0, t-3rd)
The Big Green has been surging as of late, winning three games last week by an average margin of 3.67 goals. Sophomore Camille Dumais and rookie Lindsay Holdcroft were named the conference player and rookie of the week, respectively, for their performances against Vermont, Union and Rensselaer: Dumais racked up six points, while Holdcroft was a perfect 3-0 in net with a 0.67 goals-against average.
4. Princeton (10-10-1, 7-6-1, t-5th)
Princeton is, simply put, cruising. The Tigers have rattled off seven straight wins—including shutouts of nationally ranked Boston College and Quinnipiac—and haven’t lost since Dec. 3. Goalie Rachel Weber, who boasted the longest-ever shutout streak by an ECAC goalie before her run was ended by St. Lawrence on Jan. 8, is second in the conference with a 1.60 goals-against average. But will Princeton be able to shake off the rust of a three-week layover when the Saints come to town on Friday?
5. Quinnipiac (16-8-1, 8-6-0, t-3rd)
Though the Bobcats are the ECAC’s other representative in the national polls, checking in at No. 10, Quinnipiac slipped up on Friday at Wayne State, dropping a 2-1 contest to an 8-13 team. But spearheaded by freshman Kelly Babstock, who comfortably leads the conference in points, goals, and assists, the Bobcats’ potent offense should have no problem propelling Quinnipiac to a top-four finish in the ECAC.
6. Clarkson (9-13-3, 6-6-1, 8th)
Clarkson has put together a nice little run in the last two weeks, with its only blemish coming in the form of a 3-2 loss to the Crimson on Jan. 15. The Golden Knights are averaging more than three goals per game and have won a pair of overtime contests during that stretch, putting distance between themselves and the ninth-place teams as they seek to secure the eighth and final playoff spot.
7. St. Lawrence (12-11-2, 7-6-0, 7th)
St. Lawrence’s results have mirrored its north-country neighbor’s over the last two weekends—after losing to Harvard on Jan. 14, the Saints have won three straight, and all by two-goal margins. That momentum will be crucial as St. Lawrence heads on a big road trip to Princeton and Quinnipiac.
8. Rensselaer (9-10-6, 7-6-1, t-5th)
A winless weekend for the Engineers drops them in the power rankings, as Rensselaer managed only one combined goal against Ivy foes Harvard and Dartmouth. Though goalie Sonja van der Bliek played well last week, making a combined 58 saves, the Engineer offense will have to do better than its nine-shot showing against the Big Green as the squad heads to Colgate and Cornell.
9. Yale (5-12-2, 4-7-1, t-9th)
Yale doesn’t get blown out much—with the exception of a 5-0 loss to the Big Red, the Bulldogs haven’t lost by more than two goals since November—but it’s also struggled to pull out wins in close games this month. The Bulldog offense, which has scored just three goals in the new year and mustered only 11 shots against St. Lawrence despite eight power plays, will need to pick up the pace this weekend when Dartmouth and Harvard come to town.
10. Colgate (7-16-2, 4-9-1, t-9th)
Colgate’s nursing a three-game losing streak, but at least its two toughest conference tests are out of the way—the Raiders dropped 6-1 and 5-0 decisions to Cornell last week. Hosting Rensselaer and Union this weekend will be a much more manageable task for Colgate as it looks to climb back into playoff contention.
11. Brown (2-14-3, 1-8-3, 11th)
Poor Brown’s had a rough month, but that’s to be expected when you have five games against top-five opponents in the span of two weeks. The Bears’ offense got rolling last weekend, putting up a combined five goals in a road trip to St. Lawrence and Clarkson, but another poor defensive effort—Brown is giving up an average of 5.14 goals per game in January—doomed the team to a winless weekend.
12. Union (1-22-3, 0-12-2, 12th)
Union managed to put two goals on the board against Cornell at home, but that’s the Dutchwomen’s crowning achievement in a winless January. A trip to visit the Big Red on Friday won’t make things any better for the lowly squad.