Although the Harvard men's hockey team takes two weeks off for exams, the icemen don't stand to lose much ground to league-leading RPI.
The Engineers (9-1) host Michigan next weekend for two out-of-conference contests, and the following weekend play home and home against their ECAC traveling partner, Vermont.
The Crimson (9-1-1) returns to action Monday, January 28, against Dartmouth at Bright Center.
Since Dartmouth boasts a 2-9 mark and Vermont sports a 1-9 record, in all probability, the Crimson should be 10-1-1 entering February, still just a half-game behind then-11-1 RPI.
That leaves 10 games on the schedule for both clubs, who have all but clinched spots in the first round of the ECAC playoffs that open March 8 and 9 at campus sites.
Should Harvard win its quarterfinal two-game series, the icemen would advance to the semifinals and the finals the following weekend at the Boston Garden.
The Crimson plays every other ECAC team once, except Army and Dartmouth. RPI faces every team except Army and Vermont once.
In case you're wondering, the RPI-Harvard showdown is scheduled for February 23 at Houston Field House in Troy, N.Y. A packed Houston house of 5600 should welcome Harvard at the league's largest rink.
* * *
Poor Jack Riley. The winningest active college hockey coach in the nation (512 victories) saw his Army team bellyflop in its first year in Division I.
The Cadets finished up their shortened league schedule Saturday night with a 4-2 loss to Yale.
The evening was yet another Black night for the Black Knights, who dropped all 11 of their contests.
Army was admitted to the ECAC this year in the wake of the Hockey East defections, given a half-schedule (one game against every team) and barred from the playoffs.
Even though almost everyone in the ECAC makes the playoffs (eight of 12), the league did not have to exclude Army, which is guaranteed a last-place finish.
Army's failure to win even a single game points to the difference between Division I and Division II in eastern college hockey.