Harvard's weekend road sweep didn't come without its difficulties, but, as coach will tell you, the Crimson got the four points and that's what matters.
In fact, the victories pushed Harvard (18-2-2 overall, 15-1-2 ECAC) into lone possession of the number three ranking in the nation (the Crimson was tied with fourth-ranked Miami, Ohio last week) and, of more immediate importance, put the Crimson within striking distance of the ECAC regular-season title.
Harvard, which won the title last year, will keep the trophy (established for the first time last year) with either a win or an Rensselaer loss. Look for Harvard to clinch this Friday night against sixth-place Dartmouth.
The Crimson has already clinched home-ice throughout the tournament, but the top-ranking insures a game against the weakest team in the league. (Last year, unfortunately, that was RPI.)
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Cinch to Clinch: The top-ranked team in the nation, Maine, slipped a bit Friday night in its 7-6 overtime loss at home to Boston University, but a 6-1 pasting of the Terriers the next night clinched the Black Bears their second-straight Hockey East title. Sparking the victory, of course, was freshman sensation Paul Kariya, who is featured in this week's Sports Illustrated (the one with all the scantily clad women). The report likens the small and speedy Kariya to Wayne Gretzky and calls him a shoo-in for the Hobey Baker award.
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Ranking Puzzle: Explain this--a team tied for fifth in the ECAC is now ranked 10th in the nation. That's fifth, behind unranked Yale and Brown and tied with unranked St. Lawrence and Vermont.
Clarkson, sure enough, moved into the top 10 for the first time in months after sweeping RPI (3-1) and Union (9-0) at home.
Things are looking up for the Golden Knights (13-9-4 overall, 9-6-3 ECAC), who were predicted to challenge for an NCAA title this year. Chris Rogles is now the league's top goaltender (2.46 goals-against-average), Marko Tuomainen is fourth in league scoring (14-18-32) and Coach Mark Morris collected his 100th win in only his fifth season this past weekend. So does that explain the latest gif....err ranking?
Not quite. Clarkson is still struggling to play consistently (it lost to ninth-place Colgate last week) and hasn't really proven itself against any top competitors except for ninth-ranked RPI.
Nevertheless, the pollsters are clearly sending a signal about their respect for the Clarkson program, which despite its mediocre production, features one of the most talented teams in the league. Tuomainen, Hugo Belanger and Todd Marchant tallied 15 points combined this past weekend, and they're skilled enough to perform that feat every weekend.
The Golden Knights, if they find their form, could still make it to the NCAA tournament and pull off a few surprises.
That's still in the future, but it's something Harvard, Maine and BU should start thinking about. The pollsters certainly are.
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NOTES: Vermont's All-America netminder, Christian Soucy, won ECAC Player of the Week for making a combined 81 saves (wow!) in a tie against Princeton and win over Yale. Soucy stopped 19 shots in the third period against Yale to insure the 5-2 victory at the Whale...St. Lawrence freshman Burke Murphy was named ECAC Rookie of the Week after his six-point weekend, four points in a 7-0 win against Union and two in a 6-2 loss to RPI...Both Harvard Captain and Hobey Baker candidate Ted Drury and senior Steve Flomenhoft earned spots on the ECAC honor roll. Drury scored six points and Flomenhoft five for the weekend...Six ECAC teams received votes in the Albany Times-Union hockey poll, the most of any conference in the nation. On March 18, the Decathion Club of Minne spolis will introduce the 10 Hobey Baker Award finalists for 1993 at the ECAC Tournament banquet at Lake Placid, New York. The Decation Club has presented the award to the nation's most outstanding college hockey player since 1961, and three Harvard players have won the prize (Mark Fusco '83, Scott Fueco '85-86, and Lane MacDonald '88-89). The sports editors have compiled a list of this year's potential candidates and will keep an eye on them and any other players who may become finalists in March. The list reflects the opinion of the Crimson sports editors only.
On March 18, the Decathion Club of Minne spolis will introduce the 10 Hobey Baker Award finalists for 1993 at the ECAC Tournament banquet at Lake Placid, New York. The Decation Club has presented the award to the nation's most outstanding college hockey player since 1961, and three Harvard players have won the prize (Mark Fusco '83, Scott Fueco '85-86, and Lane MacDonald '88-89). The sports editors have compiled a list of this year's potential candidates and will keep an eye on them and any other players who may become finalists in March. The list reflects the opinion of the Crimson sports editors only.
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