No Guarantees In This `Wild, Wacky ECAC' Race


Although all Cambridge eyes are focused on Bright Hockey Center this weekend, the other ECAC battles around the Northeast should provide as much drama as the daytime soaps.

In fact, three other heated battles will take place this weekend in Potsdam, N.Y., Providence, R.I., and Hamilton, N.Y.

Take your pick: each of them should spark heated matchups, and should you find yourself outside Massachusetts state lines (heaven for bid)'s what to expect:

No. 9 Cornell at No.1 Clarkson

Cornell gets the unlucky task of trekking up to the frozen tundra of Potsdam, N.Y., after knocking off St. Lawrence Tuesday night, 6-2. The Big Red spoiled what could have been the cross-town rivalry, but Cornell is blazing hot and hopes to continue its winning ways against top-seeded Clarkson.


Cornell's best chance is to keep the games close and hope its goaltending will carry it through. The Big Red's big guns are Mike Sancimino (8 goals-17 assists-25 points), coming off a three goal-three assist weekend, and Jake Karam (14-14-28).

The Big Red's netminders have been as `big-game' as any, with freshman Jason Elliott leading the way through most of the season while senior Eddy Skazyk has come on strong of late.

Skazyk "stood on his ear" according to Clarkson coach Mark Morris against the Golden Knights two weeks ago, a 2-1 Cornell win. Playoff experience might give the nod to the senior this weekend, but don't be surprised if Elliott gets an early call.

As for Clarkson, the pre-season favorite finally lived up to expectations with a late-season run, and deservedly has taken home this year's first automatic NCAA tournament bid for the ECAC.

Clarkson's high-scoring punch leaves most opponents in the dust, averaging over five goals a game in the league this year. Lamp-lighters like Marko Tuomainen (20 goals-31 assists-51 points), Patrice Robitaille (25-21-46) and Claude Morin (13-33-46) are counted on to find the net.

In goal, freshman Dan Murphy has been solid and steady, continuing in the mold of this year's strong rookie talent in net. "I can't believe he hasn't gotten more recognition for what he's been doing," Morris said. Biased? Perhaps. But the top-seeded team should have more than enough to advance to Lake Placid.

No. 7 Princeton at No. 2 Brown

For Princeton, its proximity to Great Adventure only begins to describe the roller coaster ride the Tigers have been on. From dumping then-undefeated and still-top-ranked Maine to losing at Dartmouth last weekend, the road has been bumpy.

But Tuesday's win against Union has sent the Tigers prodding towards Providence, in an attempt to regain its stifling defense.

The defense has still shut down the league's elite recently, but Princeton will look towards scorers such as Jonathan Kelly (19-13-32) and J.P. O'Connor (6-22-28) to silence the rowdy Bear crowd. James Konte's own ups and downs in net also will hold the key, as Princeton's anemic 15 percent power play placed it last in the league.