URL for this frameset: http://www.slack.net/~whelan/tbrw/tbrw.cgi?1999/ecac.981028.shtml
(scores are linked to box scores and recaps on US College Hockey Online, which is not affiliated with The Big Red What? or Joe Schlobotnik)
The St. Lawrence Saints resumed their surprisingly strong non-conference start with a weeked sweep of Hockey East's Merrimack on the road. SLU netminder Eric Heffler made 40 saves in a 4-1 victory Friday, which was enough to earn him his second ECAC Goaltender of the Week designation of the season, and a night off. Backup Jeremy Symington was merely mortal in net Saturday, but a three-goal, seven-minute offensive charge gave the Saints win, 6-3.
Clarkson entered interconference play on the wrong end of a sweep this weekend, dropping 6-5 and 3-2 decisions to Northern Michigan of the CCHA. Erik Cole tallied three points on the weekend for the Knights, while Bryan Phillips netted three goals, including both gamewinners, for the now 6-0 Wilcats. Clarkson's search to fill the hole in net left by the graduation of Dan Murphy and Chris Bernard continues; Shawn Grant let in 6 of 31 shots Friday, while Andrew Gibson managed only 18 saves Saturday.
Union College began its season at the [Department Store] Classic tournament in Orono, Maine, with similar results to the ECAC's other tournament entry this season. The Dutchmen used four third-period goals, including two from senior Mark Szucs and a last-minute empty-netter, to knock off Division I independent Niagara (fresh from their shocking upset of defending national champions Michigan) 5-3. That set up a final with host school and Hockey East member Maine, who had blanked Canadian entrant Moncton 5-0 in the other semifinal. (Niagara went on to edge Moncton 7-6 in a wild consolation game.) This night, Union would prove no match for #3 Maine, who took a 4-0 lead en route to a 6-1 victory. Tournament MVP Steve Kariya had a hat trick for the Black Bears. Szucs and defenseman Jeff Sproat made the all-tournament team for Union.
Three other ECAC squads played single games at Hockey East schools this weekend: Colgate opened their season with a hard-fought 2-0 loss at the hands of Northeastern Friday, RPI suffered their first loss of the season Saturday, 8-4 to UMass-Lowell, and Vermont also evened up their overall record with a 8-6 win over Boston University. UVM captain Jason Reid had three goals and an assist and was named the ECAC's Player of the Week, while netminder Marty Phillips, with 30 saves, shared goalie of the week honors with Heffler.
Four Ivy teams also paired off in scrimmages this weekend; Princeton defeated Cornell 7-2 on Saturday, while Brown and Yale tied a couple of split squad scrimmages, 4-4 and 3-3, at New York's Chelsea Piers. These events appear to have even less standing than usual exhibition games.
Team HE CCHA WCHA D1 Indy Total NC Clarkson 0-2 0-2 Colgate 0-1 0-1 RPI 1-1 1-1 St. Lawrence 2-1 1-0 3-1 Union 0-1 1-0 1-1 Vermont 1-1 1-1 HE CCHA WCHA D1 Indy Total NC Totals 4-5 0-2 1-0 1-0 6-7
Clearly the stars of the early interconference play have been St. Lawrence; no other ECAC team has a winning record, and their combined ledger stands at a mere 3-6. Note also that four of the ECAC's five wins over Hockey East opponents have come against BU and Merrimack, who finished first and eighth, respectively, in the nine-team conference last season.
Not surprisingly, being swept has dropped former #7 Clarkson out of the top ten in the US College Hockey Online Poll; they are replaced by St. Lawrence, who check in at number 10. The Golden Knights to manage to hang onto a top-ten spot in the USA Today/American Hockey Magazine poll, where they drop from seventh to tenth. Other ECAC teams receiving votes were Yale (in both polls), Princeton, Harvard and Vermont (in USCHO's).
One more weekend of purely nonconference action before the ECAC season starts. Vermont play a pair at St. Cloud, looking to build a winning streak for the ECAC against WCHA competition. Division I independent and former ECAC member Army visit Colgate and Rensselaer. On Halloween night we get our first official game between ECAC teams as St. Lawrence face Colgate in a non-conference showcase in Buffalo. (Niagara entertain Ohio State in the other game.) Union hold their home opener against Merrimack, hoping to continue SLU's good fortunes against the Warriors.
The Ivies hold exhibitions this weekend against Canadian schools, with Cornell hosting Guelph Saturday, while Princeton and Brown entertain New Brunswick on Saturday night and Sunday afternoon, respectively.