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(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 University of Vermont ventured deep into the heart of WCHA territory this weekend, and emerged with two points, downing St. Cloud State 4-3 Friday night before falling 4-2 Saturday. Philippe Choiniere had a hat trick, including the third-period gamewinner, Friday, and was named the ECAC's Player of the Week.
Friday's other ECAC non-conference contest saw Colgate come back from a 3-2 deficit to edge Division I independent Army 4-3. The weekend only got worse for the Cadets, as they travelled to Troy Saturday only to be shelled by RPI. The engineers peppered West Point goaltender Corey Winer with 20 shots in the first 10:46, chasing him from the game with four goals en route to a 7-1 massacre. Andrew McPherson, with two of Rensselaer's tallies, was chosen ECAC Rookie of the Week.
Saturday also saw the first official clash between ECAC foes, with St. Lawrence prevailing 3-1 in a non-conference tilt over Colgate as part of the second Punch Imlach Memorial College Hockey Showcase in Buffalo. For SLU netminder Eric Heffler it was another day at the office as he turned aside 32 shots and asserted his ownership of the ECAC Goaltender of the Week award. Heff has now held or shared the designation three times in the first four weeks of the season, with the Saints being idle the other week. Incidentally, the Imlach Showcase has been Division I newcomer Niagara's opportunity to show off, dropping a close 2-0 match with Cornell last year in their first season of serious Division I competition. This time they went one better with a 6-3 win over CCHA power Ohio State.
Saturday's other official game saw Union fall 5-1 to Hockey East's Merrimack College. There were also a few exhibition games against Canadian opponents for some of the Ivies. Cornell opened their home schedule with a 4-1 win over Guelph Halloween night. Halloween proved quite frightful for the black-and-orange clad defending ECAC Champions, as Princeton were blown away 11-4 by Canadian National Champions New Brunswick. Things grew spookier from there, as UNB proceeded to get pasted, 10-0 the following afternoon at Brown. The Tigers and Bears have less than a week to recover from the scare before playing in their first official games.
Team ECAC HE CCHA WCHA D1 Indy Total NC Clarkson 0-2 0-2 Colgate 0-1 0-1 1-0 1-2 RPI 1-1 1-0 2-1 St. Lawrence 1-0 2-1 1-0 4-1 Union 0-2 1-0 1-2 Vermont 1-1 1-1 2-2 ECAC HE CCHA WCHA D1 Indy Total NC Totals [1-1] 4-6 0-2 2-1 3-0 10-10
A sweep of Army helps the ECAC pull even in interconference play this week, but they slip another game back in the blood feud with Hockey East. And with their first league game two weeks away, St. Lawrence improve their conference-best overall record, with a non-conference win over a conference opponent.
This week the St. Lawrence Saints are the only ECAC team in the top ten in either major poll. They hold position in the US College Hockey Online Poll and displace idle Clarkson in the USA Today/American Hockey Magazine Poll. Clarkson, Yale and Princeton also received votes in the USCHO poll.
The ECAC conference schedule begins Friday night with the traditional Brown-Harvard match, this time at the Crimson's Bright Center. A second neutral-site non-conference game between ECAC members is also taking place, with Capital District foes RPI and Union facing off in the third annual Capital Skate Classic, this time an hour up the Northway in the Glenns Falls Civic Center.
In interconference play, Clarkson travel to Grand Forks for a two game series with North Dakota. The Sioux will be without the services of Hobey Baker finalist Jason Blake, who will be in Austria playing for Team USA in the World Championship qualifier. For Friday's game they'll also be missing the five players who received game DQs for Saturday's WCHA brawl against Minnesota-Duluth.
All but one of the Ivies start playing for keeps this weekend: Cornell and Dartmouth play host to increasingly dangerous Division I independent Niagara Friday night and Sunday afternoon. The Purple Eagles have sandwiched their wins over national semifinalists Michigan and Ohio State around a loss to perennial ECAC cellar-dweller Union. In ECAC-Hockey East battles, Princeton travel to the increasingly friendly confines of Walter Brown Arena to face 0-4 BU Friday night while Harvard take on UMass in Amherst late Sunday afternoon.
There are also a few more exhibitions with Canadian schools: Vermont and Dartmouth host Acadia, while Yale open their season with a Saturday night tilt against McGill.