ECAC Hockey Report, Week of 1998 December 2

© 1998, Joe Schlobotnik (archives)

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(scores are linked to boxes on ECAC HockeyNet, which is not affiliated with The Big Red What? or Joe Schlobotnik)

There were two league games this week, both involving Harvard. Saturday night at Brown the Crimson trailed Brown 3-0 after two period, but came back with four straight goals before giving up another with just over a minute to play and settling for a 4-4 tie and their first point in league play. Sophomore Steve Moore had two of the Crimson goals and was named Player of the Week. A few days later, en route to a 7-4 Tuesday night loss to RPI, his teammate Mark Moore allegedly instigated a melee which led to game disqualifications for Harvard's Craig Adams and Rensselaer's Danny Riva. Riva, before being ejected in the incident which involved a high-speed collision with Harvard Goalie J.R. Prestifilippo, contributed to five of the Engineers' seven goals.

Saturday also saw the third non-conference game between ECAC foes, as Colgate met Cornell for their second annual Nassau Coliseum contest, with Mike O'Malley's third period goal giving the Red Raiders the 3-2 win.

In tournament play, Vermont travelled to Lowell for the fourth and final Governers' Cup tourney; Friday night the Catamounts pulled out a 4-3 overtime win against the host school and Massachusetts representative. Freshman Don Richardson had two goals, including the gamewinner, and was chosen ECAC Rookie of the Week. The following night UVM fell 2-0 to Maine, 4-3 victors over New Hampshire in the other semifinal. The Black Bears won the first and last Governors' Cups, with UNH claiming the two in the middle.

The most intriguing interconference series of the weekend saw Hockey East's Boston College and Boston University travel to the North Country to face Clarkson and St. Lawrence. Smart money would have picked the Saints and goaltending phenom Eric Heffler as easy winners over BU, off to an abysmal start, and third-ranked BC to prevail comfortably over Clarkson, whose early play has been shaky, making Friday's BC-SLU and BU-Clarkson games the close ones. Friday saw the favorites prevail by wider margins than expected, with Boston College using five third-period goals to rout St. Lawrence 6-2 and Clarkson posting a 3-0 two-period lead over the Terriers and prevailing 4-2. So, then, no surprises and an even split for the ECAC? Not quite; Clarkson scored twice in the final period to pull out the 2-1 win over BC, while SLU fell 2-1 despite blasting 46 shots at the BU net, 20 of them in the third period. The hero of the weekend was indeed a North Country netminder: not Heffler, but Clarkson Freshman Shawn Grant, whose 29 saves against BU and 22 versus BC earned him the ECAC's Goalie of the Week desigation.

The other games between ECAC and Hockey East schools were also evenly split, with Princeton downing Providence 6-5 and Merrimack 4-1, while Yale fell 6-3 to Merrimack and 5-3 to Providence. The Tigers are now unbeaten in six straight games after their season-opening thrashing at the hands of lowly BU, while the Elis are 2-0 in Ivy League play and 0-4 against everyone else.

Plucky Division I independent Niagara entered the weekend with a 4-4 overall record, including wins over National Champion Michigan and semifinalist Ohio State, but only three losses in three games against ECAC teams. That changed Friday night when the Purple Eagles edged RPI 3-2 in a game that saw four power play tallies and a short-handed gamewinner. Saturday night, Niagara took a 3-1 lead into the third period at Union, thanks to a couple of 5-on-3 goals, but the Dutchmen foiled their hopes of a four-point road weekend with two third-period tallies to pull out the 3-3 draw.

Finally, the Darmouth faced another of the D1 Independents, Nebraska-Omaha, who got out to a good start in their first probationary season last year, but have spent most of this one losing to the likes of Army. The Big Green pulled out Friday's contest in Omaha 2-1, with Eric Almon stopping a third-period penalty shot that could have tied the contest, just three days after Vermont's Andrew Allen did the same thing in a 2-1 contest with UMass-Amherst. Saturday night, though, the Mavs struck back, routing Dartmouth 7-4 for only their second Division I win of the season, and their first against a conference-affiliated team.


Since the Colgate-Cornell game doesn't count towards the conference standings, the top half of the table remains the same, while RPI draw even with Yale at the .500 mark and Brown join the tie for seventh with a .333 winning percentage.

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                         Conference Standings
                          ECAC                      Ivy        
                  W-L-T  PF-PA-PR   Pct     W-L-T  PF-PA-PR   Pct 
 1 Colgate        4-0-0   8- 0-36 1.000
 2 Princeton      3-0-1   7- 1-36  .875     1-0-1   3- 1-16  .750
 3 Vermont        3-1-0   6- 2-36  .750
   Cornell        3-1-0   6- 2-36  .750     3-0-0   6- 0-14 1.000
 5 St. Lawrence   2-1-0   4- 2-38  .667
 6 RPI            2-2-0   4- 4-36  .500
   Yale           2-2-0   4- 4-36  .500     2-0-0   4- 0-16  .000
 8 Brown          1-3-2   4- 8-32  .333     1-2-2   4- 6-10  .400
   Union          1-2-0   2- 4-38  .333
   Clarkson       1-2-0   2- 4-38  .333
11 Dartmouth      1-3-0   2- 6-36  .250     0-1-0   0- 2-18  .000
12 Harvard        0-6-1   1-13-30  .071     0-4-1   1- 9-10  .100

The ECAC remained dead even with Hockey East after the weekend's action; their dominance of the Independents came to an end, with a 1-2-1 weekend spoiling a previously unblemished record. The conference is still a game above .500 in interconference games.

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            Non-Conference Records
    Team     ECAC   HE  CCHA WCHA D1 Indy Total NC
Clarkson           2-0   0-2  0-2            2-4   
Colgate      1-1   0-1              1-0      2-2
Cornell      0-1   1-0              1-0      2-1   
Dartmouth                           2-1      2-1   
Harvard            2-0                       2-0
Princeton          2-1                       2-1
RPI           1-0   1-1             1-1      3-2   
St. Lawrence 1-0   2-3        1-0            4-3
Union        0-1   0-3             1-0-1    1-4-1   
Vermont            2-1        1-1            3-2
Yale         0-2                             0-2
             ECAC   HE  CCHA WCHA D1 Indy Total NC
Totals      [3-3] 13-13  0-2  2-3  6-2-1   24-23-1

Dartmouth's win and loss against Nebraska-Omaha are included in the above table, but will not be considered for NCAA tournament selection.

The National Scene

ECAC parity struck again this week, as it was St. Lawrence's turn to be down (falling twice at home, while previously 1-6 Clarkson swept the same opponents) and thus drop out of the US College Hockey Online Poll. Colgate, despite winning their only game of the week, were also displaced from the #10 spot in the USA Today/American Hockey Magazine poll by a strong Ferris State team. As befits a deep conference without a clear frontrunner, the ECAC had four of the top five also-rans in the USCHO poll: Princeton, Colgate, SLU, and Clarkson. The first two also received votes in the USA Today poll.

In another month or so, there'll be enough games played to disregard the polls and look at the statistical measures used in the NCAA selection process. This week is the first time the Ratings Percentage Index and Pairwise Ratings can be computed at all, and these early numbers show Colgate with the ninth best RPI in the nation at .576, while the ECAC fares a bit better in the Pairwise, with Colgate and Princeton tied for sixth, each winning 18 of a possible 25 comparisons.

Upcoming Games

Each team's name is linked to information on RealAudio transmissions of its radio broadcasts. A summary of ECAC webcasts can be found on Joe Schlobotnik's Sports Machine, while a page with direct links to each of the weekend's webcasts is made available by Eric Carlson.

The final weekend of league play in 1998 is highlighted by a home-and-home series between travel partners Princeton and Yale. A lot will be on the line when the two Ivy League rivals meet in New Haven Friday and New Jersey Saturday: aside from the usual matter of pride, there's the Tigers' six-game unbeaten streak and the first meeting between last year's ECAC regular season and tournament champions since the Bulldogs were upset in Lake Placid. In Central New York the Skating Dutchmen will try once more to put the hex on the Big Red as Union and RPI visit Cornell and Colgate, while in New England it's Jeckyl and Hyde versus Heckle and Jeckle as Clarkson and St. Lawrence visit Harvard and Brown. (Danny Riva will miss the game against league-leading Colgate, while Craig Adams will have to sit out the Clarkson game, due to their fighting disqualifications Tuesday night.) Dartmouth has the weekend off, while Vermont entertains CIAU champion New Brunswick in a Saturday afternoon exhibition tilt.

Last Modified: 2011 October 9

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