ECAC Hockey Report, Week of 1998 December 9

© 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)

The last weekend of ECAC league play in 1998 featured excitement of all kinds: offense, defense, overtime, and a record-setting brawl.

For the first time this season, North Country travel partners Clarkson and St. Lawrence both had an up weekend at the same time, resulting in a pair of sweeps and ECAC honors for the two goalies. SLU's Eric Heffler made 31 saves in each of his team's two games as the Saints downed Brown 5-2 and Harvard 5-1, and was named ECAC Goaltender of the Week for the fifth time this season. Clarkson played a pair of much tighter games, with Freshman Shawn Grant turning away 40 of the 41 shots he faced in victories of 2-1 over Harvard and 1-0 over Brown, and being chosen the ECAC's Rookie of the Week.

The other weekend sweep came in a slightly unusual home-and-home series between travel partners Princeton and Yale, with the Tigers prevailing by identical 5-2 margins Friday in New Haven and Saturday in New Jersey. Syl Apps and Scott Bertoli had two goals a piece on the weekend, and Dave Stathos and Nick Rankin had 27 and 20 saves respectively as Princeton lengthened their overall unbeaten streak to eight games.

The wildest of the weekend series took place in Central New York as Colgate and Cornell played host to RPI and Union. Friday night in Hamilton, the Red Raiders, entering the weekend at 4-0-0 in league play, fell behind 3-1 to the Engineers, but used a pair of power play goals to send the game to overtime, only to see Allain St. Hillaire light the lamp at 3:23 of overtime and give Rensselaer the 4-3 victory. Over at Lynah Rink, the Big Red of Cornell used two goals in 22 seconds in the last five minutes of the third period to break open a close game with Union, and gain their first win over the Dutchmen in the last five games, but the 5-2 Cornell victory was marred by a scuffle that broke out shortly thereafter. Each of the ten skaters on the ice was handed 14 minutes in roughing and misconduct penalties, but that was nothing compared to the two goaltenders, who ended up in a full-fledged drop-the-gloves fight. Cornell's Ian Burt received a major penalty and a game disqualification for fighting, while Union's Leeor Shtrom, who left his crease and skated the length of the ice to join the fray in the Cornell end, and then instigated the fight with Burt just when things seemed to have settled down, took two majors and two DQs, resulting in a three-game suspension. The 217 minutes of penalties to both teams and 116 for Union were both ECAC single-game records.

Saturday saw new Union starter Brandon Snee surrender three goals against 26 saves, while Colgate's Shep Harder stopped all 19 shots he faced in a 3-0 shutout win. Cornell Freshman Matt Underhill got his third start of the season and his first in league play Saturday with Burt serving an automatic one-game suspension for Friday's fight, and the Big Red took a 3-1 second period lead against RPI only to see it evaporate as the teams combined for four goals in under three minutes. For the second straight night the Engineers went to overtime, but this time neither side would light the lamp and the game ended in a 3-3 tie. Cornell and Rensselaer each ended up with three-point weekends, with Colgate collecting the other two. For the Engineers, it was five points in three games dating back to last Tuesday's 7-4 win over Harvard; over that period, St. Hillaire tallied four assists and two goals, including Friday's overtime gamewinner.

There was also one ECAC team playing outside the conference this weekend, as Vermont posted a 5-2 victory in an exhibition with New Brunswick.


Princeton pick up a full game on Colgate and now hold first place by a single point. On the Ivy side of the ledger, Yale's two losses leave Cornell as the only unbeaten team in Ivy League play.

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                         Conference Standings
                          ECAC                      Ivy        
                  W-L-T  PF-PA-PR   Pct     W-L-T  PF-PA-PR   Pct 
 1 Princeton      5-0-1  11- 1-32  .917     3-0-1   7- 1-12  .875
 2 Colgate        5-1-0  10- 2-32  .833
 3 St. Lawrence   4-1-0   8- 2-34  .800
 4 Vermont        3-1-0   6- 2-36  .750
   Cornell        4-1-1   9- 3-32  .750     3-0-0   6- 0-14 1.000
 6 Clarkson       3-2-0   6- 4-34  .600
 7 RPI            3-2-1   7- 5-32  .583
 8 Yale           2-4-0   4- 8-32  .333     2-2-0   4- 4-12  .500
 9 Brown          1-5-2   4-12-28  .250     1-2-2   4- 6-10  .400
   Dartmouth      1-3-0   2- 6-36  .250     0-1-0   0- 2-18  .000
11 Union          1-4-0   2- 8-34  .200
12 Harvard        0-8-1   1-17-26  .056     0-4-1   1- 9-10  .100

The National Scene

The ECAC returned to the top ten of both national polls, with Princeton making their debut in the US College Hockey Online Poll at #8 and also stepping into an eighth-place tie (with Ferris State) in the USA Today/American Hockey Magazine poll. The league continued to show its depth, with St. Lawrence, Colgate and Cornell all receiving votes in both polls, plus Clarkson and Vermont in the USCHO poll.

Princeton's status as a top ten team is also attested to by their strong showing at this early stage in the statistical formulas which will be used to seed the NCAA tournament. They hold the ninth best Ratings Percentage Index in the land at .578 and are tied for fourth in the Pairwise Ranking, winning pairwise comparisons with 20 of the 24 other "teams under consideration".

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.

With league play wrapped up until 1999 and a light schedule between now and the holiday tournament season, as most ECAC students concentrate on final exams, This Week in the ECAC will be going on a one-week hiatus, returning December 23. Here's what the ECAC squads are up to in the meantime:

This weekend the ECAC once again plays on the road at the WCHA (they are 2-3 in five meetings this season, all out West) as Colgate visit Minnesota-Duluth for a two-game series. The CCHA also returns to ECAC territory, as Ferris State take on St. Lawrence, followed by Clarkson, who were swept at home by Northern Michigan in the only prior meetings between the two conferences this season. The Golden Knights also face Division I independent Niagara Friday night, but the Saints have Saturday off. On Friday, there's another ECAC-Hockey East battle, with the season series currently even at 13-13, as Dartmouth host Providence.

Looking ahead to the following weekend, we find Harvard visiting Independent Nebraska-Omaha for a pair, while Dartmouth visits Maine Friday night and Princeton hosts Northeastern Sunday afternoon in two more games between the major Eastern conferences. Those two are the undercard for the main event Monday, December 21, as Colgate takes on Maine and RPI battles New Hampshire in the inaugural ECAC-Hockey East Holiday Doubleheader. The event, originally slated for New York's Madison Square Garden the following night, is now being held at the Hartford Civic Center.

Last Modified: 2011 October 9

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