November 18, 2004
On-Ice Education

By Joe Gladziszewski

 ECACHL Notebook

Preparing for Cornell and Colgate is different than getting ready for that Tampa Bay-Florida road trip, as Ted Donato has found.

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Classrooms, lecture halls, and laboratories aren’t the only rooms at Harvard and Princeton where there’s plenty of learning taking place. Check the coaches’ offices at the Bright Hockey Center and at Baker Rink and you’ll find first-year coaches Ted Donato and Guy Gadowsky doing some learning of their own.

Donato returned to Harvard and the ECAC Hockey League after a professional hockey playing career. Gadowsky came to Princeton from the other side of the continent where he was coaching Alaska Fairbanks of the CCHA.

Advance scouting has never been more popular in hockey. Teams are using video tape analysis and keeping tabs on the rest of the league more than ever. You would think that new coaches would be at a great disadvantage. Gadowsky doesn’t really buy into that theory.

“It’s a fun learning curve. Being in the CCHA for five years, you learn the coaches, their systems, and what they do. But I’ve always believed that concentrating on what you do is more important. Since we don’t have a frame of reference with practically an entirely new staff it ensures that we can concentrate on what we do,” he said.

Gadowsky’s staff includes assistant coaches Jason Lammers and Andre Faust. Both assistants were players in the ECACHL, but only Lammers has coaching experience in the league, as he spent two years at Clarkson.

Donato’s case is similar, although assistant Sean McCann and volunteer assistant Bruce Irving are in their third years at Harvard and have some knowledge on the inner workings of the league.

“Certainly it’s a disadvantage not to have a built-up stash of information on players, teams, and systems,” Donato said. “To a great extent I do depend on Sean McCann to have everything on the ball as far as other team’s tendencies and what they’ve done in the past. From my perspective it certainly can be tough.”

With each passing weekend, Gadowsky and Donato get more and more familiar with the ECACHL and get first-hand experience against their new league foes.

But don’t feel sorry for the times when those two new faces might be surprised by something the opponents are throwing at them, because it works the other way too.

Gadowsky and Donato bring new systems and styles to the league and it forces the other 10 coaches to come up with new scouting reports on what they do. Nate Leaman, who faced some of the same learning curve last year in his rookie season at Union, had a long week of preparation for tonight’s game at Princeton. These aren’t the same Tigers that Leaman faced when Len Quesnelle was in charge.

“With Guy coming into the league, and Teddy, there are two new things to prepare for. Our league has more coaching turnover than any other league and it keeps things fresh,” Leaman said. “Princeton is playing an entirely different style than they did under Lenny.”


Union on top – The Union Dutchmen have a perfect 4-0-0 record in league play through the first two weekends after sweeping St. Lawrence and Clarkson two weeks ago, then winning both ends of a home-and-home series against Rensselaer last weekend.

The usual suspects are leading the way for the Dutchmen, as Jordan Webb, Scott Seney, and Jonathan Poirier top the scoring charts. Junior goaltender Kris Mayotte and freshman Justin Mrazek have been very good while sharing time between the pipes.

Things didn’t start very well for Union, which lost its first four games – two games at Colorado College and two at home against Bowling Green. Those losses turned into important lessons for the Dutchmen.

“We learned two things. The second night against CC we learned we need to work extremely hard. The second game against BG we learned we need to be committed to team defense,” Nate Leaman said.

Union’s lineup, especially at the forward positions, is much deeper this year and it’s helped keep the top players fresh. Leaman no longer needs to rely on a handful of guys to play in all of the special teams situations as well as skating a regular shift.

Team unity is also emphasized. After each game, and after film sessions on Mondays, players are asked to mention something a teammate did to help the team be successful.

Knocking off No. 1 – Tuesday’s 3-1 win by Harvard over Boston College marked the second time this season that an ECACHL team has beaten the top-ranked team in the country. On Oct. 29, Vermont beat then-No. 1 Minnesota Duluth 3-2.

Harvard had three power-play goals in the win. Freshman Jon Pelle continued his hot streak with two goals and an assist in the win by Harvard. Pelle also factored in all three Harvard goals last Friday in a 3-1 win over Yale with a goal and two assists. He was named as the ECACHL Rookie of the Week.

Those wins by Harvard and Vermont are most noteworthy, but St. Lawrence has also posted important non-conference wins against ranked opponents. It’s a good sign for the league as a whole.

“We have some good wins out of the league but we know very well that when you get back in the league it’s a dog fight every single night,” St. Lawrence coach Joe Marsh said. “I think our league is very strong this year and it’s been proven with some of the success we’ve had outside, but more importantly, every single night it’s well-balanced.”


Great Weekend Getaway
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Cornell at Vermont (Fri.); Colgate at Vermont (Sat.)
Prior to the start of the season it seemed like this would be a big weekend when the Central New York-based schools headed to Dartmouth, but we’ll look at the games in Burlington as the can’t-miss games on the schedule instead. The Catamounts are 3-0-1 in the league and host Colgate and Cornell, both 2-0-0, in a series that will help define the top of the standings early in the season.

While You’re There: Throw down a couple of bucks and enter the “Ride the Zamboni” promotion at Gutterson Field House. For each donation of $2 or more, fans will be entered in a raffle for the chance to ride the Zamboni between the second and third periods. Proceeds are donated to the Make-A-Wish foundation.

Stick Salute

St. Lawrence sophomore forward Max Taylor scored the game-winning goal for St. Lawrence in Wednesday night’s 3-1 with a mid-air deflection of a point shot by Matt Macdonald, but we’ll raise our sticks to Taylor for the two times he sacrificed his body to block Clarkson point shots while SLU was short-handed and holding a 2-1 lead.

Bench Minor

The bench minor goes to Yale’s offense. What was expected to be one of the highest-scoring teams in the ECACHL, especially considering the crackdown on obstruction, has produced just 8 goals in six games. The defense is also shoddy, with 35 goals against. The Bulldogs are 0-6-0 on the year.

• Cornell meets surging Vermont on Friday night in its return to ECACHL league action after earning only a point in two games at Michigan State. Even after the disappointing trip to East Lansing, Mich., the Big Red rank first in the nation in defense (1.17 goals per game) and are tied for second in offense (4.0 goals per game).

• Goaltending has been key to Union's revival, as the Dutchmen have alternated between junior Kris Mayotte and freshman Justin Mrazek during their four-game winning streak. Union, alone in first place in the ECACHL heading into games at Yale and Princeton, has rebounded from an 0-4-0 start that included close losses to Bowling Green and Colorado College.

For years, Harvard hockey players never got to enjoy the spectacle of the Harvard-Yale football game but recent schedule adjustments give the Crimson this weekend off. They've earned the chance to relax and watch their gridders go for a perfect 10-0 season the hockey team has won three straight, including Tuesday night's upset of No. 1 Boston College.

• Brown takes a shot at duplicating Vermont's success in the Land of 10,000 Lakes this weekend with a two-game series at Minnesota Duluth. The Bears have made trips to WCHA country each of the last three years to play in holiday tournaments (twice in North Dakota, once in Wisconsin), but this is their first trip to Minnesota since dropping two games at St. Cloud State in 2000-01.

• Offense plagued Princeton last season, when the Tigers were ranked tied for last in the nation in goals per game (2.00). So far this year they're up to 13th in the country, and a much-improved power play is a big reason why. Princeton's 25.0% power play ranks third in the nation.

• Dartmouth's next eight games are all at home, a good chance for the Big Green to gain some momentum.

• Rensselaer senior forward Nick Economakos has a nine-game point-scoring streak headed into this weekend's Yale-Princeton trip, including six multiple-point games in that time (3-13-16 total). Friday's game at Yale should mark the 100th of Economakos' career.

• Vermont's six-game unbeaten streak is the longest at the school since the 1996-97 season.

A variety of sources were utilized in the compilation of this report.

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