of the game fairly represent what happened on Tuesday night at
Union’s Messa Rink. Harvard won 8-1. The Crimson led 3-0
after five minutes of hockey and chased the starting goalie. Or,
you can listen to Union coach Nate Leaman’s post-game summary:
can’t come out and lay a bigger egg than we laid tonight,”
he said. “It could be next to impossible to come out and
lay a bigger egg.”
also said this:
sounds strange, I know, but tonight’s game really helps
us. Tonight’s game might have saved our season, to be honest.”
came in the aftermath of that drubbing by nationally ranked Harvard,
on home ice, during a locally televised game. And a post-game
meeting in the Union dressing room that lasted for over an hour.
are mired in a seven-game losing streak and are just 1-10 in their
last 11 ECACHL games. The scores of the last three losses have
been 8-1, 7-1, and 5-1. It just can’t get any worse.
it or not, I think in order to take the right strides, sometimes
you’ve got to hit rock-bottom and we’re definitely
on the bottom right now. If we were a fish, we’d be a carp
or a catfish. We’re against it,” Leaman said. “But
there’s only one way to go, and it’s up. I think sometimes
when you’re learning how to win, this can teach you how
go into the details of what was discussed in the meeting. He said
there was an equal exchange between the players and the coaching
was very positive. It wasn’t like a rough, battling meeting.
We know that we’ve kind of hit a rock-bottom low and we
talked about solutions.”
part of Union’s slide down the ECACHL standings in Leaman’s
eyes is that there’s a sense of desire and commitment to
turning things around. Over the last couple of weeks, players
have been excited and motivated to get things back on track, which
wasn’t the case last season during a similar rough stretch.
been practicing so well. It sounds amazing, but we’ve been
competing so well and executing so well,” Leaman said. “One
bad thing happens and it just steamrolls, and collapses on us.
It’s been bewildering a bit. The guys come to the rink and
they’re pumped. They want to be there and they’re
beating the crap out of each other in practice. Then we go out
in the game and we’re timid.”
the practice energy into game efficiency is the task at hand for
the Dutchmen, with six games remaining in the regular season,
beginning with Friday’s home game against Holy Cross.
AND HEARD IN THE ECACHL
Different Feeling for Brown – If you
turn the calendar back one year, you would find a Brown team that
was poised to win the regular-season title. Once February came
around, the Bears stumbled home and needed a win in the final
game to get a top-four spot in the standings and home ice for
With a steady
performance in the ECACHL throughout the season, Brown is in position
to make a run at a top-four spot again this year. Since solidifying
a young defense corps early in the season – three freshmen
start on the blueline – and with Adam D’Alba providing
exceptional goaltending, the Bears have maintained their status
in the upper-half of the league when many people expected them
no fear of another February collapse from Brown coach Roger Grillo
because of the solid defense and the team’s ability to get
scoring from a variety of sources. Eight Bears have double-digit
point totals through just 20 games.
in a much different spot. Last year we struggled with the pressure
and anxiety a little bit. This is a dramatically different team
emotionally and physically,” he said.
Brent Robinson, Brian Ihnacak, and Les Haggett were the offensive
leaders. The next two players on the scoring charts were defensemen
with half as many points as the top trio.
weren’t balanced last year and when three guys down the
stretch dried up, we dried up,” Grillo said.
not the case this year. Take the past weekend for example, when
Mike Meech scored four goals and took over the team scoring lead
from Brian Ihnacak (see Fries). Meech is a senior that had a career-high
10 points one year ago. As a sophomore he played in half of Brown’s
games. Earlier this week, Grillo added an “A” to the
front of Meech’s sweater as a reward for what he’s
contributed in leadership.
Turnaround at Clarkson. Again. – Brown
is intent on not repeating last year’s fate, while Clarkson
is trying to recapture it. The Golden Knights hit their stride
at the end of the year and made a playoff run to the championship
game after finishing in ninth place.
The keys to
that playoff run were work ethic, following the game plan, and
keeping things simple. Clarkson did all of those things last weekend
in a close loss at Cornell and an upset win over Colgate.
we went on our run at the end of last season, we started to do
pay attention to the little things,” coach George Roll said.
finally, be the indication that Clarkson has righted its ship?
Are they now going to play to their potential? Those are the questions
that must be answered on the ice this weekend when Yale and Princeton
visit Cheel Arena.
have been times earlier this season when I thought we were in
a position to turn it around and it never happened. We played
well at New Hampshire and Lowell and against Ohio State, but didn’t
build from that,” Roll said. “For whatever reason,
we’ve played to the level of our opponents a little bit.
We knew we had to play well at Cornell and Colgate and we did,
and now our challenge is to carry that effort into this weekend’s
Great Weekend Getaway
at Brown (Fri.); Dartmouth at Brown (Sat.)
and Colgate are fighting it out for first and second place
this weekend, but these games in Providence are just as
important. These teams currently sit in fourth, fifth, and
sixth and only the top-four teams earn a first-round bye
in the playoffs and home-ice advantage for the quarterfinal
You’re There: I heard something about a football game
on Sunday. Rhode Island might be a fun place to watch the
Patriots try to win the Super Bowl, since most people there
think they’re from Boston anyway.
practice after two losses might sound like a cruel coach’s
punishment. But that’s not why the Princeton
Tigers were on the ice. The team conducted a youth
hockey clinic at the Essex Club in Peapack, N.J. which has
an outdoor rink. It was great for the kids, and great for
a note from Yale: “The Blue had its
best conference weekend set if you look at the fact that
they were outshot by just one, 57-56.”
AT THE BOTTOM OF THE BAG
• Brown’s most prolific offensive
player through the last year and a half, Brian Ihnacak, sat out
last weekend’s games at Yale and Princeton.
Grillo said that it was his decision to keep Ihnacak out of the
lineup. It wasn’t a disciplinary action or academics-related.
held form on home ice at Lynah Rink and took over first
place from Colgate with help from Clarkson’s
upset win at Starr Rink. The Raiders get a chance to
reclaim the top spot on home ice Friday, when they host the Big
Red. The teams will square off in Ithaca on Saturday. Friday’s
game will be broadcast live on Time Warner Sports channel 26 in
central and northern New York.
most difficult part of Dartmouth senior Jon Ostapyk’s
Humanitarian Award candidacy was convincing the player to go along
with the nomination. Ostapyk has coordinated Dartmouth’s
annual toy drive for the Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth
for the last three years and leads other athletes from across
campus in the Big Green Readers program, where student-athletes
read to elementary school students.
official athletics site is hosting a Beanpot-specific
site, with information on the teams, tournament history, television,
radio, and broadcast details, and other news on the tournament.
Check it out at www.gocrimson.com/beanpot.
item to check out on the Web is a
profile of Dartmouth senior goaltender Dan Yacey, from the
Big Green’s official site.
seniors Nick Economakos, Matt McNeely, and Blake Pickett
missed last week’s games after being suspended for consuming
alcohol on the team bus following a pair of wins at Clarkson
and St. Lawrence. All three will be
back in the RPI lineup this weekend.
facing Dartmouth on Friday night, Harvard
takes on Northeastern Monday in the Beanpot. The Crimson
and Huskies have been the underdogs in this tournament in recent
years, but that suits Harvard senior defenseman Ryan Lannon just
matter how much success we have we're still the underdogs,”
he said. “You read the articles, and they say Northeastern
is going to win or BC or BU. They don't mention Harvard. It's
good motivation. I'd rather be the underdog every day.”
Lawrence’s road losses at Cornell and
Colgate marked just the first time this season
that the Saints were swept in an ECACHL road weekend.
Harvard goalie Dov Grumet-Morris played in his 100th
career game earlier this week. He is just the third goalie to
reach that milestone in Harvard’s 107-year hockey history.
Scott Mifsud had five points last weekend to move over 100 points
for his career at Vermont.
of sources were utilized in the compilation of this report.