easy to make broad sweeping statements during the early part of
the fall before a puck has been dropped or a fight song has been
played. Back then, when the weather made golf more likely than
a school cancellation, a lot of people were calling Dartmouth
the best team in the ECAC Hockey League.
The Big Green
was picked to finish first in the league by writers, and second
in the league by coaches.
not so easy to say that Dartmouth is the best team in the league
in mid-February. There are standings and national rankings that
everyone can see. Looking at those, you find out that the Big
Green might not even get a first-round playoff bye. So why is
it that two league coaches recently told me that Dartmouth is
the best team in the ECACHL? Are they nuts? Or are they correct?
had a lot of pre-season hype about us but never lived up to it
until the last month or so. We’re starting to put it together
and it’s given us a ton of confidence,” junior centerman
Mike Ouellette said.
coaches are right. Looking at Dartmouth over the last 10 games,
you’ll find a team with an 8-2-0 record. The two losses
came at Cornell, and at Harvard where the game-winning goal was
scored with 58 seconds left. The Big Green is averaging 4.5 goals
per game in that stretch and allowing just 2.5 goals per game.
this discussion isn’t fair without mentioning Cornell’s
9-0-1 record in the last 10, including that victory over Dartmouth.
But Dartmouth beat the Big Red earlier in the season.
Garret Overlock, a stalwart on the Big Green blueline and the
reigning ECACHL Player of the Week, doesn’t feel the need
to categorize one team or another as the best, but he’s
happy with how things are going right now.
feel very good about how we’re playing but to say that we’re
the best team might be a bit of a stretch. We’re hitting
our stride right now but there are so many other good teams in
the league,” Overlock said.
fourth-place standing is largely due to some early season struggles.
There were losses to Princeton and Clarkson early on. Throughout
the year, coach Bob Gaudet has steadfastly stated how much he
likes the chemistry and attitude of this team and it’s paying
off now. The team is mixing its talent with hard work, which is
a tough combination to beat.
playing our best when we keep the plays simple. We can’t
get too far ahead of ourselves. We’ve got to take things
one play, one shift at a time, and win with hard work,”
The key to
the Big Green turnaround was pretty simple, according to Ouellette.
They eliminated the big mistake in a game, and capitalized on
chances. It’s got the Big Green poised for a run at the
ECACHL title and berth in the NCAA Tournament.
short of going to Albany is a disappointment, and anything short
of making the NCAA Tournament is a disappointment,” Ouellette
will truly determine if Dartmouth is the best team in the ECACHL.
AND HEARD IN THE ECACHL
From the League Office: An update on some of
the things that are being talked about and acted upon by the ECACHL:
CSTV has already
committed to broadcast the ECACHL championship game on March 19.
There has been some active discussion between ECACHL Interim Commissioner
Steve Hagwell and CSTV about showing the semifinals, and it appears
those discussions have paid off. A check of CSTV’s
programming schedule for March 18 shows that they’ll
have a live broadcast of the second semifinal. More exposure can
only help the league, and it appears that the afternoon programming
for CSTV on March 18 could be freed up to also show the early
semifinal. Hagwell did say that the league would consider changing
the starting times for the games to accommodate television.
one-year appointment as Interim Commissioner expires on June 30,
and it’s up to the league’s board of directors and
executive committee including Wayne Dean of Yale, Tom Bold of
Brown, and Margie Strait of St. Lawrence to determine whether
or not his contract will be extended. Those decisions will likely
take place after the season.
Freakout! Follow Up: Rensselaer’s magical
run in the Big Red Freakout! continued and Kirk MacDonald became
the latest hero. He scored the game-winning goal with 8.3 seconds
left in front of a sold-out Houston Field House crowd that had
been on its feet for the last 90 seconds of regulation. His goal
gave RPI a 3-2 win over Brown and gave the Engineers an 11-0-4
record in the last 15 Freakout! games. That’s a record to
rival BU’s 9-for-11 run of Beanpot titles.
the third period, RPI coach Dan Fridgen shuffled his lines to
get MacDonald playing with wingers Jonathan Ornelas and Kevin
Broad. Oren Eizenman moved up to center the team’s top line
with Kevin Croxton and Nick Economakos. The Eizenman group matched
up against Brown’s top line and held it scoreless. The MacDonald
unit accounted for the game-winning goal. Nice job coach.
Great Weekend Getaway
Lawrence at Brown (Fri.)
Clarkson at Brown (Sat.)
Once again, the travel-partner schedule system gives us
a great weekend set. The Saints and Golden Knights, currently
tied for seventh place, visit Meehan Auditorium, and the
sixth place Brown Bears. The host Bears hold a three-point
lead over the Saints and Knights, with a game in hand. But
the North Country visitors have a chance to pick up ground
in Brown’s barn.
this outsider, the aura surrounding the Beanpot has been
a mystery. Not being from Boston, or having attended one
of the participating universities, the Beanpot didn’t
seem that special to me. I still don’t know that I’m
awed by the atmosphere and history, but this past
week’s trip was a positive experience due
to seeing two great games.
is a major topic surrounding the NHL lockout situation.
It’s downright expensive to go to NHL games, and you
tend to forget about that when college hockey games occupy
your winter nights. I’ll admit to experiencing a
bit of sticker shock when forking over $22 a night
to park at the FleetCenter for the Beanpot. Some of the
street-level parking lots were charging $26 or more.
AT THE BOTTOM OF THE BAG
to St. Lawrence head coach Joe Marsh. It’s
easy to see why he’s one of the best-liked and most-respected
coaches in the nation. After his team lost 6-2 to Dartmouth
on Friday, Marsh visited the Dartmouth dressing room and was the
first to congratulate Big Green coach Bob Gaudet on Gaudet’s
200th career coaching victory, a gesture that meant a lot to Gaudet.
Harvard alums Tim Pettit and Dennis Packard were
in attendance to watch the Crimson compete in Monday’s Beanpot
third-place game against Boston College.
Clarkson extended its winning streak to four
games with a win over Vermont, before falling
to Dartmouth. Golden Knights goaltender Dustin
Traylen let in a soft shot from long range just eight seconds
into the Vermont game, but held steady the rest of the way.
All reports are that video evidence clearly showed that Vermont’s
Torrey Mitchell was in the crease and tangled with Traylen
as Jeff Corey scored what would have been the game-tying goal
with 14 seconds left. The disallowed goal and referee John Murphy’s
tardy arrival to the game were the main points of Vermont coach
Kevin Sneddon’s post-game commentary for which he later
apologized and suspended himself for Saturday’s 4-1 win
over St. Lawrence.
Kevin Sneddon wasn’t the only ECACHL coach missing from
the bench last weekend, as Cornell’s Mike
Schafer missed all of Friday’s win over Princeton
and the third period of Saturday’s game against Yale
due to the flu.
Cornell scored five goals in each win, and each
night there were five different goal scorers.
INCH sponsor SportDesigns.com,
longtime producer of great Hockey East merchandise, now has a
merchandise relationship with the ECAC Hockey League. Currently,
ECACHL apparel is available through the league’s official
Web site. In the near future, SportDesigns.com will be producing
merchandise for the member schools.
Brian McNary was the ECACHL Rookie of the Week and Steve
Silverthorn of Colgate was the Goaltender of
Princeton defenseman Luc Paquin continues to
rack up the points. He leads all ECACHL defensemen in scoring
and trails only teammate Dustin Sproat among all scorers.
Union and Rensselaer make their
last road trip of the season this weekend with games at Colgate
of sources were utilized in the compilation of this report.