seasons, the declining quality of hockey being played at
ECACHL institutions became a common discussion.
year, the size of the NCAA Tournament field increased by
four spots, and the ECACHL’s participation in the
tournament decreased as only Harvard represented the league
in the national tournament. It marked the second time in
four years that only one ECACHL team competed in the NCAAs.
year, ECACHL teams did their best to put an end to those
conversations. Cornell established itself as a national
championship contender and has been ranked at or near the
top of the polls for the last month. Harvard and Dartmouth
are poised to join Cornell in the NCAA Tournament, with
Colgate and Vermont also in contention for an at-large berth.
All five of those teams appeared in national rankings. Brown
and St. Lawrence also received consideration from national
pollsters during the year.
biggest factor in helping more ECACHL teams match-up more
favorably on the national stage is the league’s goaltending.
Dave McKee and Dov Grumet-Morris are possibly Hobey Baker
finalists. Steve Silverthorn, Joe Fallon, Dan Yacey, Adam
D’Alba and Justin Mrazek are all ranked in the top-15
nationally in goals-against average.
to be outdone, the overall talent level in the league is
higher. Dustin Sproat and T.J. Trevelyan, two of the best
offensive performers this season, might not make first team
All-ECACHL. The same goes for Harvard’s Tom Cavanagh.
three ECACHL teams will (probably) be in the NCAAs this
year, marking the first time that’s happened since
1998. Will any of those teams be in Columbus? That’s
the next hurdle to overcome. Only six teams have represented
the league in the 15 Frozen Fours since Harvard’s
national championship in 1989. And just one of those (Colgate
in 1990) played for the title.
9 Clarkson at No. 1 Cornell
CLK: 7-13-2 ECACHL, 13-21-3 overall COR: 18-2-2 ECACHL, 22-4-3 overall Season Series: Cornell won 2-0-0
Knight Fact: Eleven of the 18 skaters dressed
for Clarkson in Game 3 against Union were freshmen
or sophomores. Big Red Fact: Cornell’s last
national championship came in 1970, and the Big Red
beat Clarkson in the final, 6-4.
Clarkson Wins: The Golden Knight defense
must quickly move the puck out of its own zone and
avoid turnovers. Cornell stresses puck possession
in the offensive zone. How Cornell Wins: Stay loose and
avoid the pitfalls of a home playoff series –
distractions from friends and family and pressure
to perform for the home crowd.
7 St. Lawrence at No. 2 Harvard
SLU: 9-12-1 ECACHL, 17-17-2 overall H: 15-5-2 ECACHL, 18-8-3 overall Season Series: Split 1-1
Fact: Ten players accounted for the Saints’
11 goals last week in a series sweep of Princeton. Crimson Fact: No player on Harvard’s
roster has 10 goals this season. Tom Cavanagh and
Ryan Maki have nine each.
St. Lawrence Wins: Seize the momentum from
last weekend’s rout of Princeton and carry it
into Cambridge. How Harvard Wins: Get off to a good
start, after sitting out last week. Don’t let
the Saints get on a roll.
6 Brown at No. 3 Colgate
BU: 9-11-2 ECACHL, 16-12-3 overall GATE: 14-5-3 ECACHL, 22-9-3 overall Season Series: Colgate won 2-0-0
Fact: Freshman Chris Poli scored the first
three goals of his career in last week’s series
win over Rensselaer. Raider Fact: Colgate has 20 wins
in back-to-back seasons for the first time in the
program’s 75-year history.
Brown Wins: The Bears’ balanced scoring
makes it a tough team to defend. You can concentrate
on shutting down one line. Problem is, that balanced
offense stuttered at the end of the regular season. How Colgate Wins: Basic playoff hockey
– Steve Silverthorn must be good in net, and
the Raiders must continue to get timely scoring from
Tyler Burton, Adam Mitchell, and Jon Smyth.
5 Dartmouth at No. 4 Vermont
DC: 14-8-0 ECACHL, 19-11-2 overall UVM: 13-6-3 ECACHL, 19-11-4 overall Season Series: Dartmouth won 2-1-0
Green Fact: Lee Stempniak had just five points
going into a game against Vermont on Dec. 30. He had
three points that night, and now has 40 for the season.
Catamount Fact: This is Vermont’s first
home playoff series since 1996-97, which was also
the last time they qualified for the NCAA Tournament.
Dartmouth Wins: For the Big Green, it’s
all about the goaltending. If Dan Yacey can match
or better Joe Fallon’s performance, it bodes
well for Dartmouth. How Vermont Wins: Get ahead and stay
there. The Cats are 16-3-1 when scoring first, 12-0-1
when leading after the first period, and 16-1-0 when
leading after the second period.
can’t argue with what Cornell has accomplished during
the regular season. The Big Red set out to be the best defensive
team in the country, and they were. They wanted to win the
league title, and they did. Every player in Cornell’s
lineup contributes every night and when injuries arise,
such as the one to freshman defenseman Sasha Pokulok, part-time
players step in and the Big Red doesn’t miss a beat.
They roll into this weekend’s series against Clarkson
riding a 14-game unbeaten streak.
know the cliché that any team can beat another on
a given night. In this year’s playoffs, it could be
altered a bit to say that Dartmouth can beat any other team
in the playoffs, because the Big Green proved it during
the regular season. Dartmouth has at least one win against
all seven of the other playoff teams. Only Cornell, with
two league losses, can say the same.
– Lee Stempniak, Dartmouth Stempniak’s
point totals were low and Dartmouth was hovering around
the .500 mark but the Big Green captain picked things up
and his team followed. He finished the regular season tied
for the scoring lead in conference games.
– Matt Moulson, Cornell For the second straight year, Moulson led the Big
Red in scoring. He’s got 20 goals (11 on the power-play)
and 32 points. Most of his goals have come at key times
to tie the game or put the Big Red ahead.
– Scott Mifsud, Vermont Like Moulson, the senior came through when it mattered
most. Opposing teams focused on shutting down his line with
Jeff Corey and Torrey Mitchell and had some success, but
Mifsud came through with four points in the two games that
UVM needed to secure a playoff bye.
– Noah Welch, Harvard Welch bounced back from a disappointing junior
year to captain the Crimson. No other ECACHL defenseman
commands the respect that players and coaches have for Welch.
All six of his goals have come on the power play, where
Harvard ranks second in the league.
– Joey Mormina, Colgate Injury problems to Mormina decresed his importance
in last year’s Colgate championship, but without Mormina
this season Colgate might not have finished third. His offensive
abilities have improved every year and he goes head-to-head
against the opposition’s top line.
– Dave McKee, Cornell Many people say that a Cornell goalie is successful
because of the defense played in front of him. This year,
you get the sense that Cornell’s defense is competing
as a sign of loyalty to McKee, who always comes up with
the big save to bail them out in the rare instance that
a mistake is made.
OF THE YEAR
Sneddon coached five years at Union College and his team’s
win total grew from 3 in his first year to 14 in his last
year. Vermont turned to Sneddon to rebuild its hockey program
and it didn’t take five years. Sneddon’s second
season in Burlington saw the Catamounts earn a first-round
playoff bye after finishing 11th one year earlier.
in the team’s fortunes can be directly attributed
to some important coaching moves. First, he named Jaime
Sifers captain in the middle of last season, when Sifers
was only a sophomore. Secondly, his recruiting class featured
two impact freshmen – goaltender Joe Fallon and forward
OF THE YEAR
the case one year ago, I’ll apply different criteria
for the Player of the Year and an All-Conference selection.
While Dave McKee’s numbers and performance clearly
make him the best choice for the All-Conference goaltender
position, Harvard’s Dov Grumet-Morris was the Player
of the Year. The senior netminder was solid and steady all
year long and relied more on poise and positioning than
athleticism. His consistency helped Harvard improve from
sixth to second in the league, and score big wins over Cornell,
Boston College, Maine, and Boston University. Crimson players
and coaches never hesitate to give Dov the credit for their
work ethic off the ice and personality are also noteworthy.
Grumet-Morris has improved every year at Harvard, and is
one of the best-liked and most respected players in the
league by opposing players and coaches. He is one of the
top students in the ECACHL, studying Near Eastern Languages
OF THE YEAR
assistant coach Andrew Dickson thought Tyler Burton was
the perfect player to be honored with the university’s
first athletic scholarship, and Burton hasn’t disappointed.
Despite being just 5-foot-9, most of his goals come from
within 15 feet of the net. He brings a positive energy and
enthusiasm to the ice every day, and it has rubbed off on
the rest of the team.
Princeton coach Guy Gadowsky wanted his team to score more
goals and Dustin Sproat followed his coach’s orders.
Sproat, a junior center, had 18 goals and 17 assists in
31 games. He had 11 points in each of his first two seasons.
Sproat finished tied with Stempniak for the ECACHL scoring