November 3, 2005
A Dramatic Entrance

By Joe Gladziszewski

 ECAC Hockey League Notebook

Sophomore Jamie Bates is second on Quinnipiac in goals (five) and points (nine).

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You have to give Quinnipiac athletic director Jack McDonald and other folks around the Bobcat program a lot of credit. They certainly do know how to make an entrance.

The Bobcats won’t be tiptoeing lightly into their first weekend of ECAC Hockey League play as a conference member. Quinnipiac’s opener is against a storied program (Harvard) in a huge professional venue that represents the best in Connecticut hockey (the Hartford Civic Center).

Gordie Howe will participate in a ceremonial puck drop prior to the game and fans are encouraged to wear yellow shirts. The university has 15,000 sets of thunder sticks to give away as promotional items. Quinnipiac hopes to set an ECACHL regular-season attendance record at this game.

To some, it might appear that there’s a little bit of swagger surrounding this grand spectacle. But who can dispute that in many ways the Bobcats deserve to walk with their heads held high? They enter the weekend with a six-game winning streak. In their two losses, they demonstrated that they are capable of competing against one of the nation’s best teams by challenging Michigan at Yost Ice Arena back in early October.

Star defenseman Reid Cashman, now a junior, started his freshman season by being swept in a series at Michigan. This year’s rookies did the same, but Cashman saw a key difference. "In years past, in games like that we've had to make our goalies make 55 or 60 saves just to stay in it," he said. "This year we carried the play at times, the shots were pretty even, and we were a bounce or two away from getting a split."

Going through experiences like that, and building momentum with six straight non-conference wins, has a lot of people excited about this milestone weekend.

“We are trying to take it as just another game but it’s certainly more than that. It’s the first game we’re playing in the league and the first time that the program is playing against Harvard,” coach Rand Pecknold said. “There is a lot of excitement on campus for this game and also the game against Dartmouth on Saturday and the rest of the conference schedule.”

Three goaltenders have played this season and all have been solid, but freshman Bud Fisher has emerged thus far as the lead candidate. He has five starts through eight games. Fisher bears a physical and stylistic resemblance to the goaltender that he replaced in Jamie Holden. Three sophomores – Jamie Bates, Ben Nelson, and Matt Sorteberg – join Cashman and freshman David Marshall atop the Quinnipiac scoring charts.


Consistency at Clarkson – The Clarkson Golden Knights are another team with a winning streak intact. Even though two of their four-straight victories were exhibition contests, it doesn’t lessen the excitement felt in Potsdam these days. A positive attitude has become contagious. The winning streak hasn’t only meant more confidence in games, it’s made the weekly practice grind much more enjoyable.

“You can see it in practice, you can feel the energy on the ice,” Clarkson coach George Roll said. “Most days there are guys out there at 2:15 or 2:20 in the afternoon for a 3 p.m. practice. And (Thursday) we just went for an hour, and then did some video. The players were going back out on the ice after we were done. The guys are doing the things necessary to win.”

Clarkson players – no matter where they stand in the lineup – are committed to turning in a strong effort on a daily basis. That’s translated to consistency on the weekend. In recent seasons, Clarkson has played well at times and then fallen back into bad habits. So far this season, that hasn’t been a problem.

“Without question, from top to bottom our work ethic and discipline, everything has been much better. The atmosphere is so much better,” Roll said. “Fans have told me that it’s good to see the guys enjoying being out there for each other rather than being out there for themselves.”

Goaltending has always been the concern surrounding this year’s team and although there have been some soft goals allowed, the play between the pipes between Kyle McNulty and David Leggio has been better recently. The Golden Knights feature three offensive lines that can put the puck in the net. The third-line trio of senior Jeff Genovy, freshman Chris D’Alvise, and junior Brodie Rutherglen provides depth in that area. Genovy has eight points through six games. In 25 games last year he had just seven points.

Schafer suspended – An on-ice situation during last Saturday’s home game against Michigan State has resulted in Cornell head coach Mike Schafer being suspended for one game. He will serve the suspension in Cornell’s game at Yale on Friday. ECAC Hockey League Commissioner Steve Hagwell was in attendance at the game and the league office announced the suspension on Thursday.

According to several reports, Schafer traded words with Michigan State players following the 4-3 Spartan win and grabbed the jersey of one of the Spartans while Michigan State’s players congregated in the corner of the rink and saluted the visitor’s seating section at Lynah Rink.

Great Weekend Getaway
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Harvard at Quinnipiac (Fri.)
The marquee game of the weekend in the ECACHL takes place at a pro venue. The game establishes history, includes promotions and giveaways, and (by the way) features two talented teams. The Crimson are coming off an impressive win over Dartmouth to start the season. The Bobcats have steamrolled recent opponents during a six-game winning streak. Both teams debuted in the INCH Power Rankings this week.

While You’re There: City Steam Brewery Café is located within walking distance of the arena and features excellent food and several unique brews. The Naughty Nurse Pale Ale is especially popular with the locals.

Stick Salute

I’ll salute INCH editor Mike Eidelbes for being the first person anywhere (INCH Podcast, Nov. 1, 2005) to call for disciplinary action against Schafer in regard to the situation following Saturday’s game. Interacting with opposing players in a hostile setting is never a good idea. Grabbing their jerseys and allegedly shoving them is particularly bad behavior.

It is my duty to report all sides of the story, however, and I will also salute Mike Schafer for considering the safety and well-being of the Michigan State players. That’s the take from Cornell Director of Athletics Andy Noel, who said in a statement, “Coach Schafer tried to calm a situation before it escalated. He regrets grabbing the jersey of an opposing player in an attempt to guide the team safely off the ice.”

Bench Minor

Certainly, any Division I opponent is capable of beating another but in comparing resources and tradition, St. Lawrence’s loss to RIT is worth noting. The Saints outshot RIT by a significant margin but lost the game 3-2. While it gave RIT its most noteworthy Division I win to date, it reflects poorly on the Saints.


• As conference play begins this week, everyone can expect the hard-fought close games that the ECACHL is known for. RPI captain Brad Farynuk summed it up very well by saying, “Those are the most fun games to play. They’re always a lot tighter and you get a lot of 3-2 games and 2-1 games. I think the energy in the building is a lot greater and the fact that it’s conference play, it means a lot more.”

• The winning streaks posted by Quinnipiac and Clarkson were mentioned in detail at the top of this week’s notebook, but Union certainly can’t be overlooked. The Dutchmen are unbeaten in four outings (3-0-1) heading into this weekend’s games at St. Lawrence and Clarkson. Kris Mayotte has been in goal for all three of Union’s victories and was named ECAC Hockey League Goaltender of the Week.

• Colgate’s visit to Brown on Friday officially opens the Bears’ season, and it is against the opponent that ended last season. This is a rematch of a 2005 ECACHL quarterfinal playoff series, which Colgate won in two games by scores of 4-1 and 3-0.

• If you participated in extended celebrations during last week’s Princeton-Notre Dame opener you might have missed more action. In the first period, Princeton’s opening goal by Grant Goeckner-Zoeller was answered 10 seconds later by the Irish. In the second period, Princeton scored consecutive goals just 21 seconds apart when Goeckner-Zoeller and Patrick Neundorfer lit the lamp.

• Princeton’s opponent on Friday, the Dartmouth Big Green, was also in the mood to do things quickly. Dartmouth scored in the opening minute of the first period and the opening minute of the second period, but those were the only Big Green goals in a 6-2 loss to Harvard.

• Six players recorded multiple-point games in Yale’s 7-3 exhibition win over Concordia University including four seniors – Joe Zappala, Jeff Hristovski, Zach Mayer and Nate Jackson. Freshman Alec Richards started in goal and allowed one goal on 16 shots through 40 minutes.

• RPI won its fourth game in row as the Engineers rallied from four goals down (primarily due to shaky goaltending from Matthias Lange) to defeat the Northeastern Huskies 7-5. Lange was pulled after the first period and Rensselaer outscored the Huskies 7-1 over the last 40 minutes. The four-game winning streak was snapped on Saturday when Merrimack beat RPI 5-3.

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