November 10, 2005
Struggles in Hanover

By Joe Gladziszewski

 ECAC Hockey League Notebook

Defenseman Garrett Overlock is one of five seniors in the Big Green lineup.

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One week of play in the ECAC Hockey League has already yielded several surprises. Newcomer Quinnipiac stands in a share of first place after convincingly winning two games. Dartmouth was thought by many to be a contender for league titles and an NCAA Tournament berth and stands in last place at 0-3-0. What’s up with the Big Green?

The problems start at the defensive end. Dartmouth has allowed 16 goals in three games – six at Harvard, three at Princeton, and seven at Quinnipiac. The goals against have come from a combination of defensive breakdowns, uncertain goaltending, and good special teams play by the Dartmouth opponents.

Sean Samuel has started all three games and been replaced by Mike Devine in all three games. Devine has a 4.41 goals-against average and a .875 save percentage and leads the team in those categories. Ouch.

Penalty-killing has been an issue for the Big Green, who have killed just 17 of 24 penalties so far. That was especially evident in the loss to Quinnipiac. Four of the Bobcats’ seven goals came on the power play. Dartmouth did respond with four PPGs in the same game.

The results haven’t gone their way, but the winless streak hasn’t caused outrage or despair in Hanover. The Big Green are confident in themselves and believe that things will start to go their way. Practices and preparation have remained the same.

“We haven’t really changed anything. It’s not time to hit the panic button,” senior defenseman Sean Offers insists. “As long as we keep working and take care of the little things we’ll turn things around. We want to concentrate on the defensive end first.”

The expectations that preceded Dartmouth's season, which had the Big Green picked second and third in the ECACHL preseason polls, make a three-game losing streak more alarming than it might be elsewhere. One thing that is known is that Dartmouth wasn’t burdened by those expectations. In fact, the team hardly noticed when people were showering the team with praise.

“We don’t talk about that stuff,” Offers said. “What matters to us is what we can concentrate on and not what people are saying. That way we can keep the negative stuff out.”

Like practice and preparation for games, the same approach holds true in not listening to some of the negative vibes surrounding the team’s fortunes this week.

For the first time this season, Dartmouth gets to play a meaningful game in front of its supportive home crowd, and this weekend’s games at Thompson Arena have some added significance. These games kick off the celebration of Dartmouth’s 100th year of college hockey. Three members of the 1942 national championship team will be on hand for the festivities.

Welcoming nationally-ranked opponents in Colgate and Cornell make things even more exciting for the Big Green, who have a chance to make a statement with wins that people will notice.

“It’s a great opportunity to get our season back on track,” junior forward Tanner Glass said. “We match up well with them and these are two of the elite teams in our league and the nation. What better way to turn it around than against them?”


On the road to success – The first road trip of the season for the Colgate Raiders was not a pleasant one. The Raiders bussed up to Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. for a weekend set against the Lake Superior State Lakers, but a loss and a tie made for a long bus trip back to central New York.

The trip wasn’t a total wash, however, as the Raiders learned what it takes to be successful on the road. Specifically, they found that it takes a stronger work ethic.

“It was hard on us because we didn’t play as well as we thought we could have,” junior assistant captain Liam Huculak said. "We worked really hard in practice last week and now and it paid off. We understand that it takes hard work to win on the road."

Jon Smyth, captain of this year’s team, said the lessons learned were valuable and that the Colgate coaching staff helped the team get better.

“With a young team, we might not have known what to expect on the road and we didn’t have a lot of road experience. While we didn’t get the results that we wanted, we took something from the trip,” Smyth said. “The coaching staff did a great job of showing us what we did well and also brought up a lot of our mistakes.”

All of those lessons were put to use last week in a pair of one-sided wins (5-0 at Brown and 6-2 at Yale) and now the Raiders have a lot of momentum and confidence. In the two weekends prior to the start of ECACHL play, Colgate played single games against Army and Bentley. It was a break from the regular Friday-and-Saturday scheduling, but it gave the players some time to physically prepare for the grind of conference play.

Colgate faces Dartmouth on Friday and Harvard on Saturday.

“I think we are ready," Smyth said. "This is a tougher road weekend than some of the others on the schedule and we expect tough games. We were able to get rested up before league play started, and then we had some success on the road last week, which will help us this week.”

Taking a hard-working attitude into each and every road game is something that Colgate prides itself on.

“On the road it’s harder because the other team has the advantage of the home crowd. We want to come out and work hard and win loose pucks and let them know that we’re there,” Huculak said. “We want to be known as that team that other people don’t want coming into their building.”

Great Weekend Getaway
120x60 - Brand Red

Quinnipiac at Rensselaer (Fri.)
The Bobcats are the surprise team in the ECACHL and they hit the road for league contests for the first time. They’ll be introduced to road play at the venerable Houston Fieldhouse in Troy and a big and boisterous crowd is expected. It’s Black Friday at RPI, the first-semester sister to the Big Red Freakout! in Troy. Dress in black if you’re headed to the game.

While You’re There: Arrive in plenty of time to get to your seat (Black Friday usually draws a big crowd) and make sure to get a good pre-game dinner or munchies during the first period. You won’t want to miss the first intermission ceremony honoring RPI great Joe Juneau. His #9 will be added to the hockey ring of honor. Juneau was elected to the Institute’s athletics hall of fame earlier this year.

Stick Salute

A former ECACHL star made NHL history on Wednesday night when Erik Cole became the first player in the league to attempt two penalty shots in the same game. Cole scored on the first, which turned out to be the game-winning goal, but missed on the second attempt.

Bench Minor

It’s tough to give out three stars awards to players on visiting teams. Following Colgate’s 5-0 win at Brown last Friday, the three stars were all from the Raiders, but the selector missed the boat by neglecting goalie Mark Dekanich. He made 26 saves and posted his first career shutout, and was particularly strong in the first period when Brown pressured the goal.


• We talked about Dartmouth returning home and Colgate’s play on the road. The Clarkson Golden Knights get back on the bus for the first time in over a month following an extended homestand. Clarkson’s last road games were on Oct. 7 and 8 at Niagara. They’ve played eight home games since that time, two of which were exhibitions, and posted a 6-1-1 record during that stretch.

• Brown senior Jarrett Robinson scored a short-handed goal against Cornell. It was the first “shorty” of his career and his first goal of any type in a season and a half.

• After failing to score on 16 shots on goal during a loss to RIT on Oct. 28, St. Lawrence senior T.J. Trevelyan scored on a breakaway just 32 seconds into the game against Union last weekend. It snapped Trevelyan’s longest goal-scoring drought since his freshman year. He finished the game with a goal and five assists.

• Saints goaltender Kevin Ackley was hurt during the opening weekend of the season but returned to practice this week and could be available for this weekend’s games at Yale and Brown. In the meantime, sophomore Justin Pesony has started seven games and has a 6-1-0 record.

• All three Yale goalies saw action during their opening weekend of ECACHL play. Senior Josh Gartner started and finished the game against Cornell. Junior Matt Modelski and freshman Alec Richards split the duties against Colgate.

• Score four. Four goals is usually enough to get a win in college hockey and Union is demonstrating that. They have a 3-0-1 record in games when they score at least four times. In their four losses, the Dutchmen have been held to two goals or fewer.

• Princeton goaltender B.J. Sklapsky made 41 saves, a career-high, and blanked Dartmouth 3-0. It was also his first career shutout.

• It’s a Harvard-Cornell weekend, so you know that there will be plenty of utterances and graphic representations of the word “SUCKS” at the Bright Hockey Center. But Cornell fans, who show up in full force for the road game against its bitter rival, prefer to call it Lynah East.

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