Hockey League REGULAR-SEASON
Lawerence's T.J. Trevelyan led the Saints to a fifth-place
finish in the ECACHL.
Metaphorically speaking, spring is a time
for new things to emerge. Even though that season is right
around the corner, the ECAC Hockey League has been foreshadowing
its arrival for the last several months.
A new team and a new champion highlighted
the 2005-06 campaign and new players emerged to capture
the interest of fans and followers of the league. The Dartmouth
Big Green won their first ever regular-season title (sharing
it with Colgate) and Quinnipiac joined the ECACHL after
competing in Atlantic Hockey for several seasons.
For those still in the playoffs, there's new
hope for NCAA Tournament hopes and for those teams whose
seasons have ended, here's looking forward to a new campaign
in the fall – the spring of the hockey calendar.
Harvard, then Colgate, then Cornell, and finally
Dartmouth held the top spot in the ECACHL standings during
the regular season. Each team has strengths and weaknesses;
a careful comparison reveals Dartmouth as the favorite.
The Big Green have got an experienced defense, depth at
forward, and are playing their best hockey of the season
right now. Dartmouth is 8-1-1 in its last 10 games and has
a great shot to win the automatic bid to the NCAAs, which
would mark the Big Green's first appearance in the tournament
THE GATE CRASHERS
Clarkson is the team that none of the top
four teams wanted to face in this round of the playoffs,
and it's the third year in a row that Clarkson will visit
Lynah Rink for an ECACHL quarterfinal series. Combining
that experience with the annual regular-season games at
Lynah means that the younger Golden Knight players won't
be surprised by anything they might face in league's toughest
barn. David Leggio has given Clarkson reliable goaltending
in recent weeks and he'll have to continue his adequate
play for the Knights to have a shot at the upset. Anything
can happen in a one-game situation in Albany and Clarkson
could repeat its surprising playoff run of 2004.
11 Yale at No. 1 Dartmouth
Y: 6-14-2 ECACHL, 10-18-3 overall D: 14-6-2 ECACHL, 16-11-2 overall Season Series: Dartmouth won 2-0
Bulldog Fact: Six of
Yale's last 10 playoff games have gone to overtime,
including both of last weekend's wins over Union. Big Green Fact: Dartmouth is 10-1-0
against Yale in the last 11 meetings between the teams,
dating back to the start of the 2002-03 season.
How Yale Wins: Freshman
goaltender Alec Richards is the key component for
the Bulldogs, who also received excellent goaltending
in last year's playoff series in Hanover. How Dartmouth Wins: The Big Green
turned their season around when they started to take
care of the defensive end of the ice. That must be
their focus again this weekend.
No. 10 Quinnipiac at No. 2 Colgate
QU: 8-13-1 ECACHL, 19-16-1 overall CU: 14-6-2 ECACHL, 18-10-6 overall Season Series: Colgate won 2-0
Bobcat Fact: Quinnipiac
has shown an ability to finish seasons well, as the
Bobcats are 23-6-1 in games played after Jan. 14 in
the last two years. Raider Fact: Two wins this weekend
will give Colgate 20 on the season, marking the third
year in a row the Raiders have accomplished that feat.
How Quinnipiac Wins: The
Bobcats scored half of their six goals last weekend
on the power play and were 3-for-9 on the weekend.
That unit needs to stay hot, as Quinnipiac converted
just 16 percent of its chances in the regular season. How Colgate Wins: The Raiders allowed
the fewest goals of any team in the conference this
year and they do that by being smart with the puck
in dangerous areas of the ice. They will need to continue
to make smart decisions against a Bobcat team that
can score goals.
Golden Knight Fact: Clarkson
has played Cornell 24 times in the ECACHL playoffs,
most of any team in the league. Five of those 24 games
have come in the last two seasons. Big Red Fact: Cornell has won the
conference tournament 11 times, more than any other
team in the conference. Harvard is second with seven
How Clarkson Wins: Collectively,
the Golden Knight forwards are among the best in the
country. They'll need to use their depth and skill
to keep constant pressure on a Cornell defense that
has battled injuries and is prone to making untimely
mistakes. How Cornell Wins: The Big Red are
successful when they have stellar special teams, excellent
goaltending, and a strong work ethic. That's the recipe
that the Big Red cook up every spring and that's why
they've had so much postseason success.
No. 5 St. Lawrence at No. 4
SLU: 12-9-1 ECACHL, 20-15-2 overall H: 13-8-1 ECACHL, 17-10-2 overall Season Series: Harvard won 2-0
Saint Fact: Senior-laden
St. Lawrence has a 1-7-2 record against Harvard in
the last four seasons. Crimson Fact: This marks just the
fifth time in 25 years that Harvard will face the
Saints in the playoffs. The Crimson won the championship
game in 1987, a playoff series in 1996, a play-in
game in 1997 and a playoff series last year.
How St. Lawrence Wins: The
Saints must get better goaltending in order to have
a chance against Harvard. Brown, the lowest-scoring
team in the league, was able to get pucks past Justin
Pesony last weekend. Sunday's performance by Pesony
was especially poor. How Harvard Wins: Harvard's top line
of Dan Murphy, Kevin Du, and Ryan Maki started to
get hot at the end of the regular season and will
need to lead the way again for the Crimson in this
INCH'S ALL-CONFERENCE TEAM
F – T.J. Trevelyan, St. Lawrence The Saints were a sub-.500 team for the last four
seasons and they've recorded 20 wins this year, led by the
conference and overall scoring leader.
F – David Jones, Dartmouth Jones, a sophomore, was a dangerous offensive threat
for the regular-season champs. He's one of the premier power
forwards in the ECACHL but can also play a skill game in
F – Kyle Wilson, Colgate Wilson has a knack for scoring an important goal
or coming up with a big play at the right time. He had 13
points in eight games against Dartmouth, Cornell, Harvard
and St. Lawrence.
D – Mike Madill, St. Lawrence The steady senior blueliner took on an extra burden
when Drew Bagnall went down to an injury. He plays all situations
and logs a ton of ice time for the Saints.
D – Reid Cashman, Quinnipiac Cashman backed up his 2004-05 campaign during which
he was a Hobey Baker finalist by scoring 38 points and averaging
more than a point-per-game from the blue line.
G – Kris Mayotte, Union The senior re-dedicated himself in off-ice conditioning
in the summer and it paid off as he backstopped the Dutchmen
to sixth place in the league. In both goals-against average
and save percentage, Mayotte ranked in the top three in
conference games and top four in all games. No other goalie
ranked that highly in all four categories.
COACH OF THE YEAR
The people that were supposed to know something
about the ECACHL didn't, as Quinnipiac was widely chosen
to finish dead last in the league. Coach Rand Pecknold knew
something that other people didn't, and led the Bobcats
to a 10th-place finish and a first-round series win. Pecknold
is also proving to be a bit of a know-it-all in recruiting,
as he's lured some talented players to campus. Freshmen
forwards Brian Leitch, David Marshall and Chris Myers are
among the top-scoring rookies in the league and freshman
goaltender Bud Fisher beat out former North Dakota backstop
Josh Siembida for the starting job.
PLAYER OF THE YEAR
When you watch St. Lawrence play, winger T.J.
Trevelyan is almost always the player you notice in the
offensive zone but that doesn't mean that he is a one-dimensional
player. Saints coach Joe Marsh often raves about the defensive
improvement by Trevelyan. Trevelyan's importance to the
Saints was magnified when linemate John Zeiler left the
team and outstanding junior defenseman Drew Bagnall missed
time with an injury.
Trevelyan led the conference in scoring, becoming
just the second Saint to do that (Mike Gellard, 2001). Whenever
the Saints are making noise around the opposition net, he's
always involved. Up to this point he's been known as a finisher
rather than a set-up man, but his 27 assists proved that
he is as capable setting up goals as he is in scoring them.
Note: For life-related criteria instead
of hockey-related criteria, there's no question that Rensselaer
forward Kirk MacDonald is an obvious selection for Player
of the Year.
FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR
Yale's Alec Richards emerged as the team's
goaltender and helped solidify a position that has seen
more turnover than a McDonald's restaurant in September.
Richards made more saves per game than any other goalie
in the conference, meaning he had a lot of work every night.
His performance last week in the ECACHL playoffs helped
the 11th-place Bulldogs upset sixth-seeded Union.
Most fans probably won't notice Clarkson's
Nick Dodge, but opposing players and coaches certainly do.
Dodge led the Golden Knights in scoring but lacks a signature
skill like Matt Moulson's shooting accuracy or Kevin Du's
speed. Dodge is the best faceoff man in the league and plays
both on penalty-killing and power play units. He served
as assistant captain this year as a sophomore.