The Dutchmen didn't even play last weekend,
and they don't play again until after Thanksgiving, but
it's noteworthy because Union is going through what most
teams in the ECAC Hockey League face at some point during
the season. They're in an exam break, where hockey takes
a step back and academics take a step forward.
At 3-3-2, Union isn't ecstatic or dismal.
A pair of season-opening wins at Ferris State, and a 3-3
tie (shootout loss) in the Governor's Cup against RPI have
been the highlights thus far. A pair of back-to-back losses
in which Quinnipiac scored eight goals in each game caused
But the exam break is a time to refocus and
refresh, while taking care of academic obligations. It's
also a good time to teach hockey things, instead of worrying
about travel and upcoming opponents. Union has just two
seniors among the 18 skaters in its most common lineup,
and five juniors. That leaves 11 freshmen and sophomores
dressed most nights, and that means there's lots to learn.
"As a coach, it probably comes at a decent
time. With the win over Princeton, that helps a lot. We're
a young team and there are a lot of things we want to work
on and improve upon," head coach Nate Leaman said.
"We're improving day-to-day, and the break comes at
a good time overall."
One of the younger players that has helped
Union so far is sophomore Matt Cook. He played in 31 games
as a freshman and scored just nine points. He already has
seven points this year through eight games and has played
on a number of different line combinations, but found a
spot on the left wing with better-known classmates T.J.
Fox and Augie DiMarzo in Union's last game.
Cook, a New Jersey native, spent the summer
in the Boston area working on his skating. According to
Leaman, the skating improvement and workout regimen had
a positive impact on other parts of Cook's game. His endurance
is better, and his confidence grew.
"He's one of the hardest working players
I've ever been around," Leaman said. "A lot of
players go up and have a good game, but then they have a
bad game and go back down. He had a couple of bad games,
but he responded with several good games in a row. That's
the type of kid he is, he works hard every day, and that's
fun to watch as a coach."
Union's goaltending has been inconsistent.
Junior Justin Mrazek and freshman Rich Sillery have shared
the duties in net, and neither has been spectacular. In
the second loss to Quinnipiac, the one that counts in the
league standings, the Bobcats scored six goals on eight
shots in the second period. Some of that blame goes to the
goaltenders, but some credit must also go to Quinnipiac's
It is an area of concern, and Union is working
harder defensively to help the goaltenders, but their improvement
is also at the forefront. Union returns to action after
Thanksgiving with a pair of non-league games at home against
two surprising teams — Army and Massachusetts.
SEEN AND HEARD IN THE ECACHL
Eastern Powers?: Here's a
hypothetical situation. Let's say that one of the preseason
league favorites from Hockey East – Boston College,
Maine, Boston University, or UNH – was winless in
its conference, and then went out and spanked a top team
in the ECAC Hockey League by a score of, oh, I don't know,
How would that be interpreted? That the winless
Hockey East power is in such a position because of the overall
strength of the league? And it just goes to show you that
even the so-so teams in Hockey East are better than the
best teams in the ECACHL?
It wasn't made-up when it happened the other
way around last week. Harvard, which lost its first three
ECACHL games, beat Boston College 4-0. BC entered that game
with a 5-2-0 record, and was ranked in the top five nationally.
Why didn't we hear that Harvard's in-league struggles were
because of the number of quality teams in the ECACHL?
ECACHL teams have played 11 games this season
against Hockey East members. The ECACHL teams have a 5-3-3
record in those games, and have won the last four meetings,
including Harvard's win over Boston College and Yale's win
at New Hampshire. Dartmouth beat Vermont and Rensselaer
beat Merrimack in the other games of that four-game stretch.
These editorial comments and supporting facts
aren't made to disparage Hockey East, or to claim that the
ECAC Hockey League is a better conference. It is instead
meant as a compliment to the competitive level that ECACHL
teams have risen to in recent seasons. It's more difficult
than ever to get points in the league.
We'll be able to revisit this conversation
on Tuesday, when Harvard plays at Boston University. Maybe
then, should a sub-.500 ECACHL team beat one of Hockey East's
Big Four, it won't be interpreted as a fluke, but more as
a representation of the strength of the league.
Great Weekend Getaway
at Harvard (Fri.)
Yale at Harvard (Sat.)
The first game at Bright this weekend is the 147th
between Brown and Harvard. They played their first
varsity game in 1898. And when in Cambridge, don't
begin to think that Cornell is Harvard's biggest rival.
The game against Yale is always at the forefront,
and even has more flair this year since two former
Harvard and Yale players are now coaching at their
While You're There: National
media believe that The Game in college football is
being played in Columbus, Ohio, but Ivy League followers
know better. Harvard and Yale meet on the gridiron
for the 123rd time on Saturday at noon at Harvard
Stadium. Both teams are 7-2 and can claim a share
of the Ivy League championship with a win.
the never-say-die attitude. Comeback wins
were prominent last weekend, as Cornell rallied
late to defeat Harvard and St. Lawrence did the same
against Quinnipiac. Yale defeated Connecticut after
falling behind in the first period.
up with this logo for Clarkson hockey?
It appears that a giant puck is attacking the knight
from behind, and will strike him in the head, while
the knight is doing an Iwo Jima reenactment with his
FRIES AT THE BOTTOM
OF THE BAG
• St. Lawrence freshman forward Sean
Flanagan is a Canton native and has helped the Saints to
their best start in ECACHL play in seven years. He scored
his first collegiate goal in the second period, and then
assisted on the game-winning goal in the Saints' 3-2 win
• After defeating Connecticut, Yale
is 4-1-0 on the year heading into this weekend's games at
Dartmouth and Harvard. Last season, Yale didn't win its
fourth game until the first week of January.
• The first period proved to be the
key to Dartmouth's success in their first ever road sweep
of Cornell and Colgate. The Big Green jumped out to a 3-0
lead after 20 minutes at Colgate on Friday, and then scored
twice in the first period at Cornell on Saturday to take
a 2-0 lead into the dressing room. Dartmouth has won all
four of its games when it has scored at least once in the
first period. In their two losses, they failed to score
in the first period.
• Brown's top line of Sean Dersch, Sean
Muncy, and Antonin Roux had three points each in a 7-3 win
over Wayne State. Sean Hurley and Sean McMonagle join Dersch
and Muncy on the Bears' roster.
• Colgate, the preseason pick by the
coaches and media to win the league, has just one point
in four league games. It's a testament to the earlier point
about the strength of the league, but that doesn't make
it feel any better. The Raiders are searching for answers.
"We'll find the answers, I just don't
have them right this minute," coach Don Vaughan told
the Utica Observer-Dispatch after the loss to Harvard.
"Maybe it's a personnel thing, where we have to get
some different guys in different situations. We're obviously
not playing well, and we're in a rut. We're just not a very
good hockey team right now."
• Last year Clarkson dominated at home,
and struggled on the road. The opposite is true this year.
While addressing the road woes, things haven't gone so well
at Cheel Arena for the Golden Knights. They've lost four
of their last five games at Cheel, including an exhibition
game, and most recently dropped two league contests to Quinnipiac
"I think our mindset is different,"George
Roll said in the team's weekly release. "We know we
have to play well when we go on the road. We play a solid
game when we are on the road. We execute our systems, limit
the mistakes in our own zone and keep things simple. When
we get at home, for whatever reason, we are turning the
puck over and not taking care of the defensive zone."
• The loss to St. Lawrence ended a seven-game
unbeaten streak for Quinnipiac. The Bobcats host Colgate
and Cornell this weekend, and it marked coach Rand Pecknold's
400th career game behind the bench at Quinnipiac. The Colgate
Raiders are a familiar opponent for Quinnipiac. The teams
already met this season in the Governor's Cup, and also
played a three-game series in the ECACHL playoffs last spring.
• Yale's Alec Richards, Cornell's Troy
Davenport, and Dartmouth's Mike Devine have played all of
their team's minutes in goal this year, not counting empty-net
• All four of RPI's goals were power-play
goals in a 4-1 win over Merrimack last Sunday.
A variety of sources were utilized in
the compilation of this report