It's much less noteworthy when it happens
in other leagues. Of the other college hockey conferences,
only College Hockey America (20) plays fewer league games
than the ECAC Hockey League's 22 league games. With the
travel-partner system, that means there are just two regular
season games per year between given opponents.
Hockey League Notebook
Cornell's Mark McCutcheon and his classmates have
played 14 games against Clarkson, with another one
scheduled for Feb. 2.
That's why the senior classes at Cornell and
Clarkson have truly achieved something remarkable. The six
regular season and seven playoff games they waged against
each other in their first three college seasons made this
past Saturday's game at Cheel Arena in Potsdam the 14th
game between these senior classes.
"We've got a little history I guess.
They've knocked us out of our season twice now in my four
years here so anytime you can get payback it's really good,
and every time we play them there's a little of that emotion,"
Clarkson senior forward Brodie Rutherglen said. "It's
fun though, we know what they're going to bring. They're
always going to be good and always going to play an upper-level
game against us because we're one of their rivals now."
Rivalries are strengthened during the playoffs,
and these teams have met each of the last three years at
Cornell's Lynah Rink. In 2004, Clarkson stunned the Big
Red and won a three-game series to advance to the league's
championship weekend in Albany. Cornell won the series in
two games in the last two years, but both of the 2006 contests
were decided in double-overtime. Now, when they meet, there's
more at stake.
"You know the players on the other team,"
Cornell's Mark McCutcheon said. "I've played them every
year in the playoffs so far and you get to know their team
and their coach pretty well. Any time you know that many
people on the other team, it's going to be a different game.
You kind of look forward to it, it almost felt like a playoff
game because you have that mentality any time you play these
guys that much."
The other compelling factor in this rivalry
is that Clarkson is fighting to take control of what has
recently been owned by Cornell, and that is the title as
the team to beat in the ECACHL. Clarkson's top-10 national
ranking and impressive season to date show signs that they're
ready to take that next step, but Cornell is fighting to
retain that title.
"It is kind of different because you
know them so well. It seems like you know every player out
there. They've beat us the last seven of eight, so every
time we play them we come out with extra urgency. We really
want to beat these guys," Clarkson's Mike Sullivan
Cornell's Mike Schafer added that when two
teams are nationally-ranked, the games take on greater importance.
"It's always been a rivalry. Clarkson
always has a great hockey team and is a traditional, storied
program. They've done a great job and their team continues
to grow," Schafer said. "They've been a top-10,
top-15 team all year and they've got a nice mix."
The on-ice battles they've waged won't be
forgotten long, as the teams are due to meet again on Feb.
2 at Lynah Rink.
SEEN AND HEARD IN THE ECACHL
Four Point Weekends: St.
Lawrence and Quinnipiac earned sweeps in ECACHL games and
picked up four crucial points in the league standings. The
Bobcats stand first in the current standings, but have already
played 14 of their 22 league contests. The good news is
that points accrued cannot be taken away. The bad news is
that while they're idle, other teams will be making up ground
in the league standings.
St. Lawrence is in an advantageous position,
with 14 points from nine league games (7-2-0). The Saints
trail Quinnipiac by five points, but have played five fewer
games. Senior forward Kyle Rank was named ECACHL Player
of the Week after scoring three goals and adding two assists
in a pair of wins for SLU. Freshman goalie Alex Petizian
has emerged as the go-to guy in the net, and has started
four straight games. He made 47 saves in two wins against
Cornell and Colgate
Setting the Tone: Cornell
will welcome four prominent freshmen players back to the
lineup this week. Forwards Tony Romano, Blake Gallagher,
and Justin Milo, and defenseman Brendon Nash missed last
weekend's games at St. Lawrence and Clarkson. Big Red head
coach Mike Schafer didn't bring them on the road trip as
a disciplinary measure.
The timing of the action is significant, as
the quartet missed two very important games against rivals,
and teams battling for position near the top of the ECACHL
"They're great players. It was my decision
to leave them home for various different reasons, not one
thing that sticks out," Schafer said. "They're
great kids, awesome kids, and great hockey players. For
me, within our hockey team I made a decision for my own
reason to leave them home. They'll be back next weekend
and I'm sure they'll be ready to help this hockey team."
Romano is the Big Red's second leading scorer,
while Nash and Gallagher had dressed in all 15 of Cornell's
games prior to last weekend. Milo played in 13 of 15 games.
"It's just a matter of the way we play
and how hard you've got to play and different things,"
Schafer said. "Those guys are great kids and I know
they'll respond and be a tremendous asset to our hockey
Great Weekend Getaway
at RPI (Fri.)
St. Lawrence at RPI (Sat.)
Houston Field House is the place to be this weekend,
as one of RPI's most hated rivals, Clarkson, visits
on Friday. That's followed by the 30th Big Red Freakout!
on Saturday night and St. Lawrence comes to town.
Even though the Saints enter this weekend seven points
ahead of RPI in the league standings, don't call the
Engineers an underdog. They haven't lost a Freakout!
game in 16 years, posting a 12-0-4 record.
While You're There: After
the game, head to downtown Albany and one of INCH's
all-time favorite post-game meeting places, the Bayou
Café. The band Almost Famous is playing there
beginning at 10 p.m.
Quinnipiac are excited about moving into the TD Banknorth
Sports Center, but they did their part to leave
the Northford Ice Pavilion with fond memories.
The last scheduled game in that rink was a 5-1 win
for the Bobcats over Brown and Quinnipiac finished
with an 89-15-10 all-time record at Northford.
55th nationally in penalty-killing percentage
and 49th in power-play conversion percentage,
which is astonishing for a team that has recently
thrived in special teams situations.
FRIES AT THE BOTTOM
OF THE BAG
• Clarkson extended its unbeaten streak
to nine games with a pair of ties last week. The nine-game
streak (7-0-2) is the longest stretch of games without a
loss for any team in the nation, and goalie David Leggio
has allowed just 11 goals in those nine games.
• Princeton earned an overtime win over
Brown to improve to 9-9-2 overall before taking a two-week
exam break. Senior forward Grant Goeckner-Zoeller scored
• Colgate looks to build some momentum
with a stretch of five of their next six games at home.
A three-game homestand begins this weekend with games against
Brown and Yale. For the Raiders to turn things around, they'll
need more production from their forwards and power play.
Colgate has scored just three goals in its last three games,
and is scoreless in its last 17 power-play chances.
• Thinking back on the Dartmouth roster
of four years ago, and the heralded duo of Hugh Jessiman
and Lee Stempniak, it makes one realize that hockey is a
strange game. Jessiman was a first-round pick of the New
York Rangers and is now playing in the ECHL with the Charlotte
Checkers. Stempniak, a fifth-round draft pick, is a big
part of the St. Louis Blues' youth movement and has played
a big part for them this season. He's been rewarded with
a trip to the YoungStars Game on Tuesday that's a part of
the NHL's All-Star week celebration.
• Quinnipiac's Brandon Wong was the
ECACHL Rookie of the Week for the fourth time this season.
Wong led the Bobcats to wins over Brown and Yale and had
six points on the weekend.
• Last week's notebook mentioned forward
Will Engasser, a former healthy scratch for Yale who scored
three goals in his first two games back in the lineup. Those
lineup decisions are paying off for Yale coach Keith Allain.
He put another former scratch back in the lineup, Michael
Karwoski, and he scored twice.
• If you can't make it to the Freakout!
game in Troy on Saturday night, watch the webcast that will
by the RPI alumni association. Also on the tube in the
Capital District Saturday night, Time Warner Sports will
be airing the Clarkson-Union contest.
A variety of sources were utilized in
the compilation of this report. Joe Gladziszewski can be
reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.