It's not fair to judge Yale's current standing
based on its 6-1-0 start to the season, nor is it reasonable
to write off the Bulldogs because they've won just twice
in their last 12 games (2-7-3). Yale probably isn't as good
as that early record indicated, nor are they as bad as their
record over the last dozen might show.
Hockey League Notebook
Five of Yale captain Matt Cohen's six points this
season have come in ECACHL games.
It's most appropriate to look at their season
as a whole thus far, and it's both fair and reasonable to
say that Yale is a .500 team in the middle of the pack in
the ECAC Hockey League.
"I think we're a .500 team. We're right
where we belong," head coach Keith Allain said. "You
can look at some of the games we won when we were (6-1)
that maybe we were fortunate, and you can look at some of
the games we lost when we were (2-7) and we were unfortunate.
It all evens out."
New faces have been a key part of Yale's season
so far. Allain, a 1980 Yale grad, is leading the team in
its quest toward the top of the ECACHL. A pair of freshman
lead the team in scoring. Sean Backman has a team-leading
10 goals and 18 points. Mark Arcobello has a 7-9-16 scoring
line, and each has 11 points in the team's 12 league games.
"We do some nice things. I like our speed,
and I think we've shown a sense of urgency when we've been
behind and come back in games. That's a positive sign. We're
starting to get a little bit more balance in our attack,"
What might be most remarkable is that they've
been able to stay at that .500 mark despite ranking toward
the bottom of the ECACHL in the most significant statistical
categories. Yale is tied for 10th in scoring offense (2.50
goals per game), and 10th in scoring defense in league play
(3.25 goals against per game). Yale also has the most penalty
minutes, ranks sixth on the power play and eighth in penalty
The goal for the rest of the season is to
keep making strides. Yale has just one winning season in
its last eight, and steady improvement is the key to getting
back toward the top of the ECACHL standings.
"It's definitely something that we're
trying to build. That's why I'm here," Allain said.
"I don't think anyone can expect it to happen overnight.
Those things take time. We want to make progress with our
hockey team. I think in a lot of respects we're a better
team than we were in October, and I think we'll be a better
team in March than we are now."
SEEN AND HEARD IN THE ECACHL
Colgate's leaders stepping up:
Colgate's struggles to find some consistency this year have
been documented all year long. Once again, the Raiders are
showing signs of living up to the lofty preseason praise
that was showered upon them.
The early-season plaudits negatively affected
Colgate. Instead of taking confidence from them, there was
a lackadaisical approach. And when things started to go
poorly, well ... coach Don Vaughan explains:
"I think that was a good thing, until
it doesn't happen. Guys have a tendency to tighten up and
those expectations are still hanging and they can't get
away from it and you get even tighter when it's not happening.
That had a part in it, but it's not over either," Vaughan
said. "Maybe it took us to get to this point to put
all of the expectations behind us, because right now I'm
not sure that too many people have expectations for us."
Thursday's 4-2 win over Cornell gave Colgate
its second straight win and third straight ECACHL game with
at least one point. In fact, the Raiders have responded
from an 0-4-1 start in league games to go 5-1-2 in their
last eight ECACHL games, and even their league record. They
stand tied for fourth heading into this weekend's action.
Colgate's best players came through in the
team's wins this week over Yale and Cornell. Tyler Burton,
Marc Fulton, Mark Dekanich, and Jesse Winchester led the
way. Mike Campaner is back on the blueline and starting
to look comfortable after missing nine games due to injury.
Those veterans will call on experience over
the next few weeks to position themselves for another run
at an ECACHL title.
"We know what it takes when you get into
the playoffs, and we know how hard you have to work,"
Burton said. "When you get to Albany anything can happen
and we know you have to be ready every night. We have a
lot of veteran guys here that have a lot of experience and
we can put a good run together in these last regular-season
games and playoffs, and do a lot of damage when we get there."
Bad Decision: Colgate students
don't show up to many home games, but they always pack the
Raiders' home date against travel-partner Cornell. They
astutely chanted, "Thank you, captain," when Big
Red senior forward Byron Bitz took a roughing minor with
35 seconds left in the third period.
Cornell trailed 3-2 at the time and had an
extra-skater on with goalie Ben Scrivens pulled. There was
a net-mouth scramble at the edge of Mark Dekanich's crease,
and once the whistle blew to stop the play, Bitz aggressively
roughed up Colgate defenseman Nick St. Pierre. Referee Peter
Feola whistled Bitz for a roughing minor, which not only
put the Big Red short a player in the last half-minute of
the game, but also moved the face off from the offensive
zone to the neutral zone.
Bad play, Byron.
Great Weekend Getaway
at Clarkson (Fri.)
Dartmouth at St. Lawrence (Sat.)
These are the only three ECACHL teams among the top
20 in the INCH Power Rankings and these matchups are
obviously important for league standing, but also
could make a difference as they chase at-large consideration
for the NCAA Tournament.
While You're There: Check
out the big doubleheader against Union! It's not the
college hockey variety, but St. Lawrence's women's
and men's basketball teams host the Dutchpersons on
Saturday afternoon at 2 and 4 p.m.
Many of the
teams and student-athletes in the ECACHL are involved
in generous community service and charitable
activities. We take notice of all of them,
but we'll use this space to mention Union senior goaltender
Dan Tatar, and his efforts with the Rolling
for Autism group at the Union College.
there's a pep band in the rink, we prefer to hear
them play. Thursday's game at Starr Rink
had TWO bands and the DJ was still the prominent provider
of music. "Cotton-Eyed Joe"? "My Sharona"?
FRIES AT THE BOTTOM
OF THE BAG
• Several promotional giveaways will
help make the opening week at Quinnipiac's new TD Banknorth
Sports Center more special. All fans attending the Bobcats'
opener against Holy Cross on Sunday will receive a commemorative
ticket and T-shirt. Tuesday's game against Harvard will
feature Boomer the Bobcat bobbleheads awarded to the first
2,000 fans through the doors. The opening week concludes
with Quinnipiac's game against Yale, and fans will receive
a commemorative ticket and rally towel. The winner of the
Yale-Quinnipiac game will receive the Heroes Hat, to honor
those who lost or risked their lives during terrorist attacks
against the United States on Sept. 11, 2001.
• Rensselaer's run of success in the
Big Red Freakout! continued with a 3-3 tie against St. Lawrence.
The Engineers extended their unbeaten streak in the annual
event to 17 games, with a 12-0-5 record in that time. RPI
led 3-1 in the third period, but the Saints scored twice
in a span of 53 seconds late in the period to get the tie.
• Brown earned a tie at Colgate and
a win at Cornell last weekend, getting their first point
at Colgate's Starr Rink and their first win at Lynah Rink
since 1995. The win at Cornell came in the 1994-95 season,
while the tie at Colgate came in the 1995-96 season. Defenseman
Sean Hurley was the ECACHL Player of the Week.
• Clarkson saw its 10-game unbeaten
streak end in a 2-1 overtime loss at Union last week. Although
Clarkson held the nation's longest unbeaten streak, they
hadn't been playing their best. Following the loss to Union,
the Knights were just 1-1-2 in their previous four games,
and the Golden Knights fell behind 2-0 on Tuesday night
at St. Lawrence, before rallying for a 6-2 victory.
• Dartmouth is one of the hottest teams
in the league. They played three games against teams from
Atlantic Hockey – Holy Cross, Sacred Heart, and Canisius
– and won all three. They've pushed their overall
record back up over .500 at 9-8-2 and carry some momentum
into this weekend's games at Clarkson and St. Lawrence.
The newly-formed line of Rob Pritchard, Connor Shields,
and Jon Grecu combined for 13 points in those three games.
• Tyler Burton's 100th point in a Colgate
uniform came last Saturday against Yale. What makes Burton's
century-mark special is that he made it to 100 points in
his junior year. He's the first Raider to rack up that many
points as an underclassman since Mike Harder did it as a
sophomore in the 1994-95 season.
Harder went on to become Colgate's all-time
leading scorer and was a Hobey Baker finalist. He spent
five years playing in the American Hockey League and International
Hockey League, and is now playing professionally in Italy,
and leading HC Alleghe in scoring.
• Dying by the sword: Cornell has scored
lots of goals off of pick plays on face offs in the offensive
zone during Mike Schafer's coaching tenure. Hockey's crackdown
on obstruction at all levels has made that increasingly
difficult to execute. Big Red forward Mitch Carefoot was
whistled for an interference minor on an offensive-zone
face off in the first period on Thursday night, and Colgate
capitalized with a power-play goal. Cornell is now 0-5-2
in its last seven games, and it marks the longest winless
streak in Mike Schafer's 12 seasons behind the Big Red bench.
A variety of sources were utilized in
the compilation of this report. Joe Gladziszewski can be
reached at email@example.com.