Dartmouth's season didn't start off the way
the team had hoped, and that point was clearly made when
star defenseman Grant Lewis tore a ligament in his ankle
in the first period of the first game of the year.
Hockey League Notebook
David Jones leads resurgent Dartmouth in scoring with
35 points this season.
That's not the only parallel between the personal
fortunes of Lewis and the status of the Big Green. Lewis
admitted that he struggled in his first few games back in
the lineup, which happened to be Dartmouth losses at Harvard
and against North Dakota and Boston University in the Ledyard
National Bank Tournament.
Those losses were part of a 1-5-2 stretch
for the Big Green that lasted from Thanksgiving until mid-January,
but since that time Dartmouth has things back on track.
They're 8 2-1 in their last 11 games overall and have climbed
into fifth place in the ECAC Hockey League standings, going
5-1-0 in their last six league games.
They've put themselves in a position to accomplish
some goals this weekend, and know that two wins will bring
large rewards. Dartmouth could gain Ivy League bragging
rights, a better seed in the playoffs, and next weekend
off just by picking up four points.
"This weekend is obviously huge, we're
playing for the Ivy League Championship on Friday and we're
one point behind Cornell in the standings and we know that
a sweep this weekend will get the bye in the playoffs,"
Lewis said. "We know it's a huge weekend and we swept
these teams earlier in the year, so we know it can be done."
Dartmouth's wins at Colgate and Cornell came
in mid-November and a lot of things have changed for all
three teams since then. The Big Green like how they're playing
right now. In the last 11 games, they're averaging 3.54
goals scored per game and allowing 2.72 goals per game.
Those numbers are improvements on their averages of 2.63
goals scored and 2.93 goals allowed in the first 16 games,
when Dartmouth was 6-8-2.
"We didn't get off to the start that
we wanted to but we feel like we're playing our best hockey
right now and we're looking forward to this weekend and
the playoffs," Lewis said.
This year's regular season bears a strong
resemblance to last year's end of the campaign, which Dartmouth
closed with an 8-1-1 record in its last 10 games and shared
the Cleary Cup with Colgate. And while the team did make
it to Albany for the league's championship weekend, it was
soundly beaten by Harvard in the semifinals. The end of
that story is the part that Dartmouth would like to change.
SEEN AND HEARD IN THE ECACHL
The last shall be first:
Not much separates the bottom four teams in the standings,
and all of them except for Union have aspirations of moving
out of that level of the standings and into a position where
they'll open the playoffs on home ice. They have the opportunity
to leapfrog those other teams in the standings because ninth-place
Rensselaer and Yale, 11th-place Brown, and last-place Union
will be playing four head-to-head games this weekend.
Travel partners Yale and Brown will visit
RPI and Union, with Yale opening at Union on Friday and
Brown playing at Rensselaer Friday. The swap has RPI hosting
Yale on Saturday and Union hosting Brown.
Depending on Friday's results, of course,
Saturday's game between Yale and RPI has the potential to
vault one of those teams as high as sixth in the league
standings, and all four of the teams taking part in this
weekend series can finish in last place.
When this quartet met in late-January, both
Union and Rensselaer swept their foes from New Haven and
FRIES AT THE BOTTOM
OF THE BAG
Great Weekend Getaway
at Dartmouth (Fri.) Big Red fans always have their eyes on Harvard,
but Friday's game this weekend is probably more important
for the Big Red's place in the standings. It matches
two of the hottest teams in the league as Cornell
is 5-1-1 in its last seven games and Dartmouth is
8-2-1 in its last 11.The Big Red have won just once
in their last eight visits to Dartmouth's Thompson
While You're There: Murphy's
on the Green has an impressive bar menu and offers
an old-fashioned pub separated from the restaurant
area. Be sure to examine the signs on the wall in
the bar area, especially the one labeled "Gaudet's
Gameroom" near a table where the Dartmouth coach
regularly sits on his visits to Murphy's.
player John Zeiler scored his first NHL goal
on Thursday night, in his third game for the Los Angeles
Kings, converting a 2-on-1 play with Tom Kostopolous
in the first period of LA's game against Vancouver
and star goalie Roberto Luongo.
players – Tyler Burton, Marc Fulton, and Jesse
Winchester - are averaging better than a point per
game this season, but the Raiders rank 44th nationally
in scoring offense. Where's the help?
• Yale managed a 6-3-1 record in its
10 Ivy League games this year and could win the title outright
should Cornell and Dartmouth stumble this weekend. Freshman
Sean Backman has 17 goals and is two goals shy of tying
the Yale rookie record, set by Tom Walsh in the 1984-85
• St. Lawrence brings a three-point
lead in the standings into the final weekend of league play.
Senior co-captain Kyle Rank was the ECACHL Player of the
Week after helping the Saints sweep RPI and Union by scoring
three goals and adding an assist on the weekend.
• Dartmouth junior goalie Mike Devine
has started all but one of his team's 27 games and Lewis
credited him as being a part of the Big Green's turnaround.
• Union has five players with 10 or
more goals for the first time since the 1996-97 season.
• Princeton freshman Cam MacIntyre had
four points last weekend, with two goals against Colgate
and two assists against Cornell. He entered the weekend
with six points in his first 23 games.
• With 34 points already this season,
Union forward T.J. Fox has already amassed the highest single-season
point total for a Dutchmen player since Jordan Webb and
Joel Beal shared the team scoring lead with 37 points in
the 2002-03 season.
• Saturday night's Clarkson-Quinnipiac
game at the TD Banknorth Sports Center is an 8 p.m. start
and will be televised by ESPNU.
• Quinnipiac's 2-0 loss at Cornell was
the first time that the Bobcats have been shut out all season,
but by getting their 16th win of the season against Colgate,
the Bobcats assured themselves of an 11th-straight winning
season and ninth straight in Division I.
• Brown scored seven power-play goals
last weekend in games against Harvard and Dartmouth, and
Jeff Prough had five points in the two games.
• Clarkson is 16-0-2 this year when
leading after two periods.
A variety of sources were utilized in
the compilation of this report. Joe Gladziszewski can be
reached at email@example.com.