A tournament series between Rensselaer and
Colgate isn't that big of a deal this season, considering
that the ECACHL playoffs mark the third tournament this
year that both teams have participated in. Each took part
in the Governor's Cup in downtown Albany on Oct. 28-29 and
the Rensselaer/Bank of America Holiday Tournament in Troy
on Nov. 24-25.
Hockey League Notebook
RPI celebrated in downtown Albany earlier this season,
and 12 teams hope to do the same in three weeks time.
In-season tournaments defined the seasons
for these two teams. While both finished the regular season
with sub-.500 records overall and in the ECAC Hockey League,
they had the chance to test themselves against many quality
opponents in pressurized situations. Colgate played in four
in-season tournaments and RPI competed in three.
Rensselaer faced Colgate in one of those games,
the championship game of the Governor's Cup and won the
inaugural event with a 2-1 victory. Dan Peace scored with
49 seconds left in regulation to give RPI the late lead
that turned into a victory.
The Engineers celebrated the title on the
ice at the then-Pepsi Arena (now Times Union Center) and
got to experience a tournament title of any type for the
first time since the 2001-02 season.
"It definitely helps you and it's part
of the reason you appreciate playing in those tournaments.
You get a sense of what it feels like to be in a situation
where you need to win to advance, and to compete for a championship,"
RPI coach Seth Appert said.
The tournaments also fill a need for non-Ivy
ECACHL teams, as was mentioned in
an ECACHL Notebook earlier this season. Several teams
need to find a significant number of non-league games, and
making them as meaningful as possible can only help a team
once the playoffs roll around.
"You can never mimic what playoff intensity
is like and the sense of urgency that you need to have,"
Appert said. "But with 12 non-league games for the
non-Ivy League teams there can be a mental letdown for the
non-league games and you try to sprinkle in tournaments
The Engineers were the last team to celebrate
on ice in downtown Albany, and their quest for the opportunity
to do that again begins this weekend.
ECACHL First Round Matchups
No. 12 Union
at No. 5 Quinnipiac U: 14-17-3 (7-14-1 ECACHL) Q: 16-13-5 (10-8-4 ECACHL) Season Series: Quinnipiac leads 3-0 Dutchmen Fact: Union's last five
postseason games have gone to overtime, but they've
won just one of those games. Bobcat Fact: Quinnipiac improved
seven points and five places in the standings compared
to its first year in the ECACHL. How Union Wins: Keep it under three.
Union is 9-0-1 when allowing two goals or fewer this
season, and 5-17-2 when allowing three or more. How Quinnipiac Wins: Continue to
get production from the line of Bryan Leitch, Ben
Nelson, and Jamie Bates which combined for 16 points
in the three wins over Union during the regular season.
11 Brown at No. 6 Princeton B: 10-13-6 (6-12-4 ECACHL) P: 13-13-3 (10-10-2 ECACHL) Season Series: Princeton leads 1-0-1 Bear Fact: Brown's last trip to the
ECAC Championship Weekend was in 2003, and that playoff
run started with a two-game series sweep of Princeton. Tiger Fact: Grant Goeckner-Zoeller
scored twice, including the game-winner, in a 3-2
overtime win over Brown at Baker Rink on Jan. 13 How Brown Wins: Mark Sibbald returned
to the nets for the first time since late November
when he relieved Dan Rosen in the third period of
the loss to RPI, and then started and beat Union the
following night. Whether it's Sibbald or Rosen, goaltending
will give them a chance at the upset. How Princeton Wins: Stay hot. The
Tigers rolled over the top two teams in the league
last week, combining to outscore Clarkson and St.
No. 10 Yale
at No. 7 Harvard Y: 11-15-3 (8-13-1 ECACHL) H: 12-15-2 (10-10-2 ECACHL) Season Series: Yale leads 2-0 Bulldog Fact: Yale had lost seven
straight games against Harvard between the 2002-03
and 2005-06 seasons, but has won the last three meetings
against their big rivals, including both games this
year. Crimson Fact: Harvard has never lost
a postseason game to Yale. How Yale Wins: Five of Yale's 10
goals against Harvard this year were scored on the
power play. Maintaining that efficiency with the man
advantage will help them this weekend. How Harvard Wins: Keep the scoring
balanced. Eight Crimson players have three points
or more in Harvard's last three games, resulting in
two wins and a tie.
9 Renssselaer at No. 8 Colgate R: 10-16-8 (6-11-5 ECACHL) C: 13-19-4 (7-12-3 ECACHL) Season Series: RPI leads 2-1 Engineer Fact: RPI has never lost
a playoff series to Colgate, but two of those series
wins came at Houston Field House. Raider Fact: Colgate's current four-game
losing streak is its longest since the middle of the
2002-03 season. How RPI Wins: Get more shots to the
net. They averaged just 22.3 shots on goal in the
three regular-season games against Colgate. How Colgate Wins: Take advantage
when down a man. The Raiders have a strong 84.6 percent
penalty kill, and RPI has allowed the most short-handed
goals against in the nation (12).
SEEN AND HEARD IN THE ECACHL
By-Buy-Bye-Bi: Four ECACHL
teams earned valuable time off this weekend and gave their
coaches a chance to hit the recruiting and scouting trails
by finishing in the top four of the ECAC Hockey League standings.
Not only does it bode well for this season, past history
has shown that strong regular seasons have propelled them
on to postseason success.
St. Lawrence finished first for the first
time since the 1999-2000 season, and went on to win the
ECACHL playoff title that year and advanced to the Frozen
Four in Providence.
Dartmouth earned its third bye in the last
four years, and on both previous occasions it won its quarterfinal
series at Thompson Arena and advanced to the championship
weekend in Albany.
Cornell is the only team to have earned a
home-ice bye in all four years of the current playoff system,
and will open the playoffs at home for the eighth year in
a row. The only time they didn't advance to Lake Placid
or Albany was in 2004.
Clarkson has never earned the bye in the quarterfinal
round of the ECACHL playoffs, but has a 9-2 record in playoff
series since Cheel Arena opened in 1992. The only team that
has beaten Clarkson in a playoff series at Cheel is Vermont,
as the Catamounts accomplished the feat in 2001 and 2003.
FRIES AT THE BOTTOM
OF THE BAG
• If you're headed to the Brown and
Princeton playoff series prepare yourself for some extra
hockey. The Bears played 10 overtime games this season and
Princeton played in eight. Both regular-season meetings
between the teams went to OT, with one ending in a tie and
Princeton's Grant Goeckner-Zoeller winning the other.
• The 10th, 11th, and 12th seeded teams
have better overall records than the 8th and 9th seeds.
No. 8 Colgate and No. 9 RPI are both six games under .500
for the season, while No. 10 Yale is four games under and
No. 11 Brown and No. 12 Union are three games under .500.
• Dartmouth's Mike Devine and Harvard's
Justin Tobe shared the league's Goalie of the Week honors
after both of their teams swept games against Colgate and
Cornell. Devine made 54 saves on 56 shots and Tobe stopped
47 of 49 shots he faced in two victories.
• Three finalists have been announced
for the ECACHL Student-Athlete of the Year award, which
will be presented at the league's awards banquet on March
15. Union's Olivier Bouchard, St. Lawrence's Andrzej Sandrzyk,
and Dartmouth's Dan Shribman are the finalists. Each has
achieved a cumulative grade-point average of 3.50 or higher
through the fall semester, has played in at least half of
his team's games, and demonstrated leadership on and off
• Harvard's Alex Meintel has a three-game
point streak with six points in those games.
• Brown's Jeff Prough has nine points
during a four-game point streak.
• The AHL's Grand Rapids Griffins are
spending two days in Ithaca this week. The Griffins played
at Rochester on Wednesday, and return to game action on
Saturday in Syracuse. They passed the time in between above
• The next win by St. Lawrence will
give Joe Marsh the 400th coaching win of his illustrious
career. The Saints have achieved their 11th 20-win season
in Marsh's tenure.
• Clarkson has broken the 20-win mark
this year for just the second time in the last eight years.
Prior to that streak, the Golden Knights won 20 or more
for 10 straight seasons.
• Yale's power play was 3-for-9 in a
win against Rensselaer, and Clarkson successfully killed
off 11 short-handed situations in a win at Quinnipiac.
A variety of sources were utilized in
the compilation of this report. Joe Gladziszewski can be
reached at email@example.com.