March 8, 2007
Saints and Knights Shift Power Northward

By Joe Gladziszewski

Central New York's travel partners have been dislodged atop the ECAC Hockey League standings as the North Country duo of St. Lawrence and Clarkson finished first and second in the 2006-07 season.

ECAC Hockey League

St. Lawrence senior captain Drew Bagnall led the Saints to the regular season title and is INCH's pick for ECACHL Player of the Year.

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Senior leadership, solid contributions from the entire lineup, and a difficult non-league schedule all combined to give St. Lawrence just its second ECACHL regular season title in program history. Owning the Cleary Cup certainly takes some of the sting away from two losses to rival Clarkson, a team that has been nationally ranked for most of the season.

Two new coaches at Yale and Rensselaer started to make a mark on their programs, even though the standings didn't reflect it, and preseason league favorites like Colgate and Harvard found themselves near the middle of the pack.


Clarkson finished in second place and showed some vulnerability by turning in the occasional clunker, but when the Golden Knights are at their best, they're the best team in the league. They rank first or second among league teams in scoring offense, scoring defense, power play, and penalty kill. And they're the only team in the league that's found a way to beat St. Lawrence twice.


The team that was regarded enough to be voted first in the preseason coaches and media polls entered the playoffs as the eighth seed. But there's a reason why the Colgate Raiders received that preseason praise. They're a talented team that has lots of playoff experience, and is always a threat to pull an upset. Top players like Mark Dekanich,Tyler Burton, and Jesse Winchester can make the difference at this time of the year. Don Vaughan's recent line adjustments have helped spark the Raider offense.


F – Brandon Wong, Quinnipiac
Wong could become the first freshman in league history to lead the ECACHL in overall scoring, as he stands atop the scoring chart heading into the second week of the playoffs.

F – David Jones, Dartmouth
The junior from Dartmouth finds himself on this list for the second year in a row. He leads the Big Green in scoring by a 13-point margin, racking up 39 points in 29 games. He stands seventh nationally in points per game (1.34).

ECAC Hockey League Quarterfinal Matchups

No. 8 Colgate at No. 1 St. Lawrence
COL: 15-19-4 (7-12-3 ECACHL)
SLU: 20-12-2 (16-5-1 ECACHL)
Season Series: Split 1-1-0
Raider Fact: Colgate has never beaten a No. 1 seed in the ECACHL playoffs.
Saint Fact: A Saint win this weekend will give Joe Marsh 400 career coaching victories, all at St. Lawrence.
How Colgate Wins: As they did last week against Rensselaer, their best players need to lead the way. Dekanich, Winchester, and Burton had big weekends and the supporting players raised their level of play.
How St. Lawrence Wins: Almost every Saints game throughout the season had playoff characteristics – tight checking game where teams had to earn scoring chances and goals. SLU succeeded in those games by winning the battles and working hard, something they'll have to continue this weekend.

No. 7 Harvard at No. 2 Clarkson
HAR: 4-15-2 (10-10-2 ECACHL)
CLK: 21-8-5 (13-5-4 ECACHL)
Season Series: Clarkson won 2-0-0
Crimson Fact: Harvard has advanced to the ECACHL Championship weekend for six consecutive years.
Golden Knight Fact: Four juniors are the top four scorers for Clarkson – Nick Dodge (35 points), Shawn Weller and David Cayer (33), and Steve Zalewski (32).
How Harvard Wins: Get a strong weekend from Justin Tobe, who played well last weekend and won his first career start for the Crimson, which came at Cheel Arena against the Golden Knights.
How Clarkson Wins: Get off to a better start. The Knights trailed both regular-season meetings against Harvard, but came back to win both contests.

No. 6 Princeton at No. 3 Dartmouth
PRI: 15-14-3 (10-10-2 ECACHL)
DRT: 16-10-3 (12-7-3 ECACHL)
Season Series: Princeton leads 1-0-1
Tiger Fact: Princeton's comeback win over Brown last Sunday was its first win of the year when trailing after two periods.
Big Green Fact: Dartmouth has earned a first-round bye for the third time in four seasons. On the two prior occasions, Dartmouth advanced to Albany.
How Princeton Wins: It's on the seniors to come through, as they did against Brown. Darroll Powe, Kevin Westgarth, Grant Goeckner-Zoeller, Daryl Marcoux, and goalie B.J. Sklapsky all had big weekends.
How Dartmouth Wins: Find a way to solve B.J. Sklapsky, who carried the Tigers to a series victory over Brown last week, and also shut out Dartmouth in a regular-season game one month ago.

No. 5 Quinnipiac at No. 4 Cornell
QU: 18-13-5 (10-8-4 ECACHL)
COR: 14-11-4 (10-8-4 ECACHL)
Season Series: Split 1-1-0
Bobcat Fact: Quinnipiac earned a 2-2 tie in its first ever game against Cornell at Lynah Rink, on Jan. 6, 2001.
Big Red Fact: Cornell has not played a playoff series on the road since 1999.
How Quinnipiac Wins: Take control early. Cornell has a 40-5 all-time playoff record at Lynah, and can feed off of that confidence in their old barn.
How Cornell Wins: Puck possession is important. Even if the Big Red don't generate chances, playing "keep away" keeps the dangerous Bobcat forwards at bay.

F – Nick Dodge, Clarkson
The junior captain is the heart and soul of the Golden Knights and is their unquestioned team leader. He finished ninth in scoring among all ECACHL players, but was a part of a balanced Clarkson offense that had seven players score 20 points or more.

D – Drew Bagnall, St. Lawrence
His visible assets are easy to recognize – size, mobility, physical aggressiveness, and a heavy shot. The non-visible assets make him one of the best captains and leaders in the league.

D – Reid Cashman, Quinnipiac
Like Jones, Cashman is on this list for the second-straight year. He and his teammates came into the ECACHL as unknowns with a solid reputation. He'll graduate with Quinnipiac seen as an established and respected member of the league.

G – David Leggio, Clarkson
If goaltending was the question mark for the Golden Knights entering the season, Leggio quickly eased the minds of the doubters by establishing himself as one of the best goalies in the league. He finished the year ranked first among ECACHL goalies in goals-against average (2.26) and save percentage (.927).


There are two ways to judge coaches in this category. The first is to laud a coach who led his team to the best overall season. The second is to honor someone whose team exceeded expectations. Fortunately for people forced to make a selection in this category for the 2006-07 ECACHL season, both criteria point to the same person, Joe Marsh of the St. Lawrence Saints.

Marsh is in his 22nd year at St. Lawrence and led the Saints to their second ever regular-season title this year and 13th 20-win season. The Saints were picked to finish sixth in the preseason by the league coaches and seventh by media members covering the league.


When Marsh was asked earlier this season whether or not his coaching staff had ever charted Drew Bagnall's ice time, he rolled his eyes and shook his head. The unspoken answer: lots of ice time. The defenseman was the most important player on the most successful team in the league, and is INCH's choice as the ECAC Hockey League Player of the Year.

A stellar start to his collegiate career was sidetracked by a hand injury in his junior season, but he came back to be a dominant presence on the Saint blue line. He played against the opponent's top players and factored on both special teams units for the Saints.

"He's worked hard for this. He plays with such passion and it kills him to lose. He's an unbelievable kid to coach," Marsh said. "What he's meant to this team in the locker room, in the weight room, he's just worked exceedingly hard in every area and has never compromised in any area."

His quiet confidence and steadying demeanor served the Saints well as they won a slew of close games and performed well in difficult situations.

"He creates an atmosphere in the locker room," Marsh said, "and I think that the guys deep down think, 'Thank God he's on our team, and not the other team.'"


As mentioned in the INCH All-League section above, Brandon Wong was the top freshman in the ECAC Hockey League. His league-leading regular season point total (24-17–41) was impressive, but more important to Quinnipiac's success was the depth that he gave them at forward. His arrival and development as a top forward gave the Bobcats three legitimate scoring lines that are difficult for almost all of their opponents to match up against.


Princeton made a surprising late run in the regular season and finished tied for sixth, their highest finish in the league standings in five years. Sophomore forward Lee Jubinville was a big part of the Tigers' second half run. He had points in eight of nine games, and finished atop the Princeton scoring chart with 28 points in 30 games, after scoring just 10 points in his freshman campaign.

A variety of sources were utilized in the compilation of this report. Joe Gladziszewski can be reached at