Of the four teams participating in this weekend's
ECAC Hockey League Championship at the recently re-named
stadium on Pearl Street — It's the Times Union Center
these days — only Dartmouth was around last year.
Hockey League CHAMPIONSHIP
Mike McKenzie returned to St. Lawrence's lineup and
gave the Saints a boost last week against Colgate.
A new name for the arena won't be the only
change that fans notice this year, as some will undoubtedly
wonder what's missing only to realize soon thereafter that
neither Cornell nor Harvard are playing in this championship
for the first time since 1999, and in fact the Big Red and
Crimson have combined to win the last five championships.
All of this change isn't necessarily a bad
thing. It gives us a chance to see some new faces, like
Quinnipiac, and reacquaint ourselves with old friends like
St. Lawrence and Clarkson. The top-seeded Saints are making
their first trip to the championship in Albany and were
last vying for the Whitelaw Trophy (successfully) in Lake
Placid in 2000 and 2001.
Clarkson's been on this stage somewhat recently,
three years ago when the current seniors were freshmen and
head coach George Roll was in his first season behind the
Even though most of the teams might be newcomers
to Albany, many of their start players are well-known. Standout
defensemen Drew Bagnall and Reid Cashman will play on the
league's finest stage, as will top-level forwards like David
Jones, Nick Dodge, Kyle Rank, and Brandon Wong.
It's also a time for some of the unheralded
players to step forward, as they've done throughout the
year with little fanfare or attention. INCH introduces you
to four players you need to know about heading into this
ST. LAWRENCE: Mike McKenzie.
McKenzie made an immediate impact on the Saints
right away and was at or near the top of St. Lawrence's
scoring list for most of the season. That was before he
missed the last eight games of the regular season due to
He returned for the quarterfinal series against
Colgate and didn't take long to get back into the swing
of things, with two goals and an assist in the Game 1 victory.
Among his two goals that night was the game-winning goal
for SLU, which was McKenzie's sixth of the year and set
a single-season school record.
If there's an area of concern for a well-rounded
Saints team, it's probably up front. McKenzie's return gives
them another finisher up front for the playoff drive.
ECAC Hockey League Semifinal Capsules
No. 1 St. Lawrence Record: 22-12-2 (16-5-1 ECACHL)
Saint note: Notice those new home
sweaters that Mike McKenzie is modeling in the photo
atop this page? The Saints are 6-0-0 when wearing
them, and will have the chance to don them all weekend
in Albany as they are the top seed in the tournament.
How St. Lawrence wins: The Saints
bolted out to 3-1 and 3-0 leads after the first period
of last weekend's games against Colgate and went on
to win each game. Getting a good start on Friday afternoon
gives SLU confidence, and also puts pressure on the
Bobcats, who are making their first trip to the Times
2 Clarkson Record: 23-8-5 (13-5-4 ECACHL)
Golden Knight note: Clarkson is 18-0-2
when scoring first and 17-0-2 when leading after two
How Clarkson wins:
The Golden Knight power play is red-hot, with at least
one extra-man tally in their last 12 games. Staying
disciplined and skating well will help earn power-play
opportunities, and Clarkson will likely convert them
against a penalty-killing unit that ranked seventh
in the league.
No. 3 Dartmouth Record: 18-10-3 (12-7-3
Big Green note: Dartmouth
has lost its last five semifinal games at the ECACHL
How Dartmouth wins:
Draw on past experiences and try to take some positives.
They're the only one of this year's final four teams
that made it to Albany last year, and if they can
learn from the semifinal defeat they suffered against
Harvard, they can put that experience to good use.
5 Quinnipiac Record: 20-13-5 (10-8-4 ECACHL)
Bobcat note: Quinnipiac's
1-0 win over Cornell last Friday was the Bobcats'
first-ever win by that score, covering a span of 814
How Quinnipiac Wins:
Keep taking care of the defensive zone. The Bobcats
held Cornell off the scoreboard for the first 76 minutes
and 42 seconds of the series last week at Lynah.
CLARKSON: Chris D'Alvise
Clarkson's power play has accounted for at
least one goal in 12 straight games, and while the top unit
features well-known stars like Shawn Weller, Nick Dodge,
and Steve Zalewski, an equally potent second unit has a
number of talented Golden Knights, but Chris D'Alvise makes
The sophomore from Mississauga, Ontario, has
scored six of his 14 goals this year on the power play,
and had points in five straight games in February as Clarkson
played its way into second place in the league. The Golden
Knights' strength is depth at forward and D'Alvise is one
of the players that can hurt you if you pay too much attention
to the top guns. Nine players have 20 or more points this
DARTMOUTH: J.T. Wyman
Dartmouth features the league's most dangerous
offensive trio in Tanner Glass, David Jones, and Nick Johnson.
Head coach Bob Gaudet has at times tinkered with the line
chart and broken that line up to balance the Big Green's
scoring, but Dartmouth found its scoring balance by keeping
that line together, and the emergence of a solid second
line of Kevin Swallow, T.J. Galiardi, and J.T. Wyman.
Wyman in particular has caught fire in the
second half. He has a point in five of six games and 12
points in 10 games since the start of February. Wyman factored
in five of Dartmouth's nine goals last weekend and was the
ECAC Hockey League Player of the Week. And that line combination?
In 15 games that Wyman, Swallow, and Galiardi have played
together, Dartmouth has an 11-3-1 record.
QUINNIPIAC: Bud Fisher
Reid Cashman and Brandon Wong get the headlines,
but a team's playoff fate often hinges on its goaltending,
and Bud Fisher will have to be at his best if the Bobcats
are to win the ECACHL title this weekend.
There's reason to believe that he can get
the job done. He's been in net for all four of Quinnipiac's
playoff wins. The biggest boost for Quinnpiac's upset hopes
against St. Lawrence on Friday evening is how Fisher's played
in the first game of the weekend in this playoff season.
He turned in a 23-save shutout in an overtime win at Lynah
Rink last week to help the Bobcats take the series lead
over Cornell. In the opener against Union, Fisher stopped
25 of 26 shots.
of sources were utilized in the compilation of this report.
Joe Gladziszewski can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.