February 14, 2008
Zeroes Mean Different Things To Different Teams

By Joe Gladziszewski

Just because there aren't any goals, doesn't mean there aren't any scoring chances. In last weekend's ECAC Hockey games, games between Union and Dartmouth and Colgate and Clarkson both finished tied 0-0 on Saturday night.

ECAC Hockey Notebook

Mike Devine was the first star against Union with a shutout tie, and is also mentioned in Sports Illustrated.

National TV Schedule

"It wasn't a game that lacked offense whatsoever," Union head coach Nate Leaman said of the scoreless draw against the Big Green.

In fact, that's essentially why most NHL fans really like the shootout at the end of tie games. Even though the overall success rate for shooters on shootout attempts is about one out of three this season, the opportunity for a goal is what brings people to their feet.

Unofficial totals estimated that there were almost 35 combined highest-quality scoring chances in the contest, though neither team could light the lamp. One contributing factor was the absence of a top scorer for each team – J.T. Wyman of Dartmouth and Josh Coyle of Union. A bigger factor was the stellar play of goalies Mike Devine (Dartmouth) and Corey Milan (Union).

Also on Saturday night, Colgate and Clarkson played 65 minutes of scoreless hockey in a game that featured fewer grade-A chances than the game at Union. The league's last two Ken Dryden Award winners, Mark Dekanich of Colgate (23 saves) and David Leggio of Clarkson (15 saves) turned aside all of the shots they faced in the contest.

The Raiders earned a win at St. Lawrence and tie at Clarkson, and coach Don Vaughan has been pleased with his team's continued determination despite a string of close losses throughout the season.

"We've been playing pretty well and we're generating more shots, which is something we lacked last year and early this year," Vaughan said.

He preaches a one-shift-at-a-time approach no matter what stage of the season it is, so don't expect his team to get distracted by opportunities to move up in the standings or look ahead to potential playoff opponents.

The Dartmouth Big Green ended up with two ties on its trip to the Capital District, seeing a 4-0 lead against Rensselaer disappear one night prior to the tie at Union. Even though they're tied for last place in the league standings, Dartmouth has shown an ability to play well against quality teams, and Bob Gaudet is encouraged by his very young team. Leaman was also impressed with Dartmouth.

"You have to give that team credit. They beat UNH and BU in the same week this year, and there aren't many teams in Hockey East that can say they've done that. It speaks pretty loudly about the depth of our league this year," Leaman said.

For Union, it was a one-point weekend and a little bump in a grueling stretch of 16 consecutive league games to close the regular season. Despite that, Union still has an excellent shot to earn a first-round playoff bye by finishing in the top four of the standings.

"We're happy with how we've positioned ourselves," Leaman said. "We need to get back to playing at a high level. The real message is can we bounce back and get back to the level we were playing at."


Expanded Stick Salute: There's just not enough space in our Stick Salute section to say as many good things as I want to about Monday night's Beanpot championship game, so I'll move it up to this Seen and Heard section and detail some of the things I liked from watching online Monday night — which was the best game I've seen all year at any level of hockey.

When you think of Maple Grove, Minn. one thing immediately comes to mind – Beanpot. Not really, but Mike Taylor's performance on Monday night in Boston must have made his hometown proud, even those WCHA fans who fail to recognize that college hockey exists outside of the conference they most closely follow.

Taylor played an outstanding game in Monday's tournament final, scoring the Crimson's first goal to tie the score 1-1 in the opening period, and then redirecting a point shot with 4:24 remaining in the third to tie the score 5-5 and send it to overtime. But, that wasn't all. Overtime might not have been possible without Taylor's stellar backchecking play in the final minute of regulation to foil a great BC scoring chance.

After the game, Harvard coach Ted Donato went so far to say that Taylor "was the best player in the tournament" and it would be tough to argue against that. While Taylor didn't get to hoist the Beanpot trophy, he did get to do an interview with NESN's Kathryn Tappen, which counts for something.

It continued a stellar week for Taylor, who had a goal and two assists the previous week in wins over Northeastern and Union and was named ECAC Hockey Player of the Week.

One final thought on Harvard: The Crimson showed great resilience in coming from behind to tie the game three times, after trailing 1-0, 3-2, and 5-3. Kudos to that, especially considering that one of the major keys to success for Crimson was thought to be that they had to play with the lead to have a chance against Boston College.

Great Weekend Getaway
120x60 - Brand Red

Princeton at Harvard (Fri.)
Quinnipiac at Harvard (Sat.)

The Crimson return home for the first time since Jan. 11 and 12 and hosts the two teams currently tied for second in the league. With Harvard seemingly playing some of its best hockey of the year, they get another chance to measure up against a pair of nationally ranked teams and make a charge toward a top-four spot in the ECAC Hockey standings.

While You're There: Catch a 4 p.m. matinee as Division III power Middlebury plays at UMass-Boston on Saturday afternoon.

Stick Salute

Mike Taylor

Bench Minor

To the last five minutes of most NHL games. Too often we see teams packing it in and not pressing for a win in the final minutes of a game so they can get to the safety net of overtime and a guaranteed point in the standings. One of the best parts of college hockey is that overtime goals really mean something and it makes the games that much more exciting.


• The Lowe's Senior CLASS Award (Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School) is awarded to a senior student-athlete who has demonstrated excellence in the classroom, community, character, and competition. The 10 finalists for men's Division I hockey were announced this week and four of the 10 are players in ECAC Hockey, a testament to the quality of the student-athletes in the league. The award's next stage includes fan balloting, so visit the site and throw some support behind the quartet of Mark Dekanich (Colgate), Justin Pesony (St. Lawrence), Topher Scott (Cornell), and Landis Stankievech (Princeton).

CBC and Sports Illustrated have featured former Rensselaer great Joe Juneau recently for his work with a youth hockey program in the predominantly Inuit communities of the Nunavik region in the far northern part of Quebec.

• Speaking of SI, keep an eye out for Dartmouth goalie Mike Devine in the Faces in the Crowd section of the magazine. It's the Feb. 18 edition, where NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. is pictured on the cover.

• Take a look at the league standings and try to identify three teams that absolutely don't have any chance to make it to Albany for the league's championship weekend. Not as easy as you think, is it?

• Regional sports networks are starting to get on board with the ECAC Championship weekend, as Time Warner Sports, SportsNet New York, and CN8/Comcast will show semifinals and the championship game from the Bank of America ECAC Hockey Championship in Albany on March 21-22.

• After falling behind 4-0 to Dartmouth during the second period of last week's game, Rensselaer quickly fired back with two goals in a span of 30 seconds to get back into the game. Another second-period goal and one in the third got the Engineers a tie. The line of Tyler Helfrich, Scott Halpern, and Chase Polacek each had two points in the game.

• Former Dartmouth coach Edward Jeremiah will be honored with the Hobey Baker Legend of Hockey Award this season by the Hobey Baker Memorial Award Foundation. He coached Dartmouth College for 29 seasons and at one time led his teams to a 46-game winning streak.

• Quinnipiac beat Yale 5-1 and Brown 3-0 over the weekend, led by Bud Fisher, who stopped 50 of the 51 shots he faced on the weekend.

• Clarkson's players went bobsledding in Lake Placid on Sunday.

• Brett Wilson and Lee Jubinville each had three points in Princeton's sweep of Yale and Brown last weekend.

• Cornell freshman Joe Devin was issued a major penalty and game disqualification for a hit on St. Lawrence's Jared Ross on Saturday. The DQ meant Devin would miss his next game, and earlier this week the league office announced an additional game suspension, keeping Devin out of this weekend's games against Union and Rensselaer. Ross won't play for the Saints against Yale and Brown.

• Former Colgate defenseman Joe Mormina made his NHL debut on Thursday night for the Carolina Hurricanes in a game against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

• If anything goes great with hockey, it's rap songs like these. Feel free to author some beats on your favorite team and players and send 'em along via e-mail. I'll publish them in next week's notebook.

• A Valentine's poem, delivered by Cupid:
Always remember, basketball is stupid.

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