14, 2008 Zeroes
Mean Different Things To Different Teams
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
Mike Devine was the first star against Union with
a shutout tie, and is also mentioned in Sports Illustrated.
"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."
SEEN AND HEARD IN ECAC HOCKEY
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
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.
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.
FRIES AT THE BOTTOM
OF THE BAG
• 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
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
• 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,
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 email@example.com.