Some say that history repeats itself, but
in the case of St. Lawrence and Dartmouth, recent history
definitely has not.
At this juncture in the season one year ago
– through the completion of 18 league games –
the Saints had already clinched a first-round bye and home
ice in the quarterfinal round and Dartmouth was in fifth
place but well within reach of a top-four spot in the standings.
Colgate coach Don Vaughan became the all-time coaching
wins leader at the school last weekend.
St. Lawrence clinched the outright regular
season title to capture the Cleary Cup, swept a playoff
series on home ice against Colgate and went on to finish
third in the league's championship weekend after a semifinal
loss and consolation game victory. The Saints also got back
to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in six years.
The Big Green went on to win their last four
games of the regular season and finished third in the standings.
They swept a home playoff series against Princeton and advanced
to the league's championship weekend for the second consecutive
season and fourth time in the last five years.
This year, it is almost assured that both
teams will finish in the bottom four of the league, with
road playoff series to begin their quest to make it back
At the other end of the standings, Union and
Yale were tied for last in the league with Brown and all
three had 13 points through 18 games. This time around,
things look much better for both Union and Yale. They're
still tied in the standings, but are now standing in fifth
with Harvard, just one point behind fourth-place Cornell
and two back of third-place Princeton.
The difference for all of these teams, very
simply, is seen on the scoreboard.
Take a look at St. Lawrence and Dartmouth
first. Both teams are averaging 2.67 goals per game after
posting better than 3 goals per game last year in the league.
The defensive end of the rink has been even more telling.
The Saints, who ranked tied for second in team defense last
year (2.50 goals allowed) are yielding 3.22 goals per game
this year. Dartmouth is currently last in ECAC Hockey, allowing
3.50 goals per game after letting in 2.73 goals per game
For Union, it's a matter of keeping the puck
out of the net. The Dutchmen are actually scoring less than
they did one year ago, but have reduced their team goals-against
average to by more than half a goal. The same is true for
Yale, who has seen a small scoring surge but is three-quarters
of a goal against better per game. The resultant jump in
the standings shows that.
It doesn't seem like much, but in ECAC Hockey,
where games are tight and decided by the narrowest margins,
those differences in goals allowed go a long way. Just look
at the difference a year makes.
SEEN AND HEARD IN ECAC HOCKEY
Dex Stacked Against Them:
Colgate is back to .500 in the league with a 7-7-4 record
after gaining three wins and a tie its last four games.
That run included a 0-0 draw on the road at first-place
Clarkson and impressive 4-0 and 8-0 victories over Rensselaer
and Union last weekend.
Notice anything about those scores? Of course
you do. It's the zeroes on the end. Colgate goalie Mark
Dekanich has shutout his last three opponents, and his shutout
streak stretches back into a 2-1 win over St. Lawrence in
which the Saints scored their lone goal in the middle of
the second period. That means it's been more than 10 full
periods, plus a five-minute overtime, since Dekanich has
felt the warmth from the heat lamp above his net.
Officially, the streak stands at 212 minutes,
14 seconds and ranks as the seventh longest in NCAA history.
The streak is also the new standard in Colgate history and
the longest ever recorded in ECAC Hockey. Dekanich now has
six shutouts this season and 11 for his career, also setting
new records in both of those categories for the Raiders.
The senior from North Vancouver, British Columbia
will end his career as one of the best players in Colgate
history. He is a two-time All-ECAC Hockey team member, including
a First Team honoree in 2006, when he also won the Ken Dryden
Award, given to the league's best goaltender. His numbers
this season are better than he's ever posted before, including
that 2005-06 campaign.
More important than individual records, Colgate
is back to its winning ways and is now within reach of a
top-four spot in the league standings, as they trail current
fourth-place team Cornell by just three points. The Raiders
also control their own destiny as their next three games
come against Princeton, Quinnipiac, and Harvard, all of
whom are ahead of them in the standings and a victory means
a four-point swing. The Raiders close their season with
a home game against Dartmouth on March 1.
Great Weekend Getaway
at Princeton (Fri.)
Cornell at Princeton (Sat.)
Just because the Ivy Title is wrapped up doesn't mean
that Saturday's game isn't important. Cornell enters
the weekend just three points behind the Tigers and
if one of those teams comes out of that game with
two points it'll go a long way toward a top-four spot
in the standings. Friday's game is meaningful too,
as the high-scoring Princeton team looks to end Dekanich's
record shutout streak.
While You're There: We say it every
year, because it's the best ... Hoagie
captured its first ever outright Ivy League title
by winning at Dartmouth last weekend, and its first
title of any kind since sharing the Ivy honors with
Yale in 1999.
it to balance, a few players having less than stellar
performances by their standards, or just plain ol'
luck, but at this point it doesn't appear that very
many ECAC Hockey players are legitimate candidates
for the Hobey Baker Memorial Award, and might not
even make the list of 10 finalists.
FRIES AT THE BOTTOM
OF THE BAG
• Colgate isn't the only team getting
hot late in the season. Harvard has won four of five, with
the only loss coming in overtime of the Beanpot championship
game against Boston College. Last weekend's sweep of Princeton
and Quinnipiac included a hat trick by Doug Rogers in a
3-2 win over Princeton. Rogers was the ECAC Hockey Player
of the Week.
• While turning back the clock to look
at last year's standings, I also glanced at the statistics.
Nick Dodge of Clarkson had 35 points through the first 30
games he played. This season in 30 games, Dodge has just
19 points to rank fifth on the team in scoring.
• Clarkson's loss to Yale last weekend
was its first league defeat in eight ECAC Hockey games.
It was also Yale's first win against Clarkson in eight games,
snapping a seven-game winning streak in the series for the
• Of the six players that have played
in all 32 RPI games this season, four are freshmen and one
is a sophomore.
• Colgate head coach Don Vaughan is
now the all-time leader in coaching victories at the school,
picking up his 252nd career win to move ahead of Terry Slater
atop the coaching record book at Colgate.
• Cornell scored seven goals in a win
over RPI on Saturday (Feb. 16), and it was the highest total
for the Big Red in almost exactly a year, after scoring
eight against Princeton on Feb. 17, 2007. Both of those
victories came at Lynah Rink.
• Dartmouth scored a season-high seven
goals against Quinnipiac on Friday night, and that was without
J.T. Wyman, who has missed the last three Big Green games.
With three points last weekend, Nick Johnson overtook Wyman
for the team's scoring lead, with 25 points on the year.
• The Big Green are 5-1-1 in non-league
games and seven games under .500 in ECAC Hockey.
• Jeff Prough of Brown reached the 100-point
milestone with an assist against St. Lawrence in a 3-1 victory
for the Bears.
• Quinnipiac's Ben Nelson snapped a
10-game goal-scoring drought with a tally against Harvard.
• NESN will televise Sunday afternoon's
game between Colgate and Quinnipiac, which starts at 12:30.
• Regular readers of INCH are aware
that we've always got our eyes out for unique sweaters,
and one was spotted at an American Hockey League game this
week as a green Clarkson sweater bearing the number and
nameplate of ex-Golden Knight Mike Nagai was seen in the
A variety of sources were utilized in
the compilation of this report. Joe Gladziszewski can be
reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.