13, 2008 Clarkson
Reigns Among Several Surprising Teams
The 2007-08 season was highlighted by pleasant
surprises from three programs that have been at or near the
bottom of the ECAC Hockey standings in recent years. Princeton
finished in second place, Union was tied for fourth, and
Yale was seventh. All three are still playing in the postseason
and each is guaranteed to finish the year with a winning
overall record, which none of them had achieved in the previous
Clarkson met expectations by winning the regular
season title and providing steady representation for ECAC
Hockey in the national rankings all season long. Harvard
started strongly and shook off a miserable two-month stretch
to finish strong and end up in third place. Cornell, Quinnipiac,
and Colgate finished in the middle of the pack and have
rightfully earned reputations as teams that nobody wants
One year ago in this season recap we listed Lee Jubinville
as the Breakthrough Player following his sophomore
season. He showed no signs of slowing down and is
INCH's choice as ECAC Hockey Player of the Year.
Last year's regular season champion and NCAA
Tournament participant St. Lawrence fell to ninth this year
but a roster laden with juniors will be back to challenge
for league titles next season. Three teams with high hopes
finished tied for last, but each showed flashes at times
– Rensselaer in the early going, Dartmouth in non-league
wins over New Hampshire and Boston University, and Brown
with five of its six wins since the start of February.
Clarkson is the defending
playoff champion and also won the Cleary Cup as the regular
season champion in ECAC Hockey. They were overwhelming favorites
to win the league and marched through the league schedule
with relatively little difficulty and clinched the regular
season title on the second-to-last day of the season with
a character win over second-place Princeton. The next goal
is to repeat as playoff champions in Albany.
A talented and highly respected senior class
covets league titles but also has its eyes on bringing the
Golden Knights back to prominence at the national level.
Wins over St. Cloud State and Boston College during the
year were noteworthy, but losses to Maine and Lake Superior
State stand out as signs of inconsistency, and being swept
convincingly at Colorado College in February should make
the Golden Knights hungry for redemption on the national
scene in three weeks.
THE GATE CRASHER
The winner of the Yale at Princeton series
will be making its first trip to the ECAC Hockey championship
weekend since it was relocated from Lake Placid to downtown
Albany. The Tigers have dominated this series this season,
winning all three meetings between the Ivy rivals by a combined
score of 14-7. Yale has momentum with three straight wins
over Rensselaer after losing three straight late in the
regular season. Princeton was swept in its last two regular-season
games at Clarkson and St. Lawrence but had a week off to
get things back on track. This has the potential to be a
great series, and I think it'll go three games. The winner
gets to head to Albany, and the loser can't be too disappointed
with a fine season.
No. 8 Colgate
at No. 1 Clarkson 'Gate: 16-15-6 (8-9-5 ECACH) Tech: 20-10-4 (15-4-3 ECACH) Season Series: Tied 0-0-2 Raiders Fact: Five of the last seven
games between Colgate and Clarkson have ended in ties.
Plan for free hockey this weekend. Golden Knights Fact: Clarkson has
won 20 or more games for two years in a row for the
first time since a 10-year streak from 1989-90 through
1998-99. How Colgate Wins: Its best players
need to play at an elite level. That wasn't the case
when the Raiders lost last week's opener at St. Lawrence.
They were much better in the second and third games. How Clarkson Wins: Bear down around
the net and finish chances. Ending the regular season
with an 8-spot against Quinnipiac may have opened
up the floodgates for the talented Golden Knights
who had no trouble creating chances, but struggled
finishing at times this season.
7 Yale at No. 2 Princeton Y: 15-12-4 (9-9-4 ECACH) P: 17-12-0 (14-8-0 ECACH) Season Series: Princeton leads 3-0-0 Bulldogs Fact: Last week's triple-overtime
win over RPI was the eighth longest college hockey
game ever played, and the longest at Ingalls Rink. Tigers Fact: Princeton's big three
of Lee Jubinville, Cam MacIntyre, and Brett Wilson
combined for 18 points in the three regular-season
wins over Yale and each had at least one point in
every game they played against the Bulldogs. How Yale Wins: Continue to show resiliency
in close games and getting big plays at big times.
Freshmen Denny Kearney and Broc Little combined five
points last weekend, and Kearney assisted on Little's
game-winner in the triple-OT game. How Princeton Wins: Erase sour memories
from recent playoff failures and take ownership of
the games early against an upset-minded team.
No. 6 Quinnipiac
at No. 3 Harvard Q: 19-13-4 (9-9-4 ECACH) H: 14-11-4 (12-7-3 ECACH) Season Series: Harvard leads 1-0-1 Bobcats Fact: Quinnipiac's 14 goals
against Brown were an all-time Division I high for
Quinnipiac in a two-game playoff series. The Bobcats
had a total of 12 goals in their previous seven games. Crimson Fact: Harvard advanced to
the ECAC Hockey Championship weekend for six straight
seasons prior to last year's quarterfinal loss at
Clarkson. How Quinnipiac Wins: The first line
can be one of the best in ECAC Hockey and can carry
the Bobcats back to Albany for the second year in
a row. It showed last weekend as Jamie Bates, Bryan
Leitch, and Ben Nelson combined for 7-10–17
in the wins over Brown. How Harvard Wins: They say that defense
wins in the playoffs, and it'll be up to the Crimson
to prove that true, but don't forget that Harvard
has scored three or more goals in eight of its last
nine games and is averaging 3.55 goals per game in
5 Cornell at No. 4 Union C: 16-13-3 (12-9-1 ECACH) U: 15-12-6 (10-7-5 ECACH) Season Series: Union leads 2-0-0 Big Red Fact: The last time Cornell
played a road series in the ECAC Hockey playoffs was
in 1999, during which they were eliminated with a
tie and overtime loss at Princeton. Dutchmen Fact:A
memorable save (video, 2:20 mark) near at the
end of the Jan. 12 win over Cornell proved to be a
big part of the difference between a first-round bye
and having to go to Lynah. How Cornell Wins: Goals won't be
easy to come by this weekend, so continued production
from players like Raymond Sawada (5-2–7 vs.
Dartmouth) will be a big boost. How Union Wins: Keep getting pucks
to the net. Cornell's Ben Scrivens was the best statistical
goalie in ECAC Hockey, and made 59 saves on 64 shots
in the two regular-season meetings.
INCH'S ALL-ECAC HOCKEY TEAM
F – Lee Jubinville, Princeton
The league's leading scorer through most of the season led
a Princeton offense that led ECAC Hockey in conference scoring
and overall scoring average.
F – Tyler Burton, Colgate
The senior wrapped a stellar ECAC Hockey career with another
39-point campaign. He had 34 or more points in each of his
four years at Colgate, and will leave the school ranked
among the top-20 scorers all-time in Raider history.
F – Nick Johnson, Dartmouth
It's tough to put a guy on a team that tied for last on
this list, but not when it's a player like Nick Johnson.
He has great size, skill, and versatility and played in
all situations, finishing among the league's scoring leaders
on a very young Dartmouth team.
D – Grant Clitsome, Clarkson
When several classmates didn't meet the lofty standards
they set earlier in their careers, Clitsome led the way
with a solid all-around season on the Clarkson blueline.
His 20 points overall ranked tied for second in the conference
in overall scoring and third in ECAC Hockey scoring. He
earned the trust of the Clarkson coaching staff, which sent
him out in the most important situations.
D – Dave MacDonald, Harvard
The best defensive defenseman on the best defensive team
gets this recognition. Harvard allowed two goals or fewer
in 15 of its 22 league games. MacDonald was an All-Ivy League
selection on defense and is one of seven nominees for ECAC
Hockey's Student-Athlete of the Year Award.
G – David Leggio, Clarkson
Although he ranked fourth among ECAC Hockey goalies in the
major statistical goaltending categories, Leggio was a workhorse
and led ECAC Hockey goalies in the category that matters
most – wins. Ben Scrivens of Cornell, Mark Dekanich
of Colgate, and Kyle Richter of Harvard all had terrific
campaigns, but just a few more saves at the right times
would've made a big difference.
COACH OF THE YEAR
Nobody does more with fewer resources than
Union's Nate Leaman. Despite his team playing
to a minus-7 goal differential in league play, the Dutchmen
scraped and clawed for enough league points and won the
close games to end up tied for fourth in ECAC Hockey and
earn a first-round bye for the first time in the program's
history. Leaman has steadily been changing the culture of
the program and despite dealing with defections from the
roster and injuries during the year, has Union gunning for
its first-ever trip to the league's championship weekend.
PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Despite scoring just 10 points as a freshman,
Princeton's Lee Jubinville showed signs
of being an offensive talent to be reckoned with in ECAC
Hockey. He broke through with 29 points as a sophomore and
increased that total to 37 in his junior season, earning
Ivy League Player of the Year honors in the process and
leading the Tigers to their best season since 1998-99. The
beneficiary of outstanding linemates and a high-paced attacking
style of play, Jubinville is at the forefront of Princeton's
surge toward the top of the league.
FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR
The most highly-touted freshman in ECAC Hockey
lived up to the billing, similar to Tyler Burton and Brandon
Wong in recent seasons. Riley Nash, a first-round
draft pick of the Edmonton Oilers in last summer's NHL Entry
Draft, averages about a point per game and ranks atop Cornell's
scoring sheet with 29 points entering this weekend's series
at Union. Some of his highlight-reel goals will long be
remembered by the Lynah Faithful, who hope to have the opportunity
to see more of them next season.
St. Lawrence junior Brock McBride
led the Saints in scoring with 34 points on the season,
after recording just 33 points combined in his first two
years. He became one of the most feared offensive talents
in the league and has a knack for forcing mistakes in the
opposition's defensive zone and then capitalizing on them.
A variety of sources were utilized in
the compilation of this report. Joe Gladziszewski can be
reached at email@example.com.