March 13, 2008
Clarkson Reigns Among Several Surprising Teams

By Joe Gladziszewski

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 four campaigns.

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 to face.

ECAC Hockey

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.

National TV Schedule

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 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.

ECAC Hockey
Quarterfinal Matchups

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.

No. 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 that stretch.

No. 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.


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.


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.


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.


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