a short list, the one that includes those who believed Brown
would stand highest according to ECAC standings and national
rankings when the Bears and Harvard Crimson made the trip
to Lynah Rink for a set of conference games during the first
weekend in December.
Brown's standout freshman Brian Ihnacak and the rest of
the Bears as a part of that list.
fact that the Bears are leading the ECAC with a 6-1-0 league
record (6-1-1 overall) and have climbed all the way to seventh
in this week's INCH Power Rankings isn't surprising to the
folks at Meehan Auditorium.
a team we knew how good we could be right from the start
of practice. We all believed that we could be as good as
we wanted to be," Ihnacak said.
Brian Ihnacak leads Brown with 12 points. (Photo
Brown's performance to date hasn't caught the attention
of everyone. Ihnacak said that the team still doesn't feel
that it's getting the respect it deserves. Take these comments
from Clarkson's Jay Latulippe for example.
have something to do with being the 'other half' of a weekend
set with travel partner Harvard, which boasts a lineup full
of NHL draft picks and was picked as the unanimous favorite
to win the ECAC. But Brown is simply taking care of business
and has a chance to make a huge statement this weekend when
it visits third-place Cornell on Friday.
Brown to continue its winning ways, its outstanding power
play will need to continue to excel. The Bears are ranked
first among all Division I teams with a 34.2 percent success
rate. Ihnacak described the power play units as "nothing
special. Just five guys who see an opportunity to score."
of Ihnacak's 12 points have come on the power play.
game at Lynah Rink and Saturday's tilt at Colgate's Starr
Rink could go a long way in developing a concrete pecking
order in the crowded ECAC standings. While Brown holds a
five-point edge over Cornell, the Big Red has played three
fewer conference games. Second-place Dartmouth (9 points
in six games) doesn't have another league contest scheduled
until Jan. 2 against Vermont.
AND HEARD IN THE ECAC
Clarkson – Following the
turmoil and tumult of last season, when the Clarkson Golden
Knights finished seventh in the regular season after being
picked third in the preseason polls, and crashed out of
the ECAC playoffs in the first round, newly hired head coach
George Roll felt it was important to instill some mental
toughness, work ethic, and commitment to return Clarkson
to the upper-half of the ECAC.
Traylen's .931 save percentage is good for 11th in the
nation. (Photo by Chris Lenney)
sitting at 6-4-3 through the first part of the season and
3-3-1 in the ECAC with a win at Harvard and tie against
Cornell is a good sign that things are headed in the right
direction for the Golden Knights. An even better sign comes
in the fact that Clarkson hasn't lost two consecutive games
the proverbial snowball rolling downhill, many factors contributed
to a miserable 2002-03 campaign.
year, there's a different attitude, a tougher approach.
Last weekend, on the heels of a 4-1 loss at Brown, Clarkson
rebounded with their best performance to date and won 3-0
haven't gotten to the consistency level that I would like
to see, but on the other hand we've been able to bounce
back and I honestly feel that we've gotten better as a team.
We're not the type of team that can look past anyone, we've
got to be ready to work hard every night," Roll said.
"I give a lot of credit to the guys that we haven't
had a losing streak."
weekend, Clarkson takes on a pair of Hockey East opponents
as New Hampshire and UMass Lowell visit Cheel Arena. Having
already laced up the skates against Colorado College this
year, and making a road trip to Bemidji State, Roll's been
able to get a decent perspective on what the national landscape
has to offer. He feels confident that ECAC teams rightly
deserve to be considered among the best in the nation. Six
conference schools appear in this week's INCH Power Rankings.
what I've seen, there's no runaway number-one team (in the
ECAC), but a lot of good teams that can play with the best
teams in the nation on a nightly basis. Our league doesn't
get the respect that it deserves," Roll said.
Scouting Taking Note – When the NHL's Central
Scouting Service released
its list of the top-35 skaters and five goaltender prospects
currently playing college hockey, the ECAC was well-represented.
forward Mitch Carefoot (15th), Brown's Ihnacak (19th), Yale
defenseman Shawn Mole (23rd), Colgate forwards Kyle Wilson
(25th) and Ryan Smyth (27th), Union forward Olivier Bouchard
(33rd) and Princeton forward Kevin Westgarth (34th). Four
Dartmouth players along with Ryan Maki of Harvard and Rensselaer's
Oren Eizenman earned "Limited Viewing" status
from Central Scouting but are at least at this point appearing
on the radar screen.
players are showing that the ECAC is as good a venue as
any to show pro potential. The outspoken Ihnacak, who hails
from Toronto, knew that the American college hockey route
was right for him and never even considered staying home
to play major junior in Canada.
have no respect for that league at all," Ihnacak said.
"When I was drafted in the ninth round of the bantam
draft and seeing guys who were drafted ahead of me that
aren't even in hockey anymore, that's all I needed to know
about how that league works."
Great Weekend Getaway
at Cornell (Fri.); Harvard at Cornell (Sat.)
Of course, Saturday's game is one of the
nation's best rivalries, and features one of the most
unique traditions in the sport when the Lynah Faithful
will shower the ice with fish of all sorts of shapes
and sizes, and possibly some stuffed animals as
is being requested by the university. Friday's
game means more in the early-season standings as league-leading
Brown comes calling. Will the Bears extend Cornell's
winless streak at Lynah Rink this year?
While you're there: Visit Collegetown Bagels while
in Ithaca and order a "Hornby in the Box."
The bagel shop honored Cornell senior forward Greg
Hornby with his name on a special blend of coffee.
Hornby didn't create the recipe, so it's not his fault
if the java doesn't suit your tastes.
raise our sticks toward a pair of goaltenders this
week. Dustin Traylen of Clarkson
became the first-ever Clarkson goalie to shut out
Harvard (31 saves) in the all-time series. That series
began in 1935, and the first Golden Knight shutout
came in the 88th meeting between the schools.
shutout streak was ended when Princeton's
Eric Leroux made 23 saves to lead the Tigers
to a 3-0 win over Yale. The last time Princeton blanked
Yale was 71 games and 35 years earlier (Feb. 17, 1968).
shutouts might not be good enough for St. Lawrence
goaltenders Mike McKenna and Kevin Ackley. The
Saints are having trouble scoring goals.
SLU has suffered back-to-back shutouts for the first
time in the program's history and are mired in a four-game
AT THE BOTTOM OF THE BAG
Dartmouth's 4-1-4 record is awkward to
look at, to say the least. Maybe all of the 65-minute draws
were in the cards after the Big Green didn't record a single
tie in ECAC play last year. The most recent deadlock came
on Saturday, when Mike Ouellette scored with 15 seconds
remaining to give Dartmouth a 2-2 tie at Boston University.
Three of the four ties have come on enemy ice.
not really ecstatic about ties, but under the circumstances,
playing on the road as much as we have and mustering up
the energy to really battle back and play hard and find
a way to score at the end of the game was quite good,"
Dartmouth head coach Bob Gaudet said.
In last week's combined notebook with my colleague
and Hockey East correspondent Nate Ewell, we previewed four
key games pairing ECAC and Hockey East schools. Including
Tuesday's games and those played on Thanksgiving weekend;
Hockey East schools posted a 4-2-2 record against ECAC programs.
For the season, ECAC squads are just 4-12-4 against Hockey
Brown's Yann Danis is making an early-season
bid to be strongly considered for the Hobey Baker Memorial
Award. Yann's most recent additions to his Hobey resume
include 108 saves on 110 shots in a 2-0-1 stretch. He blanked
Clarkson for his 11th career shutout (a school record) and
leads the nation in save percentage (97.5) and a 0.74 goals-against
It took Rensselaer four games to get their
first win of the year, but the Engineers used that 6-0 win
against Army to jump-start a 7-1-1 stretch. They'll have
a chance to improve upon their already fine 7-4-2 record
in the coming weeks with seven straight home games at Houston
Princeton's victory over Yale,
the Tigers' third of the season, matched their win total
from all of last year and surpassed its ECAC victory total
On the other side of things, Vermont fans,
players, and new coach Kevin Sneddon couldn't have expected
that the calendar would show the month of December and the
Catamounts would still be without a win. To UVM's credit,
they've played six of their 12 games against teams currently
appearing in the INCH Power Rankings, plus formerly ranked
Union and Boston University. Saturday they
meet the only other winless team in college hockey, 0-9-2
Clarkson sophomore defenseman Dale Good,
who had played in six of Clarkson's first 13 games, left
the Golden Knights and joined the St. Michael's Majors of
the Ontario Hockey League.
variety of sources were utilized in the compilation of this