Vermont's departure could lead to more
changes in scheduling, membership
less than surprising jump to Hockey East became official
on Thursday and the ECAC is already in the process of sorting
out its future, which could include the eradication of the
league's familiar travel-partner scheduling system.
would be welcome news to some of the league coaches in the
area of scheduling. Due to the diversity of the member institutions
in the conference, teams face different scheduling needs.
Also, with a variance in exam periods between Princeton
and Harvard and schools operating under the traditional
two-semester system, the Tigers and Crimson won't be playing
games in the coming weeks. Those scheduling factors lead
to a large differential in games played through the first
three months of the season. As it currently stands, Cornell
and Colgate have played half as many games (six each) as
head coach Nate Leaman, a former assistant at Harvard, has
been on both sides of the issue.
league standings are deceiving," Leaman said. "I
know that when we played Princeton and Yale, it was their
10th and 11th league games, while we were just playing our
fifth and sixth games. When someone looks up the points
in our league coaches get kind of frustrated. We're not
sure what the solution is," Leaman said.
a limit of 29 regular-season games, that leaves just seven
non-league games for the Ivies, and in the case of a team
like Harvard, the bulk of those non-league games are easily
taken care of. Games against traditional regional rivals
Boston College and Boston University, plus two Beanpot games
and a holiday tournament consume six out of seven non-league
the non-Ivies, which play a 34-game regular-season schedule,
there are 12 spots in the schedule that must be filled.
Coaches are finding it increasingly difficult to fill those
gaps in the schedule. Upper-echelon teams are often reluctant
to travel, preferring revenue-generating home games. Games
against fledgling programs in College Hockey America or
Atlantic Hockey could negatively impact a team's strength
of schedule in computer rankings that help determine at-large
bids to the NCAA Tournament.
the impact of Vermont's departure will be among the topics
discussed throughout the season and at the annual coaches'
meetings in Naples, Fla., in April. Moving from a travel-partner
system to a weekend series system such as the ones in operation
in the CCHA and WCHA would give the ECAC programs greater
flexibility, which is a big perk considering the current
differences between the league membership.
the future of the conference is still cloudy at best. The
addition of new programs is possible, as hockey commissioner
Phil Buttafuoco stated in a Thursday conference call. A
membership committee comprised of five administrators from
current ECAC institutions will explore the available options
and the possibility of adding new members. Academic standards,
a commitment to top-level college hockey, and geography
are factors that the committee will consider.
vote at the NCAA Convention in Nashville, Tenn. regarding
Proposition 65-1, a waiver that would allow Division III
institutions to continue to offer athletic scholarships
to select sports that play at the Division I level, directly
affects Clarkson, Rensselaer and St. Lawrence. The outcome
of the vote will set in motion another chain of events regarding
AND HEARD IN THE ECAC
Bearing Down – Little did anyone know just
how deeply the Brown Bears would be affected by their failure
to hold a 3-1 lead in the third period of a Dec. 4 game
at Cornell. In that game, the Big Red scored a pair of third-period
goals and earned a valuable point in the ECAC standings.
20-minute stretch sent the teams toward the holidays in
came back the next night and wrestled its way to a 1-0 win
over Harvard, then won the Everblades College Classic for
the first time in program history by beating Notre Dame
and Ohio State.
left Lynah Rink and went to Colgate, where the Raiders put
six pucks past Yann Danis and chased the All-America candidate
midway through the third period. A trip to Grand Forks furthered
Brown's skid as the Bears fell in overtime to Wayne State
and tied Findlay.
are probably a million reasons why we weren't playing well
and I'm not sure that any of them matter. We got off course
from what makes us successful," Brown coach Roger Grillo
said of his team's December swoon. "With the parity
across the nation in college hockey you've got to bring
your A game as far as effort and intesity, and we weren't
being said, Brown rebounded with a weekend sweep of conference
foes at Rensselaer and Union last weekend. Nick Ringstad's
power-play goal with 6:44 left was the only goal in Friday's
win at RPI and turned momentum back in favor of the Bears.
fully came together for Brown with a 4-1 win at Union, which
completed the cycle started against Cornell one month earlier.
the first two periods at Cornell we competed hard and played
hard. Then we sat back a little bit in the third and that
kind of sent us on a little bit of a tailspin. We got a
little rattled," Grillo said. "We didn't turn
it around until this past Saturday at Union."
enters the weekend ranked 15th in the INCH Power Rankings,
while Cornell's recent hot streak has propelled the Big
Red into the top-10. Since Cornell has played five fewer
conference games than Brown, the Bears could effectively
negate the impact of one of those games in hand with a head-to-head
"up" take: These are not words one would
expect to hear from the head coach of a team that's lost
seven straight games: "I really like our team, and
we've played well in our last four games. In two of the
four we probably outplayed our opponent and the other two
were losses to highly-ranked teams," Union coach Nate
a team that was once 7-2-2 and resided in the INCH Power
Rankings, an eight-game winless streak has knocked Union
from the national conscience. Since Christmas, however,
Leaman's seen signs of life from the Dutchmen. Two losses
at the Badger Holiday Classic (8-1 to Wisconsin and 2-1
to UMass-Lowell) and defeats against Harvard (3-2) and Brown
(4-1) included encouraging signs.
players are persevering and learning lessons from mistakes
made primarily at the defensive end of the ice.
trying to find our way through this and we're staying together,
sticking together. When you're in a stretch like this, you
lose confidence and start trying to do other people's jobs,"
series against Rensselaer this weekend provides an opportunity
for Union to capture its first win since Nov. 15, a 5-1
victory over Vermont.
Great Weekend Getaway
at Brown (Fri.); Cornell at Brown (Sat.)
For once, Cornell's trip to Harvard is placed
on the back burner, as the team to beat right now
in the ECAC appears to be Brown. The teams tied 3-3
in their earlier meeting, and will take the ice at
Meehan Auditorium where the Bears have been tough
to beat over the last two years. Brown has an impressive
21-2-5 record over its last 28 home games.
While you're there: Anyone who's visited Providence
for Frozen Fours and NCAA Regionals knows that it's
a great spot for post-game refreshments. One of INCH's
favorite spots, Murphy's, is located downtown near
the Dunkin Donuts Center.
the Vermont team is stationed in last place in the
ECAC standings, the Catamounts are big winners in
the greater Burlington area when it comes to community
of the Vermont men's hockey team spent Wednesday afternoon
distributing teddy bears at a local hospital and nursing
home. The teddy bears were collected during the men's
hockey game vs. Connecticut on Dec. 20. Bears were
also donated to the Ronald McDonald House in Burlington.
on Dec. 31, the annual Skate With The Cats event raised
$570 for the Colchester/Milton Rotary Club's Holiday
Basket Project. The Vermont men's and women's hockey
teams skated with local fans from 6-8 p.m. on New
Year's Eve, and the crowd was reported to be the largest
in event history.
AT THE BOTTOM OF THE BAG
Yale picked up its first non-conference
win of the season in impressive fashion by knocking off
New Hampshire 3-2 at the Whittemore Center on Saturday night.
Yale sophomore Nate Jackson scored the game-winning goal
late in the second period. Senior Ryan Steeves scored a
short-handed goal, his third of the season, and has 12 points
in Yale's last 10 games.
Josh Gartner made 29 saves and earned high praise from coach
Tim Taylor. "Our goalie was a huge part of the win,"
Taylor said. "We created a lot of good scoring opportunities
and had a resilient defense but the key was Josh Gartner's
• Coaches never have it easy, but Clarkson
coach George Roll finally got a little break from
the rigors of managing every single shift when the Golden
Knights defeated Mercyhurst 8-2 on Saturday. "Our radio
guy told me that it was the first game all year we've scored
more than one goal in the first period, and it was definitely
nice to have a night where that happened," Roll said.
• The Golden Knights will be without
stalwart defenseman Matt Nickerson for Friday's game at
Yale, as he'll serve the mandatory one-game suspension following
his fighting penalty in Saturday's win over Mercyhurst.
• There were no ECAC players on the ice when the United
States captured its first-ever gold medal at the IIHF World
Junior Hockey Championship in Helsinki, Finland earlier
this week although Harvard defensman Dylan
Reese was a member of the team before an injury caused him
to miss the tournament. However, the conference will be
represented by four players, including two starters, at
the AHL All-Star Classic in Grand Rapids, Mich., on Feb.
Vermont standout Eric Perrin (Hershey Bears)
was named a starting forward for Team Canada, and ex-Cornell
goaltender David LeNeveu (Springfield Falcons) is also on
the roster. The Planet USA starting lineup features Bridgeport
Sound Tigers forward Jeff Hamilton, a Yale
standout during his collegiate days. He'll be joined by
Matt Murley, former Rensselaer Engineer
and current member of the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins.
• The Woonsocket Call reported this week
that Union will be among the schools taking
part in next year's Dunkin Donuts Coffee Pot tournament
at Providence. The Dutchmen will join Holy Cross, Merrimack,
and the host Providence Friars for the event.
• The athletic communications department at Brown
launched its Hobey Baker campaign for goaltender Yann Danis
this week. Visit www.yanndanis.com
for a comprehensive look at the All-American goaltender.
• I'm pleased to report that no humans were in danger
of being struck by errant golf shots last week on Tampa-area
courses. An abundance of trees, bunkers, and lakes adequately
protected other golfers from my wayward shots.
variety of sources were utilized in the compilation of this