Brian Van Abel will finish his career among the all-time leaders
in games played at Dartmouth College. He's been as steady as they
come over the last four seasons, which made a freak ankle injury
during a Sunday afternoon skate-around on Jan. 11 a real
concern for the Dartmouth defense corps.
a native of Lino Lakes, Minn., is the lone senior on the Big Green
blue line and is joined on a nightly basis by a combination of
five freshmen and sophomores.
occurred when Van Abel fell awkwardly into the boards and twisted
his ankle. On crutches, he watched a loss (along with more than
10,000 fans) to in-state rival New Hampshire at Manchester's Verizon
Wireless Arena. He also missed last Friday's 2-2 tie against Clarkson.
senior captain Brian Van Abel's status for games against Colgate
and Cornell this weekend is cloudy.
only two games in his previous three years for the Big Green.
Being an observer was difficult.
really tough to sit down and watch the games, especially our big
game against UNH. It would've been nice to play in that one,"
Van Abel returned
to the Dartmouth lineup on Saturday, and helped his team snap
a three-game winless streak with a 5-3 win over the Saints. His
return in that game doesn't mean that he's back in the lineup
is still bothersome for Van Abel, who said that he's not totally
healthy. He didn't practice this week, and could miss either the
Colgate or Cornell game this weekend.
Coach Bob Gaudet would be more at ease if his senior stalwart
were able to play. Van Abel's experience and ability are a big
reason why Dartmouth is in the hunt for the ECAC title.
AND HEARD IN THE ECAC
Checking In – Two bits of news from the league
office. ECAC hockey commissioner Phil Buttafuoco reports that
the league is very close to finishing a deal with Empire Sports
Network (Buffalo) and Comcast CN8 (New England) to broadcast select
post-season games in both the men's and women's conference tournaments.
league's membership committee is wasting little time as it seeks
to chart the future of the ECAC once Vermont departs for Hockey
East next season. The committee has already held four conference
calls, and during those calls has discussed the pros and cons
of becoming an 11-team conference once Vermont leaves, or whether
an expansion to 12 or more teams best suits the league's interests.
to the Man in the Pipes – Yale sophomore forward
Joe Zappala continued to light up the ECAC scoring charts with
a four-point night in the Bulldogs' 6-4 win over Connecticut on
Saturday. His big night included his second hat trick of the year,
his seventh game-winning goal (Yale has nine wins), and an assist.
Zappala and linemates Ryan Steeves and Jeff Hristovski accounted
for four of the six Yale goals.
named ECAC Player of the Week for the second week in a row, but
he's not the only reason for Yale's recent surge. Goalie Josh
Gartner, a sophomore classmate of Zappala, has nailed down the
number-one goalie role at Yale with a string of fine performances,
including a huge 29-save effort in a recent win against New Hampshire.
Gartner then stopped a season-high 39 shots against UConn.
had high praise for the goal-stopper.
played really well, and been very solid," Zappala said of
Gartner's play. "The one think I can say is when we're in
a spot where we need him to make a save he's there for us. He
makes the routine saves that he's expected to, and also makes
the big saves when we're under pressure."
Great Weekend Getaway
at Colgate (Fri.)
Dartmouth currently holds down one of the coveted
top-four spots in the league standings, with Colgate lurking
just two points back of the Big Green. These teams, along
with Vermont and Cornell, have played the fewest games in
the league to this point. The loser of Friday's game effectively
loses one of those games in hand, by missing out on two
While you're there: Look for Cornell coach
Mike Schafer among the observers at Starr Rink. He's got
the night off.
• Cornell head coach Mike Schafer literally
took one for the team with his R-rated officiating
rant following Saturday's loss to Rensselaer. He wasn't
happy about how his players were being treated and stood
up for them, but it will cost him his regular bench duties
for Friday's game against Vermont. The timing of the rant
was well calculated. It sent was a message of support for
his players, a volley at league referees, and perhaps a
rallying point for the Big Red as Cornell heads into this
weekend winless in three games.
to Paul Crosty, Brown's sophomore defenseman
from Edmonton. Crosty scored his first career collegiate
goal in his 57th game in a Brown uniform, as the Bears beat
Merrimack 6-2 on Tuesday night. It was Brown's first non
conference win of the year.
While covering a youth hockey tournament last weekend, I
was asked by a parent at a peewee game (12-year-old players)
if I was a scout. Minor hockey parents, please take
note: Your child will not play in the NHL. Also,
the refs (many of whom are teenagers) are doing the best
job that they possibly can and are not out to screw your
son or daughter's team.
AT THE BOTTOM OF THE BAG
checking the stats, can you identify the two leading point-producers
from the league in all games (combined ECAC and non-conference)
this season? The answer is at the bottom of the bag.
log jam in the middle of the ECAC standings,
an annual tradition, means that a four-point haul from a weekend
series in the league can drastically raise a team's standing.
When Colgate swept Rensselaer and Union last week it marked the
ninth time this year that an ECAC team had a perfect weekend in
surprisingly, Brown leads the way with three 'four-pointers'
and Yale has accomplished the feat twice. Cornell, Dartmouth,
Rensselaer, and the aforementioned Colgate sweep were the other
teams to get a pair of wins.
most swept opponents? The Yale-Princeton and Union-Rensselaer
weekends have been the most generous to opponents, with
six teams getting maximum points from those matchups (three each).
Clarkson and St. Lawrence were accommodating to opponents twice,
and the ninth such example was RPI's home-and-home sweep of Union.
junior goalie Steve Silverthorn has twice bettered his
heralded counterpart Yann Danis in head-to-head games.
Silverthorn has allowed one goal in each of Colgate's two wins
against Brown. By stopping 66 of 68 shots last weekend in a sweep
of RPI and Union, Silverthorn improved his season statistics with
a 1.93 goals-against average and a 92.7 save percentage. The Owen
Sound, Ontario native is the ECAC Goalie of the Week.
has won four of five games and hosts Sacred Heart on
Saturday to wrap up its non-conference schedule. Sacred Heart
visits Union on Friday. In other non-conference games this weekend,
Brown travels to Lowell to face the UMass Lowell River Hawks.
Lawrence snapped a 10-game road winless streak with a
win at Vermont. The Saints have been much better at Appleton Arena,
where they will put a three-game winning streak on the line Saturday
night against Clarkson.
answer to the earlier question. Not Zappala, nor Ihnacak, nor
Moulson, nor Jessiman. The Clarkson tandem of Mac Faulkner
and Chris Blight lead the way with 29 and 27 points respectively.
The Golden Knights have played 23 games.
of sources were utilized in the compilation of this report.