with Colgate junior right wing Adam Mitchell last Friday, an assistant
captain on the red-hot Raider team, I found myself in a position
that I never expected to be in.
It was a little
awkward to conduct an interview in the Colgate athletic training
room, with a subject that was getting treatment in the cold tub,
nonetheless. But that wasn't the unexpected part of the night
I'm talking about.
question was something I hadn't really planned on asking anyone
around Colgate this year: You guys really think you can win this
thing, don't you?
a doubt," Mitchell answered. "I've thought all season
long that we have the talent, and we have the coaching. We have
to work on our discipline a little bit. It's wide open this year,
there's a lot of parity, that's for sure."
Mitchell (9-14—23) is one of four players with more
than 20 points for the Raiders. (Photo by Tim Sofranko,
a closer look at this issue. Why not Colgate?
there's nobody hotter in the ECAC right now. The Raiders snatched
the 'biggest surprise in the ECAC' tag away from Rensselaer, strangely
enough, coinciding with a win over RPI in the consolation of the
Engineers' holiday tournament. That win, on Dec. 29 at Houston
Fieldhouse, started a 6-1-1 run which includes four straight ECAC
As a coach
will do, Stan Moore doesn't want to get into the long-range ramifications
of back-to-back four-point weekends in the ECAC.
as the roll goes, we'll let the rest of the season play out and
see how it goes before I can comment on what kind of a roll we're
on," he said.
like anything, it's a process. We're not finished, the season
isn't finished yet, and it’s one step at a time. Don't look
at the shirt of your opponent, just play. That's what we're trying
to do, keep it simple and try to let our kids play. It's a process.
It's one step at a time."
the efforts of junior goaltender Steve Silverthorn, Colgate's
key to success has been balanced scoring throughout the lineup.
Getting goals was a concern for the Raiders prior to the start
of the season. Scooter Smith graduated and took 24 goals out of
players, especially sophomores Jon Smyth, Kyle Wilson, and Ryan
Smyth have risen to the occasion. Junior Darryl McKinnon scored
the game-winning goal with 1:39 to go against Dartmouth and freshman
defenseman Mike Campaner had two goals and two assists against
Vermont on Saturday.
who came into the season as the team's leading returning goal-scorer,
is fourth on the team in scoring with 23 points.
of the freshman from last year have really stepped up," he
said. "Jon Smyth has had a phenomenal season up to this point,
Kyle Wilson, and Ryan Smyth. A lot of the guys from last year
are really stepping up. Darryl’s having a great season.
It's coming from everywhere now. It's really good to see when
you're getting offense like that."
staff looked at structuring the line combinations such that there
was a clear-cut top line supported by three lines that could also
be dangerous on any given shift. Led by senior Kyle Doyle in between
Wilson and Ryan Smyth, things have gone according to plan. So
much so, that Colgate leads the ECAC in goals scored during conference
growing confidence, and steady goaltending. Maybe, it's not such
a far-fetched idea after all that the Raiders could be toting
the Cleary Cup at the end of the year.
AND HEARD IN THE ECAC
Honor – An NHL scout in attendance at last Friday's
Colgate-Dartmouth game was impressed by Grant Lewis, freshman
blueliner for the Big Green. I asked him about Hugh Jessiman,
mere hours after the Rangers acquired Jaromir Jagr.
got it all, everything you can ask for in a player. You wonder,
however, about his competitive level. He doesn't play hard every
game, or every shift, and he can't play up if he's going to be
like that. The Rangers already have plenty of guys like that."
How nice it
must have felt for Colgate's players and staff, and especially
draft-eligible sophomores Kyle Wilson and Ryan Smyth, knowing
that there was a prominent scouting presence in the building for
Friday's win against Dartmouth. Wilson (60th) and Smyth (234th)
were ranked among the top draft-eligible North American skaters
by the NHL's Central Scouting Service Mid-Season Rankings, but
the Dartmouth freshman defense tandem of Lewis (30th) and Rob
Jarvis (129th) seemed to be the main attractions.
Great Weekend Getaway
Colgate at Cornell (Fri.); Cornell at Colgate (Sat.)
Both teams are chasing first-place Brown and while
Colgate's the hottest team in the league right now, their
travel companions down in Ithaca have the Lynah Faithful
doing a little head scratching. A maddeningly inconsistent
Cornell team looks to get back on track and solidify its
place in the top-four of the ECAC standings.
While you're there: As INCH colleague James
Jahnke mentioned in his Atlantic Hockey/CHA notebook last
week, it's hard to go anywhere in upstate New York without
running into a nearby casino. If it were the first week
of July, rather than the first week of February, I'd recommend
the championship golf courses at the Turning Stone Casino
Resort. The gaming, entertainment, and dining make for an
enjoyable visit nonetheless. The resort is located off of
Exit 33 on the New York State Thruway.
• Princeton and Harvard return from an exam break
and the ECAC schedule returns to some sort of normalcy.
Nine of the 12 teams in the league have played 12 games,
which makes it much easier to make an assessment of the
While scanning the radio earlier this week, a top-40 station
threw "Macarena" into the mix.
Funny how music can transform you from the trials of navigating
snow-covered roads to the dance floor of a cousin's wedding
reception. "The Electric Slide" and "Bust
a Move" did not, however, make the playlist.
told me Wednesday that he was headed to the Beanpot Luncheon.
I headed to the Shovel a Foot of Snow out of My
Driveway Luncheon. We've been having those quite
regularly in central New York. Is that my penance for taking
a New Year's golf trip to Tampa? Oh yeah, It's still snowing.
AT THE BOTTOM OF THE BAG
head coach Kevin Sneddon landed his first recruit at Vermont
for the 2004-05 class with word this week that New England Prep
standout Torrey Mitchell from signed a National Letter of Intent
to play for the Catamounts. Mitchell, a 5-foot-11, 185-pound forward,
currently plays for the Hotchkiss School in Lakeville, Conn.,
where he leads the team in scoring with 15 goals and 21 assists
for 36 points in 15 games. Mitchell was recently rated 150th overall
among North American skaters by Central Scouting.
latest edition of the North Country rivalry went to St.
Lawrence. In front of a sold-out Appleton Arena, the
Saints defended home ice against Clarkson by
scoring four straight goals to build a 5-1 lead. Home games haven't
been the problem for SLU, with a 6-4-2 record. It's the 2-10-0
mark away from Appleton that's the concern.
returned to the win column, yet coach Nate Leaman wasn't entirely
pleased with how the Dutchmen went about it. Union beat Sacred
Heart 4-3 in overtime, as Jordan Webb capped a hat trick. It was
Union's first win since Nov. 15, breaking a 12-game winless skid.
trying to make cute plays instead of getting pucks out because
we were underestimating our opponent," Leaman told Ken Schott
of the Schenectady Daily Gazette. "I think the disturbing
part is the guys thought that they had it won when they came to
the rink, which is good and it’s bad. It’s good that
you have confidence. But it’s also bad because we didn’t
go out and do the little things, and it almost bit us. It probably
should have bit us."
back from exam break in a big way. First up, a game at first-place
Brown on Saturday. On Monday, the Crimson open
Beanpot play against Boston College, the number-two team in the
was an exhibition game, yet Princeton scored
five goals (a rare happening) in defeating the US Under-18s, 5-3.
Sharam Fouladgar-Mercer and Dustin Sproat scored twice each for
the Tigers. The Tigers scored five in a 5-5 tie with St.
Lawrence, and posted six against Guelph in an exhibition
game to start the year.
last 10 games this year, all of which are league games, will be
played against 10 different opponents.
Van Abel continues to be in and out of the Dartmouth
lineup with an ankle injury. He played Friday at Colgate,
a 3-1 loss, but sat out against Cornell on Saturday,
a 2-1 comeback win for the Big Green.
has two wins against first-place Brown. Those
four points may become a factor over the final month of the regular
season. Head-to-head results are the first tiebreaker when comparing
teams in the standings at the end of the year. The second tiebreaker
is record against the top-four teams in the league.
of sources were utilized in the compilation of this report.