fact: They're the highest ranked team in the league
and the regular-season champions, but Colgate likely won't
get an NCAA Tournament invite if they don't win the ECAC
Tournament this weekend.
Colgate wins: One of the maxims uttered over and
over again in the Colgate dressing room this season encouraged
playing on a high, flat line. That's what the Raiders did,
keeping things steady and consistent throughout the year.
The highs were never too high and the lows never were too
low. The Raiders have played close, low-scoring games for
most of the year which is good preparation for playoff time.
4 Dartmouth Record: 14-9-9 (10-5-7 ECAC)
Green fact: When Dan Yacey blanked Rensselaer over
the last two games of the quarterfinals, he doubled the
number of post-season shutouts in school history, which
stood at two entering this year. The last Dartmouth goalie
to shutout a playoff opponent was current head coach Bob
Gaudet, also against Rensselaer, on March 11, 1980.
Dartmouth wins: It's one of the immutable laws
of hockey: you need good goaltending to win in the playoffs.
All four teams playing in Albany this weekend have their
netminders playing at their best, but perhaps none more
than Dartmouth and Yacey. He made 65 saves in the Saturday
and Sunday contests. Also, the line of Tanner Glass, Nathan
Szymanski, and Eric Przepiorka has been a reliable alternate
scoring option to the main scoring trio of Lee Stempniak,
Hugh Jessiman, and Mike Ouellette.
Record: 16-14-3 (10-10-2 ECAC)
fact: This marks the fourth straight season that
Harvard has advanced to the league semifinals. It's a favorable
matchup in the opener, as Harvard is unbeaten in its last
eight games against Dartmouth, with six wins and two ties.
Harvard wins: It was a matter of when, rather than
if, Harvard could turn things around. The regular-season
was a real head-scratcher in Cambridge as great performances
were followed by clunkers. By returning to health, gaining
some team chemistry and confidence, the Crimson have advanced
to Albany, where everyone expected them to be at the beginning
of the year. Harvard's roster has the most playoff experience
of the four teams participating, and they'll need to draw
on that to pick up two wins.
9 Clarkson Record: 17-17-5 (8-12-2 ECAC)
Knight fact: The No. 9 seed in the ECAC tournament
has never advanced to the semifinals, until now. Clarkson
also becomes the first school to win back-to-back series
on the road in order to get to this point in the tournament.
Clarkson wins: Keep on keepin' on. The Golden Knights
have a ton of confidence and go into this weekend with the
right mix of goaltending and scoring. The injured shoulder
of freshman defenseman Matt Nickerson clouds the outlook
a bit for Clarkson, but this team has shown that it can
handle adverse circumstances.
Let's go ahead
and attach this label to Clarkson forward Mac Faulkner. He's a
gamer. After all, he's earned that label with his play over the
last two weekends.
three goals and added three assists in an opening-round playoff
series sweep at Union. (And was INCH's National Player of the
Week). In Sunday's series-clinching win at Cornell, he scored
a short-handed goal late in the second period and added an empty-netter
to seal the 5-1 win.
from King City, Ontario, has shown that he's one of those guys
who raises his level of play at this time of the year, and that's
what makes him a gamer. He talked to Inside College Hockey in
advance of his team's semifinal matchup against top-seeded Colgate
College Hockey: Let's talk about how you guys have grown as a
team this year. You were in a lot of one-goal games, and there
was a late losing streak, but you really put it together. With
a new coach and seven or eight freshmen in the lineup every night,
how hard was it?
Faulkner: There were a lot of growing pains. You could
see flashes of what we could be in games but it takes time. It
takes a team like Cornell years and years to build into the type
of system and a program like that. Our guys were always buying
into the system, and I felt that we had as much talent as anyone.
We were in a six-game losing streak but they were all one goal
losses or with empty-net goals. One bounce or one goal in those
games and we're 3-3 or 4-2 instead of losing all six. Once we
beat Brown at home and then went down and won at Colgate we knew
that we were starting to turn it around.
What's the mindset when you're going through a rough stretch like
that, and things start to go your way? You've had to go on the
road two weekends in a row.
It's not like it's us against the world, it's just us realizing
that it doesn't matter who is in our path. Nobody expects us to
win, but we have the confidence that if we prepare and do what
we need to do we can have success. Not much is going to change.
We know that if we don't come to play we'll have trouble, but
if we bring our best effort we can beat anybody.
And winning at Lynah Rink against the second seed, after losing
the first game, seems like a perfect example of that. I noticed
your excitement after getting that shorty to make it 2-0.
I personally think it's the toughest rink I've ever played
in, with some of the stuff their crowd does. I live with Dustin
Traylen and they were chanting his phone number, and they had
a sign with a picture of Mark Morris. You have a few personal
things that maybe you shouldn't say. It feels nice when you can
score a short-handed goal and skate by that section and hear how
quiet they are.
Speaking of coming into difficult circumstances, let's talk about
your coach, George Roll. It's no secret that things weren't going
so well for the program last year. How has his personality helped
The fact is that he's
so personable. There were a lot of mixed feelings about our
program coming in to this year, and the head coach is the face
of the program. Just the fact that he's so personable has helped
the community and helped Clarkson hockey. He's got a lot of people
past that. Mark Morris is a part of Clarkson hockey, but there's
a greater history and tradition, and coach is bringing the pride
back around the program.
There are a lot of forwards in this league that get more notoriety
than you do, despite your point production, and those are the
names that are probably going to be called when they announce
all-league honors at the banquet on Thursday. Do you think about
that at all?
We're committed to winning. The way that I see it is that there
are a lot of great players who aren't playing this weekend. Winning
an individual award is a great honor, but winning Albany is something
you can share with 25 other guys. If my name were not to be called,
I would think about it for maybe 15 seconds. I believe that with
the guys we have we can win the ECACs, and it will be something
that lasts a lot longer than 15 seconds.
It's spring break this week at Clarkson. How are things on campus?
Pretty much everyone is gone, so it's pretty slow up here.
But it's pretty slow in Potsdam even when there are people around.
You're right, it is, but we're still playing hockey and
that makes it a lot of fun.