March 21, 2014
ECAC Journal: Bobcats the lone New England team still alive
By Dan Guttenplan
The return of Jordan Samuels-Thomas (Hartford, Conn.) has the
Quinnipiac Bobcats looking good heading into the ECAC semifinals
Friday. (Quinnipiac Athletics)
Championship weekend for the ECAC Hockey tournament returns to
Lake Placid, N.Y., for the first time since 2002. The semifinals,
which include the top four seeds for the second time in the last
three years, will be played Friday, March 21, with the championship
game set for Saturday at 7:30 p.m.
Friday’s early game pits fourth-seeded Cornell against
top-seeded Union, a squad looking for its third consecutive
Whitelaw Cup. Cornell returns to the semifinals for the eighth time
in the last 10 years. Last year’s Big Red fell short of the
semifinals, falling the second round of the playoffs.
“We’re looking forward to being back to a final-four
team,” Schafer said in a press conference Tuesday. “Not
getting there last year was a wake-up call.”
On the other hand, Union is as hot as any team in Division 1,
and the Dutchmen can make a case for having one of the
nation’s top programs over the last three seasons.
Union’s 11-game unbeaten streak is tied with Minnesota for
the best active run in the country. Senior captain Daniel Carr
recorded his third 20-goal season of his career this season, and he
has seven in the last five games.
“He was the difference-maker against Dartmouth (last
weekend),” Union coach Rick Bennett said. “He’s
embraced a leadership role.”
In the late game Friday, second-seeded Colgate will continue its
surprising season with a matchup against third-seeded Quinnipiac.
The Bobcats lost to Brown 4-0 last year in the semifinals at
Atlantic City, N.J., so they’re hoping a change of venue
brings better results.
Quinnipiac received a boost from the return of forward Jordan
Samuels-Thomas (Hartford, Conn.) from injury last weekend.
Samuels-Thomas missed six games, and the Bobcats went 1-4-1 during
that stretch. His return last weekend gave the Bobcats three solid
“That one extra kid makes us deeper,” Quinnipiac
coach Rand Pecknold said.
Colgate was picked by many to finish in the bottom third of the
ECAC Hockey standings this season, but has surpassed expectations
due to the playoff freshman goaltender Charlie Finn, who earned the
starting job over Christmas vacation. No ECAC Hockey team besides
Union has posted a better record in 2014 than Colgate.
“We knew what we had (in Finn),” Colgate coach Don
Vaughan said. “With any player, there’s an adjustment
period, especially a goalie.”
All games in Lake Placid, N.Y.
Friday, March 21
Semifinal Game 1: Union vs. Cornell, 4 p.m.
Semifinal Game 2: Colgate vs. Quinnipiac, 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, March 22
Championship: 7:30 p.m.
Friday, March 21
Union 4, Cornell 0 – The Dutchmen run their unbeaten
streak to 12 games.
Colgate 4, Quinnipiac 1 – The Raiders punch their NCAA
tournament ticket with this win.
Saturday, March 22
Union 3, Colgate 0 – The Dutchmen will close out a
dominant ECAC Hockey season without allowing a goal in Lake
Player of the Week
Darcy Murphy, Colgate University
Murphy became the fourth Raider this season to register a hat
trick with three goals in a 4-3 win over St. Lawrence on Saturday.
Two of the three goals were power-play goals as he took the lead on
the team in that category with seven goals on the power-play.
ECAC Hockey Rankings
- Union (26-6-4; 18-3-1): The Dutchmen are
looking at a potential No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament, as they
are currently riding an 11-game unbeaten streak. Still, with
everything they have accomplished over the last three seasons, an
NCAA title is the only goal.
- Colgate (19-12-5; 13-6-3): The Raiders
are ranked 15th in the PairWise, so they’ll likely need a
victory over Quinnipiac in the ECAC Hockey semifinals to assure
themselves of an NCAA tournament berth.
- Quinnipiac (24-8-6; 12-6-4): The Bobcats
achieved some level of redemption over the weekend with a series
sweep of Yale in the ECAC Hockey quarterfinals. In a way, the sweep
avenges Quinnipiac’s loss to the Bulldogs in last
year’s national championship game, although the stakes were
much higher last April. Either way, Quinnipiac effectively ended
Yale’s national-title defense.
- Cornell (17-9-5; 11-7-4): Sitting at No.
16 in the PairWise rankings, the Big Red likely need two wins this
weekend at Lake Placid on the final weekend of the ECAC Hockey
tournament to secure an NCAA tournament berth.
- Yale (17-11-5; 10-8-4): The Elis entered
last weekend ranked 17th in the PairWise. After falling
to Quinnipiac in back-to-back games, they likely played their final
game in their national title defense. They allowed five goals each
in consecutive games for the first time since 2008.
- Clarkson (21-17-4, 11-9-2): The Golden
Knights had their best season in six years, but they’ll
likely remember the disappointing finish in Game 3 of the ECAC
Hockey quarterfinals – an overtime loss to Cornell. Clarkson
captain Ben Sexton is a finalist for the league’s Best
Defensive Forward Award.
- Dartmouth (10-20-4,
7-13-2): The Big Green can be proud
of their ECAC Hockey tournament performance after an otherwise
disappointing season. Although they were swept by Union last
weekend in the quarterfinals, they snapped Union’s four-game
shutout streak and played well enough to win both nights.
- RPI (15-16-6; 8-9-5): The Engineers lost
two forwards – sophomore Mike Zalewski and junior Ryan
Haggerty (Stamford, Conn.) – to the pro ranks last week.
- St. Lawrence (15-19-4; 7-11-4): Saints
freshman Gavin Bayreuther is a finalist for the ECAC Hockey Rookie
of the Year Award, after a season in which he ranked first
nationally for scoring among defensemen with 35 points. The Canaan,
N.H., native led all freshmen in the nation with 22 power-play
- Brown (11-17-3; 8-13-1): The Bears went
out with a whimper, failing to earn a single point over the final
weekend of the regular season and the first round of the ECAC
tournament. It’s disappointing for a team that played in the
conference championship game last season.
- Harvard (10-17-4, 6-12-4): The Crimson fell in
the first round of the ECAC Hockey tournament for the second year
in a row, and this time was particularly painful as it came at the
hands of Ivy League rival Yale in a sweep. The Harvard coaching
staff will have a difficult time recruiting against Yale in the
next 12 months, considering Yale’s program is leaps and
bounds ahead of Harvard at the moment.
- Princeton (6-26-0, 4-18-0): The Tigers were
4-24-0 against teams not named Dartmouth.