Chaos in the ECAC

ECAC

Only the top 8 teams make the ECAC tournament so RPI, Union, and Brown have been eliminated. Dartmouth, Yale, and Colgate are eliminated from hosting a first round series.

The field for the 8 team ECAC Tournament at least is relatively set with Colgate staring down elimination, but what order they’ll be in could come down to the final date of the regular season.

And had Cornell not lost to Princeton on a late third period goal last Saturday and St. Lawrence not drawn with Union, there would be four teams at the top of the standings within one point of each other and five within three points.

If the ECAC tiebreaks on head-to-head matchups, Quinnipiac would be in second on their 1-0 win over Clarkson earlier in the year, but Clarkson has the goal differential advantage and, with their matchup against Harvard, can win the ECAC #1 seed by winning out.  Quinnipiac cannot.

So who emerges to take the #1 spot, and who takes home the four home spots for the first round?  Well if we had any sort of answer to that question, the standings probably wouldn’t look the way they do.

The numbers are the numbers, outlined above, and they paint pretty much the same picture as the standings.  Anyone in the top eight can beat anyone else on any given night and anyone in the bottom four can beat anyone in the middle four.  If this all sounds familiar, it’s probably because I wrote this piece a few weeks ago.  What’s changed?

Quinnipiac hasn’t looked good in a while.

At one point they were 20-1-3, the lone regulation loss coming against Harvard, and ties against Penn State, St. Lawrence, and Dartmouth.  Since then they’ve gone 2-4-0 and while it’s hard to fault them for all four of those losses coming against ranked teams, they don’t have a good win since their Nutmeg Classic win over Clarkson 3-1 in November.

Harvard has looked really good for a while

Harvard has taken the opposite path,k dropping in the rankings after an 0-2-2 stretch versus Clarkson, St. Lawrence, Boston University and Boston College.  Since then, 17-2-0, including the first defeat of Boston College this season and a nice Beanpot Trophy to go along with it.  Not even the biggest Clarkson homer alive (hello) can say that Harvard doesn’t look like the best team in the ECAC right now.

Clarkson has flown under the radar with a series of solid performances

The Golden Knights are on a 9-2-2 run with a loss to Wisconsin and, like Harvard, a puzzling loss to an inferior opponent in Yale.  Their 2-1 win over RPI was a little bit ugly, but Clarkson got themselves in some penalty trouble and Kelly O’Brien stood on her head in net stopping two breakaways.  The Knights are not particularly flashy, but they look like a team that’s gelling and can grind out wins against high profile opponents.

Clarkson tied Harvard in a span of about 3 minutes earlier in the year scoring goals at 19:24 of the second and 2:31 of the third to erase a 2-0 deficit.  Harvard got themselves into some penalty trouble that game giving Clarkson 5 power plays to their 1, and racking up 23 PIM on 6 penalties.

St. Lawrence learned the ECAC is a bit tougher than the CHA

The Saints looked good after they whomped Mercyhurst twice by a combined score of 10-2.  Since then, close calls against Yale and RPI, a loss to Clarkson and a draw to Union.  Now this isn’t the Union of years past who was a consensus last place team, but that’s still a game the Saints should win.  The Saints focus should probably shift to trying to pick off one of the top four for a home playoff series.

I don’t know what Cornell is doing

They’ve been swept by Princeton, blown out and tied Clarkson, beat and tied St. Lawrence, lost to Harvard, split with Quinnipiac, destroyed Boston University, gotten destroyed by Minnesota-Duluth, and tied Mercyhurst.

You start to think that, hey, Cornell is kind of good and then Harvard just wallops them.  (I watched that game, it didn’t look that close.)  And then ‘hey, they just beat Quinnipiac’…then they lose to Princeton.  (I watched that game too and Cornell looked about even with Princeton, an upper-mid tier ECAC team.)

So I don’t quite know what to make of Cornell.  I think in the end they’re a solid team that is often isn’t the best team on the ice but is especially good at capitalizing on opponents’ miscues.  So maybe when all is said and done 4th or 5th place is about right for them.

Revised predictions:

  1. Harvard
  2. Whoever wins the Clarkson – Quinnipiac game
  3. Whoever loses the Clarkson – Quinnipiac game
  4. St. Lawrence
  5. Cornell

 

 

 

 

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About Alex

I am awesome.
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