Breaking Down the 2017 ECAC Tournament

The ECAC quarterfinals are best of three series played at the home school of the top seeds. The semifinals and finals are single-elimination games played at the site of the conference’s regular season Champion, Clarkson, the following weekend.

ecac

For the first time in 20 years Harvard failed to qualify for the ECAC tournament. They’ve never missed the postseason in the NCAA era and last missed out in 1997. Replacing them from last year’s crop will be Yale.

The ECAC (as you can see above) largely broke down into six good teams, two mediocre teams and three to four bad ones. Harvard was a bit of an enigma as they came on late but a final game loss to Brown sealed their fate.

Unsurprisingly top seeds dominated their lower ranked opponents going 7-1-0 in conference play and outscoring them 29-11. Only Colgate managed a win from the bottom of the table against their opponent during the regular season.

ecac-matchups

Given the mismatches it would be unsurprising to see both St. Lawrence and Clarkson sweep their opponents, although both the Engineers and Bulldogs have a fair amount of pluck. It took three overtimes and an overall shot differential of 128-18 for the Bobcats to dispatch RPI in two games from the top seed last year.

After that it gets a little tricky. Colgate and Cornell split their regular season series but the Big Red finished 12-2-2 at home. Colgate, however, was fairly stalwart on the road massing an 11-5-1 record.

The book on Colgate this season was that almost every time they played a quality opponent, they got stomped. Against ranked teams they were 1-6-0 and had an appalling goal differential of 9-20. The Raiders will need to avoid the lapses that have plagued them all season while the Big Red need to hope Paula Voorheis doesn’t have one of her curiously bad runs in net. Voorheis’ save percentages in her four years: .928, .917, .915, .936.

Princeton – Quinnipiac is closer than it looks. The Tigers swept the season but the Bobcats are experts at slowing games to a crawl and stifling opponents with hard-pressing hockey.

ecac-vs-each-other

How did the tournament teams do against each other? Well it gets a little more lopsided. Clarkson dominated the field, and to a lesser extent, so did St. Lawrence. I think Princeton is the third-best team in the conference. Some injuries during the year forced them to play star defender Kelsey Koelzer at forward at times and Cornell has not impressed me. The Big Red are 5-5-3 away from home and rely heavily on six-foot goaltender Paula Voorheis.

What they need to do to advance:

  • Clarkson: Don’t take untimely penalties or lay an egg in net.
  • St. Lawrence: Play the solid, defensively sound game they’ve played all year and don’t give Yale any hope.
  • Cornell: Play well enough outside the crease that Voorheis doesn’t have to win games on her own.
  • Princeton: Don’t let Quinnipiac slow the game to a crawl.
  • Quinnipiac: Slow down Princeton, who can put up shots in massive numbers.
  • Colgate: Don’t lose focus on defense. In their final game against Clarkson the Golden Knights scored 3 goals on breakaways.  One 1 on 0, and two 2 on 0s.  One of the latter was on the penalty kill. That should never happen.
  • Yale: Find whatever it is that causes them to occasionally give top teams fits.
  • RPI: Get an all-star weekend out of goaltender Lovisa Selander.

Predictions:

  • Clarkson in 2
  • St. Lawrence in 2
  • Colgate in 3
  • Princeton in 3
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About Alex

I am awesome.
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