ECAC Hockey Report, 1996 January 15

For most of the current ECAC hockey season, the Vermont Catamounts have been undefeated, but unable to claim first place because the other leaders had played more games. This weekend, with St. Lawrence, Colgate, Clarkson and Cornell all playing outside the conference, UVM finally had the chance to convert their games in hand and claim the top spot. And convert them they did, with victories of 5-3 over Princeton and 4-3 over Yale. Also siezing the opportunity to gain ground were the Harvard Crimson, who registered a road sweep in the Capital District, blanking Union 2-0 and beating RPI 6-4. After being swept last week, and with two idle weekends coming up, those were four points the Crimson desperately needed. The weekend's other sweep occurred in an unlikely place: Hanover, New Hamphire, where Dartmouth downed Yale 4-3 and Princeton 3-2 to extend their winning streak to three straight after opening the ECAC season with six losses. Another Ivy League school looking to improve its lot, Brown, scored a three-point weekend on the road, besting Rensselaer 4-1 and tying Union at 2. In non-conference play, two of the ECAC's best took three of four from two of the better teams in Hockey East as Clarkson downed Maine 3-2 and Providence 5-4 and St. Lawrence beat the Friars 5-3 before being shut out 5-0 by the Black Bears. Meanwhile former ECAC squad Army provided an unlikely challenge for the other two top-sixers: they shocked Cornell 4-1 Friday before being edged 4-3 by Colgate. The Red Raiders had been pasted 10-5 a few days earlier by the UMass-Lowell Riverhawks of Hockey East.

Turning to the standings, preseason favorite and national top-ten team Vermont have finally claimed the lead, with 17 points in their nine games. The only blemish on the Catamounts' ECAC record is a tie at home against Cornell back in November. Last week's leaders, St. Lawrence, remain in second place with 15 points. Harvard also have fifteen points, but their claim to the number two spot should soon evaporate once the rest of the league catches up with their thirteen games played. Colgate are in fourth with 14 points in ten games. Clarkson and Cornell each have 13 points for the number five spot, but the Golden Knights have a game in hand over both Colgate and Cornell. In the bottom six, Brown creep closer to the leaders with 10 points in twelve games, while RPI hit the skids with 7 in ten. The Big Green of Dartmouth used their four-point weekend to climb out of the ECAC cellar all the way to an eighth-place tie with Union at 6 points. The three-game winning streak has also moved the boys from New Hamphire to third place in the Ivies with half their games played. Another Ivy school, Yale, also have 6 points in the ECAC, but they've taken a whopping twelve games to get there. Finally, Princeton Tigers have followed last year's 9-10-3 finish with a dismal 1-10-2 start to settle into the ECAC cellar.

Next week sees only limited ECAC play, but most of it will be significant. In the one full series next weekend, league-leading Vermont, along with Dartmouth, go to the North Country to take on second-place St. Lawrence and fifth-place Clarkson. Meanwhile, Colgate play their annual home-and-home series with Cornell Thursday and Saturday with several spots in the standings on the line. And in the other contest between travel partners, Union visit Rensselaer. With Princeton and Harvard idle for exams, the other two Ivy squads are on military maneuvers, Brown playing a pair at hapless Air Force and Yale visiting Merrimack before hosting Army.

With the ECAC hockey report, this is Joe P------k, Mr. Squishy sports.

Last Modified: 1996 January 15
Joe Schlobotnik /