It's been a few weeks since we've taken a look at the ECAC, so before getting into this weekend's action, I'll just mention a few of the Thanksgiving activities. Most ECAC teams spent the holiday engaged in non-conference play, with the highlight coming in the North Country, where the ECAC schools took three of four games from Hockey East squads. Clarkson managed a sweep, with victories of 6-3 over Boston College and 4-1 over Boston University, while St. Lawrence blanked BU 2-0 behind a 46-save performance by Jon Bracco before falling 6-4 to BC. The two losses dropped the Terriers from second to third in the Around the Rinks/US College Hockey Online poll. Meanwhile, the Vermont Catamounts lost their first non-conference game of the season, falling 8-6 to New Hampshire in the Governor's Cup tournament before rebounding to defeat UMass-Lowell 6-4 in the consolation. And league-leading Cornell faced their first non-league challenge of the year, falling 5-4 to Miami of Ohio. The loss to the #8 Redskins dropped the #9 Big Red out of the national top ten. And in the few league games that week, Yale topped Brown 4-3 in overtime and Princeton briefly gained first place with a 2-1 win over Harvard, only to fall a point back again when Cornell downed Colgate 3-1 three days later.
Turning now to this weekend's action, we saw a mass movement upwards by the middle of the ECAC pack, with RPI, Colgate, Harvard and St. Lawrence all posting three-point weekends. In southern New England, the Saints and Crimson skated to a 3-3 tie Friday before going on to defeat each other's travel partners Saturday, Harvard besting Clarkson 5-4 and St. Lawrence edging Brown in overtime by the same score. The Golden Knights managed to collect the other two points Friday with an 8-4 drubbing of Brown.
In Central New York, Colgate got their three points by downing Union 4-1 and tying Rensselaer 3-all with Rob Mara providing the tying goal with 31 seconds to play, while Cornell had a flashback to last December's Capital District series, once again falling to the Engineers (this time 4-2) and seeing the Skating Dutchmen force a tie in the last minute of play, this time at 3-3.
Princeton tied former travel partner Army at 4 in a non-league contest before winning their only ECAC game of the weekend, 4-3 over current travel partner Yale to close the one-point gap with Cornell once again. And in other non-conference action, Yale exploited BU's continuing scoring drought in a 1-1 tie Friday.
The standings after nine games show Cornell and Princeton in a dead heat at 13 points, although the pair must also look over their shoulders at an RPI team with 9 points and three games in hand. Colgate also weigh in with 9 points, and the fifth spot holds another team with games in hand, Clarkson. The Golden Knights, having played two fewer games, are almost within striking distance at 8 points. The Harvard Crimson also have 8 points on the season. Continuing the tightly-knit middle are the seventh place pair of St. Lawrence and Yale with 7 points a piece, the Saints also holding two games in hand. In the ninth spot we find Union with 5 points and three games in hand, while tied for tenth are Dartmouth and, bafflingly, Vermont, with only 4 points. Although both teams have losing records in the league, it's not as bad as it sounds, since the Cats and Green each have four games in hand. Finally, Brown are solidly in the cellar with only 3 points in a full complement of games.
As we head into winter break, the ECAC schedule slacks off, with Wednesday's Harvard-Union contest being the only conference action until the New Year. This weekend's non-conference action will see Princeton travel to Amherst the play UMass, with Dartmouth playing host to the Minutemen the following night. Beyond that, we get into the holiday tournaments. Princeton and Union will be in Maine the weekend of the 20th for the JC Penney Classic, where they will face one another in the first round. The following weekend sees seven ECAC teams participating in five tournaments, including the Rensselaer tournament, which will pair hosts RPI with Bowling Green of the CCHA and also feature Brown and Hockey East's UMass-Amherst, as well as the Syracuse Invitational, which pits the ECAC's two Central New York teams against a couple of Hockey East schools, Colgate facing Merrimack and Cornell taking on Providence in the semifinals. Dartmouth hosts the Auld Lang Syne classing the 30th and 31st, playing Mass-Lowell while St. Lawrence faces off with Northeastern.
Conference action resumes with a full slate of games the first weekend of the New Year; I'll be back then with all that action, as well as a report from Syracuse, next quarter. Until then, this is Joe Schlobotnik with the ECAC hockey report.