ECAC Hockey Report, 1996 February 19

The ECAC race drew even closer this week as frontrunners St. Lawrence were shocked 8-7 at home by lowly Princeton just one night after annihilating Yale by a 10-1 margin. Meanwhile, third-place Clarkson had no such troubles, knocking off the Tigers 4-1 and the Elis 7-2. The Big Red of Cornell used four power play goals to defeat arch-rivals Harvard 5-4 and three straight goals by Kyle Knopp to come back from a 4-3 deficit and beat Brown 6-4, completing their Ivy League schedule with an unbeated 9-0-1 record. Cornell's travel partner Colgate also swept on the road, downing Brown 8-2 and edging Harvard 2-1. To the North, Vermont moved themselves into first place with a home sweep, taking out Union by a 4-1 score and holding off RPI 3-2, while Dartmouth managed a split, winning a 3-1 contest over Rensselaer before falling 3-2 to Union.

With a mere four games remaining, the ECAC race is tight as can be. The top four teams have now clinched the sixth place finish that guarantees a preliminary round bye, but no one has yet wrapped up the home playoff berth that comes with a fourth place or better finish. Vermont look to have the inside track for the regular season crown, with 29 points and the easiest remaining schedule of the leaders. Upstarts St. Lawrence are still only one point back at 28, but must now watch their collective back as their travel partner Clarkson trail them by only a point at 27. Another surprise team, Cornell, find themselves in fourth place at 26 points, and even the number two spot is not out of their grasp if they can pull of the Herculean task of a sweep of the Saints and Knights in their North Country road trip the last week of the season. But even the Red's hold on a home playoff berth is anything but secure with their travel partner Colgate a mere two points back at 24. In sixth place we find the Harvard Crimson nearly out of reach of home ice after being swept. They have 19 points and probably the toughest remaining schedule, with Clarkson, St. Lawrence and Vermont still to come. Harvard's sole comfort is that with seventh place Brown at 16 points and facing the same schedule, they should be able to hold sixth. Moving futher into the lower division, defending ECAC champions RPI find themselves in a sorry state at 12 points, while the trio of ninth place squads, Union, Dartmouth and Princeton, hope to add enough to their 9 points each to make the playoff cut at tenth place. Right behind them are Yale, who look to add to their 8 points and climb out of the ECAC cellar.

Turning to the schedule for the ECAC's penultimate weekend, Harvard and Brown once again host a pair of playoff-bound teams, with Clarkson and St. Lawrence coming to town. The other leaders look to convert some workmanlike points, with Cornell and Colgate hosting Union and RPI, while Vermont takes Dartmouth along for the ride at Yale and Princeton. Empire Sports Network of Buffalo, who had the good fortune to televise Princeton's upset of St. Lawrence last weekend will close out their ECAC Game of the Week with Saturday's RPI-Cornell game.

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

Last Modified: 1996 February 18
Joe Schlobotnik /