ECAC Hockey Report, 1996 February 26

On the next to last weekend of the ECAC hockey race, the five leaders refused to blink, as they all recorded two-game sweeps to remain within a scant 5 points of one another. Clarkson and St. Lawrence did the job against the rapidly receding sixth and seventh place teams, with the Saints knocking of Brown 4-1 and Harvard 5-4, while the Knights edged the Crimson 2-1 and the Bears 6-4. In the final home weekend in Central New York, Cornell and Colgate did their thing on RPI and Union; the Red Raiders were 5-1 winners over Rensselaer and 4-2 victors against Union, while the Big Red cleaned out Union 5-1 and RPI 5-0. Sophomore goalie Jason Elliot registered Cornell's first shutout in four years. League-leading Vermont had the other sweep, downing Yale 4-1 and Princeton 5-1, while their travel partners Dartmouth were not so fortunate, falling to Princeton 5-3 and scoring with two seconds left to salvage a 3-3 tie with the Elis.

With a mere two games left to play, the ECAC standings are still tight at the top and bottom. The top five teams, all assured of a preliminary-round bye in the playoffs, now jockey for position; at stake are home ice in the first round, awarded to the top four, and a guaranteed berth to the NCAA tournament for the top finisher. Vermont have clinched the former and hold the inside track for the latter with 33 points. St. Lawrence are right behind with 32, followed by Clarkson with 31, Cornell with 30 and Colgate with 28. With four games among those four teams this weekend, things could look very different in a week. In sixth place we find Harvard clinging to the last preliminary-round bye with 19 points, although Brown at 16 still have an outside chance to catch them. Moving to the bottom five, we find them even more tightly packed than the top five. Three of those five will qualify for the playoffs, and two will stay home. Going into the final weekend, we find RPI in eighth with 12 points, followed by Princeton with 11, Dartmouth with 10 and Union tied for eleventh with Yale at 9.

The upcoming climactic weekend of the ECAC race sees four huge contests in the North Country, as Cornell and Colgate visit Clarkson and St. Lawrence, while the struggle to make the playoffs plays itself out in the Capital District, where Rensselaer and Union host Yale and Princeton. Meanwhile, the two clubs in the middle, Harvard and Brown, face a representative from each class, travelling North to take on Dartmouth and Vermont.

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

Last Modified: 1996 February 26
Joe Schlobotnik /