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Players of the Week

Player of the week: Chase Polacek, RPI

No stranger to the spotlight, Polacek scored twice – including the game-winner – in Friday’s tight win over Harvard, and added another GWG (this one on the power play) and an assist in Saturday’s romp over Dartmouth. The senior is now second in the league in conference points-per-game (1.42), and tied for third in league goals/game (7). Polacek is riding high right now, on a five-game point streak in which he’s tallied five goals and four assists.

Honorable mention: Chris Cahill, Yale (2-3-5, +3 vs. Clarkson and St. Lawrence); Tyler Roeszler, Cornell (3-1-4, +2 in two games vs. Colgate);

Rookie of the week: Kenny Agostino, Yale

The exceptional rookie on an exceptional team, Agostino earned his honor this week by virtue of his three goals and +2 rating against Clarkson and St. Lawrence. His goal with 11:16 remaining on Friday proved to be the game-winner over the Golden Knights, and he also notched the game’s (and Bulldogs’) first and third goals in Saturday’s 4-1 cruise. Now with 15 points overall, Agostino has out-scored the rest of his Yale classmates, combined (9).

Honorable mention: Brock Higgs, RPI (1-2-3 vs. Harvard and Dartmouth)

Goalie of the week: Mike Clemente, Brown

The Bears didn’t sweep the weekend, but that was hardly Clemente’s fault: The junior netminder stopped 59 of 62 shots against the North Country visitors. Friday night’s 2-1 win over SLU was a true goaltender battle, with Clemente besting Matt Weninger with 25 saves on 26 shots on goal; on Saturday, Bruno’s backstop made 34 saves, but Brown fell 3-1 with an empty-net goal against as well. Clemente has saved 90.7 percent of league shots so far, with a 2.84 goals-against average.

Honorable mention: Ryan Rondeau, Yale (3 goals against, 49 saves vs. Clarkson and St. Lawrence); Mike Garman, Cornell (1 goal against, 24 saves at Colgate); James Mello, Dartmouth (5 goals against, 60 saves at Union and Rensselaer); Keith Kinkaid, Union (4 goals against, 54 saves vs. Dartmouth and Harvard); Ryan Carroll, Harvard (2 goals against, 40 saves at Union)

Odds-making: over/under

A quick look at who might be over-rated, and who might be under-rated in ECAC Hockey at this point: I primarily looked at goal differential, and outcomes in one-goal games. Please keep in mind that these are just loose observations and projections, based on statistical precedent, and do not take into account injuries, momentum, strength-of-schedule, etc.

So please don’t kill me.

[EDIT: here is a research-based feature I wrote last year regarding the interpretation of one-goal games.]

Under-rated?

I have come to the conclusion that the league’s most undervalued team right now is Cornell: the Big Red are 3-6-2 (.364) in one-goal games, compared to a .474 overall winning percentage. That’s a considerable difference in performance, and combined with the fact that the Red are +6 in ECAC goal differential (and +2 overall), I am led to believe that Cornell is the most likely team to make a jump in the standings in the coming weeks.

Princeton is probably better than its record as well, and even though the Tigers have a winning record, they are likely a game or two better than their results indicate. Princeton is an even 5-5-1 in one-goal games, +16 in league differential, +18 overall, and have an overall winning percentage of .639 that is being dragged down by the outcomes of their tight games. If the Garden State growlers keep playing as they have been so far, they’re likely a top-three team come March.

If it weren’t for bad luck – as the saying goes – Colgate would have no luck at all: With a .167 winning percentage for the year, the Raiders are an even-worse .125 (1-13-2) in one-goal outcomes. I’m not saying that the ‘Gate should be leaps and bounds beyond where it is now, but another win or two above its current pace sounds about right.

The Saints, 2-5-4 (.364) in one-goalers and .391 overall, are probably in the same boat as Colgate: They’re probably good for a couple more wins in the second half than they had in the first.

And how’s this for a surprise? Yale, by my estimation, is probably slightly better than they already are! At only 3-2-0 (.600) in one-goal games, the Bulldogs are winning at a 89.5 percent clip overall. If the spring mimics the fall as far as the frequency of tight contests, the Blue may well be due an even better second half than first.

Over-rated?

As much as I hate to say it, the league probably has a couple over-achieving teams as well. Clarkson stands out, with its gaudy 5-1-2 (.750) record in one-goal games, as well as its -10 (ECAC)/-6 (overall) differential. At a .565 overall winning percentage, ‘Tech perhaps isn’t quite the dark horse some are making it out to be.

The Bobcats have generated a lot of interest, especially since sweeping Nebraska-Omaha to open the new year… but the numbers to date indicate a team that has probably peaked, as far as the standings go. At 5-3-4 (.583) in tight games and .474 overall, QU is succeeding beyond expectations, and isn’t scoring enough to back up those numbers (-6/-7).

Brown, at .583/.474 (one-goal vs. overall), shares a predicted fate with Quinnipiac: Too much luck in close contests, not enough scoring (-6/-7) to compensate.

Finally, the unexpected of the over-achievers: Union, at 8-3-3 (.679), is rocking in one-goal games, but at .673 overall, I’d bet that the Dutchmen are overdue for a little bit of bad luck in this semester’s nail-biters.

Jury’s out

A few teams seem to be right where they ought to be, statistically speaking: Dartmouth, Harvard and RPI may well be who their records say they are.

The Big Green may be slightly over-achieving (.625 in one-goal games, .632 overall), but its +16 league goal differential says otherwise. Dartmouth is looking good for a first-round bye, so far.

Harvard might not have bad luck as an excuse for their sorry season, as the Crimson are winning more close games (2-7-0, .222) than their remainder (.167).

The Engineers are churning along at .688 overall, and with a nail-biter record of 8-5-3 (.594), they look to be on pace for a bye as well, should they keep up the good work.

My Top 20

1. Yale
2. Boston College
3. North Dakota
4. Minnesota-Duluth
5. Denver
6. Nebraska-Omaha
7. Wisconsin
8. Union
9. New Hampshire
10. Michigan
11. Notre Dame
12. Miami
13. Merrimack
14. Maine
15. Alaska
16. Colorado College
17. Rensselaer
18. Western Michigan
19. Dartmouth
20. Boston University

  • Zekebud

    I’m a biased poster, but Clarkson having a -10 ECAC isn’t nearly as bad as it appears. Remove the 6-1 loss verses Cornell and an 8-1 loss against Union, and the Knights become +2 for the year.

    Obviously blowout losses aren’t encouraging, but after watching Clarkson all year, I do not believe that these games are the norm. The miserable play of the past two years honestly seems behind the Knights, and I really think they have a strong shot at being a top-3 ECAC team at the end of the season.

    • HellzCowbells

      I’m with Zekebud and his Clarkson optimism. Sullivan forgot to mention that Clarkson gave Yale a hell of a game on away ice. RPI and Union didn’t give Yale half the battle that Clarkson did. Will Clarkson realistically finish in the top three? Probability not, but this years team isn’t afraid of taking the hard road to the finals.

      Drew has it right, good teams win one goal games, bad teams loose them.

  • Hockeyreferee23

    How does the ECAC staff writer only put 2 ECAC teams in the top 16, when they are very arguably the second best conference this year?

    • So you think the ECAC is better than the Hockey East and the CCHA and second to the WCHA?

      • Skennys2145

        Why don’t you keep your posts/opinions confined to the WCHA blogs, where the I.Q. level is a tad more appropiate?

        • I will post where ever I want to post. I would still like to know some think that the ECAC is the second best conference in College Hockey instead of acting like a jerk why don’t you answer the question… It was a legitimate question, I wasn’t trolling or trying to be a jerk. I think it’s funny how ECAC fans get defensive when fans of other conference challenge them…

          • Guest

            I don’t understand why there are so many UND fans reading the ECAC articles when you all think the league is crap? Don’t you have anything better to do?

          • We can read and comment where ever we want. I don’t know why that is an issue.

      • Guest

        BTW, the Hockey East writer just posted something about how they have reason to be concerned this year about their turnout in the rankings compared to the ECAC. If HE is conceding that the ECAC is having a better year than they are, maybe you could try it on for size…

        • Oh so one writer for Hockey East wrote that? So What? That’s one writer from USCHO… Last time I look B.C. is probably one of the better teams in the country along with UND. UNH is doing pretty well so far… Lot of hockey left.

  • Drew

    Regarding Clarkson, last year they lost 11 one goal games and won 5 only. Good teams win 1 goal games bad teams lose them.

  • sW24

    Are you kidding me? Michigan at #10? Have you seen them play even once this season? They are easily a top 5 team with a serious chance at winning it all this year. No chance that Union is a better team or deserving of a higher ranking than the Maize n Blue. Come on….

  • sW24

    Here’s a question I’d like to throw out there to the ECAC regulars: What do you think about the caliber of officiating in league games that you have seen over the course of this season?

    • Guest

      LOL

    • Css228

      Admittedly I’m a member of the Lynah Faithful, but the Big Red have been screwed by officials this season. I have seen at least 4 disallowed goals in tight games (including one that would have tied the Yale game at 3) and have heard no explanation as to why these calls went the other way. That and I’ve seen officials getting in the way of the flow of play and officials missing blatant calls on both teams. ECAC refs suck.

      • HellzCowbells

        Clarkson has had at least four called back goals… just at home. One was against Minn-Deluth, which was a big game. Overall, nobody ever likes the refs, (ask RPI) and I’d say they are just as awful this year as ever.

        • mtsyankee

          oh man don’t get me going on the refs….terrible in the ECAC this year, absolutey terrible…and it hurts, especially as a RPI fan, the ridiculous amount of invalid penalites called against them…some are warranted, but not most of them… they must have some vendetta against RPI…especially that ref MURPHY!!!

    • FD8

      I’ve (RPI fan) chewed out the refs after a game this year when they were going into the tunnel. Here’s the sad part: we had won the game.

  • mtsyankee

    Not sure how you can put RPI all the way down at 17th when they’re 7th in the pairwise and top 11 in every other poll…i mean opinion is opinion…but ECAC definitely up with Hockey East and CCHA now…progress being made on the WCHA each year…I mean, thats what happens when schools in ECAC with higher standards require a better GPA from their recruitments, tough to put out great teams every year, but that’s changing
    ……as a whole, division 1 is very even across the board this year…wish there were more opportunities for Eastern teams to face Western teams…so, really can’t compare leagues at this point…but with the spanking Yale put on Colorado earlier this year and with RPI crusing against BU..not to mention Dartmouth beating UNH, and the U beating Minn…and with the success of teams like RIT against western teams in the tourney last year, there’s no longer an elite conference….Yale is gonna make mince meat out of the western teams in the tourney this year

    • Guest

      I was confused by the ranking of RPI also…did the writer go to Union?

  • Css228

    Also I think Roezsy’s hat trick was a bit of karma for Colgate flipping a puck into Dryden’s jersey.

  • Css228

    Yeah last night Cornell had a goal that would have given them a 3-2 win disallowed because the light came on early… second time thats happened to us this year

  • FD8

    How much further down you going to push us this week?

  • merrimack gets an early lead and watch out their wide open style will make them tough to come back on
    GO EAGLES

  • Lefty

    righty, WCHA teams have won it 6 of 10 in the last 10 years……Not a good comment!

    • Duane Glass

      Ya got a math error there, Lefty. It’s 6 in 11, not 10.

      The WCHA had a great five-year run from 2002-2006. Five for five. BUT, since then your league has gone zip for four and only gotten a team into the championship game once — last year.

      Before the great five-year run, there wasn’t any dominance. The nineties were almost all Hockey East and the CCHA. The WCHA won in 1997 and 1990 and other than the vacated runner up in 1992 only got to the championship game in 1996.

      So we’ll give the WCHA a great five-year run. But not so much before and certainly not since.

      Compare that to Hockey East getting a team to the championship game all but once in the last 14 years and all but twice in the last 18. Now that’s sustained excellence.

      • whocares

        UND also won the title in 2000 in addition to the 1997 title you mentioned

      • guest

        HAHA, and boom goes the dynamite…well played sir, well played

      • guest

        No collegiate conference – in any sport – can top the impressive list of national scale accomplishments of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association and its member teams. Since 1951, teams representing the men’s WCHA have earned a record 36 NCAA Frozen Four (national) championships, finished as the runner-up another 27 times, and qualified for at least one berth in the Men’s Frozen Four in 54 of 58 seasons overall. NOW THAT IS SUSTAINED EXCELLENCE

        • BobW

          WCHA dominance is in the past. Not only has Hockey East won the last three championships, but BC has clearly dominated the hockey scene for the last 10 years with 3 national championships, having played in the championship game 4 out of the last 5 years.

          • nutmeg

            3 titles in 10 years?? I think to need to research that a little. Did you take math at one of those fine Boston schools? Still no dog in this fight.

          • James

            2001, 2008, 2010. That equals 3 titles. 2001 to 2011 equals 10 years. I am not too sure what you are questioning here. Also, I am not sure who would argue that Boston schools aren’t among the best in the country. Although BC isn’t necessarily known for math, I find no flaws here. If you are saying that 3 titles in 10 years isn’t impressive, I would say you are wrong. Although a number of teams have done it before, each team that has done it has been dominant in that time.

          • Where Eagles Dare

            what’s more impressive is that BC has been in 9 out of the last 13 Frozen Fours, with 7 appearances in the Finals. DOMINANCE!

            quite simply, York knows how to get the most out of the talent, unlike UNH, etc.

          • Charles

            What’s really amazing is that they’ve managed to do it without cheating (probably). I’m talking to you Maine and Northeastern. In the past 20 years, either BU or BC has been the national champion or runner up 12 times. BU hadthe 90’s (6 frozen four appearances although they only had 1 championship to show for it and 3 time runners up) and BC dominated 2000-2010 (7 frozen four appearances with 3 titles and 3 time runners up).

  • Lefty

    Your right, 11 years….8 times WCHA was in Championship game. Just a response to righty about H.E. winning every year.

  • Frattin

    Just curious how Yale got the number one overall seed when they didn’t even win there conference.

    • Duh!

      Conference records are not what is looked at. Overall record is what’s important. Yale had a better overall record than Union.

  • VermontfaninNY

    Keep in mind this year the ECAC tied Hockey East in head to head and had a better record against the Western Conferences. To me that means they were the better conference this year, although this is the exception not the rule.

  • Putzigle

    East Regional will stink – top to bottom. Selection committee put a garbage bracket in Bridgeport for the second straight time. One Atlantic and two from ECAC.
    C’mon, give me a break and put REAL quality teams in here. Staying awake for this bracket will be a challenge!

  • Where Eagles Dare
  • Where Eagles Dare

    Tell me if I’m wrong…Since Jerry York got BC back to prominence in the late 90’s, Hockey East has also flourished. In the 13 Frozen Fours since 1998 (that would be a possibility of 52 teams total in those FF’s), HE has sent 21 teams, WCHA 16, CCHA 12, ECAC 2, and Atlantic 1.

    na, na, na, nnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnuff said !!!

  • Where Eagles Dare

    wait a minute…a HE team has been in the Final 13 out of the past 14 years…the only big down year was 2005, when no HE team made the Frozen Four. Otherwise, it’s a great streak !!!