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Here it is, one of the last ECAC Hockey blogs of the season, as the final foursome prepare for battle on the Boardwalk. Here are some of my last thoughts on the matter!

Final picks

Friday, March 18

Colgate vs. Yale – 4:30

The Raiders have been riding hot, but will it be enough to get past Big Blue? St. Lawrence put a scare into the Bulldogs last Friday, but Yale made quick work of that upset-in-the-making with a 9-2 aggregate over the final two games. Colgate has been playing well on the power play, which is bolstering an offense that seemed utterly hopeless only three weeks back; if they are to have any hope against Yale, the Raiders will have to force the Bulldogs into penalties – and be sure to convert on the opportunities. Not sure I see it in the stars: Yale wins, 5-3.

Cornell vs. Darmouth – approx. 7:30

Iles or Garman? Explosive Big Green offense, or shut-down D with a heavy dash of Mello? So many questions, so few answers here on a pensive Thursday night. I think Cornell will bring the heat, and Dartmouth will have to squirm and slam for every inch of ice against the Big Red. The loser’s season is likely over (though you should mess with the PairWise Predictor to double-check), so this is no chess match… it’ll be a slug-fest. I think that Dartmouth has shown far better consistency – both in the regular season and into the playoffs – but these are very evenly matched teams, so it’s impossible to call with any real confidence. For now, I’m feeling Dartmouth’s balance, depth and consistency over Cornell’s hot hand: 3-2 Green.

Saturday, March 19

… what, you think I’m going to predict matchups that may not even happen, all blase-like? This is important, people! Check back Saturday morning for my picks, based on what I’ve seen on Friday (and all season long).

Final accolades

Chase Polacek became only the third player in the 50-year history of the league to win Most Outstanding Player in consecutive seasons (RPI’s Bob Brinkworth and Harvard’s Scott Fusco were the others). He accomplished this feat by leading the league in scoring for the second year in a row, oddly enough, and is still in contention for the Hobey Baker Award for the second year running, to boot.

Playing behind the best defense in the country – and indubitably helping get it there – was ECAC Hockey’s Ken Dryden Award winner for goalie of the year, Union sophomore Keith Kinkaid. He led the league in ECAC winning percentage (at 17-3-2, for a .818 win rate), set a single-season program record for wins (25), and now trails only Kris Mayotte’s (2002-06) 46 career victories in the Union recordbooks with 37.

Neuroscience and pre-med major and economics minor Stephane Boileau won the conference’s Student-Athlete of the Year award, pulling a 3.89 GPA at Union College. A Dean’s List member every semester, Boileau even found time to score 77 points in his 135-game career so far.

Princeton’s Andrew Calof won the league’s Rookie of the Year honor by virtue of his class-leading 23 points, league-leading three shorthanded goals, and 11 power-play points.

In an award I admit that I’ve never quite understood, Union senior Adam Presizniuk was honored as the league’s top defensive forward. A special-teams rock star, first-liner, and faceoff specialist, Presizniuk also finished the season with 29 points and a plus-seven +/- rating.

Leading the league in +/- was teammate and captain Brock Matheson, whose plus-19 practically pales in comparison to his overall rating of plus-25. A major presence in every aspect of Union’s game, Matheson also contributed with 10 points and endured only seven negative +/- outings all season.

To wrap up the justifiable Schenectady love-fest, head coach Nate Leaman garnered Coach of the Year honors for guiding the Dutchmen to their first-ever Cleary Cup and a D-I program-record 17 league wins and 25 overall victories.

Congratulations to all the winners; hopefully the honorees won’t be tempted to rest on their laurels.

Optimistic?

The NCAA has announced that a “limited” (interpret that as you like) number of tickets for the Frozen Four will be released on Monday, March 21.

If you’re out in the State of Hockey, you can buy tickets in person at the Xcel Energy Center box office starting at 11 a.m. (Eastern). For the rest of us, phone and online sales are available beginning at noon (also Eastern) by calling 800-745-3000 or by visiting the Ticketmaster website.

Nearly final ballot

Yeah, this was submitted on Monday, but it wasn’t published. So here, enjoy.

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

  • Vicb

    To be eligible for the ECAC Pick The Standings Contest I need your Championship pick now including the score.

  • Vicb

    OOps I meant ECAC Pick The Playoffs :)

    • I didn’t pick last week though, so I don’t think I’m eligible. ;)

      • Vicb

        I did throw your late picks into the contest last week so you were eligible.

  • Wainwrightd

    Andrew Calof as ECAC rookie of the year? I’m not so sure i would agree with that one by any means…

  • Northerner

    So I saw an article saying someone calculated RPI as having an 87% chance of making the NCAA. I don’t need a computer to tell me thats not even close AT BEST they are a bubble team with a 50% change, but looking at all the talented teams this year no way they get in. ECAC will get 3, MAYBE 4 teams in, Union, Yale, Dartmouth or Cornell, Colgate if they win the ECAC, and then maybe RPI. Good luck RPI, but start planning for next year.

    • Pairwise says they do.

      ECAC gets 4 in.

  • Css228

    Whoever is between the pipes tonight for the Red I assume they won’t give up much. The Red tied Darmouth at. NH and won at home in OT. So what does this mean on netural ice? I have no clue. Mello is great between the pipes but he hasn’t been as great of late. Ill take Cornell in a squeaker 2-1 and Yale 4-2

  • Siwanoy

    I’m going to predict that our excellent ECAC reporter will go 0 for 2. Yale is a bit skittish right now about how they start out, and they expressly remember escaping with a tie on their home ice after Colgate took it to them. Whereas I had been thinking that Colgate wasn’t doing much beyond benefitting from a desperation coach’s ploy of implementing some clever stripped down neutral zone trapping, it’s turned into more than that. There is real talent there that was simply nowhere to be found just a few weeks ago. I think they have the adrenalin flow to deliver the goods. Cornell was always talented and finally is gelling. I didn’t like Dartmouth against Harvard — I was wrong, but just wrong — and so I certainly don’t like Dartmouth against a talented Cornell team. I say upstate New Yorkers will own Jersey!

    • Kenlenskold

      close

    • Oops…guess not.

      And the clinched the overall #1 seed too…

      Have fun with BC in the semis (if you get there).

      4 more to the title!

      • BTW – “skittish”?

        13-2 in their last 3 games with a 2-1 shots advantage in all 3?

        As opposed to UND locked in a 2-2 game tonight? Or Michigan doing their usual (5-1 loss)?

        Get real.

        Yale’s 4th line is faster than these teams 1st lines.

        WATCH the games, then post, OK?

  • Dear brian Sullivan, I am just posting this now because I didn’t want to jinx colgate on their playoff run. But brian who called it… i did. I said at the end of the regular season to stop saying colgate will lose (brown rule) and that they would do what brown did in the playoffs last year and go to the semis. Colgate beat rpi and union and i was right so hah.

  • Bone171

    Awful [deleted by moderator] hire.

  • T

    Excellent choice if true. CCHA could be in trouble with new Big 10 league. Right time for Tom to leave. Go State!!!!

    • Ilas

      Msu is gonna get rocked even harder in the big 10 with this guy as their coach!

  • Jon

    LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL

  • Ring_of_Fire

    Hmmm…I thought the captain was supposed to go down with his ship, not defect to the b*stard who shot the torpedo…..

  • Davyd83

    So Paula, have you independently confirmed this, or are you just reporting what someone else is reporting?

    • Paula Weston

      I’m just repeating what’s making the rounds here in mid-Michigan. If it turns out to be just a rumor, then it’s just that and several people will have a good laugh. There are television stations in Lansing reporting that the announcement will come at 4:00 today. I have no confirmation.

      In fact, I have no coffee, and I need some to finish up these NCAA regional pieces…

  • anon

    “Anastos’s career record is 0-0. He’s spent the last 13 years taking the CCHA nowhere in particular as its commissioner. Before that he was president of the NAHL, which crumbled shortly after his departure and has been almost entirely supplanted by the USHL. According to HockeyDB his coaching credentials consist of a single season as a Michigan State assistant 20 years ago; before that he spent four years coaching UM-Dearborn’s club(!) team.”

  • Bob

    So, MSU is going to stake their program on a former college player with two years of ASSISTANT coaching experience and several years in the league office. Yeah, this’ll work…err…

    • Goalie Fan

      Another reason the Big Ten (I mean 6) is going to be a chit show!

  • Davyd83

    Earlier today WILX had reported they had “confirmed” Danton Cole would be named at 4 pm. They have since pulled that story and replaced it with the Anastos rumor. There is not even a mention of a press conference scheduled an hour and 40 minutes from now on the MSU website.

  • Paula Weston

    And I just got a press release from MSU to confirm it. The press conference will stream on MSUSpartans.com.

    Remember: Don’t kill the messenger.

  • Halmt

    He’ll find gimmics like shootouts and 3-point wins don’t work behind the bench.

  • Davyd83
  • Gbwingswim
  • Bob
  • Anonymous

    If Anastos were an airline pilot, he’d ask for an ejection seat so he could bail out right before he flew the plane into the ground.

  • BadTimes(for)HockeyComing

    Thanks for screwing over the rest of the teams you allegedly worked to look out for over the past 13 years, Captain Tom. Glad you turned tail like a rat and abandoned a sinking ship. May Sparty get trounced in the BTHC for years to come.

  • MCB

    Anyone that has a passion for the game would rather be on or behind the bench instead of in an office building. Questioning the timing is a bit ridiculous. Knowing Anastos’ passion for the game, he would’ve taken the offer even if MSU was staying in the CCHA. Who wouldn’t?

    As far as experience, coaching is like riding a bike. Leadership is one of the most important traits in a coach. I’m not sure any real candidate for the job posses the leadership skills Anastos brings with him.

    Finally, if Hollis and Anastos can find away to bring Danton Cole in as an associate head coach, look out hockey world.

  • Guest

    Nice article Paula.

    So I really wonder, since the talk of a Big Ten conference started we’ve been hearing that the CCHA and the WCHA were making plans for life after the Big Ten starts a hockey conference.

    Now that the commissioner of the CCHA who was making those plans is now jumping ship, what becomes of those plans???