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!
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).
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.
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
3. Boston College
10. New Hampshire
12. Notre Dame
13. Western Michigan
14. Colorado College
20. Boston University