With Quinnipiac winners of the 2016 Whitelaw Cup in Lake Placid, N.Y., last weekend, it’s time to look back at the ECAC Hockey championship that was. Here’s what we learned:
Quinnipiac has ‘it’ factor
No matter the test, it seems that this season was the Bobcats’ to lose. That turned out to be the case on Saturday, as No. 2 Quinnipiac outlasted Harvard for its first Whitelaw Cup in program history. The Bobcats exploded in the second period with three power-play goals from Tim Clifton, Bo Pieper and K.J. Tiefenwerth within 6:09 of each other. Michael Garteig stayed stellar and made 24 saves in the victory.
It’s going to be hard to knock off Quinnipiac this season and, perhaps more importantly, it appears the dog days of mid-January for the Bobcats are now a far distant memory.
Harvard gets late-game heroics
While the Crimson’s offense failed to keep up with Quinnipiac in the championship game, it was the Harvard forward core that powered it to get that far. Friday’s semifinal game against St. Lawrence came down to the wire, as Kyle Criscuolo’s overtime game-winner was reviewed three times and took a while to go over on the monitor.
Harvard got goals from Jimmy Vesey, Criscuolo and Ryan Donato last weekend, a triple threat that has powered the Crimson into the NCAA tournament. But Harvard will need Merrick Madsen to get hot and its defensive corps to keep things in check in order to make a deep tournament run.
Vesey, Lyon win postseason awards
While Yale was forced to watch this weekend’s conference semifinals and final from the sidelines, it did receive some recognition. Junior goaltender Alex Lyon was honored with the Ken Dryden Award for the league’s top goaltender. Lyon registered a 1.50 GAA and a .943 save percentage over 22 games this season. While Dartmouth seemed to solve the Bulldogs in its two-game quarterfinal series, Yale will need every iota of Lyon’s brilliance as it looks to play catch-up in the NCAA tournament.
Harvard’s Jimmy Vesey was honored as the league’s player of the year for the second consecutive season, while Yale’s Joe Snively won rookie of the year and Yale’s Carson Cooper was named the best defensive forward. Yale’s Rob O’Gara was also named the best defensive defenseman and Harvard’s Criscuolo was named student-athlete of the year.