February 11, 2011

ECAC Hockey Journal: Devins spark Cornell charge

by Phil Perry

Cornell's Joe Devin (Scituate, Mass.) earned ECAC Player of the Week honors after combining with brother Mike for nine points last weekend. (photo: Patrick Shanahan/Cornell Athletic Communications)

With three weekends left before the start of the ECAC Hockey tournament, two spots in the coveted top four are still very much up for grabs.

The top four teams in the conference tournament receive byes for the first round, and while Yale and Union have a solid grasp on the top two spots, the next four best teams in the conference (Rensselaer, Dartmouth, Cornell and Princeton) are separated by a mere two points going into this weekend.

Cornell was the only team of those four tightly grouped squads to win twice last weekend. The Big Red has lost just one game in its last 10 and could realistically finish third in the league after starting the season at 2-6.

Last weekend’s four-point grab for Cornell couldn’t have happened without the Devin brothers from Scituate, Mass. Mike and Joe Devin combined for nine points last weekend, and Joe earned ECAC Player of the Week honors for his efforts.

The highlight of their dominating weekend? Down one goal with 15 seconds left against St. Lawrence, Mike shot from the point. It was tipped by Joe and went in to tie the score with the Saints at 3. Cornell went on to win in overtime, 4-3.

The Big Red faces two tough opponents this weekend in Union and Rensselaer, but these games could go a long way in proving whether or not Cornell deserves to be discussed as one of the ECAC’s best teams.

NEHJ Player to Watch

Ryan Rondeau, sr., G, Yale

Rondeau, a senior first-year starter, continues to fit in just fine for the Bulldogs. Last week, he shut out Harvard in a 1-0 Yale win. He also beat Dartmouth, 4-2, putting his goals-against average at a miniscule 1.92. He’ll get St. Lawrence and then Clarkson this weekend to try and improve on his 18-3-0 record.

Game to watch

Princeton at Dartmouth, Saturday

Princeton is just one point behind Dartmouth in the standings, but the Tigers have been surprisingly effective on the road this season (6-1 record), so it would come as no real surprise for them to leave Hanover, N.H., with a win.

Around ECAC Hockey

Brown

The Bears hit the road to face Clarkson and St. Lawrence as they try to rid themselves of their current four-game losing streak.

Clarkson

The Golden Knights have built a current four-game losing streak of their own. They’ll want to get by Brown on Friday if they don’t want to run their losing streak to six this weekend. Yale visits Saturday.

Colgate

Colgate won its first conference game over Clarkson last weekend, 4-2. They’ll try to start a winning streak now after losing 14 in a row before last weekend. No small task. They travel to the second and third best teams in ECAC this weekend: Union and RPI.

Cornell

Amid all the winning the Big Red has done lately, coaches have platooning goalies all along. Freshman Andy Iles and junior Mike Garman are basically splitting time. Iles has started 12, and Garman has started 11.

Dartmouth

The Big Green will play host to Quinnipiac and Princeton during Dartmouth’s annual Winter Carnival festival.

Harvard

For all the Crimson fans who hoped the team’s season might be salvaged by a good showing at the Beanpot, think again. Harvard lost 4-0 to Northeastern last week, and the outlook is not much brighter for when the Crimson have to face Boston University on Valentine’s Day.

Princeton

Senior defenseman Taylor Fedun recorded goals in both the Tigers’ losses last weekend, giving him 64 for his career. That’s good enough for third all-time among Princeton defenders.

Quinnipiac

Goalie Eric Hartzell shut out Dartmouth when they last met Nov. 19. He’ll get another shot Friday night at Dartmouth.

Union

The Dutchmen were the first team in the country to notch 20 wins last weekend. They’ve won nine of their last 10 and have achieved their highest national ranking (No. 9) since moving to Division 1 in the 1991-92 season.

St. Lawrence

Coach Joe March could be back behind the bench tonight against Yale, reports Northern New York’s Watertown Daily Times. When he had a procedure done Jan. 20, a small perforation occurred, requiring a longer recovery.

Rensselaer

Senior forward Chase Polacek has a team-high 42 points in 28 games this season. He has a team-best 17 goals with a team-high 25 assists.

Yale

Chris Cahill (North Andover, Mass.) has 11 goals this winter, after recording just 16 in his career before this season. That’s good enough for third on the team behind senior Broc Little (14 goals) and junior Brian O’Neill (12).

Phil Perry can be reached at feedback@hockeyjournal.com