December 13, 2013

ECAC Journal: Dishing out the first-semester superlatives

By Dan Guttenplan

With the first semester of ECAC Hockey play complete, teams will finish off 2013 with a collection of non-league games. This seems as good a time as any to dole out midseason awards.

Midseason Player of the Year – RPI junior Ryan Haggerty (Stamford, Conn.). Haggerty (right) is first in the nation in goals with 18. He also ranks tops in the nation in goals per game (1.20), power play goals (8) and game-winning goals (4).

Midseason Coach of the Year – Don Vaughan, Colgate. Somehow Vaughan's Raiders are 5-3-1 in the conference and vying for a first-round bye in the ECAC Hockey tournament despite the fact that a starting goaltender has yet to establish himself and, by all accounts, Colgate ranks in the bottom third of the conference in terms of talent.

Midseason Rookie of the Year – Matt Carey, St. Lawrence University. The freshman forward and brother of linemate All-American Greg Carey leads all rookies across the nation in points per game (2.50), points (5), power-play points (4), goals (4) and power-play goals (3). Carey now sports a nation’s-best 1.33 points per game average and a 0.72 goals per game average.

Biggest Midseason Suprise – Clarkson. Quinnipiac and Yale were the talk of college hockey at the start of the season after meeting in the NCAA Championship last season. Union was near the top of most ECAC Hockey rankings after winning the conference tournament each of the last two years. Cornell figured to bounce back from a sub-.500 season. Brown and Dartmouth were the sleepers. Nobody had Clarkson starting 6-2-0 in conference play.

Biggest Midseason Disappointment – Dartmouth. The Big Green started 0-8-0 after improving each of the last three seasons. Many had the Big Green contending for home ice in the ECAC Hockey tournament this season after returning the bulk of their top players from a team that ranked as high as No. 8 in the nation last January. No such luck.

(Photo: Mick Neal)

Game of the Week

Union at St. Cloud State, Friday and Saturday

Union has outshot opponents in 14 of 16 contests this season. The Dutchmen are 5-0-1 in their last six. Meanwhile, St. Cloud State has the best defense in the nation, allowing 1.79 goals per game. The Huskies (11-1-2) have a seven-game unbeaten streak and sit atop the National Collegiate Hockey Conference.

Player of the Week

Ryan Haggerty (Stamford, Conn.)

RPI, Jr.

Forward

Haggerty led the Engineers to an unbeaten weekend with team-highs in goals (3), points (4) and plus-minus (plus-3). In a 3-3 tie with Quinnipiac, Haggerty had the first two goals of the game with four shots and a plus-2. He then had a power-play goal – the game-winner – and an assist in a 5-2 victory over Princeton the next afternoon.

ECAC Power Rankings

1. Union (10-3-2; 7-1-0) – Goaltender Colin Stevens recorded his second shutout of the season (and fifth of his career) in Union's 3-0 win over Princeton Friday. The Dutchmen moved into first place in the ECAC Hockey standings after starting the season 1-2-2 in their nonleague schedule.

2. Quinnipiac (13-3-3; 6-2-2) – The Bobcats had their worst weekend of the last two regular seasons with a tie against RPI and a loss to Union. The Bobcats sit in second place in the ECAC Hockey standings for the first time since the 2011-12 season.

3. Clarkson (12-3-1, 6-2-0) – Clarkson picked up a big sweep over St. Lawrence last weekend to move within two points of first place in ECAC Hockey. As it stands now, it looks like a three-team race for the regular-season title.

4. Yale (6-3-3; 3-2-3) – The Bulldogs are 1-2-1 in their last four games, and it's fair to wonder if the early-season excitement of being defending champions has worn off.

5. Cornell (7-4-2; 4-3-2) – If senior goaltender Andy Iles can turn it on in the second semester, the Big Red could contend in March.

6. RPI (8-5-3; 3-3-3) –Haggerty refuses to slow down. He added three goals and an assist last weekend as the Engineers earned a tie against Quinnipiac and a victory over Princeton. Haggerty has 18 goals in 16 games.

7. Colgate (7-7-2; 5-3-1) – Colgate has been finding ways to win despite the fact that coach Don Vaughan hasn't settled on a goaltender, and the squad has been outscored by 12 goals on the season.

8. Brown (5-6-1; 3-4-1) – Perhaps the Bears are ready to make a push after a disappointing start. A weekend sweep over Harvard and Dartmouth doesn't register high on the degree of difficulty scale, but it was just what the doctor order for a team that played in the ECAC title game last season.

9. St. Lawrence (8-8-2; 2-4-2) – Freshman Matt Carey, younger brother and linemate of All-American senior Greg Carey, sports a nation’s-best 1.33 points-per-game average and a 0.72 goals-per-game average.

10. Harvard (4-7-2; 2-6-2) – The Crimson have plenty of NHL draft picks on their roster, but that hasn't translated to wins on the ice so far this season.

11. Dartmouth (2-9-0, 2-8-0) – The Big Green are 2-1-0 after starting 0-8-0, and the one loss came in overtime against Brown.

12. Princeton (3-12-0; 2-8-0) – With top-scorer Andrew Calof out, the Tigers are struggling to find any scoring production.

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