Princeton forward Andrew Calof didn't even know the Hockey Commissioners' Association National Division 1 Player of the Month Award existed before taking home the honor for January last week.
Calof, a 5-foot-10, 175-pound junior from Neapean, Ontario led the nation in scoring with 12 points in January. In five games, the top-line forward netted five goals, and added seven assists, posting a 2.40 points per game during the month.
“I honestly didn't know such an award existed,” Calof says. “I don't remember anyone else receiving it.”
Calof follows in the footsteps of St. Lawrence forward Kyle Flanagan, who also came out of ECAC Hockey to claim the monthly honor for October. Calof believes ECAC players are getting more recognition on a national level since Colgate's Austin Smith led the nation in scoring as a senior last season. He was one of the final three finalists for the Hobey Baker Award.
“Last year was a huge step with Austin Smith,” Calof says. “It depends in the year, but having someone from the ECAC up for the Hobey Baker was great for the conference. On a team basis, we're getting national attention too. Quinnipiac is No. 1 or 2 in the country, and five or six other teams are also ranked.”
Of Calof's five goals in January, two were game-winners for Princeton. The Tigers rode Calof's breakout month to a 4-1-0 record, putting them back in the hunt for a first-round bye in the ECAC tournament. Last weekend, the Tigers (7-10-4 overall, 5-6-3 ECAC) fell to Yale and Brown, dropping them back to seventh place in the league standings. Still they are only three points out of third place.
“This season hasn't been too bad,” Calof says. “We've shown what we can do in some games. We haven't done it in enough games. Luckily, we're still in the hunt because the league is so tight, with the exception of Quinnipiac. We're not in an ideal situation, but there's still time.”
With 10 goals and 19 assists on the season, Calof ranks 19th among NCAA Division 1 players in scoring. Although he is a candidate for the Hobey Baker Award, he says individual awards are secondary at this time of year.
“The first thing I worry about is the ECAC championship,” Calof says. “If anything else happens, fantastic. Winning the ECAC is No. 1 on my priority list. As long as we keep playing consistent hockey, we have potential to go far.”
Game of the week
Yale at Brown
Sunday, Feb. 10 (2 p.m.), Meehan Auditorium
Not the schedule change on this game. It has been pushed back to Sunday (from Saturday night) due to the predicted snowfall in the area. Yale is second in the ECAC standings behind Quinnipiac, but the Bears are surging in the new year. Brown is 6-3-1 in its last 10.
Player of the week
T.J. Moor, Clarkson University
Moor joined the Knights in January after completing his requisite school work to gain NCAA eligibility this fall. He has established himself as a top forward, and last weekend, he led the Knights to their best showing of the season (3 points) in ECAC Hockey. Moor had his first collegiate goal in a 4-4 tie against Colgate Friday, and added two power-play goals and an assist the following night in a 6-3 win over Cornell.
1. Quinnipiac (19-3-4, 12-0-2): Many thought Quinnipiac would take over the top spot in the Division 1 national poll after No. 1 Minnesota and Minnesota State split a weekend series in late January. The Bobcats remained stuck at No. 2. Last weekend, Minnesota had the weekend off, and Quinnipiac beat Yale and tied Brown. Still, the Bobcats remain stuck at No. 2. They'll have to take solace in the fact that they're No. 1 in the PairWise and the ECAC.
2. Yale (13-6-3, 9-5-1): The Bulldogs took the brunt of Quinnipiac's punishment Saturday night – a night after the Bobcats nearly fell to Brown in a 1-1 tie. Quinnipiac seemed much better prepared Saturday when it posted a 6-1 victory over Yale, extending its unbeaten streak to 19 games.
3. Union (13-8-5, 6-4-4): The Dutchmen are riding a four-game unbeaten streak (3-0-1) and are tied for third in the league standings. This week, they'll hit the road for the first time in nearly a month when they visit Clarkson and St. Lawrence.
4. RPI (10-11-5, 5-6-3): The good news: The Engineers are 5-0-0 at home since Dec. 31. The bad news: They are 0-3-1 away from RPI.
5. St. Lawrence (12-10-4, 5-5-4): The Saints have scored on five of 29 power-play chances in their current 4-0-2 run and have killed off 78.8 percent of opposing power-play chances. Greg Carey is tied for second nationally with seven power-play goals.
6. Brown (8-9-5, 4-6-5): Regardless of how things play out the rest of the way for the Bears, you have to figure their 1-1 tie against Quinnipiac Friday night will go down as one of the top highlights of the season.
7. Colgate (13-9-4, 5-6-3): Colgate appears to be one of the best-conditioned teams in the ECAC. The Raiders have posted a plus-20 in the final two periods of games. In the third period alone, the Raiders hold a 32-20 scoring advantage on the season, and they are 9-0-2 when leading after two frames.
8. Dartmouth (11-8-3, 7-6-2): Dartmouth has won only one of its last five league games. It marks a turn for the worse for a Big Green team that started the ECAC season 4-0-0. Dartmouth has just one road victory to its credit this season, a 4-2 win over Brown Jan. 18.
9. Princeton (7-10-4, 5-6-3): The Tigers’ power-play ranks fifth in the nation, converting 23.6 percent of the time (17 for 72). They also have the 11th-best penalty kill in the nation, killing 86 percent of the penalties they've drawn (86 of 100).
10. Clarkson (6-13-7, 5-6-3): The Knights went eight games without a power-play goal (0 for 26) from Dec. 1 through Jan. 12. Since then, Clarkson has scored on the man-advantage at least once in four of the past five games (6 for 23, 26 percent), including a 3-for-7 effort in a win over Cornell.
11. Cornell (8-11-2, 4-8-2): The Big Red are enduring an uncharacteristic stretch of ineptitude, losing eight games in a nine-game stretch for the first time under 18-year head coach Mike Schafer.
12. Harvard (5-15-1, 3-12-0): There was a time this season when Harvard appeared primed to compete for its first Beanpot championship since 1993. Those days are a distant memory.