Perhaps we should have seen it coming – the postseason brilliance of Princeton goaltender Ryan Ferland.
Ferland (Franklin, Mass.) entered the postseason with a reputation as a solid goaltender as a Princeton freshman, but certainly not anyone’s pick to emerge as MVP of the ECAC Hockey tournament. But then again, who had Princeton winning its first ECAC Hockey title in 10 years as a No. 7 seed?
The 2017 ECAC Hockey tournament wasn’t the first time Ferland had stepped up in a postseason. As a high schooler, he led St. Mark’s School (Southborough, Mass.) to back-to-back New England championships in 2015 and 2016.
Last winter, Ferland led the New Jersey Junior Titans to the NAHL Eastern Conference finals with a .928 save percentage and 2.04 GAA in eight postseason appearances. Those numbers were a dramatic improvement from Ferland’s regular-season stats (.892 save percentage, 3.29 GAA).
Once again, Ferland stepped up his play this March during Princeton’s run, posting a 6-0 record and 1.67 GAA in the ECAC Hockey tournament. On the championship weekend in Lake Placid, N.Y., Ferland made a combined 58 saves against Cornell and Clarkson, allowing just two goals.
Just two years removed from finishing last in the 12-team ECAC, Princeton took out the tournament’s top three seeds and earned a trip to the NCAA tournament for the first time in nine years.
“Obviously having Ryan Ferland in goal was key,” said Princeton junior defenseman Josh Teves. “I don’t think he gets enough credit for how much confidence he gave our team.”
Ferland raised his level of play in the postseason after serving as Princeton’s regular goaltender throughout the regular season. He finished the regular season with a 12-10-4 record, 3.15 GAA and .908 save percentage. All of those numbers improved in the postseason when Ferland was clutch.
“Ryan played great,” Princeton coach Ron Fogarty said. “He was the best goalie in the tournament.” — DAN GUTTENPLAN
Harvard junior Ryan Donato (Scituate, Mass.) was named the 2017-18 ECAC Hockey Player of the Year as selected by the league’s coaches.
Donato had his best season at Harvard, leading the team with 43 points (26 goals, 17 assists) in 29 games. He was fifth in conference scoring, averaging 1.26 points per contest with 24 points on 17 goals and seven assists in in 19 games while leading the league with 126 shots.
Donato played for the U.S. team at the 2018 Winter Olympics, leading the team with six points (five goals, assist) before returning to complete the season at Harvard. At the conclusion of the season, he signed with the Boston Bruins and immediately earned a spot in the regular rotation of forward. Donato put up a 3-2-5 line in his first five games with the Bruins. …
Princeton senior David Hallisey (Wethersfield, Conn.) demonstrated some toughness in the postseason. The 5-foot-10, 180-pound forward suffered an injury in a 5-3 win over Union on Friday evening of the quarterfinal series. Leaving the rink on crutches following a kneeing call on a Dutchman skater, Hallisey was not expected to play Saturday. Following warm-ups on Saturday night, Hallisey gave the thumbs-up to Ron Fogarty. Hallisey then scored the game-winner with 9.5 seconds left to lift Princeton to a 3-2 win and advance the Tigers to the ECAC championships for the first time since 2009. …
Keith Petruzzelli (Wilbraham, Mass.) ended up as Quinnipiac coach Rand Pecknold’s choice as the starting goaltender in the ECAC tournament, beating out sophomore goaltender Andrew Shortridge in the final weeks of the regular season. The highly touted netminder who was drafted by the Detroit Red Wings in 2017 really settled down the past month after a rough first half to his college career. From Feb. 2 through the opening round of the ECAC Hockey tournament, Petruzzelli allowed just nine goals in six games; five of those were starts. Quinnipiac was 4-1 when he started.
However, Petruzzelli had his struggles in a quarterfinal series against Cornell, when he allowed eight goals and made just 31 saves in a two-game sweep.
In The Spotlight
John Marino, Harvard
The 6-foot-2, 181-pound freshman (North Easton, Mass.) was a finalist for the ECAC Hockey Best Defensive Defenseman Award. Marino was at his best in conference play, posting 13 points (1 goal, 12 assists) and a leaguebest plus-16 rating in 22 ECAC contests.
Ryan Scarfo, Union
The 6-foot, 190-pound senior forward from Chelmsford, Mass., was a third-team All-ECAC Hockey selection after finishing second in the league among seniors in scoring. He led Union with 20 goals, 36 points, 108 shots and a .185 shot percentage.
Quin Foreman, Dartmouth
The 6-foot-3, 195-pound forward from Needham, Mass., caught fire late in the season after Dartmouth’s 4-1 loss to Harvard on Feb. 2. Foreman was named ECAC Hockey Rookie of the Week on Feb. 28 after netting a hat trick against Yale on Feb. 23.