The Cornell men’s hockey team was in the driver’s seat for capturing another ECACHL regular season crown heading into the final weekend of play. However, a 2-0 loss to Rensselaer on Friday night saw the Red lose ground and when the dust settled, rivals, Dartmouth and Colgate were named the conference’s co-champions. Still, Cornell (18-7-4, 13-6-3 ECACHL) received a well-needed first-round bye and home-ice in the playoffs as did Harvard, which clinched it with a crucial four-point weekend.
Dartmouth 5, Clarkson 2
David Jones notched a hat trick on Friday night at Thompson Arena, as the Green moved into a tie for first place. With the teams tied at two after the second period, Dartmouth (16-11-2, 14-6-2) took over. Nick Johnson scored the eventual game-winner at the 1:08 mark, before Jones added his second tally of the evening less than 10 minutes later. He sealed the result with an empty net goal.
Colgate 2, Union 0
Joining Dartmouth at the top of the league after Friday night’s action was Colgate (18-10-6, 14-6-2), which rode a 29-save shutout performance by goaltender Mark Dekanich in its win over the Dutchmen (16-14-6, 9-9-4). Jon Smyth put the visitors out in front at the 9:12 mark in the second period, before Marc Fulton added another tally for the Raiders just two minutes later.
Princeton 3, Brown 3
As has been the case throughout the season, Brown (4-18-7, 3-14-5) was unable to come out with a win on Friday night. The Bears and Tigers (10-16-3, 7-12-3) each scored once going into the third period. Eric Slais put Brown up by one on the power play at the 2:40 mark, but Princeton responded and took the lead later in the frame after goals from Kevin Westgarth and Mark Masters. Matt Vokes was able to save a point for the host school, scoring at the 13:26 mark in the third period. Brown goaltender Adam D’Alba made 33 saves.
Quinnipiac 6, Yale 2
Yale (8-18-3, 6-14-2) continued its free-fall in the ECACHL, as Quinnipiac (17-16-1, 8-13-1) scored five unanswered goals between the first and second periods. Jamie Bates, David Marshall and Chris Myers all found the back of the net in the first period, before Ben Nelson and Bates made the score, 5-0, going into the second intermission. By this time, even goals from Jean-Francois Boucher and Blair Yaworski did not even matter, as Marshall scored his second during the final frame.
Harvard 3, St. Lawrence 2
With both teams battling for the final first-round bye in the playoffs, a two-goal performance by Dan Murphy lifted the Crimson (17-10-2, 13-8-1) past the Saints (18-14-2, 12-9-1) at the Bright Hockey Center. Chase Trull put the visitors on top in the first period, but Dave Watters knotted up the game at the 7:51 mark in the second period. St. Lawrence leading-scorer T.J. Trevelyan put the visitors out in front again just three minutes later. However, Murphy would strike back with 4:40 left in the second period before scoring the game-winner at the 8:08 mark in the third.
Harvard 2, Clarkson 1
On Senior Night, Harvard clinched a first-round bye by overcoming a 37-save performance by Clarkson netminder David Leggio. Just 38 seconds into the contest, Kevin Du put the hosts out in front. In the second period, Ryan Maki doubled the Crimson’s lead on the power play. A Steve Zalewski power-play goal in the third was not enough for the Golden Knights (16-15-3, 9-11-2), as Harvard held onto the win. Harvard was awarded the fourth seed in the tournament, while No. 8 Clarkson will host No. 9 Princeton next weekend.
Colgate 2, Rensselaer 1
The Raiders earned a share of the ECACHL regular season crown with a win over the Engineers on Saturday. In the second period, while on a 5-on-3 power play, Rensselaer’s Brad Farynuk opened the hosts’ account at the 6:34 mark, before Jon Smyth responded for the visitors less than 10 minutes later. One of the eventual heroes of the night would be Jesse Winchester, who scored the eventual game-winner in the third period. Colgate goaltender Mark Dekanich made 35 saves in the win. Colgate enters the conference tournament as the No. 2 seed since it lost the tiebreaker with co-champions, Dartmouth. No. 7 Rensselaer (14-15-6, 8-8-6) will host No. 10 Quinnipiac next weekend.
Princeton 4, Yale 2
Princeton ended its regular season on a high note, as it rode a three-goal second period to oust the Bulldogs. After Yale’s Bill LeClerc drew first blood in the opening period at the 4:29 mark, two goals by Patrick Neundorfer and a tally by Lee Jubinville put the visitors up, 3-1, going into the final period. Blair Yaworski cut the lead to one with a power play goal in the third, but Kevin Westgarth sealed the victory with his own tally less than six minutes later. Eric Leroux made 39 saves for the Tigers. No. 11 Yale will travel to face No. 7 Union next weekend.
Brown 5, Quinnipiac 3
Brown finally came out of a tough encounter with two points after taking a three-goal lead in the first period with goals from Paul Crosty, Jeff Prough and Eric Slais. Quinnipiac tried to fight back and made the score, 4-3, with 40 seconds left to play, but a Prough empty-net goal assured the Bears’ their fourth win of the season. No. 12 Brown will travel to face No. 5 St. Lawrence.
Dartmouth 3, St. Lawrence 0
Dartmouth goaltender Mike Devine made 24 saves, as the Green clinched a share of its first ECACHL title in program history. Jarrett Sampson put the hosts out in front at the 7:10 mark in the second period, before Tanner Glass and Nick Johnson added tallies in the final frame. The win saw the Green tie with Colgate at the top of the league standings with each team having earned 30 points on the year. Dartmouth will have a first-round bye and is the ECACHL tournament’s top seed.
Tournament match-ups this weekend – No. 12 Brown at No. 5 St. Lawrence; No. 11 Yale at No. 6 Union; No. 10 Quinnipiac at No. 7 Rensselaer; No. 9 Princeton at No. 8 Clarkson.
First-round byes: No. 1 Dartmouth, No. 2 Colgate, No. 3 Cornell, No. 4 Harvard.
Archived article by Brian Tsao
Sun Assistant Sports Editor