November 3, 2000

Could this be our year?

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Even though The Sun’s Ivy football predictions aren’t far off the mark up until now, we at The Sun felt an obligation to give you the most accurate predictions possible. With this in mind, we had Sports Editor J.V. Anderton call Shar of the Psychic Friends Network. Between Anderton’s knowledge and Shar’s tarot card powers, this is a can’t-miss list.

Here’s the predicted order of finish:

1. Cornell Big Red

Last Year’s Record: 16-14-2, 10-9-1 ECAC

Shar says: “Definitely a team that has done a lot of work and psychologically, they will be hard to beat. Luck will play a role.”

She must have psychically read my column.

2. Clarkson Golden Knights

Last Year’s Record: 17-15-3, 9-8-3 ECAC

Strengths: Left winger David Evans returns to lead the Golden Knights, since Eric Cole left for the professional ranks. Evans had 11 goals and 17 assists last year, second in scoring on the team. Matt Poapst also returns after a 27-point season. Shawn Grant and Karl Mattson split time in net last year, with Mattson earning the better stats at 2.73 goals against average and .901 save percentage. Clarkson is also one of the biggest and most physical teams in the league.

Weaknesses: While Mattson and Grant had decent numbers, neither stepped up and showed that they were worthy of being a number-one starter. While the Knights have the firepower to overcome some of the weaker teams, when the red-letter games come up on the schedule they will need a solid starter in net.

Shar says: “Strength comes up here. They are well put together, but they have a weak spot that they are not aware of yet.”

She and I are obviously on the same wavelength.

3. St. Lawrence Saints

Last Year’s Record: 27-8-2, 16-3-1 ECAC

Strengths: The returning league champions bring back a powerful crew. Erik Anderson and Mike Gellard return, having posted a combined 75 points last year. With four of the top five returning scorers coming back from last year’s highest-scoring squad in the league, the Saints can certainly light the lamp.

Weaknesses: Jeremy Symington and Sean Coakley will be required to play well in net, with Derek Gustafson having moved into the pro ranks. Both of these netminders did sport save percentages above .900. In addition, while Symington had a 3.06 goals against average, and Coakley had a sparkling 2.57 mark. But it was Gustafson who led the Saints to the title, and his two successors will have to prove that they can do the same to put the Saints over the edge.

Shar says: “If they can keep their focus, they will be hard to topple.”

I agree.

4. Colgate Red Raiders

Last Year’s Record: 24-9-2, 14-4-2 ECAC

Strengths: An experienced team led by eight seniors. Sean Nolan, Kevin Johns and Cory Murphy are the top-three returning scorers, and also double as tri-captains of the Red Raiders. Jason Lafevre also saw significant time in net last year and netted a 3.50 goals against average, and a .872 save percentage.

Weaknesses: While this is an experienced team, the players will have to adjust to new roles. With the loss of Hobey Baker candidate Andy McDonald and Shep Harder between the pipes, this team will be looking for a go-to man as well as a strong performance from Lafevre early in the season. The defense also could be a problem as there are only two seniors and one junior in the group of blue-liners.

Shar says: “Might make it to the playoffs.”

Hard to argue with the lady.

5. Harvard Crimson

Last Year’s Record: 11-17-2, 9-10-2 ECAC

Strengths: The skaters. Led by captain Steve Moore and his little brother Dominic, the Crimson returns five of its top six scorers from last year. The pair led the way last year with 26 and 24 points respectively. The speedy Chris Bala and Brett Nowak should give the Crimson some more scoring punch. Harvard also sports seven players drafted by the NHL which is tops in the league.

Weaknesses: Goalies. While J.R. Prestifilippo’s mother may have sucked, J.R. did not. Three-year back-up Oliver Jonas seems to have the inside track to the position, but he had a .886 save percentage and 3.65 goals against average last year, both of which are far from stellar. Sophomore Ben Weiss and freshman Will Crothers may challenge for time.

Shar says: “Harvard may be one of [Cornell’s] biggest opponents this year. They have worked hard to put it together, and they could possibly win.”

Oh, Shar, how right you are.

6. Rensselaer Engineers

Last Year’s Record: 22-13-2, 11-9-1 ECAC

Strengths: Putting the puck in the net. This was the second-leading scoring team in the league last year (behind St. Lawrence) and should be potent again this year. Matt Murley (38 points last year) is as strong an offensive threat as anyone in the league, and Marc Cavosie returns with after a 30-point season.

Weaknesses: Everyone’s gone. Rensselaer lost eight players to graduation (and Brad Tapper to pro hockey). This includes Joel Laing and Scott Prekaski — two pretty good goaltenders — leaving the position to Jim Palmer, who played in just one game last year and allowed one goal on three shots. However, Nathan Marsters is a possible contender for time in net, and he has been drafted by the Kings. Kevin Kurk may also see some time in between the pipes.

Shar says: “They think a lot better of themselves than they actually are.”

Maybe, but they are still pretty good.

7. Dartmouth Big Green

Last Year’s Record: 9-17-4, 8-10-3 ECAC

Strengths: Nick Boucher returns between the pipes for the Green. Last year he had a 2.87 goals against average and a .907 save percentage. Not bad since the team went 8-12-3 while he was in net. Dartmouth also returns practically every skater from a year ago. Pete Summerfelt is one of these players, as he had 16 points (tied for second on the team) with five goals, while playing in all 30 of the Green’s games as a freshman.

Weaknesses: Goals, goals, goals. This is a team which needs to find someone to put the puck in the net on a consistent basis. Frank Nardella was the leading scorer last year, and he garnered only 20 points on eight goals. Despite returning practically everyone on the team, the Green is still very young as evidenced by its captains — junior Michael Byrne, sophomore Mike Maturo and sophomore Jamie Herrington.

Shar says: “Probably going to wind up on the bottom of the pile.”

I disagree.

8. Yale Bulldogs

Last Year’s Record: 9-16-5, 6-11-4 ECAC

Strengths: Jeff Hamilton. Back after a year off thanks to injury, the 1998-99 Hobey Baker finalist will give Yale’s pathetic offense a lift. Ben Stafford also returns with his 30-points from a year ago. Dan Lombard returns from a season in which he had a .911 save percentage and 2.80 goals against average.

Weaknesses: Who is going to score besides Hamilton and Stafford for this team? And Lombard played only 16 games last year, so how will he do over the course of a season?

Shar says: “This card indicates they are a fairly young team, but they will be building.”

Apparently she doesn’t realize that the Elis boast the experience of seven seniors and seven juniors.

9. Princeton Tigers

Last Year’s Record: 10-16-4, 8-9-4 ECAC

Strengths: D
ave Stathos in goal. He sported a 2.82 goal against average and a .912 save percentage last year. Not bad for the netminder of a team that got outshot by 145 shots a year ago. Kirk Lamp returns as the team’s leading scorer, having registered 28 points last year.

Weaknesses: The team is going to have to adjust to the new style of Len Quesnelle. Though he has been with the program for the past 14 years either as a player or assistant coach, there will be a learning curve with him as the head man. This is also a very small team in terms of physical stature, which could be a problem against some of the bigger teams in the league. History is also against the Tigers, as they have won only one ECAC title in all these years.

Shar says: “Princeton is not going to have a very good year — injuries could be a problem.”

It pays to have big hockey players.

10. Vermont Catamounts

Last Year’s Record: 5-9-3, 3-2-2 ECAC (Shortened due to hazing infraction)

Strengths: This team scored 53 goals in its brief season a year ago. It also returns many of its top skaters, losing only Kevin Karlander to graduation last year.

Weaknesses: This team allowed 75 goals in 17 games last year. All three goalies had save percentages under .880 and goal against averages over 3.50. Combine that with only four new players (and they must be great if they have the “balls” to attend Vermont after last year’s antics), and Vermont is in trouble.

Shar says: “They will have an interesting year. They will start off well but fall off towards the end.”

I know she is going to get that first part right.

11. Union Skating Dutchmen

Last Year’s Record: 8-24-1, 6-24-1 ECAC

Strengths: Brandon Snee had a 3.82 goals against average and a .892 save percentage last year for the Skating Dutchmen. Those don’t seem like great stats, but the guy has promise since the Rangers drafted him. And you try being the goaltender for this team.

Weaknesses: Where to begin. Jason Ralph was the second-leading scorer last year with 21 points, and he is the only one of the top-three returning. The defense has only one senior, and this inexperience has much to do with the problems in Snee’s numbers.

Shar says: “Team is well matched. They could be somebody to watch out for.”

What she doesn’t know is that the “Lovers” tarot card isn’t a good thing in hockey.

12. Brown Bears

Last Year’s Record: 6-19-3, 4-15-2 ECAC

Strengths: Pickings are slim for this team. Senior Matt Kohansky led the team in points last year with 17, including nine goals, which was also tops on the squad. Junior netminder Brian Eklund played well in the 12 games he saw action last year, with a .915 save percentage and 2.95 goal against average.

Weaknesses: This is a team that needs to learn how to score. Last year it lit the lamp a meager 66 times, worst in the ECAC (Point of reference: Vermont had 53 goals in 17 games). In order to score, the Bears have to fire more pucks at the net. Last year it had 222 fewer shots than its opponents.

Shar says: “Not going to be easy to beat, but not because of skill level. It is somewhat mischievous, and has a few tricks up its sleeve.”

She must be getting the Brown hockey team mixed up with Brown football supporters.

Archived article by J.V. Anderton