During a weekend that featured upsets, a top-20 matchup, come-from-behind victories, record-setting plays and even a SportsCenter Top 10 goal, the official opening weekend for ECAC hockey did not fail to disappoint.
Union sits on the top of the league with a 4-0-0 record and St. Lawrence ranks second with a 2-0-0 record. Princeton and Brown are tied for last place with 0-2-0 league records.
Friday night featured a national top-20 matchup as No. 16 Yale traveled to No. 20 Union. Yale started strong with a 2-0 lead, and after trading goals, Yale was up 3-1 in the second period. Union finished the game by scoring four unanswered goals to pull off the win. Division I leading-scorer Mike Vecchione was responsible for four goals and recorded his second hat-trick in five games and added an assist.
Reigning ECAC Champions No. 6 Quinnipiac traveled to Clarkson on Friday to begin its quest for a repeat victory. The Bobcats came out of the gates firing and scored twice in the first five minutes of the game. Halfway through the first period, Clarkson scored and brought the score to 2-1. Early in the second period, Quinnipiac increased the lead to 4-1, with goals coming at the 1:36 and 2:42 marks. Quinnipiac handed Clarkson its third straight loss with the 5-3 Bobcat victory.
Princeton traveled to St. Lawrence and got shutout 4-0. During the shutout, two St. Lawrence players, senior defenseman Gavin Bayreuther and junior goalie Kyle Hayton, made program history. Bayreuther tied the 28-year-old record for career goals by a defenseman, scoring his 31st goal in the second period, and Hayton achieved his ninth career shutout to tie the 60-year-old record for most career shutouts.
No. 12 Harvard was in action when it played Colgate. Colgate freshman Ross Craig scored his first career goal to put the Raiders up 1-0 a little past the halfway point of the first period. The 1-0 lead stood until there was 7:08 left to play in the third period, when Harvard came with the equalizer. The game finished in a 1-1 tie. Colgate goalie Charlie Finn made 41 saves, his sixth career game with 40 or more saves.
After a scoreless first period between Rensselaer and Brown, RPI junior Drew Melanson opened the scoring at the 14:17 mark of the second period. RPI made the score 2-0 just 19 seconds into the third period. Brown pulled to within one goal, but Melanson netted his second goal of the game to seal the 3-1 victory for Rensselaer.
The results of Saturday’s games were just as exciting as Friday night’s matches.
No. 16 Yale was on the brink of dropping its second match of the weekend, trailing Rensselaer with only minutes left in regulation. Yale pulled to within one goal with 2:59 remaining after a goal by Frankie DiChiara. John Hayden tied the game in the final minute to send the game into overtime. Within the first minute of overtime, Hayden scored again and gave Yale the 3-2 victory. Yale scored its three unanswered goals in a span of three minutes and 22 seconds.
Vecchione’s big weekend continued for Union when the Dutchmen hosted Brown. Vecchione’s goal in the second period put Union up 3-1 and made it to the SportsCenter’s Top 10 plays of the night. The game also saw six third-period goals. Brown scored three straight goals to earn a 4-3 lead, but Union came back and scored three unanswered goals of its own to defeat Brown, 6-4.
Quinnipiac traveled to St. Lawrence as both teams looked to stay undefeated in league play. St. Lawrence goalie Kyle Hayton made 25 saves and achieved a program-high 10th career shutout as St. Lawrence upset Quinnipiac, 2-0, the Saints’ second shutout of the weekend. Hayton is the first goalie to post back-to-back shutouts since 2009.
Clarkson ended its three-game losing streak when Princeton came into town behind Clarkson senior Troy Joseph’s first career two-goal game. The Tigers opened the scoring at the 8:04 mark during a power play, but still dropped the game, 4-2, after two unanswered Clarkson goals.
Colgate goalie Charlie Finn finished the weekend with 67 saves, the third most in the country, after the Raiders’ 2-0 victory over Dartmouth. The game remained scoreless until the 2:16 mark in the third period, when Colgate senior Troy Crema gave the Raiders a 1-0 lead. Colgate scored on an empty net in the final minute to seal the game.