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Preseason Top 16: Number 6 Princeton

August 31, 2009 4 comments

Howdy, folks. It’s that time of year again. Every so often The College Hockey Blog will be unveiling our Preseason top 16 teams, one by one. If you want to see the top 16 in order, and links to each individual preview, click the tab at the top of the page. Today’s team is #6 Princeton

Although Yale is the defending league champs, and is expected to be ranked 1st in the ECAC Preseason polls, I like Princeton a bit better. Returning is the backbone of the 7th best defense in college hockey last year, goalie Zane Kalemba, who had the 3rd best save percentage (.932) and 4th in goals against (1.82) Read more…

Preseason Top 16: Number 10

Whew. We finally made it to the top 10. After our first 6 teams profiled, it’s time to preview the teams that are expected to make a push for their respective conference titles, and to perhaps contend for a Frozen Four bid. We begin with #10 Yale

Last year the Bulldogs rode balanced scoring and just enough defense to come virtually out of nowhere to win the ECAC crown. Hosting a regional, they lost their opening game to eventual Frozen Four participant. But with the experience they gained from last year they should be back in the ECAC mix. Read more…

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ECAC Awards

March 30, 2009 Leave a comment

Time to rev the awards engine back to full speed. Today, we head East to ECAC hockey. In what was a very good year for the league, Yale, Cornell and Princeton all made the NCAA Tournament, and St. Lawrence just missed by the skin of their teeth. In the preseason we ranked both Princeton and Cornell, but totally missed the boat on Yale (who didn’t?) and St. Lawrence.

Getting the easiest award out of the way right away, our ECAC coach of the year is Yale’s Keith Allain. Allain led the Bulldogs to the ECAC regular season and tournament titles, with a record of 24-8-2 (15-5-2 in conference). They were the highest scoring team in ECAC hockey at 3.32 goals pergame, and 9th nationally in that department. The Bulldogs also had the nation’s best penalty kill, a testament to Coach Allain’s ability to teach them discipline and fundamentals.

Our player of the year award was a bit more difficult. At midseason it looked like Ben Scrivens had it on lockdown, but Zane Kalemba took him over. The Princeton goalie had a .932 save percentage to lead the conference in that department. But our conference player of the year is Colgate’s David McIntyre. The Junior was 2nd in the conference in goals and 3rd in points, while playing less games than the top two players in those departments. McIntyre had 21 goals on a team that scored just 89 on the season. That is nearly 25% of the goal scoring. And McIntyre had 43 points, meaning he had a hand in nearly half of his teams goals. That is value. The rest of the first team and the second team are after the jump Read more…

Categories: Awards, ECAC Hockey

Bracket Breakdown: East

March 25, 2009 1 comment

It’s a couple years old, but damn I love that picture. It must be the helmets.

Anyways, the East regional in Bridgeport is definitely the most balanced of the four regionals. It features two conference champions, a team that was in the Frozen Four last year, and one that is back to the tournament after a looooooong absence.

The #1 seed Michigan Wolverines are incredible up front, led by a Sophomore trio that actually reminds me of North Dakota’s amazing trio two years ago of Jonathan Toews, TJ Oshie and Ryan Duncan. Aaron Palushaj and Louie Caporusso were each in the top 10 nationally in points per game, and this came in one of the most defensive conferences in the country this year. With Mark Mitera out for much of the year with a knee injury and Steve Kampfer out after being attacked by a Michigan football player Michigan survived defensively, especially once Bryan Hogan took over in net, and now that those two defensemen are back Michigan will be even tougher to crack defensively.

Hogan has had a couple of rough ones lately, however, including giving up 5 goals to Notre Dame in the CCHA title game. Michigan definitely won’t overlook Air Force given the Falcons’ last two efforts in the NCAA Tournament, but they will be in for a dogfight.

Air Force, on the other hand, comes into their third straight NCAA tournament after giving Minnesota a run for their money 2 years ago and Miami a run for their money last year. They of course are led by Sophomore forward Jacques Lamoureux, who leads the country with 32 goals, .82 per game. He also leads the country with 15 power play goals. Unlike the past couple of years, Air Force has more defensive help, led by Greg Flynn, and they have a great goalie in Andrew Volkening who has been great, especially lately with 2 shutouts in a row at the Atlantic Hockey semis and finals.

Oh and by the by, Lamoureux also leads the nation with 9 game winning goals. For that reason, I’m going with the shocker and taking Air Force to upset Michigan. Read more…

Bracket Breakdown: Midwest

March 24, 2009 2 comments

Grand Rapids is the site of our Midwest Regional. It features three very good teams, three in fact who could win the regional, but it also features the best team in the country, and my pre-tournament pick for the national championship.

The Fighting Irish come in on a hot streak, having won both the CCHA regular season and playoff championships. The Irish can bring it both offensively and defensively. Although players like Erik Condra, Christian Hanson and Ryan Thang steal all the headlines, Calle Ridderwall is the player who leads this team with 17 goals. The Irish don’t have a player over a goal per game, but they have six guys who are in double digits in goals. Defensively they are led by first round pick, and one of my personal favorite players, Ian Cole. Cole does everything for this team. He can score (26 points) and he plays very solid defense. In net, Jordan Pearce has been fantastic, although it’s a bit easier for him to be given the defense he has in front of him. They’ll easily run Bemidji out of the building. Read more…

Bracket Breakdown: West

March 23, 2009 Leave a comment

Starting our bracket breakdown is the West regional in Mariucci Arena in Minneapolis. All regionals are going to be wide open affairs. This Friday-Saturday regional is no different. It features a coach going against his old coach, the WCHA tournament champs, and the only Hobey finalist in the region.

Denver, the 2nd place team in both the WCHA regular season and conference tournament, locks horns with Miami, a team that quite frankly shouldn’t be in the tournament. Their best non-conference win (and indeed their only wins) was against RPI. They have however swept both Notre Dame and Michigan, so the talent is at least there. But for the CCHA to have 4 teams while ECAC Hockey and the WCHA only have three is a bit of an injustice to those two leagues. Both St. Lawrence and either Minnesota or Wisconsin would be a better NCAA tournament team than the RedHawks. That being said, Miami will be a tough out. Miami has gotten solid contributions from their two Freshmen goalies all season, and they are the 9th best defensive team in the country going into the tournament.

The Pioneers, meanwhile, have been suffering from injuries, most notably to Tyler Bozak and Tyler Ruegsegger. Bozak however is expected to return to the lineup for the NCAA tournament, giving Denver a much needed boost offensively. The 10th best scoring team in the country already, Denver is sure to put up some numbers and Miami’s goaltenders will need to be ready. They also have gotten good goaltending from Marc Cheverie, who is 2nd team all WCHA and has 4 shutouts this season. In the end I see the Pioneers moving on to the regional final. Read more…

ECAC Hockey Playoff Preview

March 12, 2009 Leave a comment

In our second to last preview we highlight the most top-heavy league in all the land. Yale, Cornell, Princeton and St. Lawrence all could be bound for the national tournament, and all have made cases as the best team in the conference at various points in the season. As expected the Yale Bulldogs lead the conference in goal differential, both in conference games and overall.

In the first round of the playoffs, we already saw an upset as Brown, the 12th seed and one of the worst teams in college hockey, defeated Harvard. Will there be more? Probably. Read more…