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Q30 power rankings: ECAC men’s hockey

Photo Courtesy: Clarkson Athletics

By: Q30 men’s ice hockey beat team




Our Q30 sports men’s ice hockey beat reporters each compiled a list, and a short justification, for their 2017-18 ECAC Hockey power rankings as of January 19, 2018.

As you can see, much of the power rankings are similar. (Full disclosure: each beat reporter completed his rankings independently.) This just goes to show that the top teams are good, and the bottom teams are, well, struggling. Not everything needs an explanation, but here are some of the discrepancies and justifications.

 

Ranks 4-7: 

Banks: Ryan Scarfo and Anthony Rinaldi’s (12 goals each) knack to find the back of the net has triggered Union’s surprise start to the season, leading the Dutchmen on the periphery of the top three. Quinnipiac had an underwhelming first half of the season by its standards, but it still find a way to sneak into the top half of my power rankings thanks to victories over Hockey East fixture Connecticut and ECAC Hockey foe Colgate in the new year. Speaking of Colgate, Colton Point carries the Raiders on his back into my five spot with a conference-leading 571 saves (meaning he sees the most shots) and second best  1.87 goals against average.

Baird: Besides what appears to be the three powerhouses so far this season, the rest of the conference isn’t all that far behind. Union barely misses the top three for me, despite being technically tied for third in league points. Colgate plays well with Colton Point in the lineup, and he is the kind of goalie that can steal games for a team. If you look at Colgate’s schedule carefully, you will see they only have ten games played, which gives them two games in hand on Harvard and Union, who are above them in the standings. Quinnipiac’s shaky start makes them a middle of the pack team, I think that is pretty fair. They have talent, but a lack of a number one goal scoring threat is costing them up front.

Feinberg: I echo the sentiment on Colton Point. He is the reason this team is ranked where they are. Colgate has a big home and home with travel partner Cornell this weekend, and a chance to make up some points and close the gap on the top of the standings. I don’t think Union will have a problem with a first round home series in the ECAC Hockey playoffs, but I see Harvard, Cornell and Clarkson as the Dutchmen’s only obstacles to earning a higher seed. Quinnipiac freshman Odeen Tufto has been the silver lining to the Bobcats season thus far. Tufto is currently third in ECAC Hockey in points (25) and leads all players in assists (20). Going forward, the Bobcats will need to get much more going offensively, as Tanner MacMaster is the only player with double-digit goals (10). The Bulldogs of Yale have found themselves placed at the middle of the pack, a place they are usually used to at this time of the season. However, road wins at Harvard and Union have been the highlights of the season for the Bulldogs.

Levasseur: Colgate’s lack of scoring and wins on the road is my concern for the Raiders. If Colgate was as good on the road (3-6-2) as they are in Hamilton, NY (7-2-2) then they could surpass Harvard as the third best team in the conference. Union’s offense has remained impressive despite losing big names, currently with five players that have 18 points or more this season. The Dutchmen have taken care of the teams that they should beat, and sport an impressive road win and a tie against the North Dakota Fighting Hawks as the highlights of the season so far. Princeton is led by Max Veronneau, Ryan Kuffner and David Hallisey this season. Tying St. Cloud State twice was the Tigers most impressive weekend yet. Quinnipiac needs this year’s senior class to step up and start scoring to get them back to where they’ve been: a top tier ECAC Hockey team.

 

Spots 10-12:

Banks: The bottom two place themselves here, as St. Lawrence sits in the basement having lost to every team they’ve played except for a 4-4 tie against Rensselaer (RPI) in early November. RPI gets the nod above them due to wins over both Whitney Ave. schools, Quinnipiac and Yale. Brown rounds out the bottom three. The Bears have seen every conference team once, and fellow Ivy twice. Perhaps the second time through the schedule will treat them better. 

Baird: Brown slides in at number 10 for me. Four wins is deceiving, as two of the four are against RPI and Saint Lawrence, below them in the standings. RPI finds the 11 spot, only because of the help of Saint Lawrence. The Saints are still winless in conference play, but to their credit they do have two games in hand on a majority of the conference. Those two games might make a difference between seeing a zero or a one in the first column of the conference record come early March.

Feinberg: Considering Brown already has more conference wins than last year, there’s no way I’d put them lower than 10th on this power ranking. Goaltending questions are present, as sophomore Gavin Nieto is second to last in ECAC Hockey with a 3.21 GAA. Nieto also has a 4-6-0 record this season. Yet backup Luke Kania has started the last three games for Brown, and given up a combined nine goals against in those starts. Will it be Nieto or Kania the rest of the way?

Levasseur: Brown’s record indicates they are better than the bottom dwellers of the ECAC. Even though Saint Lawrence does not yet have a win in conference play, the Saints wins against UMASS Lowell and Wisconsin have been more difficult than any of RPI’s wins, hence the 11 ranking. RPI has 4 wins in 24 games, ouch.

ECAC Hockey has a lot of parity at the top this season. It’s only mid-January, so expect the playoff picture to change a whole lot more before the regular season ends in late February.

Q30 Sports will have you covered with all things ECAC Hockey as the season comes to a close.

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