Today in Lake Placid, NY. the ECAC Semi-finals take place with all 4 top seeded teams facing off. The opening game is 1st seed Harvard vs 4th seed Quinnipiac. Followed by 2nd seed Union vs 3rd seed Cornell. the winners will meet tomorrow night for the ECAC Championship. Both games should be close, hard fought, slugfests. Actually all 3 games will be that way regardless of the match ups.
Harvard (24-5-2) vs Quinnipiac (23-14-2)
The two teams split their regular season meetings. QU won 4-2 @ home in the early season while Harvard won 5-2 later in the season @ home. This is the 3rd straight year the two will face off in Lake Placid. Last year QU knocked off Harvard for the Championship and the year before that Harvard beat QU in this round en route to winning the Championship.
The Bobcats have been an offense juggernaut all year led by Landon Smith (29pts), Chase Priskie (26pts), & Tim Clifton (25pts) along with 3 other 20+pt scorers. They have a solid D corp, with Srs. Connor Clifton & Derek Smith, So. Priskie, So. Luke Shiplo, & Fr. Brogan Rafferty. Where coach Rand Pecknold had trouble was in goaltending consistency. Both keepers, Fr. Andrew Shortridge & Jr. Chris Truehl with getting a lot of games under their belts. Short ridge has been carrying the load as of late, while QU has won 7 of their last 8 games. QU has had a bit of an up & down season but now its playoff time and the Bobcats now how to win in the postseason, not to mention they need to if they are to play on into late March & early April as has become expected in New Hamden, CT. Right now QU is 20th in the pairwise, outside looking in, but the ECAC Championship gets them into the NCAA’s automatically. So there’s a lot to play for there.
Aside from being ranked 3rd overall this season, the Crimson led the nation in goals per game @ 4.20, 12 shorthanded goals & 4th in PP% @ 26.62. So Offense isn’t a problem. Alex Kerfoot has 40 pts, Tyler Moy has 39, Sean Malone has 38 & 3 others have 30+ as well. The Crimson can roll 3 solid lines at you all with the ability to score. Defensively as a unit they have been solid. Freshman Adam Fox is one of those 30pt guys. Viktor Dombrovsky & John Marino are offensive puck moving defensemen, but with Wiley Sherman, Clay Anderson, & Jacob Olsen they’ve been steady this year. Merrick Madsen has been really good this season in goal, he’s had some blips and is the biggest question mark for Harvard, but he’s holding his own and backstopping the Crimson to the 11th best Goals Against per game @ 2.28.
This one will be closer than the previous 2 this year, still high scoring though. Harvard wins 5-4 in OT
Due to timing I’m jumping ahead to just a prediction…
Cornell (20-7-5) vs Union (25-8-3)
Cornell won the season series 1-0-1. A 5-3 road win @ Union and a 3-3 tie @ home. Tonight will be a Union win 4-2.