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.
The Favorite – Yale
The Bulldogs can do it all. They score (10th nationally – in ECAC Hockey no less) , they defend (11th nationally) they’re good on the power play (20th) and kill (5th). They also have great balance. Mark Acobello is their leading scorer with 32 points, and Sean Backman is 11th nationally in goals per game (.59). This Bulldog team does everything right, and they are going to be a very tough out not only in the next two weekends, but in the NCAA Tournament as well.
The sleeper(s) – Cornell, Princeton, St. Lawrence.
Which tickles your fancy? An amazing goalie? Princeton’s Zane Kalemba and Cornell’s Ben Scrivens are 1st and 2nd nationally in save percentage. How about goals? St. Lawrence is 14th nationally in gpg and is the only ECAC team who can give Yale a run in that department. I don’t know which team to pick, but I would tend to lean to Princeton because they are the best mix between offense and defense.
The Pick – Yale
For all the reasons outlined above, Yale seems to be the best bet. Granted, with the depth of quality teams in the 2, 3 and 4 spots, Yale probably has a 0% of getting the auto-bid, but they’re still my pick.