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As we get ready for the 1998-1999 season, the second under commissioner Jeff Fantner, and the second under the new Final Five playoff format, let's consider what's happened since we've been away.
As has been the case the past few years, there will be an ECAC Game of the Week TV package. This year, the Empire and New England Sports Networks will televise eight regular season and three playoff games from the ECAC. The broadcasts kick off January 8 at Yale's Ingalls Arena as the defending regular season champs play host to the Vermont Catamounts.
This year's other big plan for the ECAC has been altered a bit, as it was announced just last week that the much-touted ECAC-Hockey East doubleheader, originally to be held at New York's Madison Square Garden, has been moved to the Hartford Civic Center due to disappointing ticket sales. Along with the change of venue came a change of date, from Tuesday, December 22 to Monday the twenty-first.
There's been one coaching change in the ECAC; Union's Stan Moore, 1996-1997's ECAC Coach of the Year, has returned to his assistant status at Colgate. Moore led the Dutchmen to a best-ever 11-8-3 regular season record and fifth-place finish in his first season, but the graduation of much of his team saw a precipitous drop into the cellar at 4-15-3. Union assistant Kevin Sneddon replaces Moore as the Skating Dutchmen's head coach.
The major player defection comes at RPI, where all-ECAC Honorable Mention Matt Garver opted to depart, not for a professional career, but for a transfer to Division-III RIT. The loss, combined with the graduation of all-ECAC First Teamer Eric Healey, leaves the Engineers with only Allain St. Hillaire from last year's top line.
The ECAC also released their coaches' poll; we'll have a complete look at that next week, along with a review of last year's league standings.
With the ECAC stepping into the interconference fray this weekend, let's look back on last year's performance in non-conference games:[an error occurred while processing this directive]
Team ECAC HE CCHA WCHA D1 Indy Non-D1 Total NC Brown 1-3 0-1 0-1 1-5 Clarkson 1-1 2-1-1 0-2 1-0 4-4-1 Colgate 0-0-1 3-1 1-1 0-1 2-0 6-3-1 Cornell 0-0-1 1-0 2-1 0-1 1-0 4-2-1 Dartmouth 2-0-2 1-0 0-1 1-0 4-1-2 Harvard 1-4-1 0-1 1-5-1 Princeton 3-0-1 0-1 3-0 6-1-1 RPI 1-0 1-2 1-2 3-0 6-4 St. Lawrence 0-2 0-3 0-2 1-0 1-7 Union 0-1 0-4 2-2-1 2-7-1 Vermont 2-4 1-2 0-1 3-7 Yale 2-1 0-2 3-0 5-3 Team ECAC HE CCHA WCHA D1 Indy Non-D1 Total NC Totals 1-1-2 17-22-4 8-14-1 0-10 16-2-1 1-0 43-49-8
None of the ECAC's non-conference games were against teams from the MAAC, the fifth Division I conference.
Not the most stellar year for interconference play, with losing records against the other three major conferences. The last three of those losses came in the NCAA tournament, as all three ECAC teams made one-game exits.
The beginning of October means it's time to dust off those ceramic dalmatians. The US College Hockey Online preseason Poll is out, and the identity of the only ECAC team in the top ten is no big surprise as Clarkson checks in at #7. Princeton, Yale and Harvard also appeared on some of the ballots.
The ECAC league season begins with next month's traditional Harvard-Brown game, but in the mean time there are a few non-conference tilts scheduled. St. Lawrence see the league's first action Friday in the Ice Breaker Cup in Minneapolis. They take on host school school and WCHA representative Minnesota, looking to break the ECAC's fourteen-game losing streak against the Western conference. That game will be televised live on Midwest Sports Channel, starting at 8pm Eastern. Saturday will see the Saints in action against either Ohio State of the CCHA or defending Hockey East champs Boston College.