College hockey: Bobcats have surprised themselves with 10-0 start
It has been over 40 years since an ECAC Hockey team went undefeated in league play.
Quinnipiac is threatening to change that, but Bobcats coach Rand Pecknold doesn’t believe his team can run the table.
The fifth-ranked Bobcats have opened ECACH play with a 10-0 record. If they sweep their home games against Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and Union, the Bobcats will be 10 games away from going 22-0.
Only two teams in the ECACH’s first 51 years have gone a season without a loss. Boston University went 19-0-1 in the 1966-67 season. Cornell is the only team to win all of its league games, going 21-0 in 1969-70.
Since then, no one has gone through a conference campaign without a loss. Three teams lost just once, Boston U. did it twice — 18-1-1 in 1970-71 and 21-1-0 in 1977-78. Harvard (19-1-0 in 1974-75), and RPI (20-1 in 1984-85) are the other teams.
While it’s nice to think about it happening, Pecknold said the chances of going the league season without a loss are minimal.
“That’s probably not likely,” Pecknold said. “The league is too good. We have six teams in the top 20. I use the phrase all the time that the last-place team in our league can beat the No. 1 team in the country on any given night. It’s just a great league from top to bottom. I don’t think [going undefeated] is a realistic goal for us this year, or for anyone in any season.”
Pecknold is pleasantly surprised about his team’s start in league play.
“We’ve dodged a couple of bullets along the way,” Pecknold said. “There were a few games we shouldn’t have won that [goalie Eric] Hartzell pulled out for us, or somebody made a great play late in the game, or we got a good bounce. We’ve played good enough to be 8-2 or 8-1-1. But to be 10-0 is great.”
Hartzell has been outstanding in goal. The senior is 16-2-2 with a 1.48 goals-against average, a .934 save percentage and four shutouts.
The Bobcats (16-3-2 overall) have four seniors on defense. Loren Barron, Zack Currie, Mike Dalhuisen and Zach Davies have been a steadying force on the blue line. They have been especially strong on the penalty kill, going 91-for-98.
“They know our systems,” Pecknold said. “They’re battle tested. It’s a huge advantage from a penalty-kill standpoint in that they know our rotation. They’ve seen so many different power-play looks that it’s a big advantage for us in general, but on the penalty kill [in particular]. It’s been huge.”
Quinnipiac has had a balanced attack, with seven players showing 10 or more points. Senior forward Jeremy Langlois leads the way with 10 goals and 10 assists. Senior Russell Goodman has been a clutch player, with four of his five goals being game-winners.
“It just seems like every game, a different line steps up,” Pecknold said.
The Bobcats are 13-0-1 overall in their last 14 games. Their last loss was a 2-1 home-ice defeat at the hands of American International on Nov. 6. The unbeaten streak started three days later with a 3-2 overtime win against Colgate.
“We come out and play phenomenal against Colgate, and really dominate the game,” Pecknold said. “The shots were 37-10, and we’re going into overtime. I give credit to Colgate, they hung in there, but we deserved to win that hockey game. The Goodman goal in overtime was huge for us. We needed that win. We needed that confidence early in the year. That’s the biggest goal of the season. It just launched us.”
2013-14 ECACH SKED
It appears that Union and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute are tentatively scheduled to open and close the 2013-14 ECACH on the road.
The ECACH schedule is slated to open Nov. 1 with Union at Dartmouth and RPI at Harvard. The Dutchmen and Engineers will end the season March 1, when Union will be at Brown and RPI at Yale.
Union and RPI are scheduled to play their league home openers Nov. 8. The Dutchmen will host Colgate, while the Engineers entertain Cornell.
Not listed on the tentative ECACH schedule are the two league games between the Capital Region rivals.
Here are the tentative ECACH schedules for Union and RPI. It is subject to change.
Home games in CAPS
Nov. 1 — at Dartmouth; Nov. 2 — at Harvard; Nov. 8 — COLGATE; Nov. 9 — CORNELL; Dec. 6 — PRINCETON; Dec. 7 — QUINNIPIAC; Jan. 10 — at Quinnipiac; Jan. 11 — at Princeton; Jan. 24 — HARVARD; Jan. 25 — DARTMOUTH; Feb. 1 — at Clarkson; Feb. 2 — at St. Lawrence; Feb. 7 — BROWN; Feb. 8 — YALE; Feb. 14 — at Cornell; Feb. 15 — at Colgate; Feb. 21 — CLARKSON; Feb. 22 — ST. LAWRENCE; Feb. 28 — at Yale; March 1 — at Brown.
Nov. 1 — at Harvard; Nov. 2 — at Dartmouth; Nov. 8 — CORNELL; Nov. 9 — COLGATE; Dec. 6 — QUINNIPIAC; Dec. 7 — PRINCETON; Jan. 10 — at Princeton; Jan. 11 — at Quinnipiac; Jan. 24 — DARTMOUTH; Jan. 25 — HARVARD; Feb. 1 — at St. Lawrence; Feb. 2 — at Clarkson; Feb. 7 — YALE; Feb. 8 — BROWN; Feb. 14 — at Colgate; Feb. 15 — at Cornell; Feb. 21 — ST. LAWRENCE; Feb. 22 — CLARKSON; Feb. 28 — at Brown; March 1 — at Yale.
RPI sophomore forward Zach Schroeder’s season could be over, according to RPI coach Seth Appert.
Schroeder suffered a broken wrist against Union Nov. 2. He played with it the next night at Union, then missed four straight games. He returned to the lineup Nov. 30 against Princeton and played three straight games, but has been out of the lineup the last six games.
Schroeder has played in nine games, and has a goal and an assist.
“There’s a potential that Schroeder could be out for the year and go through the process of medical redshirt,” Appert said. “Just depending on how everything heals. He’s played nine games, but really, he’s only played four healthy games. To bring him back for six or seven at the end [of the season] when he’s a young sophomore right out of high school just doesn’t make a lot of sense for his career.”
VOTE FOR HOBEY
Three Union players are among the 14 ECACH players who are on the fan ballot for the Hobey Baker Award.
The Dutchmen on the ballot are all seniors — forwards Kyle Bodie and Wayne Simpson and defenseman Greg Coburn.
Cornell and Yale also have three players each. Representing Cornell are junior goalie Andy Iles, senior forward Greg Miller and senior defenseman Nick D’Agostino. The Yale players are senior forwards Antoine Laganiere and Andrew Miller and junior forward Kenny Agostino.
Dartmouth has two players — junior forward Matt Lindblad and sophomore forward Tyler Sikura.
The other ECACH players on the ballot are Harvard senior
defenseman Danny Biega, Quinnipiac senior goalie Hartzell and St. Lawrence senior forward Kyle Flanagan.
The first phase of the fan voting is under way and runs through March 10. To vote, go to www.votehobey.com.