ECAC hockey: Union seeing Green, will host Dartmouth in quarterfinals
Union will have some Big Green coming in for St. Patrick’s Day weekend, while Rensselaer Polytechnic hopes to take down some Bears.
The ECAC Hockey tournament best-of-three quarterfinal-round matches are set. The fourth-seeded Dutchmen (17-12-5), who are the defending champions, will host fifth-seeded Dartmouth (15-12-5) at Messa Rink. The No. 2-seeded Engineers (17-12-5) will take on seventh-seeded Brown (13-12-6) at Houston Field House.
Game 1 will be Friday at 7 p.m., followed by Game 2 at 7 p.m. Saturday. If Game 3 is needed, it would take place at 7 p.m. Sunday, which is St. Patrick’s Day.
The other series are No. 9 Cornell at No. 1 Quinnipiac, and No. 6 St. Lawrence at No. 3 Yale.
The matchups were finalized Sunday night when the Big Green eliminated 12th-seeded Harvard, 6-3, in the deciding game of their best-of-three first-round series. Dartmouth lost Game 1, 2-1, but took a 4-1 decision in Game 2 to force Game 3.
This will be the first postseason meeting between Union and Dartmouth. The Big Green lead the all-time season series, 24-17-7.
The Big Green won the season series from the Dutchmen, 1-0-1. Dartmouth took a 3-2 victory Nov. 10 at Thompson Arena. The Big Green had a 3-0 lead after two periods. Goals by Daniel Carr and Matt Hatch in the first 2:10 of the third period pulled Union to within one, but it couldn’t come all the way back.
In the rematch Feb. 1, the Dutchmen had a 2-1 lead after two periods on goals by Kevin Sullivan and Mat Bodie. Union was doing a good job protecting the lead until a Daniel Ciampini tripping penalty with 5:19 left in the third period gave Dartmouth a power play. Rick Pinkston scored 24 seconds later to tie it, 2-2.
RPI took the season series from Brown, 1-0-1. The teams skated to a 2-2 tie Dec. 8 at Meehan Auditorium. Ryan Haggerty and Matt Neal scored for the Engineers, while Matt Lorito and Chris Zaires had the Brown goals.
The Engineers coasted to a 5-1 win Feb. 15 at Houston Field House. Mike Zalewski, Nick Bailen, Mark Miller, Jacob Laliberte and CJ Lee scored for RPI. Goalie Jason Kasdorf stopped 30 shots.
RPI coach Seth Appert knows it won’t be that easy this time, especially after Brown swept No. 10 Clarkson in the first round.
“Our guys have a good approach about these things,” Appert said. “They know how good Brown is. They have a very good team. They’re physical. They’re hard to play against. They’ve got good confidence because they played well in the second half of the season. They played well down the stretch to earn that home ice in the first round.”
RPI will seek to reverse a trend against Brown in the postseason.
The Bears have won the last two matchups. Brown, as the 11th seed, upset sixth-seeded RPI in the 2010 first round, winning Game 1, 3-1, losing Game 2, 4-1, and taking Game 3, 3-2.
In 2005, the Bears were the sixth seed and the Engineers the 11th seed. Brown swept the series by scores of 7-4 and 4-3.
The last time RPI beat Brown in the postseason was 1990.