Week 1 (Nov 15 and 16) power rankings

Great improvements in video coverage at several NESCAC schools – better camera work and HD cameras at Bowdoin and giant improvements in technical quality at both Colby and Tufts; Colby has joined the NSN system (as has Amherst) and it seems to have made a world of difference; the Hamilton and Conn College video experiences still leave a lot to be desired

Standings:

1. Trinity: 4 points (2-0)
2. Bowdoin: 3 points (1-0-1)
Williams: 3 points (1-0-1)
4. Amherst: 2 points (1-0-0)
Conn College: 2 points (1-1-0)
Wesleyan: 2 points (1-1-0)
7.  Colby: 1 point (0-1-1)
Middlebury: 1 point (0-1-1)
9.  Hamilton: 0 points (0-1-0)
Tufts: 0 points (0-2-0)

Week no. 1 power rankings (NB: power rankings are meant to provide a rough sense of who has the mojo coming out of each weekend and are not intended to predict who will be no. 1 at the end of the season):

1. Williams: Picks up 3 of 4 points on the tough trip to Maine, downing Colby 4-2 on Saturday and tying Bowdoin, 3-3, on Sunday; gets nice scoring from its freshmen as they score 5 of Williams 7 goals on the weekend and all 3 in the Bowdoin game (CJ Shugart (2-2-4), Colby Cretella (2-0-2), and Dave Italiano (1-1-2)); HC Bill Kangas was pleased with their play and the play of the entire team; a slight negative in that the Ephs were on the cusp of a 4-point weekend when they let the potent Polar Bears tie the Sunday game with less than a minute to go; the Bowdoin-Williams game was a superb game as both teams were in near mid-season form, with great goaltending and scoring chances for both teams and just about as cleanly played as a game can be (only 1 penalty was called); Williams has an easier weekend coming up as it hosts Conn College on Friday and then Tufts on Saturday

2. Trinity: Gets the job done against weaker opposition (Conn College and Trinity), with a sweep on the road and identical 7-2 scores in both games; the Bantams looked a little sloppy at times but the big guns started firing late in both games, scoring 4 goals in 5 minutes in the third period in both games; the Bantams are still strong favorites to take the conference but, based on early returns, both Williams and Bowdoin look like they could give Trinity a run for the money; the Bantams added a few additional weapons to the arsenal, with freshman Tyler Whitney scoring 3 goals over the weekend and sophomore Ethan Holdaway scoring 2 goals in Saturday’s game; junior Nano Heilbron got the start in net in both games and acquitted himself well; on the negative side, Trinity was whistled for a total of 39 PIMs in the 2 games and begins the season as the most penalized team in the NESCAC; Trinity entertains always tough Amherst on Friday and then hosts Hamilton on Saturday afternoon

3.  Bowdoin: The Polar Bears picked up 3 of 4 points over tough opposition; the Bowdoin offense was strong in both games (Middlebury and Williams) but the Polar Bears were overly dependent on their no. 1 line (featuring seniors John McGinnis and Connor Quinn and usually freshman Matt Lison) in the Williams game; Bowdoin continues its practice of rotating goalies, with freshman Peter Cronin getting the start against Williams on Sunday after senior Max Fenkell shut out the Panthers on Saturday; Cronin looks like he will be a very good goalie for Bowdoin but apparently misplayed Williams’ second goal; the new Bears looked good, especially against Middlebury, but seniors John McGinnis and Connor Quinn stole the show as both were on fire over the weekend; Bowdoin was shockingly disciplined over the weekend, getting called for only 4 penalties over the 2 games; next up for Bowdoin is the usual home-and-home series with archrival Colby this coming weekend, starting in Brunswick on Friday night and closing out in Waterville Saturday night

4. Colby: Only 1 point on the weekend but the young Mules looked good in both games and played with a lot of spirit and energy in tying up Middlebury in the third period and then fending off a 5-minute major in the middle of the third period; HC Blaise MacDonald’s faith in his son (forward and true freshman Cam MacDonald) was rewarded quickly as the younger MacDonald scored a goal in his debut against Williams on Saturday; freshman Emerson Verrier got the start in net in both games – he put up solid but not spectacular numbers although he shut the door on Middlebury in the late going to ensure a tie; Colby heads to Brunswick for the first leg of the annual series with Bowdoin on Friday and then returns to Waterville on Saturday to close out the series

5.  Amherst: Held on to down travel partner Hamilton on Saturday by a score of 3-1 but were out shot and undermanned (only 16 skaters dressed for the game – missing from the line-up were regulars Mike Cashman (F) and d-men Theo Hannah and Kevin Ryder); as usual, goalie Dave Cunningham was excellent for the Jeffs; also on the bright side for Amherst, members of its strong group of freshman forwards were in on all 3 goals; this game probably does not tell us much about the Jeffs’ prospects as Hamilton is a lower-ranked team; Amherst faces a major test this coming weekend when it heads to Connecticut for a game with Trinity on Friday night and one with Wesleyan on Saturday

6.  Conn College: Melted down in a weird third period against Trinity on Saturday, giving up 4 goals in 5 minutes while firing 23 SOGs at the Trinity net (if the Conn College stats are to be believed) but then came back strong to best Wesleyan by a score of 5-2 on Sunday, with goalie Tom Conlin performing better in net after a poor outing against Trinity; the Camels have a difficult weekend ahead as they travel to Williams on Friday night and then on to Middlebury for a Saturday afternoon game with the Panthers

7.  Wesleyan: Downed Tufts on Saturday by a score of 5-2 but the Cardinals were out shot; Wesleyan was bested by Conn College on Sunday (5-2); so the Cardinals pick up 50% of the available points but have much work to do; Wesleyan hosts Hamilton on Friday and then faces the disciplined Lord Jeffs on Saturday afternoon

8.  Hamilton: Hung tough with Amherst on Saturday and even out shot the LJs; in a bit of a surprise, senior Zach Arnold got the start in net for the Continentals over accomplished and highly touted freshman goalie Evan Buitenhuis; obviously, Hamilton needs to figure out more ways to score if it wishes to make the play-offs this season; Hamilton faces a difficult road trip to Connecticut this weekend, with a game at Wesleyan on Friday and then one with Trinity on Saturday afternoon

9.  Middlebury: Came away with 1 point on the Maine weekend but it could have been worse; the Panthers looked out of sorts against Bowdoin in Saturday’s 6-0 shellacking; their play was more disciplined in Sunday against the Mules but the best they could do was a 2-2 tie after failing to hold onto a 2-0 lead in the second period; the game of musical chairs in net continues for Middlebury, with senior Michel Peters getting the start against Bowdoin and junior Liam Moorfield-Yee getting the call against Colby; but the problems for the Panthers go much deeper than goaltending for the enigmatic Panthers as they produced only 2 goals in 125 minutes of hockey this weekend and left Peters very exposed on several of the Bowdoin goals; Middlebury has a good opportunity to get back on track this weekend as it hosts the struggling Tufts Jumbos on Friday and then faces Conn College on Saturday

10. Tufts: The Jumbos had their moments when it looked as though they might contend against both Wesleyan and Trinity but in the end they lost both games by good margins; on the bright side, Tufts did out shoot Wesleyan on Saturday and the Trinity game ws tied 2-2 after 2 periods before the Bantams’ third period explosion; Tufts experimented with goalies, going with freshman Ryan McConnell on Saturday against Wesleyan and then sophomore transfer Mason Pulde on Sunday; it was trial by fire and both have ended up toward the bottom of the NESCAC heap in statistical terms; time will tell whether one of them (or perhaps the third netminder on the Tufts roster, Ross Bendetson) will develop enough to keep the Jumbos in the game as the season progresses; Tufts has another tough weekend ahead of it as it travels to Middlebury on Friday and then to Williams on Saturday

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One Response

  1. I attended the Bowdoin-Williams game (as well as the Bowdoin-Middlebury game) in Brunswick last weekend. I was extremely impressed with the Ephmen: they skate and check well, have terrific goaltending, and displayed enormous discipline, taking no penalties against the Polar Bears. In general Peter Cronin (Bowdoin’s freshman goaltender) was solid, but, as you suggested, he did misplay the second goal by Williams by going down too soon. Cronin will only get better as he gains more experience. The potential is definitely there.

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