It”s’ a time honored tradition in college sports: the preseason poll. While both USCHO and USA Today (with the coaches) will have their own college hockey Top 20, the poll I actually vote in is the only one I care to talk about — The ECAC preseason media poll and all-conference team.
You see, I can explain to you my thoughts (or total lack thereof) when it comes to how I see things shaking out in the conference and since this is my site, that’s how things roll around here. While I’m good at keeping up on things in college hockey, my life is consumed with professional hockey which means I get a sort of slanted view of what goes on.
That means I’m reading way more of Ken Schott at The Gazette for Union stuff and Ed Weaver at the Troy Record on RPI. I also have many friends and other folks who are either Cornell alums or REALLY big fans, so I hear enough about the Big Red to make me want to vomit out of my ears. Other schools… fall by the way side.
Enough rambling, here’s how I ranked everyone out on my ballot:
- St. Lawrence
It’s not really a surprise considering the top two teams as they were the top two last year. Union loses a handful of really good players while Cornell just keeps plugging right along. Hang on though, when you get a look at my all-conference ballot you’ll probably wonder what the hell my glitch is.
- G: Troy Grosenick – Union
- D: Shayne Gostisbehere – Union
- D: Danny Biega – Harvard
- F: Daniel Carr – Union
- F: Kellen Jones – Quinnipiac
- F: Kenny Agostino – Yale
Yes, three Union players and none from Cornell yet I have Cornell taking the conference. Why? I think Cornell is a deeper, more dedicated-to-their-system team. Every year no matter how much turnover there is in their roster, Cornell sits in the top four of the ECAC. It might not be the greatest hockey to watch in what is the second-weakest conference in the NCAAs, but that brand of consistency is rare.
These top two teams are also the only ones I’ve got any confidence at all in saying they’ll finish there. They were the conference’s only tournament teams last year and barring upsets in the tournament, it could be that way again.
As for 3-12… Honestly, I might as well draw names from a hat but I figured I’d give it a shot to place them where I think they’ll go. Reasons? Here goes nothing.
Harvard: Why not third? They tied so many games last year it kept them afloat. They lose some forward talent with Alex Killorn graduated but that’s it.
Quinnipiac: Lots of good forward talent here and I think that’ll be good enough to keep them in business all year. I’m a big fan of Kellen and Connor Jones with Matthew Peca assisting them both. Eric Hartzell is a quietly very solid goalie.
Dartmouth: Every year I expect better things from the Big Green and they keep letting me down. Yet here I am again. I’m a sucker. Lots of questions abound here, especially in goal (Cab Morris?). Brandon McNally was huge in conference last year, could be primed for a breakout second season.
Yale: It’s tough to pick against Keith Allain’s team as there’s still a lot of talent there, but things are lacking a bit now. Brian O’Neill was a huge player for them. Thankfully they’ve got an older Kenny Agostino to pick things up. Antoine Laganiere is a pure sniper. Goaltending was OK, but has to be better.
St. Lawrence: Loads of young scorers here but questions persist elsewhere. How they do without master tactician head coach Joe Marsh (retirement) will dictate where they finish.
Rensselaer: Seth Appert’s young team has loads and loads of potential and could be a team that winds up higher than where I’ve got them. It all depends on how well second-year guys Ryan Haggerty, Jacob Laliberte, Zach Schroeder, and Mark McGowan grow up and how well the host of new guys fit in. (Homer hopes: Last year’s kids turn into stud scorers and this year’s frosh blend in seamlessly – fingers crossed)
Clarkson: It’s nice to greatly dislike this team again with Casey Jones as the head coach now that George Roll is kickstarting the D-III program at Nazareth. They’re back to playing boring hockey and they’re very hate-able again. RPI beating them in the playoffs last year won’t sit well but they need better talent.
Princeton: So this is what happens when a good coach goes elsewhere. Things fall off for a bit. Or maybe they won’t and they’ll surprise. Who knows?!
Colgate: I’ll make this one easy – Austin Smith is gone. Coach Don Vaughn will figure out another way to pester the conference though.
Brown: It’s the annual tradition of picking Brown to finish last. Some things just never change.