Photo courtesy of Dartmouth Varsity Athletic Communications and David Silverman (DSPics.com)
PRINCETON, N.J. -- Ivy League men's ice hockey teams are off to a strong start this season, with two teams ranked in the Top 20 and a third on the brink.
Dartmouth has already won a pair of Ivy games. The Big Green are looking to move into the Top 20 as the top team in the receiving votes category in this week's USCHO.com poll. Cornell and Harvard, who will square off in a contest televised by NBC Sports Network on November 16, are both in the Top 20 this week.
In fact, Cornell and Dartmouth are the last two unbeaten teams in Division I through Wednesday's action. Both are currently 3-0-1.
Dartmouth's Tyler Sikura leads the Ivy in scoring with seven points (3g, 4a), five of them coming in Dartmouth's two League games. Teammate Eric Robinson is tied for the league lead in goals with five, equalling the total of Yale's Antoine Laganiere.
In the Polls: USCHO.com | USA TODAY/USA Hockey
Cornell is the Ivy's highest ranked team this week at No. 4 in the USCHO.com poll. The Big Red are unbeaten thus far at 3-0-1 and moved up two spots this week after a win and a tie in a home-and-home with Colgate. Harvard dropped one spot to No. 14 in the poll after beating Brown and losing to Yale in Ivy League action last weekend. Dartmouth is just outside of the Top 20 as the top school in the receiving votes list. USA Hockey Magazine has Cornell at No. 4 and Harvard at No. 13 with Dartmouth receiving votes.
Brown (1-3-0, 0-2-0) has lost three straight after opening the season with a win over Princeton, 2-1. All four of the Bears' contests have been against Ivy schools, although only two of them count in the League standings. Matt Lorito has scored two of Brown's five goals thus far this season. Marco DeFlilppo has been the sole goaltender thus far, recording a 2.28 GAA in the first four games. Brown's power play has struggled in the early going. The Bears are 0-for-15 on the power play thus far this season.
Cornell (3-0-1, 0-0-0) is ranked No. 4 in both polls this week. The Big Red has had the power play cranking in the early going, scoring six of their 10 goals with an advantage. Cornell leads the Ivy in power play percentage at 27.3% (6-of-22). That ranks sixth nationally. Five of the six power play goals came in the season-opening sweep of Colorado College. Meanwhile, netminder Andy Iles, a first-team All-Ivy selection last year, has been superb in the early going with a national-best 1.23 GAA and also sports the League's top save percentage at .955 (third-best nationally). He had 44 saves in the win at Colgate last Friday. Cornell has had balance in its scoring thus far with seven different players accounting for their 10 goals, led by Joel Lowry with three. Cornell plays its first Ivy game this Friday when it visits Princeton.
Dartmouth (3-0-1, 2-0-0) swept Yale and Brown in Ivy action last weekend after getting a win and a tie against the same two teams a week earlier at the Ivy Showcase. The Big Green have displayed a potent offense thus far, scoring 15 goals in their first four games. Eric Robinson, last week's ECAC Player of the Week, has five of those 15 goals to tie for the Ivy lead and his 1.25 goals per game is tied for the national lead with Yale's Antoine Laganiere. Three of Robinson's five tallies have come on the power play to lead the League in that department. Junior Cab Morris and freshman Charles Grant have split time between the pipes thus far. Morris has a 1.44 GAA in two games, while Grant's GAA stands at an even 2.00. The Big Green lead the League in penalty killing at 93.3 percent (14-of-15).
Harvard (2-1-0, 1-1-0) split a conference set at home last weekend, defeating Brown 3-2 and falling to Yale, 5-1. The Crimson, who open the year with their first five games at Bright Hockey Center, is ranked No. 14 in the USHCO.com poll and No. 13 in USA Hockey Magazine. Through three games, freshmen Jimmy Vesey and Kyle Criscuolo sit atop the team scoring chart. Vesey leads all players with four points on a pair of goals and assists while Criscuolo is close behind with three points (2g, 1a). The duo earned ECAC Rookie of the Week honors in consecutive weeks. The Crimson face eighth-ranked Union on Friday night in a rematch of last year's ECAC Tournament championship game.
Princeton (0-2-0, 0-0-0) returns to the ice after having last weekend off. The Tigers dropped a pair of one-goal games at the Ivy Showcase to open the year, losing to Brown 2-1 and Yale 3-2. They will open Ivy League play on Friday night at Baker Rink against fourth-ranked Cornell. Sophomore Tyler Maugeri accounted for two of Princeton's three goals on the opening weekend.
Yale (2-1-1, 1-1-0) will play its first home game on Friday night when it hosts Clarkson. The Bulldogs are coming off an impressive 5-1 win at Harvard last Saturday. Jesse Root and Kenny Agostino each had a pair of goals in the victory and Andrew Miller had three assists. Yale had a season-high 49 shots in the win. Antoine Laganiere is tied for the league lead in goals with five and tied for national lead in goals per game at 1.25. Miller and Clinton Bourbonais are among four played tied for the Ivy lead in assists with four each. Miller, an All-Ivy honorable mention selection last season, moved into second on Yale's career assist list, now with 95. Yale has scored 14 goals in its first four contests, but has also allowed 12.