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November 28, 2012

Men's Ice Hockey Update - 2

Photo courtesy of Dartmouth Varsity Athletic Communications

PRINCETON, N.J. -- Heading into the month of December, Yale is looking to surge after two big wins on the road and Dartmouth finds itself atop the Ivy League standings. 

The Big Green are ranked No. 11 in both the USCHO and USA Today/USA Hockey polls with a 5-2-2 mark overall. Their strong start has earned them a national television appearance next week as it was announced on Monday that the NBC Sports Network will air their Dec. 5 match-up with Vermont. 

Harvard is second in the Ivy standings, but is in the midst of a three-week idle period. The Crimson, who are ranked 19th in the USCHO.com poll and receiving votes in the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine poll, last played on November 17 (a 1-0 setback at Colgate) and don't play again until a December 7 visit to Merrimack. 

Dartmouth's Tyler Sikura continues to lead the Ivy in scoring with 13 points (6g, 7a). Teammate Eric Robinson leads the league in goals with eight and is tied for second in scoring with 11 points (8g, 3a). He is tied with Princeton's Tyler Maugeri (5g, 6a) and Yale's Kenny Agostino (5g, 6a). 

In the Polls: USCHO.com | USA TODAY/USA Hockey 
The polls are fairly consistent when it comes to the Ivy League squads, currently. Dartmouth is 11th in both polls, followed by Cornell, Yale and Harvard. Cornell, which stumbled after a 3-0-1 start, is ranked No. 12 in both polls. Yale jumped into the USCHO poll this week at No. 15 and is No. 13 in the USA Today/USA Hockey rankings. Harvard is 19th in the USCHO Top 20 and receiving votes in USA Today/USA Hockey's Top 15. 

Team-by-Team:

Brown (3-4-2, 0-2-0) is 2-1-2 in its last five games after a 3-2 win over Holy Cross last Sunday. Mark Naclerio scored the gamewinner with 7:09 left in regulation time as the Bears came back from an early two-goal deficit. Sophomore forward Matt Lorito is second in the league in goals with seven and seventh in scoring with nine points. In the last five games, apart from a loss to Providence, Brown's offense has gotten it going with three goals in each of the other four games (St. Lawrence, Clarkson, Army and Holy Cross). The Bears return to Ivy play on December 1 when they visit Yale for their first meeting with the Bulldogs this season. 

Cornell (4-3-2, 0-2-1) got back in the win column on Saturday night with a big win over Michigan, 5-1, at Madison Square Garden. The victory snapped a five-game winless streak for the Big Red, who had started the year with three straight wins and were ranked as high as No. 4. Greg Miller had two goals and an assist in the win over Michigan. Despite their skid, the Big Red are still ranked 14th in the nation in scoring defense, allowing just 2.22 goals per game. They are, however, tied with Brown at the bottom of the Ivy in penalty killing, allowing seven power play goals and killing at an 82.5 percent clip (33-for-40). The Big Red host Clarkson and St. Lawrence this weekend before breaking for three weeks. 

Dartmouth (5-2-2, 4-1-1) will look to bounce back from a 6-3 loss at No. 1-ranked Boston College last week. The Big Green had started the year 5-0-1 before their current three-game winless skid that also includes a one-goal loss at Colgate and a tie against Cornell. Dartmouth continues to be strong on the penalty kill, leading the league and the nation at 96.7 percent (29-for-30). Eric Robinson leads the League in goals with eight (tied for second nationally, first in goals per game), while Tyler Sikura leads the Ancient Eight in points with 13 (6g, 7a). Three of Robinson's goals have been gamewinners to lead the Ivy in that category. Dartmouth plays host to Bentley on Saturday night in what is expected to be a shootout. Bently has the top offense in the nation at 4.27 goals per game, while Dartmouth is 12th, averaging 3.33.   

Harvard (4-3-0, 2-1-0) is in the midst of a three-week layoff. The Crimson last took the ice on November 17, a 1-0 loss at Colgate. Freshman Jimmy Vesey has gotten off to a great start this season with five goals in seven games. His 1.14 points per game ranks third nationally among freshmen. Goaltender Raphael Girard leads the Ivy and is eighth nationally in save percentage at .936. He has two shutouts to his credit thus far this season, helping Harvard to the 13th best scoring defense in the country (2.14). The Crimson have also been good on the penalty kill thus far, ranking second in the League and fourth nationally at 92.0 percent (23-for-25). Harvard returns to the ice on December 7 when it visits Merrimack. 

Princeton (3-4-1, 1-0-0) is in the midst of a seven-game road trip. The Tigers don't return to Hobey Baker Rink until December 8 when they face Quinnipiac - their only home game in a nearly two month span (from Nov. 10 through Jan. 4). The Tigers lost their last outing at UMass-Lowell, 3-1. Earlier this season, it was Princeton that handed Cornell its first loss, 5-3, at Baker Rink. Sophomore Tyler Maugeri is second in the league in points with 11 (5g, 6a) and ranks 10th in the nation in points per game at 1.38. He is tied for the team lead in goals alongside junior Andrew Ammon. Eric Meland and Andrew Calof are part of a quartet atop the League lead in assists with seven apiece. Princeton has been particularly strong on the power play, leading the league and ranking third nationally at 27.3 percent (9-of-33) this season.  Princeton faces Rensselaer and eighth-ranked Union on the road this weekend.

Yale (5-2-1, 1-1-0) broke into the USCHO.com Top 20 this week after consecutive overtime wins out West last week. The Bulldogs celebrated Thanksgiving with a trip to Colorado and came home with a 2-1 overtime win at Denver and a 6-5 overtime victory at Colorado College. Against Denver, the Bulldogs gave up the equalizer late in regulation, but Kenny Agostino's power play tally with 1:32 left in extra time gave Yale the win and handed then No. 2-ranked Denver just its second loss in 11 outings. The following night, it was Josh Balch with the heroics, scoring the gamewinner for Yale with 1:39 left in overtime.  Agostino is third in the league in scoring with 11 points (5g, 6a). Antoine Laganiere leads the team in goals with six. The Bulldogs open a four-game homestand on Saturday when they face Brown.