ECAC East/NESCAC Playoff Previews



Commish’s Note: Below is our inaugural NCAA hockey post brought to you none other that than the infamous LPsinpa. Although admittedly late in the season, the knowledge and understand of college hockey (D3 in particular) should more than supplement for the lack of content thus far…


After an amazing first round that had the top 3 seeds (Norwich, Castleton and Salem State) losing, anything could happen up in Henniker, NH this weekend. This will be the first time that ECAC east tournament will not taken place at Norwich. Instead D3 Fans, players and parents will be treated to the friendly confines of Lee Clement Arena. There are not any NCAA pool C bids at stake this weekend. The only way a team from the ECAC East will get a bid to the NCAA tourney is for them to win two games this weekend and gain an automatic qualifier.

Skidmore vs Babson

These two teams have squared off twice this year with Skidmore winning both by a combined score of 9-3. One important aspect of this match up to watch will be the ice surface size. Skidmore struggled at times on smaller ice surfaces, where as Babson is use to a smaller rink.  The Beavers have spread the scoring around this year. No player has cracked the double digits; however 7 players have at least 6 goals. Andrew Peabody a freshman should get the start in goal over Skylar Nipps a senior who was instrumental in Babson’s NCAA run two years ago.  Skidmore, like Babson, has spread the scoring around and at times have struggled mightily putting the puck in the net.  Junior, Bret Bandazian leads the Thoroughbreds in points with 23.  Look for Colin Bessey who seems to be Coach Sinclair’s choice down the stretch to get the start in goal for Skidmore.


LPSnipa6: This game should come down to the wire with special teams being the deciding factor.  Look for Skidmore to make it 3-0 against Babson this year by winning a close one 3-2

The Commish: Completely biased pick…. Skidmore over Babson 4-1: goals from Bandazian, Czerkowicz, Gibbons & Welsh (2 penalties for Keady)

Thekiiiiid: Really tough call for thekiiiiiid, both teams are almost identical and I think the only way to call this one is a coin flip. I’m going to go with Skidmore 2-0 shutout over Babson. Bold? maybe. Correct? definitely.

NEC vs UMass Boston

NEC won the only game between the two teams this year by a score of 5-2. However, the Pilgrims only out shot the beacons by 6. The Beacons have proved that even though they struggled this season they are a team on the rise with a win on the road against top seeded Norwich last week. In every game they have won this year (Norwich, Middlebury, Skidmore, and Babson) their goalie, junior goalie Ryan Donavan, has stood on his head.  The Beacons will need more of the same this weekend from him if they have any chance to win the tournament. NEC, the United Nations of the ECAC East, has 13 Europeans on the roster who have all had an up and down regular season.  However, they find themselves right in the thick of things hoping that the home ice advantage will be exactly what they need to make the NCAA’s. Junior Mark Ehl leads the team in points with 25 while Aaron Harvey has seen almost all of the action between the pipes this year.

LPSnipa6: Look for NEC to take control early and put the game out of reach by the end of second period.  NEC 4-1 over UMass.

The Commish: UMass Over NEC 2-0

Thekiiiiid: NEC 3-1, home ice and a few other factors to play here.

ECAC East Finals

LPSnipa6: LPSnipa sees a hungry Skidmore teams winning their first ever ECAC East and making it to the NCAA for the first time with a 4-2 win over the host NEC.

The Commish: Skidmore over UMass 2-1

Thekiiiiid: I have to part ways here. NEC 5-1 over Skidmore. Typically I get burned when I take the top seed, but I think this time I may be right. The advantage NEC because you go to Skidmore for more than the hockey.


With undoubtedly the top four teams in the conference during the regular season making to the championship weekend we should see some great hockey in Amherst, MA.  Amherst stands to make the tournament regardless of their performance due to their stellar regular season.  Middlebury could sneak in with a pool C bid if they lose to Amherst in the finals and the favorites in other leagues win their respectable tournaments.

Middlebury vs Williams

The two teams skated to a 4-4 tie earlier in the year with Middlebury blowing a two goal lead late in the third period.  Williams, a team with a lot of size that will come in handy in the small rink at Amherst, uses timely scoring and solid team defense as their path to success. William’s leading goal scorer and point producer Matt Masucci has 9 goals and 19 points. Freshman goalie Ryan Purdy has seen most of the action down the stretch and should be in the net Friday. Middlebury, uses a high powered offence and up tempo style of play as the key to their success. Senior forward and Lake Placid native Jamie McKenna leads the team in points with 36 while freshman difference maker Martin Drolet leads the team in goals with 19. Neither senior goalie Doug Raeder nor freshman John Yanchek has taken control of the net minding situation.  With that said expect to see Raeder between the pipes after playing better recently and as a result of his experience in the playoffs.

LPSnipa6: Unless Williams can control the team speed and transition game of Middlebury the Panthers should roll into the championship game. Middlebury wins 5-2.

The Commish: Middlebury over Williams 6-1

Thekiiiiid: Middlebury 5-2 in a close game, ENG to seal it.

Amherst vs Trinity

These two squared off in the first game of the season back in November with Amherst pulling away 5-3. You can pretty much throw the November game out the window because a lot has changed in three months. Trinity find themselves in familiar territory being the lowest seed entering the NESCACS however, after only losing two faces from last year’s surprising tournament championship team no one would be surprised if they win again.  Trinity is lead by sophomore Adam Houli who has 10 goals and 21 points.  In goal Sophomore Wesley Vesprini, the main reason Trinity went on the run they did last year, is heating up again down the stretch.  Amherst comes in as the host after having arguably their best regular season ever. The key to their success has been the dynamic duo in goal of Cole Anderson and Jonathan Larose who are the top two goalies statistically in the country.  It will be interesting to see if Coach Arena, as he has all season, allows each one to play a game if they make it to the finals or if he chooses Cole Anderson, as he did last week, as his goalie for the remainder of the season.  Amherst stands to make the NCAA even if they do not win the tournament; however, they want to win it in front of their home crowd.

LPSnipa6: Look for a physically intense game with Trinity pulling it out 3-2.

The Commish: Amherst over Trinity 4-1

Thekiiiiid: I have to go with LP here, before I saw his pick I was thinking Trinity 3-2 in a barnburner.


LPSnipa6: In a repeat of last years final Middlebury ends their three game losing streak against Trinity by winning 4-2.

The Commish: Middlebury over Amherst 3-2

Thekiiiiid: Middlebury 4-1 over Trinity, a warm-up for Middlebury before they go to the NCAA Tourney. Although it will be a large margin, Trinity will play very tough.


1 Response to “ECAC East/NESCAC Playoff Previews”

  1. 1 loge69
    March 5, 2009 at 4:50 PM

    Great, in depth article. The hockey analysis shows an abundance of D3 chatroom experience and is informative, but judging by the author’s incapability to grasp the difference between words “there” and “their”, among other grammatical miscues, I am only left to question his credibility as well as if he was given his usual extended time to complete it…

    Site looks great

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