Four teams vie for Whitelaw Cup
LAKE PLACID — The Quinnipiac Bobcats, Harvard Crimson, Cornell Big Red and Colgate Raiders will compete in this weekend’s Eastern College Athletic Conference men’s ice hockey championships in Lake Placid.
The four schools will face off at the Olympic Center’s 1980 Herb Brooks Arena for a single-elimination tournament that will determine the conference champion. The winner will be rewarded with the Scott M. Whitelaw Cup.
The tournament begins on Friday with two semifinal matchups. Colgate and Quinnipiac will face off in the first game of a doubleheader starting at 4 p.m., and Cornell and Harvard will then take the ice for the second matchup slated to start at 7:30 p.m. The winners advance to Saturday’s championship final at 7 p.m.
Quinnipiac, the top seed in the tournament, comes into this weekend’s ECAC Hockey semifinals riding high after beating Yale 3-0 on Friday and then 6-2 on Saturday to extend its season record to 30-3-3 overall.
The Bobcats are ranked No. 2 nationally in the latest PairWise poll and finished the season undefeated at home, with a 15-0-1 record.
Offensively, Quinnipiac is led by Colin Graf. The sophomore transfer from Union College ranks first in the ECACs for both goals and assists, with 20 goals and 34 assists.
The team will also be anchored in goal by Yaniv Perets, who has appeared in all 36 games this season, compiling a record of 30-3-3 and a 1.52 goals-against average. Perets also has nine shutouts this season.
Quinnipiac and Colgate split their two meetings this season, with each team winning at home by a 3-2 score. Colgate, the tournament’s No. 5 seed, advanced to the semifinals in Lake Placid with two victories on the road over St. Lawrence. Colgate (17-5-5 overall record) scored four unanswered goals Friday in the first game of the series to secure a 4-3 overtime win, then came back with a 3-2 victory on Saturday.
As the only non-nationally ranked team, the Raiders return to Lake Placid as the underdog once again. Last season, Colgate was ranked as the fifth seed in the ECAC playoffs, but ultimately lost to the Bobcats 3-1 in the first semifinal game.
The team will be led by Alex Young who has recorded 20 goals this season and Nick Anderson who has 25 assists.
Third-seeded Cornell and Harvard, the No. 2 seed, will face off in the tournament’s other semifinal. Harvard, the defending ECAC Hockey tournament champion, is sixth in the PairWise rankings, earning its spot in Lake Placid with a pair of 6-1 victories over Princeton.
Two Crimson players — Alex Laferriere and Sean Farrell — are tied for first in the ECACs for goals with 20. Matthew Coronato, the 13th overall pick in the 2021 NHL draft, has 19 goals for Harvard.
Harvard (23-6-2) defeated Cornell twice this season — 2-1 in overtime on Dec. 2, 2022, and 6-2 on Jan. 28.
Cornell (20-9-2), No. 12 in PairWise rankings, punched its ticket to Lake Placid with a two-game sweep over Clarkson on home ice in Ithaca.
Goaltender Ian Shane has paced the Big Red with a 1.79 goals-against average. Offensively, Gabriel Seger has been Cornell’s leader, recording 29 points in 27 games.
The winner of this weekend’s tournament will also receive an automatic berth into the 16-team NCAA Tournament. The NCAA field is made up of six conference champions as well as 10 other teams selected on an at-large basis. The national champion will be decided on April 6 and 8 at the Frozen Four in Tampa, Florida.
Last year, Harvard earned the automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament after beating Quinnipiac 3-2 in overtime in the ECAC final. The Bobcats gained entry to the NCAAs as an at-large selection.
The Crimson lost their first-round matchup 4-3 to Minnesota St., which went on to advance to the championship game before losing to Denver 5-1 in the final. Quinnipiac beat St. Cloud State 5-4 in the opening round then lost 7-4 to Michigan in the quarterfinal round.
The ECAC Hockey Tournament began in 1962, with the championships held at Boston Garden each year until 1993 when it moved to Lake Placid for the next 10 years. The championships were played in Albany from 2003 to 2010 and in Atlantic City, New Jersey, from 2011 to 2013, before moving back to Lake Placid in 2014.
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