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ECAC Hockey Power Rankings: Union on top, Clarkson announces its arrival

There is a minimal schedule for ECAC teams until after Christmas, but Union could score big points for the conference with a series at St. Cloud this weekend.

Shayne Gostisbehere and his Union teammates are now tied for first place.
Shayne Gostisbehere and his Union teammates are now tied for first place.
Union Athletics

It was a big weekend in the ECAC with Clarkson sweeping archrival St. Lawrence to officially announce its arrival on the list of contenders for the Cleary Cup. Union took four points from Princeton and Quinnipiac to move into a tie for first place with the Bobcats.

1. Union (10-3-2)

The Dutchmen had a big weekend, picking up four points against Princeton and Quinnipiac. The results of the weekend moved Rick Bennett's team into a tie for first place with the Bobcats. Freshmen were a huge part of the 6-4 victory over Quinnipiac on Saturday night. Eli Lichtenwald  and Michael Pontarelli each had two goals and one assists, and Michael Pontarelli had a goal and two helpers. After a rare Wednesday league game against Dartmouth, Union travels to St. Cloud to take on the No. 1 Huskies for a pair of games this weekend.

2. Clarkson (12-3-1)

Casey Jones' team swept archrival St. Lawrence this weekend to move just two points out of first place. The Golden Knights and the Dutchmen both have two games in hand on Quinnipiac. Sophomore goaltender Greg Lewis hasn't played as well of late, but the offense has picked him up. Sophomore Jeff DiNallo scored twice on the weekend to increase his season total to five after scoring just two all of last year. Clarkson trailed 3-2 entering the third period both nights, but was able to rally for the victories.

3. Quinnipiac (13-3-3)

Before the weekend started this scribe wrote about how tough a weekend it was going to be for Rand Pecknold's team. That turned out to be accurate as the Bobcats had to rally to salvage a tie at RPI before losing to red-hot Union the next night. The offense is cruising, but the defense and goaltending has slipped in recent weeks. QU is 1-2-2 over its last five games.

4. RPI (8-5-3)

The Engineers now have a three-game unbeaten streak after suffering through three consecutive losses. This team has a ton of potential with forwards that are dangerous, and goaltender Scott Diebold has been solid in replacing injured Jason Kasdorf. Junior forward Ryan Haggerty picked up three more goals on the weekend to increase his total to 18 on the season. Brock Higgs made some highlight shows when he undressed Princeton defenseman Quin Pompi for his 11th goal of the season.

5. Cornell (7-4-2)

The Big Red tied travel partner rival Colgate, 2-2, over the weekend to finish off their slate for the first half. Mike Schafer's team next returns to action after Christmas against New Hampshire in the Florida College Classic. Cornell has two very good lines that bring physical prowess and scoring ability and a defenseman, Joakim Ryan, who is very good at quarterbacking the power play. Senior Andy Iles doesn't have the numbers of some of the past greats in net for Cornell, but he's someone who could play a big role down the stretch.

6. Yale (6-3-3)

Keith Allain's team is 1-2-1 over the last four games and nearly had zero wins in that time, if it wasn't for a come-from-behind overtime victory over Merrimack. It's tough to write off the Bulldogs after they returned from the dead to win the NCAA Championship last season, but at this point, they just haven't been that impressive.

7. Colgate (7-7-2)

The Raiders have an exceptional top two lines, but there are some questions after that. Colgate has nice victories over Union and Ferris State, but has been extremely inconsistent. The way Don Vaughn has rotated his trio of goaltenders is also bewildering. Despite the .500 record, Colgate has been outscored by 12 goals on the season.

8. St. Lawrence (8-8-2)

It's a shame that all the offensive talent could be wasted in Canton, but that just might happen. St. Lawrence has struggled mightily to keep pucks out of its own net, and there is nothing in sight to say that might change. Greg Carey's 12 goals and 23 assists give him 35 on the season and 163 for his career. With at least 18 games left, if the Hamilton, Ontario native keeps his current pace, he would be at 195 for his career.

9. Brown (5-6-1)

The Bears swept Ivy League and ECAC foes Harvard and Dartmouth over the weekend at Meehan Auditorium. Brown will be a tough out the rest of the way as long as the team stays relatively healthy. Getting production from anyone not named Matt Lorito, Mark Naclerio and Nick Lappin will be instrumental in going further than expected as a team.

10. Harvard (4-7-2)

The Crimson were unable to build on the momentum of a nice victory at Hockey East foe New Hampshire before Thanksgiving and have since gone 0-2-1, including a loss and tie this past weekend. There will be plenty of NHL scouts following Harvard around with its plethora of draft picks, but that hasn't turned into wins.

11. Dartmouth (2-9-0)

Following eight straight losses to begin the season, Dartmouth had won two in a row before its overtime loss at Brown on Saturday night. The Big Green are better than their record indicates, but it's tough to see Bob Gaudet's club making much of a leap in the standings with the teams above.

12. Princeton (3-12-0)

The injuries are continuing to add up for Bob Prier's team as the Tigers dressed only 17 skaters on Saturday night, and one of those was an extra defenseman. Star forward Andrew Calof remains out as do a few other key players. Princeton will hope to get healthy during its break as it will not play again until after Christmas. Maine is the team's next opponent in the Florida College Classic.

Jeff Cox covers college and junior hockey, NCAA recruiting, NHL Draft prospects and the AHL for SBNation. Follow him on twitter @JeffCoxSBNation.