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ECAC Hockey: Quick Hits From Early Nonconference Action

The ECAC is 10-4-1 in nonconference action through two weekends of game action.

Quinnipiac head coach Rand Pecknold
Quinnipiac head coach Rand Pecknold
Quinnipiac Athletics Communications

Although it might be premature to declare any dramatic conclusions after just two weekends of play in the ECAC, let's take a look at some of the things we've learned about the six league teams to already hit the ice for game action.

Greg Carey and the St. Lawrence Saints can still score goals without Kyle Flanagan. The senior and returning Hobey Baker Award finalist put up two goals and three assists in a weekend sweep of the University of Maine. SLU was picked to finish in the bottom half of the standings by both the coaches and media in the preseason polls, but got off to a good start. Senior goaltender Matt Weninger stopped 58 of the 61 shots he faced over the two games.

Union freshman forward Michael Pontarelli never played in a premier junior league so some people scoffed at his big numbers. It's only two games, but the Laval, Quebec native potted two goals and added two assists in his debut weekend for the Dutchmen. Union escaped with a win and tie against Bowling Green, but a concern could be the health of junior goaltender Colin Stevens. He left just six minutes into the first game and freshman Alex Sakellaropolous manned the pipes for the rest of the series.

Clarkson, picked last in both the media and coaches preseason polls, is off to a 3-1 start, with its only loss coming at the hands of perennial power New Hampshire in the IceBreaker Semifinals. The three wins are against two Atlantic Hockey teams expected to contend for a league title. The 10 goals scored by the Golden Knights have all come from a different player. Defense and goaltending were areas of weakness a year ago, but could be strengths this season. Casey Jones' team is averaging 1.75 goals against per game. Freshman netminder Steve Perry and sophomore Greg Lewis have rotated, but it's been the rookie with the better numbers. Perry has stopped 53 of 55 shots faced for a .964 save percentage.

Colgate stands at 2-1-0 through three games played, and could very easily be undefeated if not for a bad 20 minutes of play against Ferris State in the opener. Senior Eric Mihalik didn't play that first game, but he's been incredible for Don Vaughn's team the last two games. He's given up one goal on 42 shots in two games. Everyone knows about the Spink brothers, but keep an eye on freshman Andrew Black who has two tallies so far.

RPI, a preseason favorite of the league's media, rolled past Sacred Heart, but struggled with mental mistakes and execution errors in a loss at Boston College the next day. Legendary BC coach Jerry York believes the Engineers will be an NCAA Tournament team come March, and there is no reason to doubt his prognostication. Seth Appert's team will be tested again Friday night in Beantown when they face the team on the other end of Commonwealth Ave., the Boston University Terriers.

Fresh off the program's first appearance in the Frozen Four, expectations are lofty in Hamden. Quinnipiac went to the Great North to partake in the Kendall Hockey Classic in Anchorage. The Bobcats lost to tournament host Alaska-Anchorage Friday night before evening up their record Saturday with a win over Alaska-Fairbanks. Freshman Sam Anas picked up a goal and added two assists in the win over the Nanooks Saturday night.

Five of the six Ivy League schools competing in the ECAC join the fun this weekend as they host exhibition games against Canadian universities. The marquee nonconference matchup this weekend involving an ECAC school is Quinnipiac playing a home-and-home series with UMass-Lowell.

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