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ECAC Hockey Weekend Preview: November 1-2, 2013

Quinnipiac is 6-0 after dropping an opening-night decision at Alaska-Anchorage. The Bobcats travel to Colgate and Cornell this weekend.

Clarkson players celebrate Joe Zarbo's overtime goal against Colorado College last Saturday.
Clarkson players celebrate Joe Zarbo's overtime goal against Colorado College last Saturday.
Mike Tansey

The number of people who had Clarkson starting the season 6-1-1 are probably few and far between except for maybe the men in the Golden Knights' dressing room. However, that is the record of the team both the coaches and media picked to finish last in the ECAC.

Outside of a weekend sweep on home ice against Colorado College this past weekend; Clarkson's opponents haven't exactly been the cream of the crop. That being said, it's an impressive start for a team that won just nine games all of last season.

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out why Clarkson has improved thus far in the season. Last season Clarkson goaltenders averaged a .893 save percentage. This year sophomore Greg Lewis and freshman Steve Perry have combined for a .939 save percentage.

Perry, from Ligonier, Pa., has a 1.20 goals against average and a .948 save percentage in four starts, including two shutouts. Lewis, who had a .898 save percentage last year as a rookie, has drastically improved his numbers.

Senior forwards Ben Sexton and Allan McPherson and junior forward Joe Zarbo have done their part offensively. Zarbo's heroics with nine seconds remaining in overtime broke a 0-0 tie with Colorado College last Saturday night.

For those pessimists saying Casey Jones' team has yet to be challenged, this weekend will change that. The Golden Knights have to play a Brown team coming off two wins at the Liberty Hockey Invitational on Friday night before traveling down to face defending national champion Yale on Saturday.

Speaking of Brown, Brendan Whittet's team won last weekend's showcase tournament at the Prudential Center in Newark by dispatching of Yale and Dartmouth. Tournament MVP Mark Naciero potted three goals and added four helpers. Linemates Matt Lorito and Nick Lappin accounted for three more goals and five assists.

Saturday's matchup at Meehan Auditorium between Brown and St. Lawrence will showcase two of the best lines in the ECAC if Saints coach Greg Carvel keeps the Carey brothers together on a line. Greg Carey, a returning Hobey Baker Award finalist, and younger brother Matt, a redshirt freshman, have combined for six goals and nine assists through six games.

Quinnipiac, winners of six straight after an opening-night loss at Alaska-Anchorage travels to face Colgate and Cornell this weekend. The Bobcats have gotten production far and wide - including eight players with two or more goals. Freshman Sam Anas is off to a terrific rookie campaign with six goals in his first seven games.

Rand Pecknold's team will face a Cornell team hot off a sweep at Nebraska-Omaha. The Big Red only put 13 shots on net in Saturday's contest, but scored on four of them for the 4-3 victory.

RPI and Harvard will battle again Friday night in Cambridge to wrap up their season series. The two teams met Tuesday night at the Houston Field House in Troy. The Engineers jumped out to a 3-0 lead, but couldn't hold on and had to settle for a draw.

Harvard's freshmen forwards, particularly Sean Malone and Alexander Kerfoot, looked poised beyond their years with the puck. Malone, a Buffalo Sabres draft pick, made a terrific play on a two-on-one. He patiently held the puck until he had drawn RPI goaltender Scott Diebold over to him before feeding Greg Gozzo for an easy goal into a wide open net.

Complete Weekend Schedule

Friday

St. Lawrence at Yale
Clarkson at Brown
RPI at Harvard
Union at Dartmouth
Quinnipiac at Colgate
Princeton at Cornell

Saturday

St. Lawrence at Brown
Clarkson at Yale
RPI at Dartmouth
Union at Harvard
Quinnipiac at Cornell
Princeton at Colgate

* All times 7 p.m. except for Princeton/Colgate game on Saturday starting at 4 p.m.

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