ALBANY, N.Y. - The 2019-20 ECAC Hockey men’s coaches poll and all-league team have been announced, and for the second straight season the Big Red of Cornell have been picked to finish first.
Cornell received eight of 12 first-place votes in the 2019-20 pre-season poll, topping Quinnipiac and Clarkson for the top spot. The team returns a wealth of talent from last season’s roster, including four All-League selections. They’ll hope to build upon a 2018-19 campaign which saw them advance to the NCAA Quarterfinals.
Quinnipiac comes in just behind the Big Red in the poll, as the other NCAA Quarterfinalist from ECAC Hockey will also come into the year loaded with talent. The 13-player freshman class from a year ago made an immediate impact for the Bobcats, with two players (Peter DiLiberatore and Wyatt Bongiovanni) being named to the All-Rookie team.
Coming in at number three in the poll is defending ECAC Hockey tournament champion Clarkson, which will look to make its third consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance in 2019-20. Despite starting goaltender Jake Kielly and Hobey Baker finalist Nico Sturm signing with NHL clubs over the summer, the team still returns a strong core that expects to fight for a Cleary Cup title.
Harvard was the fourth ECAC Hockey team to earn a spot in the NCAA Tournament a year ago, and come into this year picked fourth in the league. The Crimson boasted one of the top freshman classes in the country, led by Casey Dornbach who earned the leagues Rookie of the Year award. Jack Rathbone and Jack Drury were also All-Rookie selections, while Reilly Walsh (Third-Team) returns to the blue line.
Yale (74 points), and Dartmouth (68 points) round out the top half of the poll.
The entire 12-team poll is below:
1. Cornell (8) - 118
2. Quinnipiac (3) - 109
3. Clarkson (1) - 100
4. Harvard - 93
5. Yale - 74
6. Dartmouth - 68
7. Brown - 61
8. Union - 57
9. RPI - 31
9. Princeton - 31
11. Colgate - 29
12. St. Lawrence - 21
The pre-season all-league team consists of six players, all of whom were all-league selections a season ago. Cornell leads the way with three players on the list (Morgan Barron, Yanni Kaldis, Matthew Galajda), while Quinnipiac (Odeen Tufto), Clarkson (Haralds Egle), and Harvard (Reilly Walsh) all have one.
Barron (Jr.) led the Big Red in goals (15), and overall scoring (34) during his sophomore campaign, earning First-Team All-League honors. The New York Rangers draft pick was a dynamic two-way player, being selected by the leagues coaches as one of three finalists for the Best Defensive Forward award.
Tufto (Jr.) built on a stellar rookie campaign with a sophomore season that saw him rank fourth in the league with 42 points (15 goals, 27 assists). He was named to the New England Hockey Writers Association All-New England D1 All-Star Team, and the ECAC Hockey Second-Team.
Egle (Sr.) had a breakout junior campaign, leading the Golden Knights with 19 goals (tied for 10th nationally), earning a spot on the ECAC Hockey Second-Team. He had a knack for finding the back of the net in clutch situations, as four of his team-high five game-winning goals came in the last 10 Clarkson wins.
Kaldis (Sr.) established himself as one of the league’s top defenseman in 2018-19, earning a spot on the ECAC Hockey Second-Team. He finished the year with 28 points (4G, 28A) from the blue line, helping the Big Red in their run to the NCAA Quarterfinals.
Walsh (Jr.) skated in every game for Harvard last year, finishing third in the league with .94 points-per-game (12G, 19A). He was particularly lethal on the power play, pacing the team with nine man-advantage goals, earning him a spot on the Third-Team All-League.
After recovering from an early season injury, Galajda got back to form in the second half of the year, posting a 1.85 GAA and .921 save percentage. The Aurora, Ontario native has established himself as one of the nations top goalies, having already been a finalist for the Hobey Baker award during his freshman campaign.
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