The Weekend in Stick is exactly what it sounds like -- a recap of all the important things that happened in the universe while you were enjoying two days of not-work. Part I features thoughts on the big stories from the weekend.
Just so we're clear: Navy now sits atop the Patriot League with a 4-1 record; Boston University tucks behind the Midshipmen with a 3-1 run through four league opponents, the same mark as Loyola; and Lehigh -- a presumed conference contender at the start of the 2015 season -- is 1-4 in league play with a win against Boston University and a quartet of losses attributable to Loyola, Bucknell, Navy and Army, all by a total of seven goals. The Patriot League broke itself but somehow became more interesting in the process, a league that fractured its intent but evolved into something more attractive in the process. The conference's identity has shifted from 2014 to one that is a beautiful experiment in anarchy, a league wrapped in unrest that has yielded the reward of never quite understanding what will -- or should -- happen. This is a good thing, even if it means that the conference's established forces are now pulled back toward bonkers' heavy gravity.
- After starting the season with a 4-0 rush through February, the Raiders are mired in a four-game losing streak with two of the defeats coming at the hands of conference opponents. This isn't the kind of reality that Colgate needs but it is the one that the Raiders are attempting to combat: Colgate will face Loyola, Lehigh, Holy Cross, and Army in the next three weeks, a push that will define whether the Raiders can pull themselves into one of the top six positions on the Patriot League table. The Raiders are capable of finding some momentum in its upcoming four-game march, but Colgate needs to put a tough spiral in its rearview mirror to do so.
- As painful as Colgate's recent stretch of losses has been, Lehigh has experienced an even greater degree of "Dammit!": The Hawks are now winless in their last six attempts, falling to four Patriot League opponents in the team's three-week decline. The Mountain Hawks are running low on opportunities to pivot from their precarious position -- the team has only three conference dates remaining on its schedule (at Holy Cross, at Colgate, and Lafayette) -- and the pressure is on Kevin Cassese to find a way to make a 2-7 record -- !!!! -- morph into something more palatable for a program that stood among the nation's top 20 over the last few seasons. Lehigh isn't bad, but the Mountain Hawks have strung together an awful stretch of results, one that cries for change as the calendar moves swiftly toward April.
- The Terriers scored the last three goals of the game to turn an 8-9 deficit at the 8:03 mark of the fourth quarter into a comfortable 11-9 victory against Bucknell. Boston University is now on a four-game winning streak with its victory over the Bison punctuating the Terriers' ascendance toward notoriety -- the good kind of notoriety; not the Jersey Shore kind of notoriety -- and curious affection. There is, however, a potential issue for Boston University: The team has played only two teams with at least a .500 record in the Patriot League (Colgate and Bucknell (the Terriers are 2-0 against the Raiders and Bison)) and still needs to face Navy, Loyola, Army, and Holy Cross. The team's 3-1 start in the conference has positioned the Terriers well for Patriot League Tournament inclusion, but Boston University still has a bumpy stretch of highway ahead of them over the next few weeks.
The High Life
An Ivy League without social order is the best kind of Ivy League. Deference is boring; 100 monkeys attempting to write Shakespeare is fun. The Ivy League season is still in its genesis, but the conference table is in an odd state of existence: Four teams -- Princeton, Brown, Dartmouth, and Cornell -- are unbeaten in Ivy action while three others -- Yale, Harvard, and Pennsylvania -- are without a reason to swill brandy in a smoking jacket. This may cause the world economy to spin out of control, but that's a great way to go through life.
- Dartmouth seems to have a "Huh?!" victory in them almost every year against an Ivy opponent. While 2014 saw the Green go winless in conference play, the team stunned Princeton in 2013, put a stake through Pennsylvania's heart in 2012, beat Harvard in 2011, and yanked out a huge victory against Cornell in 2010. Dartmouth's victory against Harvard in Hanover on Saturday was the continuation of the Big Green's odd effort in changing the scope of history, surviving a late fourth quarter surge from the Crimson -- Harvard scored the last two goals of regulation, including the game-tying goal with 14 seconds remaining in the fourth period -- and eventually dropped Harvard in the second overtime on a Jack Korzelius bucket. The win does damage to Harvard's Ivy League Tournament desires -- the Crimson are now 0-2 in the Ivy League with games remaining against Pennsylvania, Princeton, and Yale -- but most importantly, it keeps Dartmouth's role in the conference present and accounted for.
- Cornell went scoreless for 39:41 -- almost 40 minutes! -- and still beat Pennsylvania in triple overtime at Schoellkopf. The incredible scoring drought that the Red went through started with one second remaining in the first half and continued until Dan Lintner lit the scoreboard 1:40 seconds into the third extra session. Teams that fail to make the scoreboard blink for 40 minutes usually end up leaving the field with injuries to major arteries. Cornell, contrastingly, was able to fend off a five-goal push from the Quakers in its stretch of goal dehydration. This may end up standing as the weirdest portion of gametime in the 2015 season from any team in the nation.
- When Kip Orban goes for four goals and Mike MacDonald dumps in six points on two markers and six assists, the Tigers are going to be a load to stop. Even a three-goal run from the Bulldogs over an eight-minute stretch in the fourth quarter could not overcome Princeton in New Jersey, bringing to the fore the sixth consecutive regular season result between the two schools that was decided by a single tally. This is a difficult pill for the Elis to swallow -- Yale is likely precluded from earning the top seed in the Ivy League Tournament given its two league losses are against Princeton and Cornell, and neither the Tigers or the Red look like they'll wander back to the field in the Ivy League -- but the Bulldogs still have massive opportunities remaining on the team's conference schedule to make up ground on the table and support another potential target-lock on May.
- Maryland's pace necessarily creates some deflated scoring in its games -- this is kind of the spectrum pole to Albany's desire to create tons of possessions and watch the scoreboard burn itself into dust -- but regardless of that fact the Terps have yielded a total of 24 goals over its last five games. Those two dozen goals have been allowed against some teams with pretty positive scoring abilities, notably featuring Maryland limiting Princeton to only four tallies while North Carolina -- an assaultive nightmare on the offensive end -- was only able to muster eight scores against the Terps. Maryland is, once again, winning with defense, although this season it's happening when the Terps were expected to have a degree of leakiness. Suffocating fools has its benefits, and Maryland is enjoying the fruits of its defensive labor.
- Hopkins is 3-5 with an aggregate scoring margin of plus-seven, suffering three defeats to ranked opponents by a total of seven goals. The Jays have five regular season games remaining to find some wins, needing at least four victories in those five games to get in a position to earn NCAA Tournament consideration. That's the fear that Blue Jays fans have at this point: Anything less than four wins in the team's next five means that Hopkins would need to win the Big Ten Tournament to even sniff an invitation to The Big Barbeque, and Maryland isn't exactly looking like a soft league favorite. The numbers just aren't in Johns Hopkins' favor: All NCAA Tournament teams need to have a .500 or better record; going 3-2 or worse in the team's final five dates means that Hopkins must win the Big Ten Tournament to earn a bid to the Bracket of Ultimate Design.
Duke-Syracuse and Ohio State-Notre Dame were this, basically: