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Monday Notebook

Dartmouth College wing Eric Neiley was recently suspended two games by the ECAC for a postgame confrontation against Cornell. (Valley News - Tris Wykes)

Dartmouth College wing Eric Neiley was recently suspended two games by the ECAC for a postgame confrontation against Cornell. (Valley News - Tris Wykes)

Have you seen the video of last weekend’s game-ending ECAC brawl between the Rensselaer and Union men’s hockey teams? By professional standards it was only a skirmish, but you don’t often see fisticuffs like that at the college level.

Dartmouth College forward Eric Neiley was recently suspended two games for a fairly light hit after the whistle that dropped a Cornell foe to the ice at the end of a game. It will be interesting to see how many games Union and RPI players get off for their little donneybrook.

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The Big Green men’s basketball team may be in real trouble. Yes, the 30-point loss to Harvard on Sunday came against the Ivy League’s best team and probably one of the 30 best in the country. Yes, Dartmouth is missing standout center Gabas Maldunas, who’s out for the season with a knee injury. But even with those factors considered, coach Paul Cormier’s team looked downright lousy.

I don’t think it’s really a case of the Big Green underachieving, but more that the talent just isn’t there. Alex Mitola and John Golden were recruited to be difference-makers, and they’re just not. At least so far. Power forward and powerful inside presence Jvonte Brooks and Cormier clashed last winter and the Californian left to join the football team, for which he could very well see action later this year. Connor Boehm is solid but he shouldn’t be your best and most consistent player at the Division I level.

Three members of the five-man freshman class have battled injuries or illness but even discounting those woes, this doesn’t have the look of an impressive group. Each of the last two recruiting classes had players you could imagine as future standouts. It’s taking a lot more optimism to see that in this winter’s rookies.

Cormier looks tired and depressed and who can blame him? The rebuilding effort he undertook with this program four years ago is looking larger by the month.

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The women’s hockey team perked up with victories over visiting ECAC foes RPI and Union last weekend and improved to 7-13-1 overall and 6-13-1 in the conference. It was the squad’s first back-to-back conference triumphs since beating Brown and Yale during the same weekend last February.

This is a down year for the Big Green, but it can be argued this team is having the best current campaign of the school’s four hockey and basketball programs. Sure, men’s basketball is 7-9, but that record is inflated by defeats of two Division III opponents and others against weak Division I sisters such as UNH, Maine, Jacksonville (Ala.) State and Massachusetts-Lowell.