2004-05 Atlantic Hockey Mid-Season Report
Funny that the surprise team made the surprise decision
of the fall. The Golden Griffins’ abrupt firing of 24-year
head coach Brian Cavanaugh last week was only slightly more unexpected
than their soaring start to the season. Picked in the bottom half
of the league by most polls and prognosticators, Canisius has a
two-point lead over second-place Sacred Heart in the AHA standings
at the halfway point. Not only that, but the Griffs (8-7-2) are
one of just two Atlantic Hockey teams with a winning record overall
(even if that might not be true after this weekend’s trip
to Grand Forks). Senior goalie Bryan Worosz (2.14) has dropped more
than a full goal off his GAA since his sophomore season (when it
was 3.23), and freshman forward Joel Kitchen (7-6—13) has
added some offensive punch to a crew that badly needed it.
Coskren, Holy Cross defenseman. With three goals and nine
assists this season, the senior from Walpole, Mass., already has
set new career highs for markers and points, and tied his previous
best assist total. Defensively, Coskren is as sound as ever, but
his unforeseen offensive contributions were what helped keep the
Crusaders afloat during a tough opening month. INCH also would like
to send out birthday wishes to Coskren, who turned 22 on Wednesday.
Cottreau, Mercyhurst forward. Even though his numbers are
less than staggering, the most-heralded freshman in Atlantic Hockey
hasn’t been a disappointment. Cottreau, of Toronto, has just
four goals and eight assists, but that’s good enough for a
tie for second on Mercyhurst’s star-studded points list. He
still needs to prove he can score against top-tier competition (only
one of his goals has come during nonconference play), but his abundance
of talent is evident even to casual observers. “I think he’s
going to be a great one,” said his coach, Rick Gotkin.
HAPPENED TO …
Olsen, Connecticut forward? There was little argument against
making Olsen the preseason Atlantic Hockey Player of the Year back
in September, but he hasn’t played to that level yet. In fact,
Olsen’s struggles (6-3—9 in 15 games) have mirrored
those of his team. With Olsen as the propulsion, UConn was expected
to break into the top half of the league standings this season.
But without his offensive heroics, the Huskies have stumbled to
a 3-10-2 mark overall and 2-4-1 record in the AHA. Detractors should
be warned, however, that Olsen had just eight points at this time
last year before exploding for 33 after Christmas. A similar outburst
would make us look like fools.
3-2, over Colgate, Oct. 30. The Black Knights have just
two wins this season, but one of them came at Colgate, whose 12
victories are fifth most in the nation. So how did one of the worst
teams in Atlantic Hockey beat one of the best teams in the ECACHL?
Well, goalie Treye Kettwick’s 29 saves helped. As did clutch
goals by Seth Beamer and David Andros to tie the game after Army
fell behind 1-0 and 2-1. Then there was Luke Flicek’s game
winner with less than eight minutes to play in the game. Army hasn’t
scored more than three goals in a game this year, but thanks to
a disciplined defensive performance, three was just enough on this
Two months into the season, the Lakers have had two home games.
And when they’ve ventured away from the lake for 14 other
contests, they haven’t faced patsies. Gotkin’s squad
played twice at Wisconsin and at Colgate and once each at New Hampshire,
Union, Rensselaer and Massachusetts. In the league, the Lakers have
faced first-place Canisius twice and second-place Sacred Heart once
Cross, by a hair over Quinnipiac. The Crusaders still have
all three of their games against league leaders Canisius, Sacred
Heart and Mercyhurst remaining, plus tough trips to Hamden and Storrs.
Throw in a nonconference weekend at Union and Rensselaer, and the
fact that Holy Cross has already played five of its six games against
lightweights Army and American International, and the homestretch
will be grueling.
Heart at Mercyhurst, March 4-5. The wide-open nature of
Atlantic Hockey this year makes it difficult to pinpoint one particular
series that will decide the conference championship. After all,
only two teams can share the ice at one time, but at least five
seem to have a realistic shot at winning the league title. But if
neither Canisius, Holy Cross nor Quinnipiac have wrapped up the
AHA by the final weekend, this tussle between Lakers and Pioneers
could have a lot on the line. Right now, Sacred Heart and Mercyhurt
are in second and third place, respectively, and both have multiple
games in hand on first-place Canisius. The squads tied earlier this
month in their first meeting of the season. When they renew acquaintances
in Erie, more than a handful of the league’s elite players
(SHU’s Pierre-Luc O’Brien, Alexandre Parent and Garrett
Larson; the Lakers’ David Wrigley, Rich Hansen and T.J. Kemp)
will be on display.
if anyone, will replace Quinnipiac in the league roster?
Good timing on this one, eh? The Rochester Institute of Technology
was introduced Wednesday
as the newest member of Atlantic Hockey, effective in 2006-07. Quinnipiac,
of course, is bolting for the ECACHL after this season, leaving
a one-year gap between its tenure and that of RIT (two in regards
to the postseason tournament). We don’t know whether Atlantic
Hockey will play with eight teams in 2005-06 or whether further
expansion is in the works. There have been rumors that some degree
of mutual interest exists between Atlantic Hockey and CHA members
Air Force and Robert Morris, but such a move would be devastating
for six-team College Hockey America.
will Canisius react to a new coach in the second half?
Cavanaugh’s former assistants, Clancy Seymour and Stephen
Fabiilli, are in charge right now, which will give the Griffins
some continuity systemswise for the time being. But if a head coach
is brought in from outside the program during the second half, there
likely will be a severe adjustment period. We’ll see whether
athletics director Tim Dillon elects to let Seymour and Fabiilli
ride out this campaign as interims or perhaps promotes one of them
into the head job. Thus far, the athletics department has been mum
on both the circumstances of Cavanaugh’s firing and its plans
for the future, save for the initial press release. Such uncertainty
could weigh on a club experiencing new heights of Division I success.
First Half All-CHA Team
pick. Senior leads the league in goals-against average (2.14),
save percentage (.934), wins (eight) and minutes played (898:12).
most dynamic blue liner, Cashman is tied for second most goals
(three) and third most points (nine) among AHA defensemen.
captain ranks third in the conference with nine assists. Leads
AHA defensemen with 12 points.
from London, Ontario, has been effective as scorer (eight goals)
and set-up man (seven assists).
Napert-Frenette, Holy Cross
7-7—14 totals, Napert-Frenette
is one of few Crusaders forwards that had a good first half.
O'Brien, Sacred Heart
points leader (16) also is tied atop goal-scoring list with
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