October 20, 2004
Wayne State Gets a Second Freshman Class

By James Jahnke

Atlantic Hockey/CHA Notebook

This week's schedule
National TV Schedule

WCHA Notebook

Rumor is, Wayne State coach Bill Wilkinson didn’t think he had any chance to land forward Jason Bloomingburg when Bloomingburg decided to transfer away from Providence.

So he wasn’t even going to try.

But Bloomingburg, a native of Canton, Mich., assured the head Warrior that Wayne State was a desirable destination for him. One campus visit – and a brief thought to walk on at Michigan – later, and the talented 6-foot, 205-pounder was signed, sealed and delivered. Good thing, too, because without him, Wayne State probably wouldn’t have pulled one of the biggest upsets of the young season last Saturday – a 5-4 home win over Clarkson. Bloomingburg, a sophomore, netted a hat trick in that game (including the final two goals) and added another tally in a near-miss 5-3 loss to the Golden Knights the next day.

He might be the crown jewel in Wayne State’s formidable “second freshman class” – a batch of experienced players that, for one reason or another, Wilkinson didn’t have at his disposal last year. Bloomingburg was sitting out under transfer rules, goalie Will Hooper, an INCH all-league selection as a freshman, was playing for lame-duck Findlay, and forward Mike Forgie missed all but two games with a serious shoulder injury. This season, all three are wearing the green and gold, and combined with crafty freshmen such as Tylor Michel, have breathed new enthusiasm into the program.

“I think we’re going to be better than people expect us to be,” Bloomingburg said. “We’re an up-and-coming program. Heart can get you far.”

Last year’s Warrior squad was an aimless group at times, trying to recover from the loss of a senior class that had won three straight CHA tournaments and also fighting through an endless stream of injuries. More unexpected attrition hit the program this summer, but Bloomingburg still senses that team unity is growing.

“We might have had a lack of leadership last year,” said Bloomingburg, who practiced with the squad all season. “We had good players, but they didn’t have the seniors from before to keep them in line. But this summer, there was a huge change in team chemistry. It’s a lot better now, and we just want to get last year out of our minds.”

Hooper, too, would like to put last year behind him. Although he played well on the ice for Findlay, he had to endure the uncertainty of playing for a folding program and more or less going through the recruitment process again. He said Union and Robert Morris also were in the running for his services, but he decided to transfer to Wayne State because of the combination of tradition and financial aid it could offer.

Hooper started both games against Clarkson, and would have won both if not for a three-goal (one on empty net) third period by the Knights on Sunday. Hooper’s expected to share time with junior Matt Kelly for the foreseeable future – including this weekend at Merrimack.

“In junior hockey at Wexford, the policy was to split the goaltenders no matter who was on the team,” Hooper said. “So I’m used to it. It’s like being in juniors all over again. Obviously, you want to play every minute, but I think it’s pretty wide open right now.”

Hooper’s glad to be a key component of the Warriors’ rebuilding process, but he said he doesn’t have much to offer from a former opponent’s perspective.

“I know that Wayne State’s biggest problem last year was scoring, but I think having Bloomie and Tylor Michel and Higgy (Nate Higgins) and (Jason) Baclig will be good this year,” Hooper said. “Everyone around the locker room is real excited so far.”


Husky infirmary – UConn took a big hit when starting goalie Scott Tomes injured an ACL against Rensselaer in the Maverick Stampede. Freshman Brad Smith has played well in his stead (3.19 GAA, .917 percentage) at the end of the first RPI game and a rematch between the schools this past week, and he’ll likely get the call again at Massachusetts on Sunday. Tomes’ rehabilitation timetable is four-to-six weeks.

The Huskies also are without junior forward Eric St. Arnauld (ruptured spleen) and freshman defenseman John Burns (separated shoulder). Fortunately for head coach Bruce Marshall, the team only has one game each of the next two weekends. Unfortunately, the upcoming schedule calls for contests at Massachusetts, at Dartmouth, at Northeastern, versus Mercyhurst and at Ferris State.

Can’t find upset city – Except for Wayne State’s win over Clarkson, teams in the CHA and AHA weren’t able to knock off anyone from the Big Four conferences last week. Mercyhurst was swept at Wisconsin, UConn lost to RPI and Niagara was swept at Maine. Canisius officially tied Alaska Anchorage in the Nye Frontier Classic, but lost the shootout and fell in the consolation game to UMass.

But, as my friend Marv the boxing writer says, I’ve got a feeling somebody’s going down this weekend. CHA power Bemidji State hosts Ferris State for two, while Niagara plays a set at Vermont. Even Air Force could get in on the action, welcoming crosstown rival Colorado College to Cadet Ice Arena on Friday. And as we already mentioned, Wayne State plays a pair at Merrimack. On the Atlantic Hockey side of things, Mercyhurst travels to New Hampshire on Saturday, the same day Army hosts RPI and Quinnipiac plays at CC. Throw in UConn’s tilt against UMass on Sunday, and there’s bound to be a couple of big victories this weekend. I think.

Another intriguing series will be Holy Cross’ visit to Alabama-Huntsville. The Crusaders get to leave baseball-mad Massachusetts for football-mad Alabama. And, with one of the better offerings each league has, the series will go a long way toward determining bragging rights (if there are any) between the CHA and Atlantic Hockey.


Great Weekend Getaway
120x60 - Brand Red

Colorado Springs:

Spend the weekend at the foot of Pikes Peak, and you’ll get to see three teams from three leagues in two arenas. On Friday, Air Force hosts Colorado College for their crosstown rivalry game. Then Atlantic Hockey power Quinnipiac comes to town to face the Tigers on Saturday and the Falcons on Sunday. What more could you want? OK, besides free tickets?

While you’re there: Take a tour of the grandiose U.S. Olympic Training Center in town. If you’re lucky, you can take home a souvenir ice dancer.

Stick Salute

Already renowned as one of the best players in Atlantic Hockey, Quinnipiac goaltender Jamie Holden received a significant academic accolade at the Q-Cup this weekend. The senior with a 3.98 grade-point average in biology was named the 2003-04 Atlantic Hockey Scholar Athlete of the Year.

Bench Minor

I don’t know if there’s anyone to blame, but it was just kind of sad watching college hockey last weekend. All the penalties just killed the game. Can’t blame the refs for following orders. Can’t blame the players for competing the same way they have all their lives. Can’t blame the commissioners for wanting to crack down on obstruction. I guess it’s just going to take some time. Let’s hope the game comes out of this transition stronger than it went in.

• It appears that Sacred Heart has lured another good one from Quebec. Freshman Alexandre Parent, a Boisbriand product, dished out three assists against Army in his college debut. Two of the helpers went to Nicolet native Pierre-Luc O’Brien. Dynamique!

• Taking a 2-0 lead was a death knell for several teams last weekend. Among the squads that lost after scoring the first two goals of a game: Mercyhurst (vs. Wisconsin), American International (vs. Quinnipiac), Air Force (vs. Bentley, although this one officially was a tie, Bentley won the battle of the Falcons in a shootout), Clarkson (vs. Wayne State) and Western Ontario in an exhibition at Alabama-Huntsville. Apparently, the
2-0 lead is the most dangerous lead in hockey.

• This is supposed to be a down year for Air Force, but you wouldn’t have known it at the Q-Cup. The Falcons outshot their opponents 98-38. Included among that barrage was an incredible 27-2 advantage over AIC in the first period. And the score after said stanza? 0-0.

• INCH would like to welcome back Army forward Chris Migliaro and Niagara forward Jason Williamson, both of whom missed significant time with injuries last season. Migliaro broke a leg against Air Force last January, missing the rest of the season. He returned to score twice in an exhibition against Ryerson earlier this month. Williamson missed all of last season with a shoulder injury. Now, he’s back in a purple sweater (with an “A” on his chest, no less) and has a goal already this year.

• Longtime Army coach Jack Riley has been inducted into the Army Sports Hall of Fame as one of 16 members of the inaugural class. Festivities were Oct. 1 at the Waldorf Astoria in NYC. Riley amassed 542 total wins between 1951 and 1986 at West Point. Other honorees included Mr. Outside Glenn Davis, Mr. Inside Doc Blanchard and Heisman Trophy winner Pete Dawkins.

• It would have been hard not to cut down, but credit Niagara for taking fewer trips to the penalty box against Maine than it did against UMass Lowell. The two-game set in Orono yielded a total of 17 Purple Eagle penalties for 34 minutes – the same figures as the single contest against the River Hawks.

• Congratulations to Quinnipiac forward Matt Craig, who notched career point No. 100 with his second goal Saturday night.

• Bentley’s much-maligned power-play performers had a rough weekend at the Q-Cup, going 1-for-19 in two games, including 0-for-13 in the championship

A variety of sources were utilized in the compilation of this report.

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