For the first
time in 24 years at Canisius, coach Brian Cavanaugh wasn’t
alongside his team at the hotel, during the pregame meal or on
the bench for a Golden Griffins road game.
mother, Eileen Cavanaugh, who would have been 91 years old this
week, died last Thursday morning, causing the coach to stay behind
in Buffalo while his team traveled to Wayne State for a pair of
nonconference games. Eileen Cavanaugh suffered from Alzheimer’s
disease and her condition had recently deteriorated. Brian Cavanaugh
was at the induction ceremony for the Greater Buffalo Sports Hall
of Fame – he’s on the board of directors – last
Wednesday night when he received a call that she didn’t
have much time left, so he rushed out to Orchard Park and spent
the final hours of his mother's life at her bedside.
couple of hockey games was the last thing on his mind.
had a great life,” Brian Cavanaugh said this week. “She’s
in a better place. She was a very religious person, so I know
she’s in heaven right now, helping me out with a few close
wake was Friday and funeral was Saturday, meaning Cavanaugh conceivably
could have made it to Detroit for at least part of the Golden
Griffins’ Saturday-Sunday series. He said the thought of
driving down Sunday morning crossed his mind, but in the end,
the youngest of eight children decided to spend more time with
his grieving family, including a sister from Tulsa whom he rarely
gets to see.
Plus, he didn’t
want to infringe upon his assistants, Clancy Seymour and Stephen
Fabilli, who handled the team admirably despite 3-2 and 3-1 losses.
want them thinking that they did something wrong and Coach was
coming in to correct the loss,” Cavanaugh said.
constituted only the third and fourth games Cavanaugh had ever
missed in his nearly quarter-century at Canisius (he was suspended
for two home contests several years ago). Whenever he got a chance
this past weekend, he was on the phone seeking updates from sports
information director Steve Rudnicki in the press box or conversing
with his assistants – neither of whom had ever been a head
coach before – during intermissions.
was just typical stuff – bouncing things off each other
like what the other team’s doing and what we’re doing
tactically,” Cavanaugh said. “And reaffirming the
decisions they were making. A lot of times, it’s a confidence
thing for new coaches.”
said he thinks the Griffs might have been trying too hard to win
for him this weekend and, thus, came up short. But team captain
Fred Coccimiglio said the team just didn't come out with enough
wasn't the coaches' fault,” Coccimiglio said. “It
was tough without him, but we just came out flat. I don't think
it would have been any different (if Cavanaugh were there)."
AND HEARD IN THE LEAGUES
We're asking that you remain calm – Mercyhurst
coach Rick Gotkin could be accused of using spin tactics on Election
Day. While standing in line at the polls in Erie, Pa., (God bless
him), a lady from his neighborhood asked him how the Lakers’
season was going.
How many games
have you played?
You can imagine
the neighbor’s reaction. But Gotkin really does believe that
his Lakers, who, prior to the season, were the popular choice
to win the Atlantic Hockey championship, are playing all right
despite the emaciated numeral in their win column. Their losses
came to Wisconsin (twice), New Hampshire, Union and Rensselaer
– nothing to be ashamed about. But the lone win came against
first-year Robert Morris, which is nothing to brag about, either.
Even though college hockey observers wouldn’t have been
surprised to see Mercyhurst beat Union and/or RPI last weekend,
Gotkin says he’s not worried.
our team a lot,” he said. “We find more good than
bad in the losses. We’ve had a good work ethic, the players
are paying close attention to our systems and we haven’t
been rattled by the tough places and teams we’re playing.
With the exception of three periods (the third stanza of an 8-0
loss to the Badgers, the first period at UNH and the third period
against RPI), we’ve been OK.
knew when we took this schedule that we could be 1-5.”
get a bit easier this weekend with league contests against Army
and Connecticut, although both games are on the road. And let’s
not forget that both Army (vs. Colgate) and UConn (vs. Massachusetts)
have more impressive nonleague victories than Mercyhurst does
to early-season insult, the Lakers still might be without leading
scorer Dave Borrelli, who missed last weekend's games with an
injury. “He’s day-to-day now,” Gotkin said.
the top – Astute observers of Air Force hockey
might have noticed that sophomore goalie Peter Foster is stationing
himself farther out of the net than he did last year. It’s
trying to make it difficult for shooters to go under the bar on
him,” Falcons coach Frank Serratore said. “At 5-feet-8,
he needs to play above the top of the crease to survive in college
hockey. He’s very athletic, and I think athletic goalies
in juniors can tend to sit back in the crease and rely on their
reflexes to make saves. But that won't work in college.
gotten stronger mentally and physically. He’s increased
his leg strength. Against Colorado College, he made four or five
big-time saves on shots over the top that he probably wouldn’t
have made if he were sitting back in the net.”
Foster has two shutouts, making him the first Falcon with two
blankings in a season since Marc Kielkucki in 2000-01. Foster
is 2-2-2 with a 2.17 goals-against average and .902 save percentage.
AT THE BOTTOM OF THE BAG
Great Weekend Getaway
Morris at Alabama-Huntsville (Fri.-Sat.)
The Colonials get initiated into College Hockey America
with a tough road series in the Deep South. The Chargers
already have wins over Yale and Atlantic Hockey power Holy
Cross and a tie against Princeton on their resume, so it
might be easy to overlook the newbies from Pennsylvania.
But RMU has proved to be a competitive team thus far and
won’t roll over in their first league contests.
you’re there: Third-ranked Auburn has a bye week,
so there might be a few more butts in the seats at Saturday
night’s contest. But you should still be able to get
a walk-up ticket after your pregame barbeque feast at Dreamland
BBQ. Mmmmmmmmmmm ... boy.
to Atlantic Hockey’s Army and Quinnipiac and
College Hockey America’s Niagara and Alabama-Huntsville
for their wins over ECACHL teams
last weekend. The Black Knights beat Colgate 3-2, Quinnpiac
topped Dartmouth 2-1, Niagara disposed of Clarkson 5-3 and
UAH thumped Yale 5-2. Throw in the Chargers’ 5-5 tie
against Princeton, and the two youngest leagues did themselves
proud for a second straight week. Plus, all five of those
games were on the road.
need to dust off my Ph.D. in hockey analysis to prove that
I know why these teams lost last weekend: Robert
Morris (0-10 power play Fri.), Mercyhurst
(0-8 PP Fri., 0-5 PP Sat.), Sacred Heart
(0-10 PP Fri., 0-5 PP Sat.) and Canisius
(0-8 PP Sun.). In fact, of the 12 CHA and AHA teams that
lost, only three of them scored a power-play goal during
the Who’da Thunk It? file: Army, crippled
by numerous key injuries and stinging from a 7-1 pasting at Cornell
on Friday night, went to Colgate on Saturday and beat the Raiders
for the first time since 1987. That helped ease the Black Knights’
embarrassment of being outshot 49-9 by Cornell.
State forward Brendan Cook tied the CHA record for career
short-handed goals by notching his seventh during the Beavers’
most recent game. He ties former UAH skater Steve
Charlebois atop the list. Speaking of shorties (not the ones about
whom Master P raps), Wayne State had its streak
of four straight games with an SHG snapped Sunday.
Heart will be without the services of defenseman Bernie
for the first game of the Pioneers’ series at Ohio State
this weekend. He received a game disqualification – and
subsequent one-game suspension – for spearing at the end
of the Cornell loss Saturday.
becoming clear that opponents are going to have to shut down UAH’s
top line of Jared Ross, Craig Bushey and Bruce Mulherin if they
are going to have any success against the Chargers this season.
Four games in, that trio has combined for 21 points – nearly
50 percent of the team’s output. Their percentage of goal
scoring jumps to 56 percent (nine of 16).
to be outdone, the Barret Ehgoetz-Ryan Gale-Justin Cross line
at Niagara is pushing the Chargers Three for
the distinction as the best trio in the CHA. Ehgoetz, Gale and
Cross have combined for 24 points in seven games. In the last
four contests (three wins and one loss vs. ECACHL competition),
they’ve combined for eight goals and 12 assists. And the
good news for the Purple Eagles is that their top line has better
support from the other three offensive units than UAH’s
Michigan State Spartan Damon Whitten has been hired as an assistant
coach at Wayne State. He’ll replace former
Badger Eric Raygor, who left the Warriors in September to take
a non-hockey job. Whitten, a smart chap who was an assistant captain
on MSU’s last Frozen Four team (2001), has spent the last
two seasons as a volunteer assistant coach under Rick Comley.
Cross showed some fortitude by scoring two extra-attacker
goals to scratch out a 2-2 home tie against Air Force
on Friday night. Without a doubt, the star of the weekend was
Crusaders forward Pierre Napert-Frenette, who scored the first
goal Friday then had a hat trick among four points in Holy Cross’
5-2 victory Saturday.
interesting nonconference games dot the CHA and AHA schedule this
weekend, and as usual, all of them are on the road. The top CHA
teams, Bemidji State and Niagara,
will play winnable series at Minnesota State, Mankato and Western
Michigan, respectively. As you might know, Bemidji coach Tom Serratore
and Mankato coach Troy Jutting were college roommates. The good
news for the Beavers is that they were 6-0-0 coming off an idle
weekend last year. The bad news is that they’re 0-16-2 on
Olympic-size ice since becoming a Division I program. Elsewhere,
Sacred Heart has a pair at Ohio State, Wayne
State two at Providence (a homecoming for Warriors forward
Jason Bloomingburg) and Connecticut plays one
at Northeastern. If the CHA and AHA can win, say, three to five
of those 9 games, it will be another positive weekend.
in the stands at Compuware Sports Arena on Sunday: Michigan State
forward Colton Fretter, who was watching his buddy Josh Zavitz
man the blue line for Canisius. Both are natives
of Harrow, Ontario. While watching the game, Fretter no doubt
was trying to figure out just how MSU lost to Wayne State last
big “first” for the Robert Morris
program came to pass last weekend – the Colonials’
first home win. A 3-1 victory over Bentley salvaged a series split
and sent fans home happy from the Island Sports Center for the
first time in three tries.
of sources were utilized in the compilation of this report.