looks mean. Kind of like someone who would break a skateboard
over your head to make a point.
a big softie. And you can say that to his face.
why the Sacred Heart junior won the Pioneers’ institutional
NCAA sportsmanship award last month. Of all Sacred Heart athletes,
Molinaro was judged to best exhibit ethical behavior and good
sportsmanship – two qualities that usually are more apparent
when they’re lacking than when
shocked when I was recognized for it,” Molinaro said. “It’s
kind of cool, I guess. People don’t usually get credit for
this kind of thing.”
comes naturally to the Dearborn, Mich., native. He’s always
been quiet, a little on the shy side, and (telemarketers, take
note) he almost never says no to a request of a favor. He lets
opposing players’ trash talk roll off his back and probably
couldn’t be coaxed into a fight even if you started rippin’
on his mama.
not here to be against anyone,” he says. “I don’t
hate anybody. Not many things bother me. I just try to stay away
from things like that.”
surmise that such passiveness would be detrimental in a high-contact
sport like hockey, but Molinaro gets along just fine. He had just
four minor penalties for eight minutes last year. He already has
four for eight this year (curse the crackdown!), but rarely will
you see him whistled for roughing, slashing or any other hostile
infractions. Offensively, he has three goals and an assist this
season, after registering 12 goals and 14 assists last year.
guys always tease me about Lady Byng or whatever, but you don’t
need everybody on the team to be a bruiser,” Molinaro said.
“I finish checks if I have the opportunity. That doesn’t
bother me. I’m just more of a set-up guy, making plays for
my wingers. Whatever I can do to help the team.”
So far, Molinaro
has helped his team stake a two-point lead over Mercyhurst and
Canisius in the Atlantic Hockey standings. The Pioneers, who have
held the top spot all season, trailed Canisius 2-0 with less than
six minutes to go in the third period in their game Friday before
a three-goal barrage gave them a 3-2 win in overtime. It was Sacred
Heart’s first win after trailing in the third period since
Feb. 18, 2000. And although Molinaro didn’t figure in any
of the goals, you know that he didn’t hurt his team by taking
an ill-advised penalty, either.
AND HEARD IN THE LEAGUES
Reunion, Part Deux – Thanks to an interesting
scheduling quirk, Robert Morris head coach Derek Schooley will
welcome his former boss and junior coach to Moon Township this
week – one week after his former college coach visited.
of course, played for Wayne State’s Bill Wilkinson at Western
Michigan in the early 1990s. Wilkinson’s Warriors came in
and grabbed three of a possible four points from RMU last weekend
– although the point that the
Colonials did earn was the program’s first ever in CHA play.
But as unique
as Wilkinson's visit was, things will get even stranger this weekend
when Frank Serratore and his Air Force Falcons visit the Island
Sports Center. Serratore coached Schooley on the Omaha Lancers
and later hired him as an assistant at the Academy.
for five years (1998-2003) at Air Force before being hired by
Robert Morris. He has recruited and coached almost every player
who will suit up for the two respective teams this weekend, making
for a special series.
says, please don’t put the spotlight on him.
minute that happens, it’s the wrong focus to take,”
Schooley said. “The focus is on us getting better. On a
personal note, it will be an exciting weekend because Frank has
been my coach, my boss, my mentor and my friend.”
Not to mention
that Serratore’s wife, Carol, is the godmother of Schooley’s
13-month-old daughter, Kaitlyn. Carol Serratore was in Pennsylvania
last weekend for Kaitlyn’s baptism and even caught the second
game of the Wayne State series.
The ties between
the programs are many. So many, in fact, that Schooley won’t
even bring them up to his players.
doesn’t need to be said,” Schooley maintains. “They
Back – All-CHA goalie Jeff Van Nynatten will be
back between the pipes at Niagara this weekend after sitting out
the last two weeks’ worth of practices and games. Coach
Dave Burkholder said Van Nynatten “needed some time away
to evaluate where he fits on the team and what his aspirations
are for hockey.”
rejoined practice on Monday, and Burkholder said things are back
to normal. Freshman Scott Mollison won his first two career starts
during Van Nynatten’s absence, and the duo is scheduled
to split games this weekend against Bemidji State.
AT THE BOTTOM OF THE BAG
Great Weekend Getaway
State at Niagara (Fri.-Sat.)
might be playing the best hockey in the CHA right now, but
everybody knows that the league championship goes through
Bemidji and Niagara. These teams meet again in Minnesota
in less than a month, then don’t play each other for
the rest of the season. So think of this series as a day
of pole qualifying in auto racing. You want to get the inside
track for later on. The great thing about hockey, though,
is that we won’t erase everybody’s record and
bunch up the standings with 10 games remaining like our
friends at NASCAR would.
you’re there: In hindsight, we should have told you
just to stay in Buffalo all week after the Quinnipiac series.
Oh well. Saturday’s game begins at 3 p.m. because
the Niagara men’s basketball home opener against American
tips off at 7 p.m. that night. The Purple Eagles' cagers,
you’ll recall, nearly upset Providence on ESPN2 on
Tuesday. Am I the only one who wishes that Providence would
make the Skating Friar their center-court logo? That one
they had was frightening.
highlighting Mark Nebus last week, it seems only fair to
give props to Robert Morris freshman (is that redundant?)
David Boguslawski this week. I can almost
picture David’s great great grandfather getting busted
for cursing in front of a woman or training a bear for professional
wrestling purposes or something of that ilk.
NHL lockout. Not only is it horrible for
all the obvious reasons, but it has forced Quinnipiac and
Connecticut to move their annual Heroes Hat game away from
Madison Square Garden. In an e-mail, Quinnipiac athletics
director Jack McDonald said that because of the lockout,
“there is no guarantee that the ice will be available”
at MSG on Feb. 27. Instead, the game will be played March
3 in Storrs with the winner of the season series taking
home the hat. No, NHL, I’m not saying “Boooo-urns.”
International’s 2-0 victory over Army
last Friday leaves Yale as the lone winless team in the nation.
AIC earned its first win this year about a week earlier than it
did last year, when the Yellow Jackets beat, you guessed it, Army
on Nov. 23. Frank Novello was the star Friday, stopping all 34
shots he saw for his third career shutout (one shy of the school
record). AIC validated its Army win by tying defending league
champ Holy Cross, 1-1, on Tuesday night. Novello
made 45 more saves.
you probably know by now, WSU’s Wilkinson
last weekend became the 23rd coach to record 400 wins. His former
pupil Schooley thinks he could have reached the milestone sooner.
“Maybe if we would have worked a little harder when I was
there (at Western Michigan), he might have gotten 400 before playing
us,” Schooley said. “I guess I have to look in the
mirror for 10 years ago for that one.”
coach Ryan Soderquist had this to say before his team visited
Bemidji State last weekend: “I’ve
never been up there. I hear it’s a trip everybody should
make once in their lifetime – but only once.” He was
probably half-kidding, but you can bet that his memories of north-central
Minnesota won’t be as enjoyable as they could have been.
The Falcons lost 9-2 and 5-0.
in that Bemidji State blitz were several notable
individual performances. Ryan Huddy had six points (including
four assists Friday), Luke Erickson had five points (2-3), defenseman
John Haider had four (1-3) and goalie Matt Climie recorded a shutout
in his first career start last weekend. Those stats will help
erase the memories of back-to-back shutouts earlier this month
– the first time that had happened in the program’s
of the Beavers, they’re about to play four games in five
days (Friday and Saturday at Niagara; Monday
and Tuesday at Wayne State).
senior goalie Bryan Worosz passed Derek Slater to become the school’s
all-time saves leader during his 34-stop effort in Friday’s
overtime loss to Sacred Heart. Worosz made 17
more stops the following night, giving him 2,118 in his career.
His backup, Max Buetow, also has a claim to fame. At 6-feet-6,
he’s the tallest goalie in Division I this season.
No. 1 goalie, Scott Tomes, will be back on the dress list Friday
at Canisius but won't start. Tomes has been out
since injuring his knee Oct. 10 against Rensselaer. Freshman Brad
Smith has a 4.06 goals-against average and .898 save percentage
in his absence.
Alabama-Huntsville line of Jared Ross, Craig
Bushey and Bruce Mulherin had another fine weekend, combining
for six goals and eight assists in a sweep at Air Force.
For Ross and Bushey, their athletic talent extends to the golf
course. But Mulherin? Not really. “He has a really bad handicap,”
Bushey said. “He uses my clubs sometimes, but...”
Readers should note that Bushey was laughing too hard to finish
CHA and AHA combined to go 0-3-0 against “Big Four”
competition last week – the second straight disappointing
weekend. This week, Wayne State has a home-and-home
against Bowling Green, UAH plays a pair at Minnesota
State, Mankato, and Holy Cross plays one at Boston
College on Monday.