January 6, 2005
Catching Up with an Old Record Holder

By James Jahnke

Atlantic Hockey/CHA Notebook

Andy Berg still has a slight hold on the CHA's career goals record.

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WCHA Notebook

Just as Andy Berg's college records are dying, his professional career has been born.

The former Air Force cadet's name is in the news because Niagara's Barret Ehgoetz and Alabama-Huntsville's Jared Ross are in the process of breaking his career CHA scoring records. Heading into this weekend, Berg has just one mark left – career goals. His 64 are ahead of Ehgoetz's 62 and Ross' 61. But Ehgoetz (147) has already eclipsed Berg (142) in points, and both Ehgoetz (85) and Ross (79) have passed Berg (78) in career assists.

Not that Berg really cares. After all, his records are less than two years old.

"I knew it was a matter of time before they went down," Berg told INCH from his Air Force base near Columbia, S.C. "I'm just glad it's those two guys, because they're good players."

Berg played at Air Force from 1999-2003, meaning he was part of the first class to play all four years in the fledgling CHA. After running out of eligibility, he spent last season as a graduate assistant, of sorts, with Air Force before being moved to his base in South Carolina about five months ago. Just last week, he signed with the Columbia Inferno of the ECHL. He hasn't scored in his first three ECHL games, but his former coach has no doubt he'll succeed in the league.

"The East Coast League's tempo is not as frantic as in college hockey," Air Force coach Frank Serratore said. "They only have 15 or 16 skaters or so, and they'll play three games in three nights, so it's more of a controlled tempo. That's good for Andy because he's a read-and-react player with good hockey sense. Sometimes, you don't get to use those skills as much in college because it's such racehorse hockey, just wave after wave after wave.

"Here, he had gifts that not a lot of our players have. He came to us right out of high school, which is rare, but he was able to generate offense right from the get-go. We didn't teach him those skills, he brought those with him."

Berg made his hay on the power play, especially along the half-wall, where he could take a pass from a teammate and unleash his dynamite one-timer. Serratore said that Berg could have played on any team's power play – Minnesota, Michigan and the like included.

Now, Berg's down South, and his college legacy is about to be dimmed somewhat by Ehgoetz and Ross. But it's OK, he says. He's cool with his Air Force job of buying supplies for those at the base, and he's excited about playing for the Inferno – even though it entails getting to work at 7 a.m., then leaving for practice at 8:30 and skating until 11 a.m., then returning to work at noon and staying til dinner time.

Eventually, Berg hopes to run across Ehgoetz and Ross at the professional level.

"I'd like to see them succeed, and I'm sure they will," Berg said. "If you look at it, they're reaching the record in fewer games (123 for Ehgoetz, 116 for Ross) than I did (140). They deserve it."


They've got a thin candy shell – Near the end of the classic movie Tommy Boy, Chris Farley's character is sitting on a bench lamenting the long list of things that have recently gone wrong in his life. Just as he finishes, the bench's legs crumble under his considerable weight. Further disillusioned by the ironic twist, he resignedly – yet comically – utters, "I could have done without that."

Connecticut's much-slimmer coach, Bruce Marshall, had a similar feeling last week during a loss to Holy Cross in the first round of the UConn Hockey Classic. During a delayed penalty against Holy Cross, Marshall's Huskies actually scored on themselves, adding insult to their already moribund first half.

"We were at our defensive blue line, and one of our guys passed it back to our defenseman so we could get a little more spread out on the ice," Marshall said. "But our defenseman got hooked at the last second, and the puck rolled off his stick and into the net.

"That was a little much."

The goal made it 5-2 in an eventual 6-3 Holy Cross win. But it also was symbolic of the team's season to this point. Being 3-13-2 overall and only two points out of the Atlantic Hockey basement isn't exactly where an up-and-coming squad with the best forward in the league and a returning starting goalie expected to find itself. Still, it is what it is, and Marshall wants to make the best of it, starting with this weekend's trip to Army.

"It's nothing non-correctable," Marshall said. "It's not like there's a big hole in this part of our team or that part. There are plenty of pieces here. That's why I feel confident this group can turn it around.

"The thing that I'm frustrated with the guys about – and they are, too – is that it's January and, on tape, we're still showing them mistakes they're making. I can understand one or two guys having a bad game, but it seems like we always have five or six that we're saying, you're turning the puck over here, you're not doing this, you're not doing that. We've got to fix that."

Family (doesn't) matter – The Serratore Bowl (we've still got that early January spirit) between Frank Serratore's Falcons and brother Tom Serratore's Bemidji State Beavers commences again this weekend in Minnesota, but the sibling rivalry isn't a big deal to Frank.

"I get more revved up playing CC and DU, to be honest with you," Frank Serratore said. "It's not that big of a deal to me. He and I grew up playing on opposite teams, playing one-on-one basketball, shooting pucks, hitting baseballs. This is just our teams playing. We're not actually physically going to be out there playing against each other."

On the other hand, Tom Serratore probably can't wait to play his brother's team. He's 10-0-1 all-time against Frank.


Great Weekend Getaway
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Wayne State at Alabama-Huntsville (Fri.-Sat.)
The first-place Chargers will return to the ice for the first time in more than a month, and they'll find the split-happy, third-place Warriors waiting for them. This starts Wayne State's four-game road swing through UAH and Niagara that will go along way toward determining whether the Warriors really are a top-tier CHA team. It's not out of the question that either team could sweep this weekend.

While You're There: Now don't go missing the games for this, but the Alabama RV Super Show the largest RV show in Alabama and Tennessee will be sharing the Von Braun Center with the UAH hockey team this weekend. Buy a one-way air ticket down to Huntsville for the games, and drive back up north in your new Wanderlodge.

Stick Salute

Air Force got into the holiday spirit by visiting the Colorado Springs Children's Hospital and Denver Children's Hospital between Christmas and New Year's. The players signed autographs for patients, and distributed the 709 toys they collected during the team's "Toy Trick" drive at two earlier home games. Remaining toys were given to local clinics, shelters and fire houses. Nicely done.

Bench Minor

From now on, Air Force goalie Peter Foster might want to let his play do the talking. After telling the Denver Post, "I haven't seen any of the other goalies in this (Denver Cup) tournament, but personally, I think I'm the best," Foster let in seven goals on 24 shots in two periods against Denver. Among DU's septet was a hat trick by the Pioneers' favorite Foster, Jon.

American International's 4-2 loss to Princeton on Tuesday marked the program's first game against an Ivy League school since beating Yale, 7-5, on Jan. 15, 1977. The Yellow Jackets won't have to wait nearly as long for their next Ivy tussle. They travel to Brown next Wednesday.

• One time, I was talking to a cheerleader at a party, and she told me she could do the splits three different ways. That was great. But she doesn't have anything on Wayne State, which has split seven of its nine series this year. The only deviations were a sweep of Canisius and a three-point effort against Robert Morris. Strangely, the Warriors won the opener of their first three splits and the closer of their last four.

• Atlantic Hockey staged four midweek league games and had AIC playing a nonconference tilt Tuesday, giving the AHA a professional or major-junior feel this week. The schedule loomed largest for Quinnipiac, which traveled to Canisius and Mercyhurst, but the Bobcats got just one point (a tie with Canisius) for their efforts. Of course, there are games on this weekend's docket, too, highlighted by a pair of interconference geographical rivalries. Buffalo neighbors Niagara and Canisius face off Saturday at Dwyer Arena in their only meeting of the season. It will be Atlantic Hockey's (0-6) last chance to get a win in the Commissioners' Cup series.

On Sunday, Pennsylvania's lone teams, Mercyhurst and Robert Morris, get together for the second and final time.

• Pardon the lame pun, but Army coach Brian Riley got several late Christmas presents when forwards Chris Garceau and Ryan Cruthers and goalie Brad Roberts returned to the lineup in an exhibition win against St. Clair last week. Garceau, who had three assists in three games before his injury, and Roberts, the team's No. 1 goalie, had been out since late October with knee ailments. Cruthers, who tied for the team lead with 18 points last season, was academically ineligible for the first semester. Cruthers and Garceau came back with a bang, scoring a combined three goals against St. Clair. Meanwhile, Roberts dressed for the game, but did not play. He's expected to dress against UConn this weekend, but Treye Kettwick will start Friday.

• Right before the break, Niagara coach Dave Burkholder dismissed sophomore forward Aaron Clarke from the team for violating team rules. Burkholder said the decision was based on a sum of minor offenses, such as being late for team meetings, not one major indiscretion. "We had to act," Burkholder said. Clarke had three goals and three assists in nine games this season after registering 13 points in 32 games as a freshman. He reportedly is transferring to Robert Morris.

• Also before the break, prosecutors in Anoka County, Minn., citing a lack of evidence, dropped sexual assault charges against Bemidji State player Riley Riddell and two non-athletes for an alleged rape near BSU's campus. Despite the charges being dropped, Riddell was not invited to rejoin the Beavers.

• Wrapping up the month-old news section of our notebook, Bemidji earned a big 4-2 win over Western Michigan on Dec. 18. While we're always happy to see a "Little Two" team beat a "Big Four" representative, the even more encouraging part of that night was that Beavers freshman Jake Bluhm scored the winner. Bluhm was INCH's pick as the CHA's top newcomer during the preseason, but his goal against WMU was just his first as a collegian. He has two points in 11 games played thus far.

• Your Quinnipiac Bobcats will be televised live on NESN when they face Maine on Sunday evening.

• The nominating process for 2005 Vote for Hobey has begun. Head over to hobeybaker.com to show your support for Barret Ehgoetz, Jared Ross, Dave Borrelli and your other favorite Atlantic Hockey and CHA players.

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

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