No one would
blame the Canisius Golden Griffins if they were a little distracted
by the recent firing of longtime head coach Brian Cavanaugh –
even though they reportedly forced the issue with the threat of
far, the Griffs haven’t missed a beat.
in first place in Atlantic Hockey when Cavanaugh was fired for
“irreconcilable differences” with the team in early
December, and that’s where the Griffs continue to perch
today. They have gone 1-0-2 in league games under interim co-coaches
Clancy Seymour and Stephen Fabiilli, and last Saturday, they thumped
crosstown rival Niagara, 5-2, on the Purple Eagles’ home
ice. Seymour says the success stems from blocking out the off-ice
situation was tumultuous, but it’s my job to try to continue
to have the team focus on detail,” Seymour said. “It
would be my mistake if I allowed us to pay attention to the extraneous
stuff outside the locker room.”
Fabiilli, both of whom played and coached under Cavanaugh, will
finish out the season as interim coaches. It’s not known
whether either of them will be a candidate when athletic director
Tim Dillon fills the full-time job this spring. Seymour, who is
a lead bench coach for the first time in his career, said he doesn’t
view these next few months as an audition for the head coaching
position. He’s just concentrating on doing what he can for
a role model for these guys, so I’ve got to tune everything
out and show them I’m focused,” Seymour said. “If
we all concentrate on the task at hand, things will take care
immediately at hand for Canisius is a crucial five-day stretch
for a squad nursing a one-point lead over Holy Cross in the standings.
After American International stops by the Buffalo State Sports
Arena on Friday, the Crusaders visit Saturday for a 1 vs. 2 showdown.
Then it’s off to Erie on Tuesday for a tussle against third-place
and ever-dangerous Mercyhurst. Four or five points out of those
games would continue a successful season that not many saw coming
– with or without coaching turmoil.
people on the outside might not see is that we’re all unified
and working toward a common goal,” sophomore winger Billy
Irish-Baker said. “We’re serious about winning and
we want to work hard to do that.
it’s tough to block stuff from the outside out, but we’re
all here to play hockey. The fact that we’re all together
makes everything easier to deal with than if we were alone. We
can talk through stuff if we need to and work things out that
AND HEARD IN THE LEAGUES
Hofacre – Robert Morris hockey lost a friend Saturday
when athletic director Susan Hofacre died after a short battle
with cancer. She was 54. Hofacre was the driving force behind
the creation of the Colonials’ Division I program, which
is in its maiden season. She attended every hockey home game during
the first semester, and reportedly beamed with pride that RMU
was the first school in Pittsburgh to upgrade to DI in the sport.
a big loss for Robert Morris and for the CHA as a whole, because
she was a very smart woman,” said Colonials head coach Derek
Schooley, who was hired by Hofacre. “It’s a tough
time for our athletic department right now. You don’t replace
someone like that overnight.
calling her at 10 p.m. after we beat Canisius and telling her
we won (our first game in history). I’ll always remember
her for giving me my first head coaching job. She was the one
who believed in me, and she gave me space to run the program and
the space needed to succeed and fail.”
came to RMU in 1989 and became AD in 2000, also is credited with
developing the new track and field at the school’s Island
Sports Center, the current construction of a football stadium
and athletic administration building, and adding six new Division
I sports in addition to men’s hockey. Don Smith is serving
as RMU’s interim AD.
of attention – There’s still uncertainty
as to whether, on the whole, the NHL lockout has been good for
the college game. But there’s no doubt that on Feb. 12,
Atlantic Hockey will be glad the pros aren’t playing. The
league office has put together a doubleheader for that day to
be played in Boston’s FleetCenter, home of the locked-out
Bruins. Holy Cross will take on Quinnipiac in the first game,
followed by Bentley against Connecticut. The event was the brainchild
of AHA commissioner Bob DeGregorio, and he had no trouble convincing
the four New England schools to take part.
up as a Bruins fan, it will be really nice,” Quinnipiac
coach Rand Pecknold said. “It’s not the Garden, but
it’s the next best thing.”
To make the
doubleheader work, a few of the programs have to reschedule games
already planned for Feb. 12. Quinnipiac’s scheduled contest
at AIC is expected to be moved to a Tuesday around the same time.
Holy Cross will move its home game against Sacred Heart to Feb.
18, and the Pioneers will switch their home game against AIC to
Feb. 12. Holy Cross’ game against Quinnipiac that originally
was scheduled for Jan. 21 will now be at the FleetCenter, as will
the Bentley vs. UConn game originally slated for Storrs. Tickets
to the FleetCenter event are $10 for the public and $5 for students
at the four schools.
AT THE BOTTOM OF THE BAG
Great Weekend Getaway
at Air Force (Fri.-Sat.) If it’s good enough to be CSTV’s game
of the week, it’s good enough for us. For all you
fans of physical hockey, make sure to tune into Friday’s
TV broadcast, because whenever these service academies collide,
the hitting is ferocious. Aside from that, two solid goaltenders,
Air Force’s Peter Foster and Army’s newly recovered
Brad Roberts, will be on display and ready to feast on two
struggling offenses. It’s tough to predict rivalry
games, but don’t expect to need two hands to count
goals this weekend.
You're There: Hmmmmm ... what to do in Colorado
during the winter. All those mountains. All that snow. What
to do, what to do. I give up.
stuff all around at Niagara this week.
Not only was Dwyer Arena sold out in advance for the Canisius
game – the first time the Purple Eagles ever have
sold out a game in advance – but the team also registered
its highest cumulative grade-point average (3.25) in the
nine-year history of the program. Freshmen Cliff Ketchen
and Scott Mollison even constructed perfect 4.0s during
the fall. Lousy, overachieving freshmen.
bad that the first shutout in Robert Morris history won’t
go into the record books as a win. That’s
kind of like pitching a no-hitter and losing (Hello, Ken
Johnson). But at least the scoreless tie with Mercyhurst
was a better Colonial showing than the first time the Keystone
State rivals met, an 8-2 Lakers win back in October.
seems to be credence to this Air Force-to-Atlantic
Hockey rumor. Mike Saks, a senior associate athletic director
at the academy, confirmed that AHA officials will make a campus
visit in the near future. “We’re going through the
process right now,” Saks said. No further timetable is known.
has learned that Atlantic Hockey members will play 28 league games
next season, when the conference enrollment drops from nine to
eight with Quinnipiac leaving for the ECACHL.
Each league team will play every other league team four times.
Currently, the nine AHA teams play each other three times each,
providing for 24 conference games.
the extra league games will cut into non-conference opportunities,
intrastate rivals Quinnipiac and Connecticut
will not play next season. That means that this year’s
winner of the Heroes Hat traveling trophy will keep it for at
least two seasons. The clubs meet in a home-and-home series this
weekend, followed by a single game March 3 in Storrs. The team
will the best record in the three-game series earns the Hat.
State’s Andrew Murray, the only NHL draft pick
in College Hockey America, became Bemidji State’s career
Division I scoring leader with three points last weekend. The
Columbus Blue Jackets property now has 102 points (41 goals, 61
assists), surpassing Marty Goulet’s 100. Murray has been
the hottest player in the league of late, riding a nine-game points
streak during which he has nine goals and 10 assists.
win over Niagara kept Atlantic Hockey from being
shut out in the inaugural Commissioners’ Cup series –
which pits the six DI conferences against each other – but
it won’t be enough to escape last place. The AHA finished
1-6-0. The CHA, on the other hand, is tied for third place at
3-3-0 - even with the CCHA and two points ahead of the all-powerful
WCHA. Raise your hand if you predicted that at the beginning of
the year. The CHA has one Cup game remaining, Wayne State
at Nebraska-Omaha on Jan. 29, as does the WCHA. The CCHA
about $10 for a ticket into Tate Rink, fans attending last weekend’s
Army vs. Connecticut series
paid a hefty Alex Hamilton per goal scored. But take heart, bargain
hunters, each save made cost just 18 cents. The pair of 1-0 games
– one going for each team – didn’t give the
goal judges much thumb exercise, but they were welcomed by the
participating goalies – Army’s Treye Kettwick and
Brad Roberts and UConn’s Scott Tomes. Saturday’s shutout
victory was Roberts’ first action since injuring a knee
in late October. He made 29 saves. Tomes, too, missed about a
month early in the season with a knee injury. He stopped 54 shots
during the weekend.
Force set a CHA record for fastest two goals to start
a game when they took a 2-0 lead in just 38 seconds Friday at
Bemidji State. Unfortunately for the Falcons,
Bemidji pulled starting goalie Layne Sedevie after the second
goal and replaced him with Matt Climie, who kept Air Force scoreless
the rest of the way and led the Beavers to a 4-2 win. In Saturday’s
rematch, Climie was in net again, and Air Force continued to be
snakebitten. The Falcons took a 3-2 to lead into the final minute,
but BSU’s Murray scored an extra-attacker goal to send the
game into overtime, where, you guessed it, the Beavers won, 4-3,
on a tally by Jean-Guy Gervais. All that prompted AFA head coach
Frank Serratore, who fell to 0-12-1 all-time against Bemidji State
to lament, “This is as painful as it gets. They stole this
one from us. This is a very, very painful loss. Gut-wrenching.”
Morris, which has added to its roster throughout the
year, welcomed Nick Pernula into the fold during the break. Pernula
played on the Tri-City Storm’s 2004 USHL Anderson Cup championship
team with fellow Colonials Doug Conley, Jace Buzek and David Boguslawski.
He most recently was playing for the Green Bay Gamblers.
say Rick Gotkin’s Mercyhurst Lakers deserve
an extra helping of grub at their next pregame meal, considering
five of their last seven games have gone into overtime. In those
contests, Mercyhurst is 1-0-4. The most recent extra frame yielded
a 0-0 tie with Robert Morris – the first scoreless tie in
the Lakers’ 18-year history.
move by the American International skaters to
meet with 60 local sixth-graders Monday and speak with them about
leadership and goal setting. “If one more kid goes to college
... because of this, then we’ve done something great,”
forward Jeff Valdes told The Republican.
because I’m a jerk:) There was no word, however, about whether
the kids gave the Yellow Jackets any goal-related advice. AIC
is second-to-last in the nation in scoring (1.57 goals per game).
Force forward Mike Knaeble, who has been out since November
with a broken leg, is listed as questionable for this weekend’s
series against Army.
of sources were utilized in the compilation of this report.