on a roll like Quinnipiac freshman center Ben Nelson, you don’t
really see the goalie. You see everything the goalie can’t
cover. An open corner here, space between the legs there.
all feels the same, it’s just weird,” Nelson explains.
“You play with a lot more confidence. You see a hole, you
shoot for it and you hit it. Maybe other times, you see a hole
and you think about it and you shoot over the top or wide. Then
the puck goes down the other way.”
missed much lately. He has scored eight goals during the past
two weekends, including his first career hat trick as part of
a five-point night Saturday against Mercyhurst. He is INCH’s
Player of the Week and is one of the biggest reasons why Quinnipiac
has won six straight games and vaulted within three points of
first place in Atlantic Hockey.
the first two months of his rookie season with a separated shoulder,
Nelson managed to score on his first collegiate shot Dec. 5 against
Holy Cross. He said he bumbled a toe-drag move to get inside of
the Crusader defenseman that night, but the puck still got between
the d-man’s legs and Nelson walked in alone on the goalie.
From there, a wrister high to the glove side was all it took to
get his Bobcat career off to a charmed start.
always been put on teams to score, so this is nothing all that
strange to me,” said Nelson, a native of Spokane, Wash.
“I’m just working hard and shooting the puck, and
it’s working out. A lot of credit goes to my linemates (Chris
White and Jamie Bates), because without them, I’m nothing.”
to continue his torrid streak this weekend, when Quinnipiac hosts
American International on Friday and then plays Holy Cross in
the first game of a doubleheader Saturday at the FleetCenter.
Nelson has never played in a bigger arena than a 3,500-seat barn
in Salmon Arm, so this trip to Boston should be memorable. But
he’s more concerned about getting two points against the
second-place Crusaders, who lead Quinnipiac by that margin in
just want to keep our winning streak going,” Nelson said.
“People say that we can’t win the league, so we want
to prove that we can.”
AND HEARD IN THE LEAGUES
Optimism – Commissioner Bob Peters says the CHA
isn’t going anywhere, despite Air Force’s apparently
impending move to Atlantic Hockey coupled with unsubstantiated
reports of gloomy financial situations at other CHA programs.
no hint of (folding) at all,” Peters said. “We have
Force, which might be admitted into Atlantic Hockey by the end
of the week and start playing in the AHA in 2006-07, would leave
the CHA with five teams – one short of the NCAA minimum
for an automatic bid to the national tournament. But the conference
would have a two-year grace period to find a sixth team, meaning
the open spot won’t have to be filled until 2008-09.
At this point,
the most likely CHA expansion target is Lindenwood University
in St. Charles, Mo. Officials from the league and the school have
been in contact for about a year, and a traveling party from Lindenwood
attended the American Hockey Coaches Association meeting in Florida
on a fact-finding mission last spring. The biggest remaining hurdle
is the fact that Lindenwood is an NAIA school and must meet dual-membership
guidelines to participate in NCAA hockey.
Peters says he harbors no animosity toward Air Force, which was
a charter member of the CHA.
not unusual for institutions in all sports to have a little bit
of movement as they try to find a situation that’s most
comfortable for them,” Peters said. “We’ve enjoyed
having Air Force as a member of the CHA, and we hope it can continue.”
dead yet – Army coach Brian Riley said the future
of the academy’s exhibition series against Canada’s
Royal Military College still is undecided. Last week, Riley expressed
concerns about the Paladins using graduate students and part-time
reservists in their lineup, saying the series was meant to pit
cadets versus cadets. But even with the “beefed up”
roster, RMC lost 6-1 on Saturday at West Point, marking the Black
Knights’ third straight win in the series.
Riley said the administrations of the two schools are discussing
the future of the series. Next season’s game, the 75th in
the rivalry’s history, has been scheduled, but beyond that,
everything is in doubt.
administrations are trying to figure out what the heck we can
do to keep it alive,” Riley said. “It’s being
talked about. But right now, as a coach, it’s out of my
AT THE BOTTOM OF THE BAG
Great Weekend Getaway
Hockey at the FleetCenter (Sat.)
Holy Cross vs. Quinnipiac
Bentley vs. Connecticut This event’s atmosphere might be even more
compelling than the games. Will enough people show up to
make the FleetCenter not feel cavernous? Will there be any
noise? Will it be fun for the fans? AHA commissioner Bob
DeGregorio is hoping for 5,000-8,000 patrons, which won’t
look like much in the arena. But it still would be great
exposure for the league. Quinnipiac is offering free admission
to the first 700 students and first 300 fans/alumni/faculty
who show up at the FleetCenter wearing Gold Crazy Bobcats
t-shirts. For everyone else, tickets are $10.
you’re there: Don’t feel you have to limit yourself
to one day of hockey viewing, OK? If you get to Beantown
early, UMass Lowell hosts Northeastern on Thursday night
and both Holy Cross and Bentley are at home Friday night.
If you want to make it a long weekend, there’s that
Beanpot thing Monday at the FleetCenter.
leading goal scorer in Atlantic Hockey? It’s not a
name that immediately springs to mind. But Holy
Cross’ Tyler McGregor deserves a lot of the
credit for the Crusaders’ ascension to the upper reaches
of the league standings during the last two months. The
junior’s 15 goals are a career high, and his offensive
spark was exactly what Paul Pearl’s goal-starved bunch
needed to get untracked. He has 10 markers and five assists
since Christmas, during which time Holy Cross is 6-4-1 (and
6-1-1 in the league).
players have now run off 24-year head coach Brian
Cavanaugh (on purpose) and five-year athletics director
Tim Dillon (inadvertently) in a span of two months. Good
job, guys. Canisius should be lauded for its new zero-tolerance
attitude toward alcohol-induced incidents involving players,
but the Golden Griffins should be ashamed it got to this
point. Time to grow up, guys.
of four wimpy individual fries, we super sized this order to bring
you a hodgepodge of CHA lineup notes all at once: Niagara
freshman forward Tayler Simpson’s season is done after he
tore his ACL. ... Robert Morris’ leading
scorer, Jace Buzek, missed last weekend’s series against
Air Force because of a shoulder injury. His status for this weekend
is uncertain. ... Junior defenseman A.J. Bozoian made his Wayne
State debut last weekend, playing in both games at Bemidji
State. He recently became eligible after tranferring
from Niagara. ... Bemidji State’s leading scorer, Andrew
Murray, was back in the lineup last weekend after missing two-plus
games with a bruised thigh. He tallied goals both nights against
drew a school-record crowd of 1,752 to Saturday’s game against
Sacred Heart, during which the arena was officially
named the Mark Edward Freitas Ice Forum. The Huskies did their
part to send the throng home happy, cruising to a 5-1 win.
could possibly happen next to Air Force sophomore
forward Theo Zacour? The native of Norway missed the Falcons’
first 24 games this season because of a suspension for violating
academy rules. When he finally was cleared to play by coach Frank
Serratore, Zacour had to sit out Friday’s game against Robert
Morris because of a groin strain. On Saturday, he decided
to play through the injury, and everything was fine until he received
a five-minute major penalty and a game misconduct for checking
from behind midway through the third period. Here’s hoping
he plays at least one full game against UAH this
notes from West Point: Former Army coach Rob
Riley (Brian’s older brother) was honored on the ice prior
to the Black Knights’ game against RMC. Both teams presented
gifts to Riley, who had a 13-3-2 record against the Paladins in
his 18 years behind the bench. It was Rob’s first time in
Tate Rink since stepping down as coach this summer. ... Army junior
goalie Brad Roberts is now 3-0 against RMC. Only Dan Scioletti,
who played for the academy through 1971, can boast of a similar
junior Bruce Mulherin amassed six points, including a hat trick,
in a sweep at Niagara last weekend. With 22 goals
in 22 games, he’s the only player in the country averaging
a tally per contest. UMass Lowell’s Ben Walter is the next
best at 0.88 goals per game (23 in 26).
will be short one linemate for Friday’s series opener against
Air Force. UAH star center Jared Ross must serve
a one-game suspension after receiving a game disqualification
for spearing late in Saturday’s win over NU. Ross will return
Saturday. Similarly, American International’s
second leading goal scorer, Jereme Tendler, had to sit out Tuesday’s
tie with Bentley because of a game DQ for spearing on Saturday.
He’s expected back in the lineup Friday at Quinnipiac.
Cross and Union played a stats-less first period –
no goals, no penalties – on Friday. In fact, Union had just
one penalty the entire game. The crackdown on obstruction is a
of the new officiating philosophy, Atlantic Hockey commissioner
Bob DeGregorio provided this little nugget: “We want to
get the game back to a game of skating, passing, stickhandling
and shooting. Not the World Wrestling Federation of Hockey.”
of sources were utilized in the compilation of this report.