Like the Expos’
move to Washington, Scott Munroe’s emergence between the
UAH pipes has come to fruition after a year’s delay.
supposed to be “the man” for the Chargers last season
following a solid freshman year that saw him play as many games
(20) as then-senior Mark Byrne (17) and then-junior Adam MacLean
(3) combined. But those grand plans junked up Munroe’s head.
He put too much pressure on himself and wasn’t as confident
or as sharp as he was as a rookie.
expected him to play 70 percent of our games last year,”
UAH assistant coach Lance West said.
saw time in 17 – one fewer than MacLean. His goals-against
average rose and his save percentage dropped from his freshman
campaign. His record sunk from 11-6-1 to 5-9-1. If he surrendered
a goal, he would let his focus slip and worry about its ramifications.
Before games, he felt that he had to post a shutout to win. He
admitted that he became uptight from trying too hard to be a leader.
I was ready for the role,” Munroe said this week, “but
maybe I wasn’t.”
changed this year. With MacLean gone, the job was Munroe’s
to lose – and he hasn’t even come close. The junior
owns a 2.38 GAA and .926 percentage – both career bests
– and, most importantly, he has started 24 of the Chargers’
26 games this year, including every one since Marc Narduzzi got
the nod the night before Halloween.
want to have a repeat of last season, even though it was a good
learning experience,” the native of Moose Jaw, Sask., said.
“I worked harder in the offseason and learned to relax a
little more. I’m a year older and more mature in the net,
and I’m calm and just letting the puck hit me.”
helped the explosive Chargers grab a stranglehold on second place
in College Hockey America and, subsequently, a bye in the first
round of the league tournament. This past weekend, he made 71
saves in a split at first-place Bemidji State, including 37 in
the first periods as the Beavers outshot the Chargers 39-10 in
the opening stanzas.
are a fragile position,” West said. “You see goaltenders
all the time go up and down. One year, they win the Vezina Trophy,
and the next, they’re No. 2. Scott is just mentally a lot
stronger this year. Marc played well when he was in, but Scott
has been so good that he hasn’t given anybody a chance to
get back in there.”
at Robert Morris this weekend, but it might be without star forward
Bruce Mulherin, who had his shoulder sprained by a check in Friday’s
win over Bemidji and didn’t play in Saturday’s loss.
Team officials said he will make the trip this weekend and is
AND HEARD IN THE LEAGUES
Boone? – Rick Gotkin sounds a bit like Kevin Bacon
telling everybody that things are under control even as a parade
disintegrates into a riot around him at the end of Animal
House. The only thing that remains to be seen is whether
Gotkin, Mercyhurst’s coach, can, in fact, restore order
or if his squad is doomed to get trampled by a human stampede
like Bacon’s Chip Diller.
As it stands,
Mercyhurst is in fifth place in Atlantic Hockey, which would force
it to go on the road for the first round of the league playoffs
if the season ended today. A lot of that is due to the fact that
the Lakers are 2-10 in one-goal games (2-12 if you count empty-net
goals that made for two-goal differentials). However, optimistically,
the Lakers are just four points out of first place with two weekends
left. They’ll get their shot to move up the standings with
a set at second-place Holy Cross this weekend.
been a little frustrating,” Gotkin said. “The stars
just haven’t lined up right for us yet. But we’re
awful close. We’re a confident group, and I think we’re
due. We can still be a really, really good team.”
has played better in recent weeks because of the return of all-league
defenseman T.J. Kemp, who missed six of seven games from December
to January with upper- and lower-body injuries. Since his return,
he has four goals and eight assists in eight games.
on Life Support – Contrary to chat-room scuttlebutt,
Wayne State officials insist their program is not in dire financial
straits. In fact, they’re perplexed by how that rumor even
budget is as good as I had at Western Michigan,” coach Bill
Wilkinson said. “We’re putting close to three-quarters
of a million dollars into the program, so we’re not worried
about things in that regard. It’s no issue at all.”
speculation likely is based on poor attendance figures at Compuware
Sports Arena in suburban Plymouth. With 25 miles separating the
Warriors’ home rink from their Detroit campus, WSU homes
games rarely draw 500 fans. That’s why getting an on-campus
arena is paramount to the long-term viability of the program,
even though there are no concrete plans to build one by the end
of the decade.
whole school, we’ve got a referendum this month where the
Board of Governors is trying to make a commitment to go Division
I across the board in everything,” Wilkinson said. “So
we’re not cutting back, we’re going forward and advancing
our whole athletic image. If (the school) goes Division I, (a
rink) is the next step. Two different buildings. One for basketball
and one for hockey.”
athletic director Rob Fournier echoed Wilkinson’s assessment
that rumors of the Warriors folding are “gibberish.”
state of hockey here is strong,” Fournier said. “Our
president is behind the program, and we spend a lot more on hockey
than a lot of teams in this league, and, certainly, more than
a lot of teams in Atlantic Hockey.”
AT THE BOTTOM OF THE BAG
Great Weekend Getaway
Heart at Quinnipiac (Fri.), Quinnipiac at Sacred Heart (Sat.) We hope you didn’t write off the Bobcats
last month, because, Lord knows, we didn’t. And they’ve
rewarded us with a 9-2 record in their last 11, vaulting
themselves into a tie for second place in Atlantic Hockey.
Sacred Heart, of course, is in first, one point ahead, so
you know plenty is on the line in this intrastate rivalry.
The Pioneers must find a way to slow down Quinnipiac’s
torrid offensive attack, which lately has been led by Ben
Nelson, Reid Cashman and Matt Froehlich.
you’re there: Roughly halfway between game sites Milford
and Northford is New Haven, home of Louis’ Lunch,
the “birthplace” of the hamburger. Locals warns
out-of-towners not to ask for ketchup at Louis’. We’ll
take their word for it.
Morris goaltender Christian Boucher has
set single-game career highs in saves during each of the
Colonials’ past four series, going from 40 versus
Wayne State to 42 versus Niagara to 45 versus Air Force
to 50 versus Bemidji State. Coming off a bye week, the stellar
freshman from Orleans, Ontario, might get a chance to extend
his run against high-powered Alabama-Huntsville this weekend.
Wayne State’s NHL jersey promotion
isn’t a bad idea, but why not extend the same offer
to fans wearing college hockey sweaters? After all, most
of us would rather see some nice, sharp St. Cloud State
apparel in the stands than a Thrashers road jersey. Ugh.
And if some clown shows up wearing a relic from the Islanders’
teal era, I suggest he be hurled over the boards during
we highlighted Sacred Heart’s tough remaining
schedule in last
week’s notebook, we were sort of thinking that the visit
to American International was the lone gimme
of the six games left. But as anyone who has walked 18 holes with
me can attest, gimmes can be missed. AIC stunned the Pioneers,
4-1, last Saturday in what has to be one of the most confounding
results of the year. The loss didn’t knock Sacred Heart
out of first place, but it did prevent the Pioneers from capitalizing
on Friday’s win over Holy Cross and extending
its lead in the standings.
of you wondering how AIC pulled off the upset, INCH spies at the
rink point to four reasons: Sacred Heart was a bit flat (1), especially
after it had an early power-play goal disallowed because the net
was dislodged (2). Yellow Jackets goalie Frank Novello was sharp
with 33 saves (3) and AIC’s defensemen were as sound and
active as they’ve been all year (4).
broke the AIC single-season school record for saves against Quinnipiac
Wednesday night. He now has 1,013 saves, breaking Chance Thede's
mark of 1,001 from 2000-01.
Hockey can’t claim Air Force as its own
yet (still waiting ...), but it does boast the best regular-season
race of any of the six conferences. At the top, Sacred
Heart, Quinnipiac, Holy Cross, Canisius and Mercyhurst
are separated by just four points, with sixth-place Connecticut
two behind the Lakers. That bunching remained intact through last
weekend, thanks to Holy Cross losing its only game and the other
five teams splitting. There’s even a good race at the bottom
of the AHA, as Army and AIC are tied for eighth
place and the right to host the play-in game of the league tournament.
Those two squads play two in West Point this weekend. The only
squad in the conference with a little elbow room is seventh-place
Bentley, but the Falcons still have to be mindful
of Army and AIC lurking four points back.
battle between Bemidji State and Minnesota Duluth
for Babe the Blue Ox commences this weekend, Friday in Duluth,
then Saturday in Bemidji. The teams split last season, but the
Bulldogs won the 10-pound bronze trophy because they won Game
junior Justin Cross became the first CHA player to net two empty-net
goals in the same game when he scored at 19:00 and 19:25 of the
third period of a 5-2 win at Air Force on Friday.
playing in just 18 games, Quinnipiac freshman
Ben Nelson is one goal behind Holy Cross’
Tyler McGregor (29 games) and Sacred Heart’s
Pierre-Luc O’Brien (30 games) for the most goals in Atlantic
Hockey. Nelson, who recorded his second hat trick of the year
Saturday, has 15 markers. McGregor and O’Brien have 16.
agitators such as Mike Forgie, Nate Higgins and Tylor Michel on
the roster, Wayne State is one of the feistiest
teams in the CHA. But at 21.2 penalty minutes per game, coach
Wilkinson thinks the Warriors go too far sometimes. “I think
we need to take less penalties but still play with that intense,
aggressive style,” Wilkinson said. “You can’t
just go out of control.”
WSU fans can
judge for themselves when Air Force visits Detroit
this weekend. Patrons wearing NHL jerseys to Compuware can buy
one ticket and receive a second one free for the rest of the season.
If you can’t make it to the rink, Sunday’s contest
versus the Falcons will be televised live on Comcast Local in
Force sophomore Brian Gineo notched his eighth goal of
the season Saturday, the most by a Falcon defenseman since Bob
Ingraham scored 14 in 1992.
of sources were utilized in the compilation of this report.