Cross coach Paul Pearl if he doesn’t feel like he’s
guiding a fifth-place team.
Just two weeks
ago, after all, he was in first. But with the Atlantic Hockey
standings packed more tightly than the neutral zone at a New Jersey
Devils game, things can – and did – change quickly.
The Crusaders have lost three straight contests – one to
Sacred Heart, two to Mercyhurst – slowing them down enough
to get passed by the Pioneers, the Lakers, Quinnipiac and Canisius
heading into the AHA’s white-flag lap.
So, if the
season ended today, Holy Cross, the defending league champions
who seemed poised to defend their regular-season title just a
fortnight ago, would have to hit the road for the first round
of the conference tournament.
try to stay at an even keel as much as possible,” he said.
“We didn’t want the guys to get too up when we were
winning, and we don’t want them to get too down now. To
have one weekend make or break your season is asinine. And if
you’re doing mathematics trying to figure out how you can
win the league or get home ice, you’re just taking away
from your focus. That’s not what we want.”
The best news
for the Crusaders is that they still control their own destiny
heading into this weekend’s home-and-home against seventh-place
Bentley. Holy Cross is just one point behind the three-way tie
for second between Sacred Heart, Mercyhurst and Canisius, and
the Pioneers and Lakers play each other this weekend. So if the
Crusaders sweep the Falcons, they know they’ll lock up one
of four home-ice spots.
his team’s chances of doing that – and being a factor
in the AHA tournament – as long as it can score. The Crusaders
have posted shot totals of 31, 48 and 50 during their three-game
skid, but netted just one, three and two goals.
playing hard,” Pearl said. “There are no issues with
that. I think we have a good team, we just have to go at it and
score some goals.”
The only personnel
issue that seems to be hovering over Holy Cross is in its crease,
where Tony Quesada and Ben Conway have shared time this season.
Pearl said he’s inclined to keep splitting them through
the playoffs unless one suddenly emerges as a clear-cut better
AND HEARD IN THE LEAGUES
and Sound – When Canisius athletic director Tim
Dillon, a member of the Division I ice hockey committee, resigned
last month, there was plenty of uneasiness about the future of
the Golden Griffins’ hockey program. No coach, no athletic
director, no on-campus rink. The sport could have been dropped
with relative ease after 25 years at the Buffalo school.
But that option
never was discussed, interim athletic director John Maddock maintains.
In fact, a new head coach, replacing fired Brian Cavanaugh, is
scheduled to be hired in early April.
state of our hockey program is as strong as ever,” Maddock
said. “It’s something we cherish, and we will continue
24-year veteran at Canisius who will make himself a candidate
for the full-time athletic director job, said that the new coach
will be hired before the new AD. The university announced a 10-member
coaching search committee, which includes four former college
hockey players (Yale’s John Walsh, Princeton’s James
Wadsworth, Michigan’s Frank Downing Jr. and North Dakota’s
James Patrick, a Sabres defenseman), on Wednesday. The committee
has pared its list of candidates to “a working number.”
The next step will be contacting candidates to gauge their interest
as their current teams finish up. Then, it’s time for interviews.
on Over. Pretty Please? – Last week, we had Wayne
director Rob Fournier dismissing the notion that the Warriors’
hockey program is in fiscal peril. But, he admits, things could
be better. So here’s how Fournier would solve the plight
of WSU and other new Division I hockey programs:
one big school to come play teams like us every year,” Fournier
said. “If I could get Michigan or Michigan State to come
here, I could market my whole ticket plan around those games.
I could have a Green package and a Gold package, where people
could guarantee themselves tickets to those games if they buy
season packages. And that will get them down to Compuware. And
then they’ll watch us play, and they’ll say, ‘Hey,
you know, I thought Wayne State was just going to get killed by
Michigan, but they played pretty well. They lost 4-2, but that’s
a pretty good hockey team. It was fun to watch. I think I’m
going to go to more of their games.’ That’s how it
got to believe that AIC would benefit greatly if, say, Boston
College went to their place. Sure, those schools would be giving
up a weekend of gate receipts, but if you help people when they’re
young, they could really be something someday. I was walking around
Red’s (Berenson) office when we were in the tournament down
there, and I saw photos of some of their teams from 80 years ago,
and I’m thinking, ‘Somebody had to have helped them
along the way.’ Now look at what they have all those years
later. Why not extend the same benefit to Wayne State to grow
hockey? The more programs that add hockey, you get a wider fan
base, expanded TV coverage, all that good stuff. I’ve been
doing this a long time. I remember when the college basketball
tournament was just 32 teams. But they marketed and grew it into
what it is today. I think college hockey can be the same way.
But we’ve got to keep the teams we have and add new ones
with some sort of shared initiative with the established programs.”
AT THE BOTTOM OF THE BAG
Great Weekend Getaway
Heart at Mercyhurst (Fri.-Sat.) Though both of these teams would have home ice
if the season ended today, whichever one falters this weekend
very easily could be passed by Holy Cross. Sacred Heart
needs just two points to sew up home ice, while Mercyhurst
needs three to clinch it. A sticking point for the Lakers
is that they are 0-4-1 in their last five contests against
the Pioneers. Special teams will probably be important this
weekend, as Sacred Heart’s dangerous power play goes
up against a Mercyhurst penalty-killing scheme that has
succeeded 33 straight times.
you’re there: Take in as much hockey as you want,
what with the Mercyhurst women’s team hosting Wayne
State on Friday and Saturday afternoons, and the OHL’s
Erie Otters playing London on Sunday night. On Friday night,
if, for some reason, you’d rather attend country singer
Brad Paisley’s concert at the Erie Civic Center than
the series opener, may Gotkin have mercy on your soul.
notable performances in Atlantic Hockey
were turned in Friday. Bentley freshman Paul Scalici registered
his first career hat trick, including the tying and winning
goals, in a 4-3 upset of Canisius. Teammate Paul Markarian
assisted on all three of Scalici’s goals, plus one
more for a four-point night. At Quinnipiac, Bobcats senior
Chris White notched his 100th career point with a second-period
goal Friday. He added an assist Saturday to raise his total
I have to give this one to myself for recalling
a certain diner scene in Tommy Boy whenever I see
the name of Bemidji State freshman defenseman Dave Deterding.
But don’t worry about me while I’m in the box.
I’ll be fine. I’ve got that meat-lovers pizza
hidden under the scorer’s table.
College Hockey America picture isn’t nearly as muddled as
Atlantic Hockey’s, but there still are races for first,
third and fifth place. At the top, Bemidji State
leads Alabama-Huntsville by one point with both
teams going on the road this weekend. The Beavers head to Air
Force for the Serratore Bowl, in which BSU’s Tom
Serratore has a 12-0-1 advantage over brother Frank. UAH travels
to Wayne State for a Saturday-Sunday series,
which means the Chargers will know whether they still have a chance
for first before the faceoff of the finale. Further down the standings,
Niagara, which hosts Robert Morris
this weekend, leads fourth-place WSU by two points. Fifth-place
Air Force is three points ahead of sixth-place Robert Morris.
Force coach Frank Serratore was none too happy with the
play of senior defenseman Steve Mead during the Falcons’
come-from-ahead tie at Wayne State on Sunday.
Afterward, he intimated that Mead, the team’s captain, might
be scratched for Friday’s game against BSU.
Even if that happens, Mead likely will be back for Senior Night
Alabama-Huntsville goalie Scott Munroe posted
4-0 and 3-0 shutouts of Robert Morris last weekend,
he became the first CHA goalie to blank the same league opponent
two times in the same weekend since Niagara’s
Greg Gardner stymied Findlay, 4-0 and 8-0, on Feb. 11-12, 2000.
RMU, which went 0-for-11 on the power play Friday, has been shut
out in three straight games and has just one goal in its last
Duluth’s sweep of Bemidji State last weekend
provided for some strange box scores. For instance, the two-time
losing Beavers outshot the Bulldogs both nights (by a total of
65-35). Even odder, UMD scored two short-handed goals on the
same penalty to take a 4-1 lead en route to a 5-2 win on
Saturday. Weirdest of all, UMD took only two shots on goal in
the third period Friday – and scored on both (one was an
empty netter) to ice a 4-1 victory.
Canisius forward Andrew Dawe, who is tied for
the team lead with 21 points, must sit out Friday’s game
against Army after receiving a game disqualification
for spearing during an incident at the final buzzer of last Saturday’s
win over Bentley.
Ben Nelson. Despite a goal and three helpers in three games last
week, the guy couldn’t even win an Atlantic Hockey Something
of the Week award on Monday. That broke the Quinnipiac
freshman's string of four straight league honors (Player
of the Week on Jan. 31 and Feb. 7; Rookie of the Week on Feb.
14 and Feb. 21). Better get it going, Ben.
might have a new starting goalie. Sophomore Mike Ella has started
and won three straight games, including a pair at Holy
Cross last weekend, even though regular No. 1 Andy Franck
was available all three nights. This season, Ella is 4-3-1 with
a 3.49 goals-against average and a .908 save percentage. Franck,
a junior, is 9-12-3 with 2.89 and .906 numbers.
mysterious reason for Niagara goalie Jeff Van
Nynatten’s four-game suspension this fall isn’t so
mysterious anymore. A story in the Tonawanda News this
week has Van Nynatten acknowledging that he destroyed a bathroom
stall at Clarkson after a loss to the Golden Knights on Oct. 30.
The junior was suspended for the next four games for an unspecified
violation of team rules.
Heroes Hat traveling trophy will go to the winner of Thursday’s
game between Quinnipiac and Connecticut
in Storrs. The Bobcats have won the award all three years of its
existence. Meanwhile, QU’s Saturday home game against American
International has been moved up two hours to 5 p.m.
Mercyhurst head coach Rick Gotkin among the coaches
who wouldn’t be concerned if his team is the odd one out
when it comes to home ice in the Atlantic Hockey tournament. “Those
one-game scenarios are scary games, but we’re not afraid
of anybody,” he said. “It would not worry me at all
to go on the road.”
of sources were utilized in the compilation of this report.