Dave Borrelli, the "old man" of
Atlantic Hockey, is not going quietly into his rocking chair.
The senior at Mercyhurst College is leading
the league in goals (17) and is tied for third in overall
points – it's no wonder considering coach Rick Gotkin
uses Borrelli on his top line, the power play and the penalty
"It's my last year so I pretty much have
to prove everything that I've got this year,'' said Borrelli,
ever mindful to thank linemates Ben Cottreau and Chris Trafford
for all that they have done.
"I feel our line is doing really well
for the team right now,'' Borrelli added. "When you
play with two guys like that it just makes it easier. We
all are a bunch of grinders. We're not scared to go in front
of the net or the corners. We're not scared to make mistakes.''
Borrelli is proud of his individual accomplishments
and wouldn't mind winning the Atlantic Hockey scoring title,
but his goal is to lead Mercyhurst to the NCAA tournament
for the second year in a row and third time in four seasons.
"It feels good (to lead in goal-scoring),''
Borrelli said. "We talk about it in the dressing room.
There are bunch of chirps going around. They say, 'You got
17 goals; can you hit 20?' I take it as it comes. I am going
to have those games when I am down, too.''
Younger players on the team look up to Borrelli,
and he has given advice on breakaway scoring on more than
a few occasions.
Gotkin said Borrelli was one of his first
recruits who "had clear-cut Division I ability.'' He
was a proven scorer since his midget days in Ontario, and
ended up playing Canadian Juniors until he was 20. He went
to school for two years in Canada before accepting a scholarship
from Mercyhurst. Borrelli said Canisius and Colgate also
showed some interest.
Borrelli, who turned 25 on Jan. 4, is Atlantic Hockey's
oldest player. The greybeards in the other leagues:
Borrelli just celebrated his 25th birthday
three weeks ago. That makes him the oldest player in Atlantic
Hockey and the 11th-oldest in NCAA Division I.
Gotkin is thrilled with Borrelli's work ethic
in games and practices. Since his youth hockey days, Borrelli
has always taken extra time following practice to work on
"Dave is a highly skilled, very intense
competitor,'' Gotkin said. "He is hungry around the
net, he's good with the puck and he has a real good shot.''
Though just 5-foot-9 and 190 pounds, Gotkin
said Borrelli can play professionally, possibly following
in the footsteps of Mercyhurst graduates David Wrigley and
T.J. Kemp. A likely destination would be the ECHL or United
Hockey League, although Borrelli wouldn't mind examining
the possibilities in Europe since both of his parents come
"I've been skating for 25 years now,''
Borrelli said. "Hopefully it doesn't end now. Hopefully
somebody gives me a chance. I know I'm small but I can prove
a lot and hopefully teams look at that.''
Should his hockey days reach an end, Borrelli
hopes to put his business management degree to good use.
He has a good head-start, having worked in his father's
businesses since he was 13. His dad owns a clothing store,
a toy store, a gift shop and a sports bar.
SEEN AND HEARD IN ATLANTIC HOCKEY
Double Zeroes: When Army
goalie Brad Roberts gave up a third-period goal to Chris
Angelo of Canisius last Saturday, it snapped his personal
scoreless streak of 202 minutes, 19 seconds. Roberts had
blanked American International, 2-0, on Jan. 17 and followed
with a 3-0 victory over Canisius on Friday.
How uncommon are consecutive shutouts in college
hockey? It has happened just eight times this season. Vermont
and Boston College have each done it twice. Niagara, Ohio
State, Providence and Colorado College have also performed
the feat. Boston College is the only school to post three
consecutive shutouts, the Eagles’ current streak up
to 217 minutes, 49 seconds.
It is only the second time in three seasons
of Atlantic Hockey play that consecutive shutouts have been
posted – Quinnipiac blanked Army, 2-0 and 3-0, on
Jan. 23-24, 2004. The feat occurred five times in five seasons
of Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Hockey League play
(1998-99 through 2002-03), twice by Mercyhurst and once
apiece by Army, Quinnipiac, Sacred Heart and Iona.
Oh what a relief it is: First-year
Canisius coach Dave Smith called his team's 2-0 win at Army
last Saturday the biggest one of his brief career –
that's because his first collegiate win was not weighed
down by a school-record 11-game losing streak.
"This helps with some confidence,'' Smith
said. "We haven't been a team that has played awful
for the last 11, 12 games ... we just haven't found a way
The Golden Griffins pulled through on the
45-save effort of freshman Dan Giffin. It was Giffin's first
win since beating Robert Morris in Smith's debut.
"It feels amazing,'' Giffin said. "I
think we all forgot what it felt like to win. When everyone
came and mobbed me at the end of the game we all just had
a little celebration.''
Army made Giffin work hard with shots taken
from all angles, including 25 on six power play chances.
"I had to focus on controlling my rebounds
and try to be big in the nets,''
Giffin said. "I was standing my ground ... I didn't
drop down early. They have a lot of good shooters so I wanted
to show as little net as possible, let everything hit me,
suck it in and don't let any rebounds in.''
Chris Angelo produced his first game-winning
goal, converting a pass from Jaymie Harrington from behind
the net to the slot area – fifteen seconds earlier,
Angelo shanked the very same pass from Harrington.
"It's just getting the monkey off our
back,'' he said. "It's been a long road, a lot of good
games where we fell just short. It feels good to get that
win and maybe we can start a roll here.''
And why not? The last Canisius victory prior
to Saturday came against the very same Connecticut team
the Griffins face twice this weekend.
Army in strange company:
Army has won five of its last seven games, moving up to
fourth in the standings, a spot the Black Knights had never
occupied in the MAAC Hockey League or Atlantic Hockey. Granted,
Bentley trails by just one point and has three games at
hand, but Army is going to enjoy its moment in the upper-half
of the league.
"Being in this position is something
we haven't been in,'' coach Brian Riley said, "We told
the kids ... that in order to hopefully move up in the standings
there comes higher expectations, an accountability factor,
that everyone is going to have to pay the price in order
for us to keep winning.''
The race for the middle of the pack is up
for grabs as Army hosts Bentley on Friday and Saturday.
Great Weekend Getaway
at Connecticut (Fri.-Sat.) Now that Canisius halted its 11-game losing
streak, that puts Connecticut on the clock with eight
consecutive setbacks. The last win Canisius posted
before beating Army last week was at the hands of
Huskies (or is that paws?). The Golden Griffins look
for consecutive league wins for the first time since
the final weekend of the 2004-05 season. Connecticut
must get stingier on defense, having allowed at least
four goals in its last six games.
While You're There: UConn is hosting
an art exhibit entitled, “From Royalty to Revolution,”
featuring a selection of French, English, Italian
and German sculpture, paintings, drawings and prints
from 1665-1789. There is also a photo exhibit detailing
the history and effects of child labor.
Cross power play netted four goals on 10
man-up chances in wins over Connecticut (twice) and
Dartmouth. The Crusaders are up to 22 percent efficiency
on the power play.
first period proved unkind for American International
in consecutive losses at Mercyhurst. The Yellow Jackets
gave up two goals on Friday night and five on Saturday
night. Opponents are scoring on every nine shots taken
on AIC in the opening stanza.
FRIES AT THE BOTTOM OF THE BAG
• Griffin notes: Canisius has killed
off 42 of its last 43 man-down situations. ... The career-high
45 saves by Giffin is the most for a Griffin goalie since
Sean Weaver stopped 46 Mercyhurst shots on Feb. 4, 2000.
… Canisius managed just 10 shots on goal in Friday’s
loss at Army, its worst showing since firing 10 shots at
North Dakota on Dec. 12, 2002. … Michael Cohen’s
empty net goal against Army on Saturday was the team’s
first in 38 games, dating back one year.
• It’s a pearl: Holy Cross coach
Paul Pearl is the school’s all-time winningest coach
with 168. The previous record was held by Peter Van Buskirk
(1979-88 and 1996-97).
• Crusading through the ECAC: Holy Cross
posted a 3-0 mark against the ECAC Hockey League this season,
beating RPI twice and Dartmouth last Saturday. The win over
the Big Green gave Atlantic Hockey its 13th non-conference
win of the season, a new record.
• Hot hands: Holy Cross goalie Tony
Quesada stopped 104 of 111 shots fired at him in the last
week, beating Connecticut twice and posting a road win at
Dartmouth. Mercyhurst goalie Tyler Small made 55 saves on
58 shots in a weekend sweep of American International. Sacred
Heart forward Pierre-Luc O’Brien has a point in nine
• Emerging from the cellar: Over the
last seven games Bentley’s penalty kill unit has allowed
just two goals in the last 30 opportunities, moving the
Falcons from 59th to 57th in the NCAA rankings at 77 percent.
A variety of sources were utilized in
the compilation of this report.