Air Force coach Frank Serratore tells
you the way things are – he's unfailingly candid.
And he does not believe in issuing public relations
statements or similar fodder regarding his hockey
Serratore's Falcons got a huge victory
last Friday and did something two WCHA clubs failed
to accomplish when they knocked off undefeated and
15th-ranked Bemidji State, 4-3. In the process, two
notable streaks came crashing to a halt.
• It was Frank’s
first victory against younger brother, Tom. The BSU
pilot entered the weekend with a 15-0-1 record against
“To be honest with you,
it was a matter of our team needing to get a win against
Bemidji,” the elder Serratore said. “To
throw the brother b.s. aside, our team needed to have
success. We’ve been close, but we haven’t
been able to get over the hump. The win was more about
our kids and our program than my brother and I.
"I don’t care who it was
against. We knocked off a ranked team. Me and my brother
had very little to do with it. It was about the 20
players in blue and the 20 players in green.”
• As you can
probably figure, it was also Air Force’s first
victory over BSU after 14 straight losses. Saturday's
loss to the Beavers took a bit of the luster off the
achievement, but Frank Serratore was philosophical.
“It’s better than
getting swept, but it’s not as good as sweeping
them or getting three points," said Serratore,
whose Air Force bosses recently rewarded him with
a contract extension. "I think when you win the
first game you get greedy and if you lose the first
game, then you are more than willing to be happy with
The Falcons are 2-6-0 this season.
Frank Serratore believes his team has performed better
than its record belies.
“We’ve played pretty
consistently all year,” he said. “Our
team has had a winning attitude and has given a winning
effort in every game this season. We can’t let
the losses we have demoralize us. We’ve played
well enough defensively to win...it’s just hard
to score goals.”
One issue has been a lackluster power
play, which enters the weekend with a dismal 7.5 percent
(5-for-67) success rate – “If
our power play was clicking at 20 percent or so, we
would have won a lot more games," Serratore says
– but the coach believes beating
a team of Bemidji State's caliber can provide a jolt
"We just have to find a way to
score three or four goals a game," Serratore
said. "if we can maintain the way we are playing
defensively, we going to find some success in the
remainder of the season."
AND HEARD IN THE CHA
Dandy Randy – It's
normal to give the Comeback Player of the Year Award
to a player who follows a disappointing season with
a great year.
Is Niagara senior forward Randy Harris
eligible for such an award? Harris was a freshman
on Niagara’s team that downed New Hampshire
in the first round of the 2000 NCAA Tournament and
skated for the Purple Eagles the two seasons thereafter.
He's back for his senior campaign this season...after
taking three years off, and it's as if he
So far, Harris has been a godsend for
a team that wondered who would replace the offensive
firepower it lost from last year's group. A model
of consistency for the Purple Eagles, Harris has registered
at least one point in each of the teams six games
and currently leads Niagara with four goals and six
assists for 10 points.
“When he approached us
about getting his year back, with the offensive numbers
we graduated last year, we definitely thought it would
be worth a chance to give Randy a really good look,”
Niagara coach Dave Burkholder said. “He has
not let us down...or himself or his teammates. He’s
"I don’t think I had any
expectations. To see where he is at after six games
is a remarkable story, and I hope it continues.”
Great Weekend Getaway
in the CHA this weekend with half of the league
off, but that doesn't mean you have to power down.
In fact, go the extra mile –
split your time between the two Friday-Saturday
series in western New York. Wayne State plays
a pair at Niagara, while Alabama-Huntsville strays
out of the league for two at RIT.
line of Randy Harris, Matt Caruana,
and Jason Williamson played quite well
in two close losses to Vermont last weekend,
accounting for three of the Purple Eagles' four
goals and eight of the team's 10 points in the
State's early season schedule is one
only Michigan native Bob Seger can love. For
the third time this year, the Warriors are on
the road again. This weekend, they're at Niagara.
Next weekend, WSU finally gets to turn the page
when it plays its first home games of the season
against Bemidji State Nov. 11-12.
“It will be nice,”
Wilkinson said. “It will be almost six
weeks before we get a home game. That’s
just the way the schedule shook out this year.”
Wayne's World –
Wayne State, which was swept at Clarkson by 5-2 and
7-1 scores, finds itself in a predicament similar
to that of Air Force. The Warriors can't get the power
play going. They're just 2-of-33 (6.1 percent) so
Wayne State coach Bill Wilkinson said. “When
you have opportunities on the power play, you have
to pass the puck, shoot the puck and all the skill
things that right now we are not doing. We need to
continue to work at getting better in that part of
the game. The only thing you can do is practice."
The loss of a talented offensive player
– forward Stavros Paskaris will miss another
month to six weeks with an injury – certainly
doesn't help, but Wilkinson didn't use the sophomore's
absence as an excuse.
“When you take one of your
skilled players out of the lineup, it is going to
hurt a little bit,” he said. “But you
can’t have him out on the power play all the
time. At this point in time, we are trying to figure
out where we need to make adjustments.
We are getting opportunities to score, we are just
not putting it in the net.”
Another troubling element for the Warriors
is how opponents have overpowered them as games evolve.
Wayne State has only been outscored 5-3 in first periods
this year. In the second, they're being outscored,
10-1, and they're being outscored in the third by
a 6-0 margin.
“I wish I had an explanation
for it,” Wilkinson said. “We had two breakaways
in the second period Saturday night and two other
chances to score and didn’t score at all. I
don’t think there is any magic formula to it.
We just need to continue to work at a higher level
of intensity and force a situation where we get the
break and the bounce of the puck and a couple garbage
goals here or there.”
FRIES AT THE BOTTOM OF
• Niagara, which was swept in
a tough series with nationally-ranked Vermont, got
some bad news when it learned sophomore defenseman
Travis Anderson is out for the season with
a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament and a strained
medial collateral ligament. He will undergo surgery
to repair the ACL in approximately six weeks, which
gives the MCL sufficient time to heal.
“He was playing so well for us,”
Burkholder said. “At the time of the injury
he was one of our best defensemen. He has a big frame,
very physical, and he will be missed.”
Anderson, who received Niagara's “Claw”
Award as the player who exemplifies effort and often
times does the least enviable jobs on the ice, is
eligible for a medical redshirt
• In more Niagara injury
news, senior forward Justin Cross remains
listed as day-to-day with a concussion he suffered
against Western Michigan Oct. 22. Freshman forward
Vince Rocco, meanwhile, has been hampered by a twisted
knee, but Burkholder said he could be ready for this
weekend’s games against Wayne State.
• Air Force, which is off this
week, travels to West Point for a series with Army
Nov. 11-12. Serratore said he'd give his players some
extra time off (the Falcons always have Tuesday off
to rest and recuperate). Being a student at
one of the service academies is a grind.
Serratore says his players carry 21 or 22 hours of
classes and participate in military training.
“Here at the Academy, rest is
sometimes the best thing they can have to get caught
up on their schoolwork,” he said. “They
need time to rest or they will get worn into the ground.”
A variety of sources were utilized
in the compilation of this report.