Who's Got Next?
CHA Commissioner Bob Peters has been
around college hockey a long time.
It’s this knowledge and historical
perspective that allows him to see the whole picture
regarding his league and its possible expansion. As
everyone who follows college hockey knows, Air Force
will leave the CHA after the season to join Atlantic
Hockey, leaving the league in a fragile state.
“We are going
to continue actively seeking a sixth member,”
Peters said. “We were very close to achieving
that goal with Kennesaw State, but we were unable
to put it all together...rather....they were unable
to put it all together at this time.
“So, that causes us to
be looking, and we are. We still have our incentives
in place for new membership. The other part of it
is we do have the [automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament]
this year, and we do have the option of accepting
a two-year grace period.”
In other words, even if the CHA remains
at six teams in the 2006-07 and 2007-08 seasons, its
league champion would still get be an automatic bid
into the NCAA Tournament.
Peters said the league was disappointed
to lose out on a sixth team because it would have
kept the CHA on solid footing. But there was another
reason – geography.
“We wanted to establish
a presence in Georgia,” he said. “As you
know, Alabama-Huntsville is playing down there and
it is only about three hours away. We thought it would
be an excellent way of encouraging the growth of hockey,
particularly college hockey, in that area.”
One avenue the CHA might explore for
expansion is a university with a club hockey program.
According to Peters, there are approximately 57 club
teams in that area of the country.
“That was something I was
really interested in,” he said. “I am
very much a proponent of the growth of hockey. It
might be because of when I started to play college
hockey in the 50’s, we only had 18 Division
I teams in the country. Look what we have today.
“We certainly would appreciate
a geographically friendly additional member. But one
of our policies has been to promote the game of hockey,
and we would take an in-depth look at any potential
or interested club team.”
The CHA currently doesn’t have
any specific club programs in mind at this juncture.
But in the grand scheme
of things, Peters thinks the outlook is promising
for both the expansion of the sport and the CHA.
“We will continue to be
proactive,” he said. “We are continuing
to look, explore and ask questions. Hockey is never
been more popular and there have never been so many
hockey players in our country. I have great hope for
the future that we have more Division I hockey. I
can see that we are going to need more opportunity
for our people.”
AND HEARD IN THE CHA
Great Weekend Getaway
State at Ferris State
The Beavers travel to Big Rapids to test
their mettle against yet another quality non-conference
foe. This weekend, coach Tom Serratore's 7-1-0
bunch draws a challenge from Ferris State. The
young Bulldogs are off to a respectable 4-2-4
power plays are usually the domain of the teams
with the most talent – and in college
hockey that usually means Minnesota, Michigan,
Boston College and the like. Joining that group
is second-year program Robert Morris, as Derek
Schooley’s Colonials are clicking at 31.6
percent with the man advantage through
eight games. Seven players have a power-play
goal for the Colonials, led by Kurt Wright with
State gets a weekend off, and it couldn't come
at a better time for the Warriors. At 0-3-1
in the CHA and and 0-7-1 overall, Wayne
State is one of three Division I teams yet to
win a game this season – American
International and Yale are the others.
No Lead is Safe –
What a wild and wooly series in Huntsville this weekend.
On Friday, Niagara looked like it was
in good shape, leading Alabama-Huntsville, 4-1, after
two periods despite being outshot 36-10.
But then the roof caved in...big time.
The Chargers scored three goals in
5:24 – the third came during
a UAH two-man advantage – and
suddenly, the game was tied. The Chargers completed
the comeback when Steve Canter scored his second goal
of the game with a little more than seven minutes
left in regulation.
Final score: Alabama-Huntsville 5, Niagara
4, in a game where the Chargers outshot the Purple
Eagles 52-17 and were the better team despite needing
an exceedingly admirable comeback to win.
“It was disappointing,"
Niagara coach Dave Burkholder said. "We got dominated.”
The following night, Burkholder gave
regular goalkeeper Jeff VanNynatten a rest in favor
of freshman Juliano Pagliero. He probably regretted
the decision when the Chargers roared out of the gate
with three goals, including a shorthanded tally from
Bruce Mulherin. At that point, Burkholder
pulled Pagliero and inserted VanNynatten.
“I thought, the way Juliano
played last Saturday, he deserved another chance,”
Burkholder said of his decision to go with the freshman.
“But he didn’t get a lot of help.”
The Purple Eagles answered with two
power play goals before the first period was over
to slice the deficit to 3-2, then scored seven of
the next eight goals en route to an 8-4 win. Captain
Jason Williamson notched a hat trick for the Purple
“It was a real character game
for us,” Burkholder said. “It says a lot
about our locker room and about Jeff.”
THE BOTTOM OF THE BAG
• If not for a killer goal, Robert
Morris would have registered a weekend sweep of RIT.
In the series opener Saturday, the Colonials clung
to a 5-4 lead, but RIT’s Simon Lambert scored
with just 11 seconds left in regulation. The game
ended in a draw.
In Sunday’s game, the Colonials
scored three power play goals, beating the Tigers
by a 4-2 margin. RMU's Sean Berkstresser picked up
two goals and an assist – all on the power play.
• Speaking of killer goals, Air
Force surrendered one Saturday. The Falcons trailed
Army 3-0 with 10 minutes left in the third period,
but roared back to pull even. Matt Bader started the
comeback with a penalty shot goal, then Eric Ehn and
Mike Phillipich scored to send the game into OT. But
90 seconds into the extra session, Chris Migliaro
scored to give Army a 4-3 victory and a series sweep.
• Niagara's Burkholder, a 1984
RIT graduate and former goalkeeper for the Tigers,
will face his alma mater for the first time as a head
coach when the Division I upstarts visit the Purple
Eagles this Saturday.
• The Wayne State power play,
which showed a glimmer of life with two goals against
Niagara November 5, regressed in this past weekend
against Bemidji State. The Warriors went 0-for-13
in their two losses. The Beavers, meanwhile, keep
rolling. BSU is 3-1-0 in league action and 7-1-0 overall,
which is the best start since in the school's Division
A variety of sources were
utilized in the compilation of this report.