November 23, 2005
Just Like Night and Day

By Thomas Baldwin

 College Hockey America Notebook

Robert Morris goaltender Christian Boucher stopped 24 shots in the Colonials' 1-0 win against Alabama-Huntsville?

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Ed.'s note Due to technical difficulties, INCH editors were unable to publish this week's CHA Notebook until Friday night. We apologize for the inconvenience.

Two teams played two vastly different games last weekend in Moon Township, Pa. The first was a tight 1-0 Robert Morris win over visiting Alabama- Huntsville; the second was a thrill-a-minute shootout from which the Chargers emerged with 6-5 decision.

“Tight checking, tight defense, blocked shots – we did everything we needed to do [Friday]," said RMU coach Derek Schooley. "Saturday, it was the complete opposite. It was like running a track race."

The series-opening triumph was the Colonials' second in a row, the first time in the program's short history they had posted back-to-back wins.

“We want to put streaks together...and be able to come out with victories on back-to-back nights,” Schooley said. “It’s an accomplishment. We played extremely hard last Sunday against RIT, and played as hard Friday night.

In Friday’s victory, Kurt Wright was again the offensive hero for RMU, scoring the game’s only goal early in the first period.

“It was justice because about five seconds before that, he hit the post on a big-time move and a big-time shot,” said Schooley, who also got a standout performance from goaltender Christian Boucher, who stopped all 24 shots he faced “Kurt has been a veteran presence that we needed, and he’s been able to show guys what you need to do to compete at the Division I level.”

On Saturday, the Chargers jumped on the Colonials early with two goals in the first five minutes of the first period. RMU managed to scratch and claw its way back, tying the game at 4-4 after two periods, but Huntsville got a goal from David Nimmo early in the third period to regain the lead and Steve Canter scored a back-breaking shorthanded goal with less than two minutes left in regulation.

“I knew – and the team knew – that Hunstville was going to come out with some fire,” Schooley said. “They got a quick one and then another one after that. I called a timeout to settle the team down and...not let [UAH] play on emotion.

"I think it worked because we came out from there. They were just ahead of us most of the game and we expended so much energy to tie the game up. When we got to the tie game, it was ‘What do we do now?’ We had killed ourselves in trying to continually come back.”

The loss, Schooley explained, was another painful learning experience.

“We can’t continue to spot teams two-goal leads in our building and expect to have success," he said. "Those are lessons you learn as you continue to mature. Everyone has to remember, we are still in our second year [and] we’re still playing 17 freshmen and sophomores every night. I think we are continuing to get better, and I don’t think anyone can take us lightly.”


Great Weekend Getaway
120x60 - Brand Red

Cornell vs. Niagara at Rochester, N.Y. (Sat.)
The Big Red has struggled out of the game this season, but that means little to the Purple Eagles, who've anticipated this series the first game takes place at Lynah Rink Friday for some time.

"I think it has been on everybody’s mind since the schedule came out,” senior goalkeeper Jeff VanNynatten said. “These big non-conference games are always a lot of fun. I think the guys are looking forward to it.."

Stick Salute

Friday's shutout at Robert Morris brought to an end a terrific three-game point streak of Alabama-Huntsville's David Nimmo, who scored five goals and two assists during that span. The drought didn't last too long, however Nimmo scored a key goal in the Chargers' 6-5 win at RMU the following night.

Bench Minor

Thankfully, Bemidji State salvaged a series split with Ferris State, because Friday's effort was your prototypical clunker, what with the host Bulldogs scoring 26 seconds into the first period and reeling off five unanswered goals in the final two periods.

No Lead is Safe Bemidji State finished a rugged stretch in which it played eight of 10 on the road with a somewhat rewarding conclusion last Saturday as the Beavers rallied from a 2-0 deficit and downed Ferris State for a 4-3 road victory and a weekend split.

“When you are playing a team like Ferris State and you get a split, you’ll take it,” Bemidji State coach Tom Serratore said.

Saturday, the Beavers overcame 2-0 and 3-2 deficits to win. Luke Erickson netted the game-winner with just 26 seconds left in regulation.

“It was an opportunistic goal,” Serrratore said. “We funneled the puck and Luke was there to redirect it. It was a nice comeback, no question. When you come back it always excites you, especially on the road against a team like Ferris State. It made the long bus ride worthwhile.”

Serratore was understandably pleased with his club’s resiliency and grit.

“We are getting great goaltending, the guys are competing very hard and we are finding ways to win games," he said. "That’s a great sign and hopefully that will continue.”


• More from the UAH-RMU series, where fans may have found Saturday's shootout entertaining despite the outcome. Schooley, however, preferred the pace of Friday's game and not just because his Colonials were victorious.

"I’d rather play a tight checking game," he said. "Any time you score five goals at home, you should come out with two points.”

• Believe it or not, RMU actually went an entire weekend without scoring a power-play goal. The Colonials, who currently rank second in the country with a 27.7% power-play success rate, went 0-for-4 with the extra man in both games last weekend.

• Niagara isn't the only CHA club with intriguing non-conference road series this Thanksgiving weekend. Wayne State is at Union, which is fresh off a win against pre-season ECACHL favorite Cornell last Friday, while Robert Morris travels to Michigan's Upper Peninsula for two games against an improved Lake Superior State team.

• Division I newcomer RIT gave Niagara all it could handle last weekend in a game the Purple Eagles eventually won, 3-2.

“We said before the game that RIT is a team that had been in every game they played and they did it again against us," said Niagara goaltender Jeff VanNynatten, who was impressed with the Tigers' effort. "That team is going to be in a lot of games they play."

A variety of sources were utilized in the compilation of this report.