Just Like Night and Day
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.”
AND HEARD IN THE CHA
Great Weekend Getaway
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
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.
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.”
FRIES AT THE BOTTOM OF THE BAG
• 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
• 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.