2005-06 CHA Mid-Season Report
Despite a 4-9-1 record, Robert Morris’s
continued ascension is indeed impressive. Established
programs are judged by the bottom line – wins
and losses. But the Colonials, in only their second
year as a Division I program, can only be judged by
their ability to compete on a nightly basis. Mission
Coach Derek Schooley’s team took three of four
points against RIT, split with CHA pre-season favorite
Alabama-Huntsville and got a road win at Western Michigan,
a team that swept Ohio State in Kalamazoo. The Colonials’
formula – solid goaltending from sophomore workhorse
Christian Boucher and a solid power play which, despite
a recent slump (RMU has one extra-man goal in its
last 30 opportunities), has ranked among the nation’s
best the entire season.
Air Force forward Eric Ehn had a fine freshman
campaign last year, scoring nine goals and 13 assists
in 36 games. Twelve games into his sophomore season,
the Dexter, Mich., native has already matched his
goal total from a year ago; he ranks among the nation’s
top ten in goals per game. Even more impressive is
the manner in which Ehn has scored his goals. Of his
nine markers this year, seven have come at even strength.
BEST NEW FACE
|Robert Morris forward Kurt
Wright, an INCH First Half All-CHA selection,
has already matched his point total from last
Before the season started, Niagara
coach Dave Burkholder said he was very excited about
his freshman class. Judging by the numbers put up
by newcomers Ted Cook and Les Reaney,
he had a very good reason to feel giddy. The duo has
done an outstanding job of filling the void on offense
left by the departed Barrett Ehgoetz, Ryan Gale and
With 17 points apiece in 17 games, Cook and Reaney
are currently tied for third among CHA skaters in
scoring. Cook’s 10 goals lead the conference
in that category, as does his six power play goals.
Reaney, called “Big Country” by teammates,
ranks third in the CHA with 13 assists.
WHAT HAPPENED TO…
Bemidji State’s strong start?
The Beavers appeared virtually unstoppable early in
the year, posting a 7-1-0 mark out of the game and
sweeping WCHA foes Minnesota Duluth and Minnesota
State, Mankato on the road. At the time, it certainly
looked like Tom Serratore’s club was far and
away the class of the CHA. In the six games since,
the Beavers have been a pedestrian 2-3-1.
Goal production is one reason for the decline. BSU
outscored its opponents by a 31-16 margin during its
7-1-0 start. Over the team’s last six games,
they’re outscoring foes, 19-18 – and that
span includes an 8-1 romp against Niagara. Another
reason is the schedule. The teams the Beavers played
in their first eight games currently have a combined
17-36-8 record, while its opponents over the last
six matches are a combined 26-18-1. Home-and-home
dates with North Dakota (10-7-1 overall) loom this
CHA schools have notched some memorable wins already
– Robert Morris topping Western Michigan and
Alabama-Huntsville besting Ohio State come to mind
– but the biggest surprise was Air Force’s
4-3 win against visiting Bemidji State on
The Falcons limped into the weekend having lost five
of their first six and four in a row, while the Beavers
were fresh off back-to-back sweeps of UMD and MSU-Mankato.
But Air Force’s Brian Gineo gave his team the
lead just 13 seconds into the game, and Mike Phillipich
and Jay Menenwaldt would score later in the period.
A little more than 16 minutes into the contest, and
the Falcons had a three-goal lead.
It was a rare victory for Air Force coach Frank Serratore
over his brother, Tom, the BSU coach. Entering that
game, Tom’s teams had a 15-0-1 record against
TOUGHEST ROAD OUT
If your neighbor plays hockey for Wayne State,
here’s why the old newspapers have been piling
up on the doorstep since the beginning of October.
The Warriors – the last Division I team to get
a win this season – have played just four of
their first 14 games at home. The team’s first
home series was Nov. 11-12.
In fact, coach Bill Wilkinson’s
charges have played more games in New York (series
trips to Clarkson, Niagara and Union) than in Detroit.
Things don’t get much better for the Warriors
on the other side of Christmas – Wayne State
travels to Madison for the Badger Showdown Dec. 30-31
and opens the new year with series at Michigan State
and at Bemidji State.
TOUGHEST ROAD IN
Niagara, which plays just six of
its remaining 17 matches at home, gets the honor.
Not only do the Purple Eagles have to get used to
wearing the road darks, but they’ll also have
to contend with some difficult tests. Upcoming are
trips to non-conference opponents New Hampshire (Dec.
30), Minnesota (Jan. 6-7) and Quinnipiac (Jan. 27-28)
in addition to league junkets to Air Force, Wayne
State and Robert Morris.
Bemidji State at Niagara, Feb. 24-25. One
of the Purple Eagles’ few home series during
the last two-plus months of the regular season pits
the CHA’s most recent NCAA Tournament representatives.
Last year, after the visiting Beavers swept the Purple
Eagles, Niagara’s Burkholder said he could tell
by the mannerisms of the players on the opposing bench
that BSU simply wanted the game more. Not only does
Niagara hope to atone for those two losses, but seeks
to save face after Bemidji State crushed the Purple
Eagles, 8-1, in the last meeting between the two teams
on Dec. 3.
BIGGEST QUESTION ANSWERED
Will a “team to beat” emerge in
the conference? There’s still a long
way to go, but at this juncture it appears Bemidji
State is the team the rest of the CHA will chase if
it harbors league championship aspirations.
Statistically, the Beavers rank first in the league
in scoring offense (3.57 goals per game), scoring
defense (2.43 gpg), penalty killing, combined special
teams, net special teams and scoring differential.
It’s an impressive achievement considering BSU’s
challenging non-conference schedule.
BIGGEST QUESTION REMAINING
Is this the season Scott Munroe finally backstops
Alabama-Huntsville to the CHA title? Two
years ago, Niagara’s Jeff VanNynatten was tournament
MVP as the Purple Eagles won the CHA title. Last year,
Bemidji State’s Matt Climie blanked both Air
Force and Alabama-Huntsville in leading the Beavers
to the league playoff crown. The Chargers might need
a similar performance from Munroe to finally get over
the hump and win this year’s tournament.
While his overall numbers aren’t
all that impressive, Munroe has been as good as any
goalie in the country over the last couple weeks.
In his last four starts, he’s 3-0-1 with a .938
save percentage, remarkable for a guy who’s
faced an average of nearly 46 shots per game during
First Half All-CHA Team
Sedevie, Bemidji State
he splits time with Matt Climie, but Sedevie ranks
among the nation's top five in both GAA and save
percentage and he's one of two goalies who've
yet to lose a game this season (Miami's Charlie
Effinger is the other.
Martens, Bemidji State
nearly a point a game for the Beavers, Martens
ranks 11th in the NCAA in points per game among
Warriors' leading scorer has been streaky through
the first half of the season - scoreless in first
two games, the posted a four-game point streak,
endured a five-game scoring drought, and enters
the weekend with three straight two-point efforts.
the CHA in both goals (10) and power play goals
(6) and is second to Quinnipiac's David Marshall
in goals scored by a freshman.
scorer has point streaks of five, four and three
games this season. Needs 13 points to become a
member of BSU's century club...has a chance to
do it in 100 career games.
Colonials' catalyst and most experienced player
has already equalled his point total from a year
ago and hadn't been held scoreless in back-to-back
games until last weekend's Niagara series.