Another week, yet another
team atop the CHA standings.
The team du jour
this time around is surging Alabama-Huntsville, which climbed
into a tie for first place with idle Bemidji State after
taking three of four points at Wayne State this past weekend.
The Chargers and Beavers
both have 17 points while Niagara is just slightly behind
with 15, All three clubs having eight league games remaining,
but UAH is undoubtedly the hottest club in the conference
at this point in time with a 6-1-1 mark in its last eight
a 2-2 tie in Friday's series opener with Wayne State. Trailing
the Warriors 2-1 in the third period, the Chargers' Matt
Sweazey scored a power play goal with just under six minutes
left in regulation.
While the Chargers were
happy with the tie, Wayne State was disappointed –
the hosts twice squandered third-period leads. Ultimately,
Alabama-Huntsville goalie Scott Munroe outdueled Wayne State’s
Will Hooper, who started both ends of the series.
“It’s not that
Hooper played poorly, it just that Munroe played better,”
Wayne State coach Bill Wilkinson said.
In Saturday’s game,
Bruce Mulherin continued his torrid play with two goals
and an assist as the Chargers won easily, 6-2. Jeremy Schreiber
and Jeff Winchester each finished with three assists. The
power play was a key in this one, as Alabama-Hunstville
scored on three of seven man-advantage opportunities.
SEEN AND HEARD IN THE CHA
Slow weekend in the circuit:
Niagara was the only other CHA club in action last weekend,
getting a split with the newest member of the ECAC Hockey
On Friday, freshman Les Reaney scored with
just five seconds left to give the Purple Eagles a 4-3 victory.
Reaney and Sean Bentivoglio skated towards the Quinnipiac
end on an odd-man rush. Bentivoglio slid a clever pass to
Reaney, who buried it in the top corner for the win.
“The way we won Friday was a good way
for us to win...with what happened to us against Huntsville
the weekend before,” Niagara coach Dave Burkholder
said, referring to the two-goal lead his team squandered
against the Chargers. “A split on the road is never
a bad thing. But whenever you win Friday, you are looking
to sweep. Unfortunately, we didn’t have enough in
the tank to get it done Saturday.”
Scott Mollison, making only his second start of the season,
finished with 35 saves to earn the win for the Purple Eagles.
Saturday, the Purple Eagles started slowly
and never got untracked as Quinnipiac scored an impressive
“For whatever reason, we were not ready
to play at the start of the game,” Burkholder said.
Trailing 2-0 in the second period, Niagara's
Vince Rocco and Bentivoglio scored goals 1:09 apart to tie
the game. But just 25 seconds later, Quinnipiac's Brian
Leitch scored to give the Bobcats a lead they would not
What about Bob?: Tuesday
was an important evening for Robert Morris, as the Colonials
(6-15-2 overall, 2-7-1 College Hockey America) notched a
5-2 win against Princeton – the fledgling program’s
first-ever victory against an ECACHL team. The win was impressive,
considering the Tigers have recently scored victories over
nationally ranked Denver, Colgate and Cornell while RMU
was 1-11-2 in its last 14 games.
“We competed hard and when we play our
game, we are successful,” Colonials coach Derek Schooley
said. “We got a lot of contributions from guys that
haven’t produced a lot this year and got the monkey
off their backs.”
David Boguslawski and Brett Hopfe each had
a goal and an assist for RMU while Jace Buzek recorded a
pair of assists. The Colonials gave workhorse goaltender
Christian Boucher a rare night off and got a tremendous
performance from backup Joe Tuset, who finished with 30
saves in just his second career start.
“He’s played well in his two starts,”
Schooley said. “We were giving him trouble today,
calling him ‘Curt Schilling.’ He plays well
when he starts but in relief he doesn’t play as well.
He looked very good and made some great saves when Princeton
was on the power play the whole second period.
“I was happy to see Joe perform like
that, and it was good to get Christian a night off when
we have some big games coming up.”
Great Weekend Getaway
at Bemidji State
(Fri.-Sat.) It's the first meeting of the season between
these two teams and no matter what happens, the pair
will remain one-two in the league standings because
third-place Niagara is idle.
“At this time of the year you are definitely
looking at the standings,” said Bemidji State
coach Tom Serratore. “This (series) will set
the pace the rest of the year, no question. If anyone
wants to win a league championship, you are going
to have to win games on the road.
The Chargers have always been a tough out at Von
Braun Arena. Making the Beavers' task even more difficult
is a travel itinerary – flights from Bemidji
to Minneapolis to Memphis to Huntsville – that
features more ups and downs than Richard Gere's push-up
scene from An Officer and a Gentleman. The
series will tax both teams' resiliency, as Friday
night's opener is followed by a Saturday matinee.
AT THE BOTTOM OF THE BAG
• Matt Kelly was seemingly the number
one goalkeeper at the start of the season for Wayne State,
but Will Hooper has been getting some playing time lately.
“Will had won a couple of games and
had helped us to get three out of four points against Robert
Morris, and I threw him back in there against Huntsville
(Friday) and he got another point there,” Wilkinson
said. “You kind of go with your hot hand. It’s
not that Kelly played poorly, it just that he hasn’t
won either, and I was just shaking things up a little bit.”
Regarding the rest of the season – and
what goalkeeper to utilize – Wilkinson took the philosophical
“You have to go with who has the hot
hand,” he said. “Neither one has a hot hand.
You probably play both and see if one gets on a roll. If
one does, you kind of want to ride the horse.”
• After playing four of the past five
weekends on the road, the Purple Eagles get a well-deserved
rest this weekend.
“I really think it has taken its toll,”
Burkholder said. “I haven’t said that all year
until I saw how fatigued we looked Saturday. We didn’t
perform the way we can Saturday. It’s a nice to have
a weekend where these guys are not going to battle.”
• Forward Eric Ehn is very quietly having
a tremendous season for Air Force. In CHA games only, he's
fourth in scoring (4-11–15) and is tied for first
in assists with Niagara’s Les Reaney.
This weekend's other CHA
series pits Robert Morris against visiting Air Force. The
Falcons are currently in fifth place with six points while
the Colonials are sixth with five points.
“All CHA games right
now are big,” Schooley said. “It’s so
tight at the top and so tight at the bottom that if you
string together a couple of wins, you are going to leapfrog
a couple of positions.”
RMU has only two league victories –
one each against the teams sharing the top spot in the CHA
standings, Bemidji State and Alabama-Huntsville.
A variety of sources were utilized in
the compilation of this report.