Over the summer months Kassel's second stint
of summer military training included real-life activities
which little boys dream about when playing soldier.
"A lot of guys complain about the (military
training) in the summer but it actually wasn't too bad out
at (Camp) Buckner,'' Kassel said. "There was a lot
of fun stuff: driving tanks around, flying helicopters.
If I get to do something like that in the Army, then tanks
or aviation is the way I want to go.''
Kassel's go-get-'em attitude also enabled
him to win the early starting job for the Black Knights'
hockey team. Kassel and classmate A.J. Drago each got a
start in the opening exhibition series against Ryerson University
but when week two rolled around the job was Kassel's to
lose. From the looks of his three outings to date, it's
going to be hard to unseat him.
He pitched shutouts against Ryerson and American
International and then held
powerful Sacred Heart to just two goals in a 2-2 overtime
draw – that leaves Army atop the Atlantic Hockey standings
for the first time. Kassel won the league's top goaltender
award for last week's play, and is ranked third in the nation
with a 0.96 goals against average. His save percentage of
.966 is tops in the league and fourth nationally.
Like Drago, freshman year was a time for patience
and preparation for Kassel. Senior all-star Brad Roberts
was not about to be unseated, and each plebe had one relief
outing during the season (Kassel blanked Mercyhurst for
one period of action).
"Obviously I wanted to play,'' Kassel
said, "but if there was any other guy than Brad I would
have been way more upset probably. ... You couldn't ask
for a better guy to play behind and learn from.''
Both substitute goaltenders benefited from
working out with Roberts, on the ice and in the weight room.
Kassel says his speed and flexibility have improved from
the goalie-specific drills. Roberts has since graduated
but he is still on post working as an athletic intern.
It was not the first time Kassel was locked
into a battle for a starting job. Playing for the Bozeman
(Mont.) Ice Dogs, Kassel patiently sat for the first 2½
months of his inaugural junior hockey season. "I just
kept working hard every day, the other guy messed up and
I jumped in there,'' said Kassel, who held the starting
job for the rest of that season and all of the next.
"Bozeman was awesome,'' Kassel said.
"You couldn't ask for a better rink or fans. My teammates
were all great guys. Just the area in general was amazing,
being in the center of the Rocky Mountains.''
When the opportunity to play hockey at West
Point came about, Kassel jumped.
"It just felt like
something I had to do,'' he said. "I got a chance to
play Division I hockey, there are great opportunities when
you get out of this place and just the tradition behind
FRIES AT THE BOTTOM OF THE BAG
Great Weekend Getaway
at Holy Cross (Fri.-Sat.)
The league’s schedule makers are completely
out of their minds. These two title contenders are
set to play on the first full weekend of league action
while teams are still trying to sort themselves out.
Then they meet for the last time Nov. 24-25 in Erie.
I don’t want to hear anything about being fair
or rotating schedules – as long as these teams
are contenders, this is a prime matchup best played
after January 1.
This remains an intriguing series as
Holy Cross tries to settle its goaltending situation
against one of the league's most potent offenses.
Netminder Ian Dams took Niagara into overtime before
bowing 5-4. Last season, Holy Cross won the series,
2-1-1, including a blowout 10-3 victory in the first
While You’re There: There’s
plenty of women’s rugby action Saturday. If
you are in an art admiration mood, the Cantor Art
Gallery is featuring the landscape works of Adrienne
Andrew Loewen of Canisius
set a school record with 61 saves in the Golden Griffins’
3-1 loss at Miami (Ohio) Saturday. Loewen was called
on for 21 stops in the first period, 28 in the second
and 12 in the third.
entire league. Twelve non-conference games.
Eleven losses, one tie. The record speaks for itself.
• A forgettable weekend: Atlantic Hockey
last suffered five non-conference losses on a single night
on Nov. 27, 2004; last weekend, the league authored the
forgettable tale on back-to-back nights. A goal with 5:30
left in regulation by RIT pulled the Tigers into a 2-2 tie
with Union; otherwise it would have been a complete Atlantic
• Army on top: Army is the only team
to play two Atlantic Hockey contests thus far, but so far
the Black Knights have yet to lose. A 2-0 win over American
International and 2-2 draw with Sacred Heart leaves Army
on top of the
league for the first time. League player of the week Luke
Flicek posted two goals and an assist. Army's 3-0 start
was the program's second best in the past 19 seasons. The
Black Knights opened with four wins in 2003-04 under former
coach Rob Riley.
• Power-play hardly powerful: A host
of Atlantic Hockey schools are struggling mightily with
the man advantage. Canisius and Mercyhurst are both under
10 percent in effectiveness while Bentley (0-for-11), Sacred
Heart (0-for-10) and AIC (0-for-4) have yet to score.
• NFL Sunday Ticket left plenty of tix
available: Only 769 fans showed up for Sunday’s Bentley-Colgate
tilt in Hamilton. How lame is that?
• Husky happenings: UConn freshman Beau
Erickson gave up three goals in the opening 5:40 against
Michigan. The Huskies turned to veteran Scott Tomes and
the senior stopped 32 of 35 shots the rest of the way in
a 7-5 loss to the Wolverines. One night earlier, Tomes stopped
30 shots in an overtime loss at Bowling Green. … In
the Michigan contest, the Huskies were 2-for-11 on the power
play, failing to convert on three man-up chances in the
closing seven minutes and surrendering a short-handed goal
which gave the Wolverines a two-goal advantage. The Huskies
did manage three goals from its blue-line unit. …
Winger Matt Scherer was a minus-four and defenseman Sean
Erickson was a minus-three.
• Punishing penalties: Air Force surrendered
eight power play goals to host Alaska in a pair of non-conference
• Ouch: Mercyhurst's 7-1 loss to Ferris
State on Friday was its worst since Holy Cross posted a
10-3 win in Worcester on Nov. 11, 2005. It was the team's
worst non-conference setback since Wisconsin posted an 8-0
win on Oct. 16, 2004. Against Ferris State, the Lakers were
0-for-10 on the power play on Friday and 1-for-6 in Saturday’s
• Shoot the puck, Griffin: In its 5-1
setback to Miami, Canisius was 0-for-8 on the power play
and managed just one shot on goal in the first period –
by then, Miami was up 2-0.
A variety of sources were utilized in
the compilation of this report