Joshin' ... Heidinger Powers Canisius
Josh Heidinger enjoyed his three seasons playing
junior hockey in Montana but he is certainly glad he has
returned to his native Buffalo to play for Canisius College.
“I had gone away to play juniors, and
Canisius was always a thought in my mind,’’
Heidinger said. “Coach (Dave) Smith and coach (Mike)
Mankowski did a wonderful job recruiting, and I liked where
the program was going. I thought it would be nice to come
home and play for a good program and go to a good school.’’
Josh Heidinger ranks third among NCAA freshmen in
scoring at 1.37 points per game (four goals, 11 assists)
Heidinger is proof that you can go home again.
The left winger from Buffalo’s Old First Ward has
gotten his college career off to a great start, and leads
the Golden Griffins in scoring (four goals, 11 assists)
after the first month of action. His latest selection as
Atlantic Hockey’s rookie of the week was his second.
Heidinger, 21, ranks third nationally among freshmen and
33rd overall with 1.37 points per game. He has registered
a point in five consecutive games and in all seven Atlantic
“Because of our youth he has been put
in a position to succeed and he has capitalized on it,’’
“I stepped right in, and it was comfortable
and an easy transition,’’ Heidinger said.
Heidinger led the North American Hockey League
in scoring (89 points) and was fifth in goals (33) last
season, playing for the Bozeman (Mont.) IceDogs, where he
played with Army’s Zach McKelvie and Josh Kassel.
“Our expectations were for him to pick
up right where he left off and that’s happened,’’
Smith said. “Josh is extremely intelligent as a hockey
player. He has outstanding hands and really just a good
understanding of positioning – he knows where to be
and when to be there.
"He has average size but he plays with
a passion and intelligence that really drives him to succeed.’’
Heidinger credits Smith’s offensive
systems for his promising start. He likes the opportunity
to watch plays develop and then step in when he knows he
can make the play better.
“It’s the freedom Coach Smith
has given me to play,’’ he said. “I am
not gripping the stick real tight. If I make a mistake,
some of the other guys are there to pick me up. I try to
keep it simple and give it up to the guy who has the better
Playing close to home has its advantages.
“You can have lunch at your mom’s
house and a home-cooked meal,’’ Heidinger said.
“I know my mom and dad haven’t missed a game
yet and my brother is there all the time. It’s good
to have them there – you grow up playing and they
watched, and then you go away for juniors and they are not
there as much.’’
Naturally, Heidinger is a huge Buffalo Sabres
fan, with his favorite players including Pat LaFontaine,
Alexander Mogilny and current Canisius volunteer coach Grant
Ledyard (he just had to throw that one in).
SEEN AND HEARD IN ATLANTIC HOCKEY
Army captain to be honored:
The late Derek Hines was chosen as the NCAA's Award of Valor
recipient for 2007. The former Army hockey captain was killed
in Afghanistan on Sept. 1, 2005.
The Award of Valor may be presented to a coach, administrator, or current or former varsity student-athlete at an NCAA member institution who, when confronted with a situation involving personal danger, averted or minimized potential disaster by courageous action or noteworthy bravery.
"Derek was truly a special young man,"
Army coach Brian Riley said of the 2003 graduate. "He
was a leader in every sense of the word. He had the unique
ability to lift the spirits of those around him and would
draw everyone closer together. Derek made a lasting impression
on our program and the U.S. Military Academy as a whole."
An Army Ranger, Hines performed heroic duties
several times before his untimely death. Early in his tour
of duty, Hines' unit came under small-arms fire and he retrieved
an exposed mortar. Later, when the unit was hit by a rocket-propelled
grenade, an injured Hines climbed aboard an abandoned Humvee
to put down fire on insurgents with a .50-caliber machine
gun, a weapon he had never used before.
Less than two weeks before his death, the
unit was hit directly by a roadside bomb and Hines pulled
soldiers from the burning wreckage, though none of them
survived. When coalition forces gathered to arrest the Taliban
commander responsible for the that attack, the leader started
firing on Hines' men. Hines jumped out to return fire. Both
were fatally wounded.
FRIES AT THE BOTTOM OF THE BAG
Great Weekend Getaway
Mercyhurst vs. Canisius (Friday at Amherst, Saturday at Erie) It's time to give thanks to old friends as
Canisius coach Dave Smith meets up with former boss
Rick Gotkin, the head coach at Mercyhurst. Canisius
is feeling better after snapping a five-game losing
streak; Mercyhurst is trying to find a way to stop
Army at Sacred Heart (Tuesday) As long as it's Thanksgiving week and many
folks have extended holidays, make the trip to the
Ice Pavilion to watch the top two teams in Atlantic
Hockey square off. The clubs battled to a draw on
the second weekend of action.
Winning five games in a row is good enough, but the fact Sacred
Heart has swept two games from both Mercyhurst and
Holy Cross during that stretch is praiseworthy
indeed. The Pioneers' rise to the top of Atlantic
Hockey can be completed with a win over co-leader
No one doubts
Mercyhurst's firepower on offense but the
Lakers must find a way to stop the puck to
challenge for the Atlantic Hockey title. Mercyhurst
has scored four goals in each of its last three games,
but has allowed five, six, and five for its first
three-game league losing streak in three seasons.
In eight games, the Lakers have allowed five-plus
goals in six times (they're 1-5 in those contests).
• Three is too much: Bentley's recent
penchant for erasing three-goal deficits was put to the
test yet again in Friday's series opener with Army. The
Black Knights grabbed a 4-1 lead in the third period when
Bentley started its comeback bid. Jeff Gumaer and Jaye Judd
notched goals for the Falcons but Army and goalie Josh Kassel
survived a 49-second shift with a sixth Bentley attacker
and held on for the 4-3 win. It was Army's first win at
John A. Ryan Arena in three years.
• Relief: Connecticut goalie Scott Tomes finally notched his first win in five decisions, turning aside 24 shots in a 4-3 win over American International.
• Pick six: Rochester Institute of Technology got goals from six different players in a 6-1 exhibition win over St. Clair Saturday.
• Woe, Canada: Atlantic Hockey teams own a 5-1-3 exhibition record against Canadian schools this season. Waterloo downed Canisius on opening week, and Ottawa managed three draws.
• Hot-hand Luc: Sacred Heart captain
Pierre-Luc O'Brien still has the scoring touch of late,
with consecutive three-point efforts (1 goal, 2 assists)
in a weekend sweep over Holy Cross. O'Brien is second in
the league in scoring with 9 goals and 10 assists, all but
two of those points coming in the last two weeks.
• Face the Nation: James Sixsmith of
Holy Cross leads the nation with two points per game, just
ahead of Air Force's Eric Ehn (1.92). Ben Cottreau of Mercyhurst
(1.88) is tied for sixth, and leads the nation in goals
per game (1.12). Ehn checks in third at 1.08 goals per game.
Sixsmith is tops in assists (1.56 per contest). Jon Landry
of Holy Cross leads all blue liners with 1.56 points per
game. Defenseman Carl Hudson of Canisius ranks second in
power play goals (six). Jeff Gumaer of Bentley and Dale
Reinhardt of Holy Cross are tied for second with two short-handed
goals apiece. Andrew Loewen of Canisius ranks fifth in save
• Still Waiting: With Brown's win against
visiting Wayne State last weekend, American International
is the lone Division I team without a victory. The Yellowjackets
(0-9-0) are at Air Force this weekend, then travel to Providence
for a single game against the aforementioned Ivy school
one week from Saturday.
A variety of sources were utilized in
the compilation of this report