11, 2007 Lots
To Talk About in College Hockey America
Choices and more choices. Is it Bemidji State's
sweep of Wayne State to move ahead of Niagara into first
place in CHA? Is it Niagara's non-conference road sweep
of Colgate and RIT? Or Robert Morris' upset on the road
against previously No. 2-ranked Notre Dame? Two coaches
reaching the 100-win milestone on the same night? UAH head
coach Doug Ross officially announcing his end-of-the-season
retirement after 25 years? For the smallest conference in
Division I, there is certainly plenty to write about.
Travis Winter, right, is the leading scorer for Bemidji
State, which moved into first place in College Hockey
America with a sweep at Wayne State.
And since the last umpteen notebooks have
featured Bemidji State or Niagara at the top, we'll focus
on the Robert Morris upset — arguably the biggest
win in the program's history.
The Colonials rebounded after losing the first
game of the series 6-2 and trailing 2-0 in the second period
in game two to score four unanswered goals and surprise
the Fighting Irish 4-2.
In just his 11th career game, senior goaltender
Joe Tuset stopped 34 of 36 shots and allowed just a pair
of power-play goals in registering the fourth victory of
his collegiate career and his second in three games. The
Northern Michigan-transfer earned his first shutout against
Merrimack Dec. 30.
"Joe has played well for us, but that
doesn't mean I've lost confidence in Christian (Boucher),"
said head coach Derek Schooley. "He's been our MVP
the last two seasons, but you never know when you'll need
another goaltender and Joe has earned the right to get a
Jason Towsley netted his fifth goal of the
season halfway through the third period for the game-winner.
The Colonials have garnered two wins, a loss,
and a tie in their last four non-conference games and head
back into conference play with a key series at Alabama-Huntsville.
They earned their first ever win at UAH on Dec. 9 on a last-minute
power-play goal by Logan Bittle.
"You don't want to be in that 4-5 game,
so every game in conference from here on out is important,
but I don't want to put all the focus on this weekend,"
Sophomore forward Chris Margott missed the
Notre Dame series and is not scheduled to play this weekend
either with an injury.
SEEN AND HEARD IN THE CHA
Double-Century: What are
the odds of two coaches in the same conference earning their
100th career victories in the same season? The same month?
How about the same night?
Bemidji State's Tom Serratore and Niagara's
Dave Burkholder turned the trick last Friday. The Beavers
defeated Wayne State while Niagara beat Colgate on the road.
Both are in their sixth seasons behind the bench.
"It's not a big deal," said Serratore.
"The big deal is that we're winning hockey games and
are on a bit of a roll. I don't even check the internet
so I didn't know until our radio guy asked me about it.
This is so silly…nobody cares…it's yesterday's
Burkholder was a bit more reflective. "I
didn't think about it before the game, but afterward I sat
back and reflected. It's good to get it out of the way and
I'm lucky and privileged to coach some dedicated young men
and have great coaches."
Both Bemidji State and Niagara are 13-1-2
over their last 16 games. For those who pay attention to
these things, Serratore took 200 games to reach the 100
win mark while Burkholder took 204.
Beavers in first: Bemidji
State took over sole possession of first place in CHA with
a weekend sweep at the Glas over Wayne State. The four points
catapulted the Beavers two points ahead of the Purple Eagles,
though Niagara has two conference games-in-hand.
After winning the first game on Rob Sirianni's
game-winner, the Beavers had to comeback from 4-2 and 5-3
deficits with three unanswered goals to complete the sweep.
Travis Winter was in on all three scoring the first and
assisting on the last two and finished the game with a career
high five points.
"We're a better team right now than we
were early in the season," said Serratore. "Our
freshmen are playing well and we're getting good goaltending
which is key to any team. Wins come from confidence and
having good practices. We had a big learning curve with
the injuries we've had to key players. The rest of the team
has developed a different mentality and are excited about
the roles created from those injuries."
The Beavers try to improve on their 5-1 record
this season against the WCHA with a pair this weekend at
Non-league success for Niagara:
Niagara continued to impress with the non-conference schedule
beating of Colgate for the second consecutive time and RIT
both on the road. The Purple Eagles are 7-5 in non-CHA action
this season with just two of those victories at Dwyer Arena.
"Our penalty kill was outstanding and
good teams find a way to win," said Burkholder. "And
the goaltending we've been getting—it's been a great
It took three power play goals — two
by Ted Cook — to beat Colgate and a pair of shorthanded
goals to stymie the Tigers. One of those was from Sean Bentivoglio,
who didn't have a shorty for the first three years of his
career, but is now second in the country with three this
FRIES AT THE BOTTOM OF THE BAG
Great Weekend Getaway
Morris at Ala.-Huntsville (Fri.-Sat.) More choices…Niagara at Denver in a
series featuring ranked teams will be watched by many
in and out of the conference, but we have to go with
the Battle for the Bye with Robert Morris at Alabama-Huntsville.
A Colonials sweep will give them a six-point cushion
with two games in hand on the Chargers for third place
in CHA and a first-round playoff bye.
While You’re There: Since
the Saturday game is at 4 p.m., there is plenty of
time to catch comedian D.L. Hughley at the Stardome
Comedy Club at 9:45 p.m.
State freshman forward Tyler Lehrke scored
his third and fourth goals of the season in the Beavers
3-2 victory over Wayne State.
Les Reaney for missing the team bus
leaving Colgate after their 3-2 victory Friday. Nothing
like leaving the third leading scorer in the nation
• At a press conference Tuesday, Alabama-Huntsville
Athletic Director Jim Harris tried to quell the rumors that
UAH would drop Division I hockey after the announced end-of-the-season
retirement of 25-year head coach Doug Ross. "I know
those rumors are out there," Harris said as printed
in the Huntsville Times. "But ... we are committed
to Division I, and we are going to maintain a high profile
in Division I. If that's taken away from us for whatever
reason in the near future, meaning that if College Hockey
America ceases to exist and we are not welcomed into an
existing league ... then we'll have to make another decision
later. But I don't anticipate that decision having to come,
especially in the next couple of three years." Harris
said he already has lined up Yale for a series in Huntsville
on Jan. 18-19, 2008.
• Wayne State senior defenseman Taylor
Donahoe broke a 31-game goalless streak with a marker December
16th against Western Michigan. Matt Boldt broke an even
longer streak last weekend with a goal—his first since
• Including the Dec. 30 win versus Canisius,
Niagara goaltender Juliano Pagliero is 3-1-1 in his career
when facing 40 or more shots.
Niagara's other goaltender, Allen Barton equaled his career
win total with the RIT victory—his fourth of the season.
• Alabama-Huntsville is 1-3 over their
last four games, but Robert Morris transfer Joe Federoff
has two goals and two assists in his first four games since
becoming eligible for the Chargers.
• Pre-season CHA co-Player of the year
Luke Erickson of Bemidji State has missed the last eight
games, but the Beavers depth has stepped up as they are
7-1 during the stretch.
• Wayne State is missing senior defenseman
Dan Iliakis and sophomore forward Jon Grabarek with shoulder
of sources were utilized in the compilation of this report. Warren Kozireski can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.