January 26, 2007
Michel's Hat Trick Gives Wayne State a Boost

By Warren Kozireski

Wayne State junior forward Tylor Michel scored just one goal in 21 games last season and had only two goals over the first 18 games during this campaign. Until Friday. His first career hat trick catapulted the Warriors to a 7-4 victory over Robert Morris and, coupled with Saturday’s 2-1 win, put the green and gold two points out of fourth place (Alabama-Huntsville) and four behind third-place Robert Morris in College Hockey America with two conference games-in-hand on both teams. It was the first conference sweep for the Warriors since beating UAH twice on the road in February 2004. They have already exceeded their win total from one year ago.

CHA Notebook

Wayne State has moved into contention for a playoff spot in College Hockey America after sweeping a pair of games from Robert Morris last week.

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The Warriors have won three of their last four games and freshman Brett Bothwell has been in goal for all. The defense has tightened up a bit for Wayne State as they limited the opposition to 29 or fewer shots in their latest three victories. And they stayed out of the box holding the Colonials to just 1-for-8 on the power play over the two game series.

Defenseman Dan Iliakis also was key to the offense with a four-point weekend including the game-winning goal in the third period Saturday.

For Robert Morris, Chris Margott returned from his four-game layoff and picked up a goal. Christian Boucher started his first game since Jan. 5 in goal Friday for the Colonials and was pulled in the third period after allowing his fifth goal on 29 shots.


Now to avoid a letdown: After two consecutive weekends of intense non-conference action against strong programs, Niagara jumps right back into CHA action for the last 10 regular-season games with six coming on the road. The Purps get to stay home this weekend, however, with Wayne State returning for their second trip to western New York this season.

The Warriors are also looking to avoid a letdown coming back after their hard-fought home sweep over Robert Morris to get them back into the playoff seeding race.

Niagara is coming off a sweep at home over nationally ranked Quinnipiac including limiting the Bobcats to just nine shots after the first period in a 3-2 win in the second game.

"(Juliano Pagliero) single-handedly stole the victory against a very good team," Niagara head coach Dave Burkholder said. "They executed more than we did, and they had us on our heels, but he saved the day for us."

The Purps have already beaten the Warriors twice this season at Dwyer including goaltender Pagliero’s first career shutout, but the Warriors scored all of their goals either shorthanded or on the power play in the series so staying out of the box should dictate who wins.

Niagara is 13-3-2 over the last 18 games in the series.

Changing fortunes: Alabama-Huntsville travels to take on Western Michigan who has won four of their last six games after breaking a 2-7-1 stretch. The Chargers won the first meeting between the teams in 2000 in overtime, but the Broncos have won the last three tilts.

UAH is coming off their last weekend off and will be rested or rusty having played just two games in January—a split versus Robert Morris.

Goalie dilemma: Robert Morris looks to right the ship as they travel to Princeton for a single game Monday following their two-loss weekend at last place Wayne State. The Colonials beat the Tigers at home last season 5-2 with five different goal scorers and Joe Tuset registering one of his two victories of the campaign in goal.

What does head coach Derek Schooley do now with goaltender Christian Boucher, who has been pulled from his last two starts (albeit one for only the last three seconds) and has managed only one tie since Dec. 9?


Great Weekend Getaway
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Wayne State at Niagara
Both teams make up their games-in-hand on the rest of the conference for a true picture of the stretch run.

While You’re There: Five Niagara wine-trail wineries are within a 20-minute drive of the campus and all open at 10 a.m. Saturday.

Stick Salute
Niagara sophomore forward Ted Cook netted two goals last weekend and continues to lead the nation in goals (23) and power play goals (13).
Bench Minor

Robert Morris’ line of David Boguslawski, Doug Conley and Jason Towsley was on the ice for three consecutive third-period even- strength goals in a 7-4 loss to Wayne State.

• Tylor Michel’s hat trick came over a 7:57 span in the third period shattering the previous Wayne State school record of 21:06.

• Despite playing two fewer conference games than most teams in the conference, Niagara features the top five point-getters in the league in Les Reaney, Ted Cook, Sean Bentivoglio, Chris Moran and Matt Caruana.

• Since suffering its school-record sixth shutout of the season in December, Wayne State is 4-4-0, is averaging 3.75 goals per game, and has scored seven goals in twice.

• Bemidji State is off for just the second weekend since Thanksgiving.

• Niagara goaltender Juliano Pagliero has moved into a tie for 15th in the nation in save percentage at .922.

• Bemidji State’s two losses to North Dakota extended their losing streak against the Fighting Sioux to 13 games.

• Niagara has scored 41.5 percent of its goals this season in the third period.

A variety of sources were utilized in the compilation of this report. Warren Kozireski can be reached at warrenkozireski@yahoo.com.