February 1, 2007
What's Cook-in'? How About the Purps?

By Warren Kozireski

Sophomore Ted Cook continued his torrid pace scoring with three power-play goals and goaltender Juliano Pagliero stopped 72 of 77 shots as Niagara swept Wayne State last weekend to leapfrog idle Bemidji State back into first place in the College Hockey America standings.

CHA Notebook

Niagara sophomore forward Ted Cook set the school's record for power-play goals in a season last weekend, and tied the marks for total goals in a season and career PPGs.

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In just his second season, Cook broke the school's single-season mark for power play goals (16 and counting), tied the record for career power-play goals (27) and is now tied for the top spot for goals in a season (26 and counting). And all with eight regular season games remaining.

“Before the season, I told the coaches I would like to have the (power play) record. I guess things are just going my way,” said Cook. We haven’t won anything yet and we don’t have an auto-bid or anything like that. If we take a night off, we’re done. We want to win the regular-season championship and ... our tournament, but without the effort, we won’t take it.”

The Purple Eagles continue to ascend the national rankings having entered the top 15 in the USA Hockey Magazine/USA Today poll for the first time this season — Niagara debuted at no. 15 — and moving up one position to no. 14 in this week's INCH Power Rankings.

“Overall, the weekend wasn’t one of our more complete efforts, but we still won just the same,” said Niagara coach Dave Burkholder. “(Cook) is just a gifted player around the cage. He’s a goal scorer and you can’t teach that — he just has it and it’s been special.

"Our power play with Sean Bentivoglio and Les Reaney with Pat Oliveto and Chris Moran at the top really compliment him. It’s a group of five, but Ted is the money guy around the net.”

In winning the second game of the series, Niagara's big five didn’t need to be involved in the scoring. Egor Mironov registered his first three-point game as a collegian (two goals and an assist) and Vince Rocco tied his career high with three points.

Niagara is still undefeated at Dwyer Arena this season.


I want you to want me: As first reported by James Jahnke in last week's INCH CCHA Notebook, Wayne State has officially presented a proposal to the CCHA to join the league.

“We have officially made a proposal to join the league for the 2008-09 season and sent a letter of application,” said coach Bill Wilkinson. “We have not gotten any reaction or been given a timetable, but I expect it will be on the agenda for the spring meetings in Florida — at least I hope so. I don’t expect anything until then.”

Also in the column, CCHA commissioner Tom Anastos commented on the future of College Hockey America.

“I think that is one issue that will percolate a little as we look to the future," Anastos said. "Our feeling has always been that we want to do anything we can to help the CHA stay together, because, without it, it will be difficult to grow college hockey.

"Last April, some of us went to the NCAA Hockey Committee to draw up some legislation that would give the committee authority to grant the CHA an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament even with fewer than six teams, which would allow it to continue to operate. I’m not sure that that legislation has gone all the way through the NCAA yet, but it has at least been passed at a few levels, so that’s all good news. But that said, many of those CHA programs are concerned about their long-term viability and have started to look around … but our preference is to see the CHA stay together.”

Wandering eyes: Huge scoreboard-watching weekend in CHA with first-place Niagara at third-place Robert Morris and second-place Bemidji State at fourth-place Alabama-Huntsville.

The Purps split with the Colonials last time there with the two teams combining for 18 goals over the two games. Bemidji State swept the Chargers in mid-December, but both were one-goal affairs if you disregard the empty-netter in game two.

Wayne State entertains the U.S Under-18 National Team for a single game Friday.


Great Weekend Getaway
120x60 - Brand Red

Bemidji State at Alabama-Huntsville (Fri.-Sat.)
Toss-up here. Is it the 1 vs 3 matchup of Niagara vs. Robert Morris or no. 2 Bemidji State vs. no. 4 Alabama-Huntsville? The first two times they met resulted in one-goal games (excluding an ENG) so it’s BSU-UAH.

While you’re there: The temperature won’t get out of the 40s, which is still better than the 12 degrees the Beavers left in northern Minnesota. So check out the "Vision for Space Exploration Experience Dome" at the NASA complex. The Dome allows museum visitors to travel to the moon and Mars by surrounding them with floor-to-ceiling projection screens depicting the journey and the landscape of the celestial bodies. This gives "explorers" the illusion of walking on these vast and diverse environments of our solar system.

Stick Salute
It's the second week in a row in this spot for Niagara’s Ted Cook, but we can’t ignore three team records he broke or tied last weekend.
Bench Minor

Alabama-Huntsville senior forward Dominik Rozman's untimely tripping penalty in overtime Saturday led to Western Michigan’s game-winning goal. The loss negated a gallant UAH third-period comeback , which included two goals in the final 90 seconds of regulation.

• Alabama-Huntsville senior Steve Cantor set a personal best with his 10th goal of the season against Western Michigan Saturday.

• The Chargers seven seniors have accounted for 55 percent of the team’s points (106) versus 45 percent (86) for the other 15 skaters.

• Robert Morris has allowed seven goals in a game three times this season, including to Niagara, this week’s opponent, back in November.

• With two starts last weekend, Brett Bothwell is the first Wayne State freshman goaltender since David Guerrera in 1999-2000 to lead the team in appearances.

• Bemidji State is two for two this season in the first game of a series following a bye weekend. Both wins came on the road. Guess where the Beavers play Alabama-Huntsville Friday?

• Should Niagara sweep Robert Morris this weekend, it would give them a six-game winning streak, the team's longest since a seven-game run early in the 2001-02 season.

• Alabama-Huntsville freshman goaltender Blake MacNicol, who joined the team last month, played his first period Friday against Western Michigan. MacNicol, who came to UAH from Bay State of the Eastern Junior Hockey League, allowed one goal on three shots.

• Statistical oddity: The league's top two teams, Niagara and Bemidji State, each have allowed 29 goals in conference games. The other three teams — Robert Morris, Alabama-Huntsville and Wayne State — have each allowed 46 goals in CHA play.

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