2007-08 Atlantic Hockey Mid-Season Report
American International College
is not sitting in the cellar. That may not be saying
much for most teams but the Yellow Jackets have finished
last in MAAC/Atlantic Hockey for the past four seasons.
AIC, which has two games with Mercyhurst this weekend,
is tied for seventh and just two points out of sixth.
AIC’s 4-9-2 start matches the
2002-03 team — the ‘Jackets placed ninth
out of 11 teams in the MAAC that season — and
is the best since the 2001-02 team opened at 6-9.
AIC has posted consecutive wins twice already —
it had been two years since the team won two in a
AIC swept Canisius, which isn’t
saying much since those two teams have been neck-and-neck
for several years running, but the Yellow Jackets
earned a tie at RPI (losing a tournament shootout)
and then stunned a lot of people with a 4-1 win over
preseason favorite Rochester Institute of Technology.
AIC has inched up its goal production
just a hair but has cut its goals against by more
than half-a-goal. Jereme Tendler and Mike McMillan
give AIC a good 1-2 scoring punch. Tom Fenton’s
numbers in goal have taken a turn for the worse but
freshman Dan Ramirez has raisedhopes with his 4-3-1
start and 2.35 goals against.
Army sophomore Owen Meyer
has jumped into the elite of Atlantic Hockey scorers.
He has already matched his goal total of last season
with 11 and has nine assists – his 20 points
trails Air Force's Eric Ehn by one. He needs just
seven points to match his total from last season.
Meyer plays with seniors Luke Flicek and Bryce Hollweg,
forming one of the top scoring lines in the nation.
WHAT HAPPENED TO…
Mercyhurst was expected
to make a move back into the upper division of Atlantic
Hockey but instead the Lakers are mired in ninth place,
one point out of last. Injuries have benched a host
of players, notably Matt Lundin, Ben Cottreau and
Ryan Toomey. Lundin, the highly touted goalie transfer
from Maine, hurt himself in the season opener and
missed the next nine games. Cottreau, one of the finest
scorers in league history, has missed five games with
a leg injury and may return this weekend. Toomey,
another senior forward, has missed seven games with
an abdominal muscle tear and is doubtful until early
BEST NEW FACE
Bentley coach Ryan Soderquist had two
junior netminders he could have turned to but he rolled
the dice with Joe Calvi and the freshman
hasn't disappointed. Calvi is the top rookie netminder
with . He has a 2.40 goals against, a mark that goes
down to 2.19 in league play. He is 5-3-2 … He
is second in save pct 924 … he leads with 924
|Eric Ehn and Air Force
earned a very impressive sweep to start the season.
Air Force didn't wait very long to throw
out the first Atlantic Hockey salvo, sweeping
14th-ranked Quinnipiac, 4-1 and 3-1, in an
October series in Colorado Springs. The Falcons are
carrying a hot hand into the holiday season with upcoming
dates against Boston College, Denver, Colorado College
and possibly Minnesota.
Rochester Institute of Technology also
has to get credit, pulling off a 4-1 win over No.
18 Cornell in a "neutral" site game at Rochester's
Blue Cross Arena.
Sadly, Atlantic Hockey has just two
other non-league wins: Holy Cross at Providence and
Connecticut at Colgate. The league has a 5-30-3 mark
in out-of-conference contests.
TOUGHEST ROAD OUT
with an exhibition win over Ryerson and a win over
AIC before going on a five-game skid. The Huskies
have gained no traction since then, splitting three
weekend sets with Bentley, Air Force and Colgate and
managing just one point against Holy Cross and losing
last week at AIC. Connecticut is just 1-4 at home,
and its next game in Storrs is against second-place
Army on Dec. 29.
TOUGHEST ROAD IN
In Masters golf parlance, Air
Force has entered Amen Corner. The Falcons
have a very tough schedule until Feb. 2, facing the
four teams immediately behind them – survive
this portion, and Air Force will get some relative
breathers over the final three weekends. Air Force
also has non-league dates with Boston College, Denver
and Colorado College.
On the easier side, Rochester Institute
of Technology has just four of 16 games remaining
against top-four teams. And Army is the envy of all,
scheduling a stretch of nine consecutive home games
from Jan. 18-Feb. 15.
It's the regular-season champ (RIT)
at the playoff champ (Air Force) on the weekend of
Jan. 11-12, the only meeting between the top two preseason
picks. Two weeks later, Air Force heads to West Point
for a Friday/Sunday series on Jan. 25 and 27 –
the latter will be an ESPNU telecast. The season-ending
series between Sacred Heart and Army on Feb. 29 (Milford)
and March 1 (West Point) could be very interesting
for seeding purposes among title hopefuls.
BIGGEST QUESTION ANSWERED
Could Sacred Heart still challenge
for league surpremacy following the graduation of
its top goal scorer (Pierre-Luc O'Brien) and top goalie
(Jason Smith)? The answer is yes. Sure, the
Pioneers' offense isn't as robust as last season but
the team is spreading the goal scoring with 11 players
posting at least two goals thus far. Veterans Bear
Trapp and Alex Parent have been complemented with
Nick Johnson and Erik Boisvert. Junior Stefan Drew
has been good in the nets, posting a 6-5-1 record,
2.27 goals against and .910 save percentage. The second
half, though, should be interesting since the Pioneers
have six dates with Air Force, Army and RIT and four
more with Holy Cross.
BIGGEST QUESTION REMAINING
Can RIT make a move toward the
top? The Tigers cannot be happy with their
.500 record and 5-4-3 start in league play. Losing
games to Mercyhurst and AIC may come back to haunt
the Tigers in their pursuit of Air Force – but
then again, it may not matter since RIT will have
"home" advantage in the Atlantic Hockey
playoffs at Blue Cross Arena. Louis Menard's goals
against has risen a bit since assuming the starter's
role but not to the point of alarm. The Tigers have
three fine goal scorers in Simon Lambert, Matt Smith
and Matt Crowell and a top notch defense. At least
RIT is headed in the right direction, earning points
in six of its last seven games (3-1-3).
First Half All-Atlantic Hockey Team
sophomore has carried over his success from late
last season when he led the Falcons to the NCAA
tournament. Volkening has nine wins, three more
than any other goalie in the league. He is a fraction
off the best goals against (2.36).
junior owns a plus-10 rating and takes a penalty
roughly once in every two games. Mayra is tied
for the league lead for defensemen scoring with
three goals and eight assists.
is getting it done from the blue line, leading
the Huskies in scoring with three goals and eight
assists. He has two power play goals and owns
a plus-one rating.
senior has slowly made his way to the top of the
league scoring list with six goals and 15 assists.
Ehn is still Mr. Clutch with three power play
goals and two game-winners. He has a plus-five
is certainly no sophomore jinx going on at West
Point. Meyer has a league-high 11 goals, three
more than any other player, and has nine assists.
|The senior is enjoying
another solid season, leading the Tigers with
eight goals and 11 assists. He has three power
play goals and one game-winner. He has 116 points
in 98 career games.