As much as the Robert Morris brain-trust would
like to receive offensive contributions from more than a
few players, it was again senior Ryan Cruthers who came
through for the Colonials as they earned a split in their
home series with Niagara and first place in the conference.
Hockey America Notebook
Cruthers' 10 points for Robert Morris include seven
in four games of conference play.
The leading scorer for RMU last season, the
Long Island-born Cruthers scored the Colonials first short-handed
goal of the season midway through the second period to stake
his team to a 2-0 lead and later iced the game with an empty-net
goal. He earlier earned the primary assist on the first
goal by Sean Berkstresser for the three-point effort.
That combined with Niagara going an anemic
1-for-11 on their own man advantage put RMU one point ahead
of Bemidji in what is shaping up to be a tight three-way
This marks the latest point in a season that
the Colonials have had sole possession of the top spot in
the four-year history of the program.
“It was a great hockey weekend with
good goaltending both ways,” said RMU head coach Derek
Schooley. “But our better players stepped up (Saturday)
and we got production from some other guys. Both teams had
their big guys come through and I can’t say it enough
— it was probably one of the best hockey weekends
at the Island Sports Center.”
Even though it was early November, the importance
of the series to both teams was evident as they turned to
their number one goaltenders in both games.
Juliano Pagliero again had a strong first
period with 19 saves for Niagara en route to his second
shutout of the season and third of his career Friday. Christian
Boucher followed with nine third-period saves Saturday for
the Colonials to help salvage the split.
“In general we need to get better on
the road,” said Niagara head coach Dave Burkholder.
“Our record at home speaks for itself, but if we don’t
get better on the road the season will not end like we want
it to. We were unbelievable (Friday) as a group of five
backchecking and getting back to the top of our crease and
defending. Those are the little things that will win games.”
Niagara junior Ted Cook broke a five-game
goalless streak with a tally in each game, giving him three
for the season.
“It felt like I took a 250-pound weight
off my chest and if I could have jumped over the boards
I was so excited," he said. "It wasn’t like
a slump, it was more that I wasn’t working hard enough,
so I finally got an effort in that was acceptable for me
and my team.”
Niagara puts their best-in-the-nation 20-game
home unbeaten streak on the line this weekend when they
face Sacred Heart for the first time ever. Robert Morris
plays Ohio State this weekend at Mellon Arena in Pittsburgh
— the home of the Penguins.
“It’s going to be very exciting
for our program," said Schooley. "We had close
to 5,000 people last year against Notre Dame and we’re
expecting the same or more with Ohio State. It’s a
chance to showcase our program and show Pittsburgh what
Robert Morris hockey is all about.”
AND HEARD IN THE CHA
Streak snapped, specially:
Special teams seemed to be the theme as Wayne State used
two power-play goals to break an eight-game winless skid
with a 2-1 win over Lake Superior State and earn a series
split in their series.
Freshman goaltender Kyle Funkenhauser registered
his first collegiate victory in his fifth start with Jon
Grabarek and Jared Katz scoring for the Warriors.
Streak snapped, specially, Part II:
Alabama-Huntsville scored two power-play goals and added
a short-handed effort to tie Bemidji State and salvage a
weekend point. The tie broke a six-game losing streak that
saw the Chargers outscored 25-5.
Beavers goaltender Matt Climie made 36 saves
in the 2-0 Friday shutout — the ninth in his career,
which tied him for the school record. After Travis Winter
broke a 0-0 tie in the second period, Matt Francis scored
his first collegiate goal in the third after playing 45
games with St. Cloud State and sitting out last season following
After a weekend off, UAH will participate
in the annual Rensselaer Holiday Hockey Tournament Thanksgiving
weekend. The Chargers will be trying to make it a CHA repeat
in the tourney after Niagara took the 2006 crown. They face
Notre Dame in the first round, who the Chargers took to
double overtime in the NCAA Midwest Regional in Grand Rapids
Great Weekend Getaway
Bemidji State at Wayne State
The Warriors, who finally picked up
their first win of the season last weekend, were 1-0-1
on home ice against the Beavers in their last meeting
at the Fairgrounds.
While You’re There: Catch
the lions, tigers and bears (oh, my) with the circus
(Ringling Bros.) at 3:30 p.m. Saturday at the Palace
of Auburn Hills before the Beavers battle the Warriors.
Matt Caruana for became just the
ninth Purple Eagle all-time to reach the 100-point
mark with a two-goal effort Friday.
power play was just 1-for-11 with only 10
shots on net in a 4-2 loss to RMU.
FRIES AT THE BOTTOM
OF THE BAG
• Niagara defenseman and assistant captain
Travis Anderson suffered a separated shoulder in the third
period Saturday. It is not known how much time he will miss.
• One-third of Alabama-Huntsville's
scoring this season has come on special teams (four of 12
• Niagara played two defensemen on their
fourth line over the weekend and Jim Burichin scored his
first collegiate goal Friday when fed by fellow defenseman
• The three points earned by Wayne State
against Bemidji State last season is half their entire total
(six points) in the last 18 meetings.
• Wayne State is 1-6 all-time in home
league openers with four of the losses coming against Bemidji.
• Over the last four games, Robert Morris’
power play is clicking at almost 32% while the penalty kill
is at over 93%.
A variety of sources were utilized in
the compilation of this report. Warren Kozireski can be
reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.