November 29, 2007
Time For Robert Morris to Relax

By Warren Kozireski

Wayne State and Alabama-Huntsville took advantage of non-conference play over the holiday weekend with the Warriors earning a win and tie at St. Lawrence and the Chargers taking the consolation game of the 57th annual Rensselaer Holiday Tournament against American International.

College Hockey America Notebook

Sophomore Kevin Morrison scored his first goal of the season for the Alabama-Huntsville Chargers in a win over AIC at the Rensselaer Holiday Tournament.

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Wayne State extended their unbeaten streak to three games—its longest since a seven game run leading into last season's conference playoffs.

Outshot over the two games 83-38, goaltenders Brett Bothwell and Kyle Funkenhauser helped keep the Saints off the board over 11 power play opportunities in two games.

"We started playing well three weeks ago up Ferris State, but we couldn't score," said Warriors head coach Bill Wilkinson. "We finally started scoring and we're defending even better.

"Sometimes you get the bounces and sometimes you don't, but I sense our confidence is stronger than it's been."

Sophomore defenseman Jeff Caister had a four-point weekend—all assists—including all three helpers in the Friday win.

"He took a shot off his foot Tuesday and was in a soft cast and on crutches Thursday. He skated Friday morning and felt pretty good, but he basically played the weekend on one leg," said Wilkinson.

Wayne State plays a home-and-home series with Bowling Green this weekend. The last time the two teams met was November 2004 when each team won the roadie for a split.

For just the second time over the first nine games of this season, the Chargers scored four or more goals in a game with a 5-3 win to snap an eight-game winless streak. Tom Train scored the first and last goals of the game with Scott Kalinchuk and Kevin Morrison each lighting the lamp for the first time this season. Matt Sweazey also tied for the team lead with his third of the season.

"We're doing some things better and we're starting to understand how we have to play," said first year head coach Danton Cole at the Houston Field House after the game. "We also understand that we are young so goals are going to be hard to come by so we need to just grind it out and really value the puck. We're getting there, we're young and we have some energy and I think tonight our youth probably got us over some mistakes.

"There is a way I want guys to play and if we do that, we'll win hockey games. We don't have too many older guys and our sophomores didn't really play a big role on the team last year, so really 19 of our 26 players are pretty fresh."

The Chargers are idle this week before their only trip of the season to Bemidji next weekend.


Chargers Prefer Bus Trips: Alabama-Huntsville chose to bus to Troy, N.Y. for the RPI Tourney instead of flying. "We have the sleeper bus and the guys really enjoy that," said Cole. "We talked about flying and the guys decided they wanted to go on bus for this trip, get back a little earlier and not mess around with Thanksgiving Sunday travel. It's a little more personal with the guys and I get to spend some time with them and I've enjoyed that. We fly to about half the games, but I kind of like the bus rides better."

Halfway Home In Wayne State Finale: With Wayne State's final season nearing the halfway mark, one begins to think about the next destination for the players on the Warriors roster. "I've talked to a lot more college guys, but I haven't seen many at our games unless we're playing them," said Wilkinson.

Players are permitted to make verbal commitments anytime, but they would not become official until after this season ends. As to any reported progress on that front, Wilkinson said, "nothing has come through that I know of, but there's a lot of talk."

Purps and Beavers Meet Again: Niagara hosts Bemidji State this weekend as the two meet for the final time in this regular season. The two split their series four weeks ago in Minnesota with Beavers goaltender Matt Climie earning a shutout in the second game.

That means the Purps high-powered offense hasn't scored against Bemidji in over 70 minutes of play.

Expect a little more emotion and chippiness in this second meeting…in other words back to normal. The two combined for just 11 power plays and 15 penalties over two games in the first series. Last season at Dwyer, the two combined for 39 power plays over two games. Plus Bemidji wants to be the one to end Niagara's now 22-game unbeaten streak on home ice.

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Bemidji State at Niagara

First place Bemidji State travels to third place Niagara for the second meeting between the two over four weeks and last meeting of the regular season. They split two games in early November in Minnesota.

While You're There: Make it a hockey doubleheader as Niagara's women's team hosts No. 7 Mercyhurst at 2 p.m. Saturday at Dwyer.

Stick Salute

To UAH freshman goaltender Cameron Talbot and freshman forward Andrew Coburn. Talbot picked up his first victory and Coburn first goal in the UAH consolation game win over AIC.

Bench Minor

To referee Chip McDonald for calling a delay of game penalty at the RPI Tourney on UAH goaltender Cameron Talbot for covering the puck despite a AIC forward moving in quickly from the blueline. Of course, AIC tied the game with a power-play goal before UAH recovered.


• Wayne State sophomore forward Mike Forgie suffered another serious injury last weekend and will miss the next 2-4 weeks minimum. He dislocated his kneecap while winding up for a slapshot.

• Chargers forward Kevin Morrison scored his first goal of the season against fellow former Milton Ice Hawk Tom Fenton of AIC.

• After next season, according to head coach Danton Cole UAH has scheduled several CCHA teams for home games at the Von Braun Center over the following three seasons.

• Freshman Neil Ruffini was 6-2 on faceoffs Saturday and picked up his first collegiate point for UAH in just his third game of the season.

• The last time Bemidji State swept Niagara in a series was November 2004 at Dwyer.

• The CHA is 7-0-0 in head-to-head games against Atlantic Hockey this season. There are four games remaining in the series—two for Niagara (Canisius, RIT) and two for Robert Morris (AIC).

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