Second Fiddle is First-Rate
Though being overshadowed by teammate Ryan
Cruthers, who leads College Hockey America in scoring and
is having the best season of his career, junior forward
Chris Margott has quietly become a second go-to player offensively
for Robert Morris.
Hockey America Notebook
91 career games at Robert Morris, junior forward Chris
Margott has 39-45—84, making him the school's
career scoring leader.
Margott solidified that reputation last weekend
with an overtime winner against Wayne State Saturday, helping
the Colonials overcome a 2-1 deficit in the second game
of the series to earn the sweep with a 4-3 victory. Earlier
in the game, he set up Cruthers for the tying goal midway
through the third period. He also registered a goal and
an assist, both in the final period, to help RMU to a 3-1
win over the Warriors last Friday.
The Thousand Oaks, Calif. native now has scored
14 goals. More importantly, he ranks sixth in the nation
in assists with 22, having helped Cruthers set the school's
single-season records for points and goals in a season.
Margott, meanwhile, has surpassed his previous career highs
in goals, assists, and points with six games still left
on the regular season schedule.
The sweep over the Warriors, combined with
a three-point weekend by Niagara, enabled the Colonials
to pick up a point in what has become a race for second
place in the conference, five points behind first place
Bemidji State. It marked just the third time in the three-plus
years of the RMU program that the team has swept four points
in a road series.
RMU and Niagara will meet head-to-head in
upstate New York Feb. 29-March 1.
Niagara took three of four points from Alabama-Huntsville
last weekend. The Purple Eagles are riding a seven-game
Kyle Rogers scored a goal in each game and
Vince Rocco continued his recent point run with three helpers.
The junior co-captain has at least one point in all but
one of his last seven contests.
In the second game of the series, goaltender
Juliano Pagliero made 21 saves to pick up his third shutout
of the season and fourth of his career. The junior is now
eighth in the nation in save percentage (.927) and 22nd
in goals against average (2.29).
In the first game of the series, Alabama-Huntsville
lost a 1-0 lead in the third period but came back to earn
a 2-2 tie.
“We showed both sides of the coin,”
said Chargers first-year coach Danton Cole. “One side
was immaturity, letting Niagara score two quick ones in
the third which put us on our heels a bit. But then a big
improvement for our team in catching ourselves, fighting
back, and getting it tied.
“I’m impressed with our guys.
They are working hard and getting some reward. We don’t
have a much talent as the other team on most nights with
nine freshmen in the lineup, but they are a fun bunch of
kids and they work.
“We sometimes get caught playing defensively
... I call it five-on-five penalty killing and I am not
a big fan of it. I’d rather we close on the puck carrier
and not give them room. I hate to be happy with a tie, but
I am proud of the way we worked.”
Niagara was disappointed with its effort in
the first game, but more than made up for it with Saturday's
“We talked in the dressing room after
[Friday's tie] that we can’t take a period off against
anyone in the CHA,” said Matt Caruana. “We came
back and played two good periods in the second and third
... if we had played like that in the first, we wouldn’t
be in that situation and lost a point.
“We really tried during the week to
say we couldn’t take these guys too lightly and they
took a point last week at Robert Morris. I don’t think
we overlooked them, I think we just came out a little flat.”
SEEN AND HEARD IN THE CHA
Four and Five, Still Alive:
Wayne State makes the trip south for two games at Alabama-Huntsville
this weekend. The Warriors, who gave Robert Morris a pair
of scares last weekend, swept the Chargers in Detroit in
Wayne State has a three-point lead over the
Chargers in the race to be the home team for their guaranteed
first-round playoff game in Niagara. The two teams combined
for 20 goals over two games in the Rocket City last season.
All the Young Dudes: The
United States Hockey League website lists the following
recruits committed to CHA schools for the 2008-09 campaign:
Aaron Lewadniuk (Omaha Lancers); Ben Kime (Sioux City Musketeers)
Dowd (Chicago Steel); Robert Martini (Indiana Ice); Danny
Baco (Lincoln Stars)
Ron Cramer (Indiana Ice)
Great Weekend Getaway
State at Robert Morris
(Fri.-Sat.) The Beavers can put a virtual lock on their
third CHA regular-season title with a sweep. A Colonials
sweep move them to within one point of first place
with two games in hand.
While You're There: Soup's on! The
fourth annual South Side Mid-Winter Soup Contest presented
by Iron & Glass Bank will take place Saturday
from 12-3 p.m. at the South Side Shops to benefit
the local food pantry.
senior forward Derek Bachynski has three goals and
seven assists in 12 games since returning to the Warrior
lineup in January. The team is 5-7-0 during that span
after going 3-13-2 without him.
Wayne State junior defenseman Matt Krug took a double minor at
the third-period horn, allowing Robert Morris to score
in overtime on the power play after his team had tied
the game with five minutes remaining in regulation.
FRIES AT THE BOTTOM
OF THE BAG
• Alabama-Huntsville and Niagara combined
for just three minors penalties Friday, tying for the conference
record for fewest penalties between two teams in one game.
• Niagara travels to coach Dave Burkholder’s
alma mater this weekend for a single game against RIT, which
boasts the fifth-best power play (21.6%) in the nation.
The Purps are 2-0 against the Tigers since both have become
Division I programs, with last year’s victory in Rochester.
RIT will be shorthanded this weekend after
their line brawl against Canisius last weekend. Tyler Mazzei,
goaltender Louis Menard, Stephen Burns, and Ricky Walton
will all be sitting out thanks to suspensions handed out
by Atlantic Hockey commissioner Bob DeGregorio Wednesday.
• Wayne State has won four of the last
six games against Alabama-Huntsville, but is 1-4-1 in their
last six down south.
• As of this weekend, three teams (Bemidji
State, Niagara, Robert Morris) in CHA are over the .500
mark overall for the first time in conference history.
• In just his sixth game of the season,
UAH freshman Kyle Goodchild suffered a shoulder injury in
the first game at Niagara last weekend and didn’t
play Saturday. He joins Tom Train, Tyler Hilbert, Brady
Cook, and Wes Russell on the injured list.
“We just need to fight through this,”
said Cole. “Usually bad teams don’t seem to
have many injuries because they’re just floating around
• The only defenseman in the league
who has played 20 or more games this season and has yet
to be whistled for a penalty — Alabama-Huntsville's
Matt Baxter. Teammate Kevin Morrison is the only forward
to meet the same criteria.
A variety of sources were utilized in
the compilation of this report. Warren Kozireski can be
reached at email@example.com.