February 14, 2008
RMU's Second Fiddle is First-Rate

By Warren Kozireski

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.

College Hockey America Notebook

In 91 career games at Robert Morris, junior forward Chris Margott has 39-45—84, making him the school's career scoring leader.

National TV Schedule

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 unbeaten streak.

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 shutout.

“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.”


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 late January.

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:

Bemidji State: Aaron Lewadniuk (Omaha Lancers); Ben Kime (Sioux City Musketeers)
Niagara: Brian Dowd (Chicago Steel); Robert Martini (Indiana Ice); Danny Baco (Lincoln Stars)
Robert Morris: Ron Cramer (Indiana Ice)
Great Weekend Getaway
120x60 - Brand Red

Bemidji State at Robert Morris
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.

Stick Salute

Wayne State 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.

Bench Minor

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.


• 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 out there.”

• 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 warrenkozireski@yahoo.com.