Alabama-Huntsville is on pace to finish with
the fewest wins in a season since entering the Division
I ranks, but the Chargers may have taken away any hope Niagara
had of earning its third consecutive CHA regular-season
title with a 4-3 come-from-behind victory in game two of
last weekend's series.
Hockey America Notebook
defenseman Brennan Barker scored two goals, including
the game winner, in the Chargers' 4-3 win over visiting
The Chargers have taken three points from
Niagara in their four games this season — tying for
the most points they have earned against any one CHA team
all season. Robert Morris is the other three-point victim.
Last Saturday's win came one game after the
Purple Eagles blanked Alabama-Huntsville behind the 30-save
effort of Juliano Pagliero, who earned his fourth shutout
of the season. Vince Rocco, Paul Zanette and Chris Moran
tallied in each period for the Purps.
On Saturday, Chargers sophomore defenseman
Brennan Barker got the home team on the board after his
team trailed 2-0 and sophomore forward Tom Train, just four
games back from injury, tied it in the second. Niagara regained
the lead in the third period lead, but UAH's Joey Koudys
and Barker tallied a little more than three minutes apart
to give the Chargers the lead for good.
“It was a good win,” said Chargers
head coach Danton Cole. “Niagara is not an easy team
to come back on and our guys did a nice job fighting back
from being down 2-0 and then 3-2.
If you throw enough pucks on net, you’re
bound to get lucky. [The game-winning goal] seemed like
it was a knuckleball and it may have been screened a bit.”
Cole started Blake MacNicol in goal both nights
— he made 33 saves in the win.
“We’ve been splitting our weekends
a lot (in goal), but we felt Blake was outstanding Friday
and gave us the best chance to win, so we decided to give
him another kick at the can Saturday,” said Cole.
“We played well, but didn’t get
it done five-on-five," said Niagara head coach Dave
Burkholder. Hopefully this will be a lesson learned for
SEEN AND HEARD IN THE CHA
Down the Stretch They Come:
To say things are pretty even in the conference might be
In the seven series played this season between
the top three teams (Bemidji State, Robert Morris, and Niagara),
none resulted in a sweep. Niagara hosts Robert Morris this
weekend for the last regular season meeting featuring the
“Everyone is so evenly scouted and we
have played so many games against each other, I think this
time of year it just comes down to spirit and energy,”
said Niagara head coach Dave Burkholder. “We’re
not going to change anything or save anything for the playoffs
and I don’t think [Robert Morris] will either. We’re
still thinking first place, as I’m sure they are,
so we’ll go with what has gotten us to this point.”
What is set for the CHA postseason is that
Wayne State will play Alabama-Huntsville in the first round
play-in on Friday, March 14 at Dwyer Arena in Niagara. Bemidji
State can clinch their third regular-season crown with a
sweep at home against the Warriors this weekend.
Trying to predict the other outcomes is akin
to juggling chainsaws.
Should the Beavers slip against Wayne State,
the door re-opens for either Robert Morris or Niagara to
slide into first place by sweeping its last four games.
The Warriors have earned four points in the four games against
BSU, including their first win in 11 games in Minnesota
four weeks ago.
A three-point weekend for BSU ensures no worse
than a tie for first and the top seed for the conference
tournament as the Beavers hold the tiebreaker over the Colonials
and the Purps. Bemidji also need at least three points to
ensure a .500 season overall.
Should the Purple Eagles and Colonials again
split their upcoming series, they would head into the final
weekend with the same number of conference victories (10),
necessitating the next tiebreaker which is total goals against.
Niagara comes into this weekend with a 15-13 goal lead in
Wayne State holds a one-point lead over Alabama-Huntsville
and a 3-1 head-to-head edge for the last line change in
their first-round playoff match.
Great Weekend Getaway
Morris at Niagara
(Fri.-Sat.) This relatively new rivalry heats up again
as Robert Morris travels to Niagara for the second
time in 2008. The two enter the series tied for second
place and will likely meet for a fifth time in Niagara
and the seventh time this season in next month's CHA
While You're There: Only seven weeks
until the official start of spring (boo!), so catch
the first day of the Buffalo Home & Garden show
at the Buffalo Convention Center with 500 exhibitors
Alabama-Huntsville sophomore defenseman
Brennan Barker registered two goals against Niagara
Saturday, the first two-goal game of his career and
the first by a Chargers defenseman this season.
Bemidji State defenseman Graham McManamin took an elbowing penalty
with his team trailing 1-0 to third-ranked North Dakota
on the road and the goaltender pulled for an extra
attacker. The infraction occurred just four seconds
after the Beavers called timeout to set up a play
for the final minute.
Weekend Wrap: Bemidji State
dropped 5-1 and 1-0 decisions at North Dakota, with defenseman
Riley Weselowski netting the only goal of the weekend for
the Beavers. Orlando Alamano stopped 31 shots in goal in
the 1-0 loss, allowing just one early third-period tally.
Meanwhile, David Boguslawski, scored twio
second-period goals, but Robert Morris lost an exhibition
contest to the U.S. Under-18 Team, 5-2.
FRIES AT THE BOTTOM
OF THE BAG
• Funding for a proposed arena in Bemidji
was approved by a Minnesota Senate committee this week,
but the $22 million earmarked for the Bemidji Regional Events
Center may end up on the chopping block.
The state is projecting a $1 billion budget
shortfall, however, putting many public works projects on
shaky ground. Gov. Tim Pawlenty told the Grand Forks
Herald that arena projects in Bemidji and Crookston
• Tom Train now has picked up three
points in four games for Alabama-Huntsville since returning
from a high ankle sprain.
“He brings energy and drives the net
well, plus we’re glad to have him back in the room,”
• Niagara welcomes defenseman Jim Burchin
back this weekend after missing time with a broken ankle.
Forward Nate Bostic, who did not play last weekend, will
• Robert Morris forward Ryan Cruthers
enters the weekend tied for second in the nation in scoring
with 44 points and tied for sixth in assists with 25. Teammate
Chris Margott is tied for 12th nationally with 38 points,
and ranks 10th in assists with 24.
• Bemidji State goaltender Matt Climie
and Niagara’s Juliano Pagliero are in quite a race
for the first-team all-CHA honors. Climie is eighth in the
nation in goals against average (2.04), 19th in save percentage
(.919), and second in shutouts (five). Pagliero stands 22nd
in GAA (2.29), tied for sixth in save percentage (.927),
and tied for third with four shutouts.
• The 1-0 defeat suffered by Bemidji
State at North Dakota was the 11th one-goal game the Beavers
have played this season. They are 2-9 in those games.
• Niagara now has the sixth best power
play in the nation, converting at 22.2 percent success rate.
• Robert Morris forward Chris Margott
needs one assist for the 48th helper of his career, which
would tie him with Doug Conley for school's career record
in that category.
A variety of sources were utilized in
the compilation of this report. Warren Kozireski can be
reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.