for another chance
coming, any day, don't worry 'bout me, no. Been so long I felt
this way, ain't in no hurry, no."
Those are the words Chad Fifield's favorite band, The Grateful
Dead, sing at the beginning of the song "Estimated Prophet."
Up until a week ago, they also applied to Fifield's hockey career
The Eden Prairie, Minn., native played mostly for Army's JV squad
as a freshman in 2001-02, only dressing for seven games of varsity
duty. He did, however, play one varsity game at night after posting
a hat trick in a JV contest during the afternoon, becoming "the
only known cadet" to play at both levels in the same day,
according to the Army athletic Web site.
But Fifield, a physical, defensive-minded forward, was cut from
the Black Knights prior to last season because of an acknowledged
"I was kind of d--king around in practice and didn't always
have my head
on straight," Fifield said. "And Coach decided he didn't
need that on the
Now a junior, Fifield has changed his outlook and he's back on
the ice, making the most of his second chance in West Point. He
notched two goals and three assists in Army's 9-2 exhibition romp
over Ryerson last weekend. For a change, he's also on coach Rob
Riley's good side.
"It feels awesome, it really does," said Fifield, a
6-foot-1, 205-pounder. "The year off really did a lot for
Not that it was his choice. Riley simply said he had "personal
differences" with Fifield, but the player admitted that he
was the one to blame for the rift that led to his ouster from
"The attitudes here (at Army) aren't always the best, just
because of all the stuff we go through," Fifield said. "It
takes a lot out of you. I wasn't as focused as I needed to be.
Plus, I broke my foot right before the season, so I had a lot
of things working against me."
hardly skated at all during his year in hockey purgatory –
aside from a few drop-in games when he went home for Christmas.
He stepped up his training regimen last spring after Riley invited
him to rejoin the team, and so far this season, Fifield has worked
well with linemates Seth Beamer and Chris Migliaro.
"They've been, by far, our most aggressive line," Riley
said. "They're our defensive line, our momentum-changing
line. We haven't had that here in a while. They've really clicked
together so far, so we'll just keep our fingers crossed that it
Fifield said his line's chemistry – plus a steady diet of
ice time – eased his transition back onto the ice.
"We were put together a week before Ryerson, and we were
just flowing right off the bat," Fifield said. "I got
a few chances and my confidence just shot up right away. That
makes it so much easier. I don't see any reason why our line can't
put up multiple points a game this year.
"I'm feeling good, and I've got two good years left here.
that really gets me fired up."
AND HEARD IN THE LEAGUES
Striking oil – Undoubtedly, Findlay had the most
impressive weekend of any CHA team, upsetting Michigan State in
the first round of the Ice Breaker Tournament before falling to
Boston College in the championship game in East Lansing.
New Oilers coach Pat Ford earned his first career win by topping
Spartans. Forward Brian Sherry, a native of Lansing suburb Holt,
notched a goal in each contest and added a helper in the victory.
Captain Kris Wiebe tallied Friday's game-winner with a quick shot
off a faceoff in the Spartans' zone. Goaltender Jon Horrell made
27 saves for the win.
At the final horn, the Oilers piled onto the ice for a spirited
celebration. But Ford was all business.
"Is it a huge win? Yeah it is," Ford said. "But
I told the guys, this is a tournament. We can enjoy it for 10
minutes and then we've got another game to play against a hell
of a team. As excited as I'd like to be and they'd like to be,
we have another game.
"It was pretty hard for (MSU) to sit over there and not be
complacent coming into this game. They weren't playing Michigan.
We just hung around long enough and, all of a sudden, it's a funny
Said Sherry: "I'm very excited right now. I grew up playing
(at Munn Ice Arena) as a little kid, and this is my first college
game here. To play in front of my family and friends and come
out with a big win is great. We've been working hard all summer,
but it's paid off. The 6 a.m. workouts early in the year, this
is what you do it for. I think the guys have realized that."
of a game to miss – Wins were hard to come by at
Air Force last season, so you can bet Falcon head coach Frank
Serratore was at least a little upset he missed the Academy's
4-2 victory over Bentley in the first round of the Q-Cup on Friday.
But Serratore had a good reason to play hooky – he had a
hall of fame induction to attend.
Minn., native is one of four new members of the Omaha Hockey Hall
of Fame after ceremonies held late last week. Serratore piloted
the River City Lancers of the USHL for just one season –
1989-90 – but he went 36-12-0 and won both the Anderson
and Clark cups during his tenure. He is largely credited with
turning the Omaha franchise into a junior hockey powerhouse. Former
Omaha Knights players Bill Fairbairn, Max McNab and Terry Sawchuk
were also inducted Friday.
Serratore returned to the Falcons' bench Saturday for the Q-Cup
title game – a 4-3 overtime loss to Quinnipiac. The Falcons
play in their second-straight tournament this weekend at the Nye
Frontier Classic in Anchorage.
weekend for AH – Several teams for the newly formed
Atlantic Hockey league get to take shots at major-conference foes
this weekend. Quinnipiac hits the road for a pair at Michigan,
Lake Superior State visits Canisius for two, UConn plays a single
game at Rensselaer, and either Sacred Heart or Holy Cross will
battle host Maine in the Black Bear Classic.
AT THE BOTTOM OF THE BAG
Great Weekend Getaways
at Bemidji State: The Beavers host ECAC foe Clarkson
for a pair Friday and Saturday at
John S. Glas Fieldhouse. It's the back end of a travel deal
that saw the teams split a series in Potsdam last November.
Not only will Friday be the Golden Knights' first game of
the season – and first under new coach George Roll
– but the series is also their only road test before
a nine-game homestand. Will they overlook the hosts? They'd
better not. Bemidji State has the most experienced team
in the CHA and they'll be
honoring their unbeaten, untied 1983-84 Division II national
championship squad during Saturday's game.
Superior at Canisius: A pair of teams looking to
rediscover the winning ways of yesteryear will
meet at the Buffalo State Sports Arena on Friday and Saturday.
Canisius took one point from a series against Holy Cross
last weekend. This will be the season-opener for Frank Anzalone's
Lakers. Anzalone is an alumnus of the nearby University
While you're there: Rekindle your Frozen Four memories of
Chippewa Street. You do remember the Frozen Four, right?
Jess Bechard didn't defect to a communist country. But Findlay's
hockey sports information director was indeed in Cuba while his
Oilers were wreaking havoc at the Ice Breaker. Bechard, a Brantford,
Ont., native is an infielder on the Canadian national baseball
team competing in the World Cup in Havana from Oct. 12-26. He
went 2-for-2 with an RBI against Russia in his first game of the
tournament. Canada is in Group A with Chinese Taipei, Cuba, Italy,
Korea, Nicaragua and Russia.
• Sacred Heart didn't do much to help out its goaltenders
last weekend. Junior Kevin LaPointe made 40 saves Friday, but
lost 4-2 to Merrimack. The next night, heralded freshman Jason
Smith stopped 54 shots in his collegiate debut, but fell 7-2 to
Providence. In all, the Pioneers were outshot 105-45 for the weekend.
• Niagara is now 1-7-0 on opening nights after dropping
a 4-2 decision to Union on Saturday. "I shouldn't even have
been allowed in the building today," Purple Eagles coach
Dave Burkholder joked.
• Wayne State will raise its CHA Tournament championship
banner before its game against Findlay on Thursday at Compuware
Arena. Though both teams are in the CHA, the contest won't count
in the league standings. The schools play four league games later
in the season (and another non-conference game Oct. 24). Similarly,
Army's tilt with American International on Saturday is not an
Atlantic Hockey matchup.
• Wayne State head coach Bill Wilkinson twice tied his alma
mater, St. Lawrence, last weekend.
• Although it's the beast of Atlantic Hockey, Mercyhurst
has lost 10 consecutive nonconference games. The Lakers' next
chance to stop the streak will be Oct. 24 at Ohio State.
• By defeating Air Force in the Q-Cup championship game
Saturday, Quinnipiac earned its fourth-straight Q-Cup title. The
Bobcats have claimed six of eight Q-Cups overall.