November 26, 2003
Marc of Excellence

By James Jahnke

Atlantic Hockey/CHA Notebook

This week's schedule
National TV Schedule

CCHA Notebook
ECAC/Hockey East Notebook
WCHA Notebook

It's no secret that Wayne State senior goaltender Marc Carlson will be thankful for a lot of things this week.

He has his health after successfully battling testicular cancer two years ago. He has a few accounting job offers lined up for after he graduates in May. And the 25-year-old from Hingham, Mass., might be in line for some more playing time after leading the Warriors to a 3-2 upset at Michigan State last Thursday.

"Going in, we were all kind of feeling we'd be lucky if we could stay in there," Carlson said. "Then I'm sitting there in the third period and I look up and it's 2-2. I'm wondering how that happened. It was a wild game. One of the most exciting I've ever been a part of."

Carlson got the start after sophomore goalie Matt Kelly struggled in his last two games. (Kelly has now given up six and seven goals in consecutive games after never allowing more than four in his short collegiate career). It was just Carlson's third start of the season, but he certainly made the most of it by turning away 39 of the Spartans' 41 shots.

Kelly was back in net for MSU's 7-2 win the following night. Carlson thinks the disparity will probably earn him the call when WSU next hits the ice, Dec. 5 at Bemidji State.

"I've been around here long enough to kind of predict when I'm going to play and when I'm not," Carlson said. "But I've been in that situation before where I've had a big win and didn't get the next start. It used to anger me at times, but I don't let it get to me anymore. I think it helps that I'm not going to pursue hockey after this year. It's not do-or-die.

"I would expect to get a start at Bemidji. If I don't, I'll probably go up to [assistant coach] Willie [Mitchell] and ask him if I was supposed to get a shutout at Michigan State or something."

Carlson speaks with a good measure of thoughtfulness and maturity. His cancer scare, which forced him into surgery and extensive chemotherapy, provided him a new way to look at life. He passed the critical two-year mark in his recovery earlier this month, meaning his scheduled checkups have been reduced from four to one a year. There's a small chance of recurrence, but he's in greater danger of developing leukemia from his treatment.

If Carlson is still cancer-free at five years, he can stop seeing a urologist all together. He said some of his younger teammates don't even know about the ordeal that kept him out of the 2001-02 season.

"It's not as known as it was," Carlson said. "At first, I think I was treated differently because of it. Now, it's somewhat of a distant memory. But I don't mind talking about it if the younger guys ask me. It's not something I'm trying to forget.

"It made me stronger."


Beg For Mercy
– With all of Cornell's troubles at Lynah this year, be on upset alert when Mercyhurst rolls into Ithaca Saturday. The Lakers are fresh off a 7-4 thumping of Western Michigan in Kalamazoo and have also beaten Ohio State on the road this year. Against the Broncos, Mercyhurst went 4-for-5 on the power play and hung five second-period goals on the hosts, who took Friday's game 4-2. This is game No. 3 of the Lakers' 11-date roadstand. Oh, to be home in Erie for the holidays. With a Mercyhurst win in Ithaca and the possibility that Quinnipiac could succeed in a series at Merrimack, Atlantic Hockey could be in line for a memorable Thanksgiving weekend.

Merri-smack – With its 3-2 win over Hockey East's Merrimack on Saturday, Bemidji State has now beaten a member of all six Division I conferences. The Beavers probably should have gotten a sweep in North Andover, but the Warriors overcame a 38-20 shot disadvantage to steal a 3-2 overtime win Sunday.

BSU has registered at least one power-play goal in seven straight games – a Division I-era school record. This after being blanked in their first 22 attempts of the season. "Nothing was wrong," junior defenseman John Haider said. "We just didn't get the bounces we needed to get. The power play is better now. It's rolling."

Before we put the Beavers to bed for the week, one more meaningless nugget: Bemidji State has scored either two or three goals in six straight games. At least they're consistent.

Great Weekend Getaways
120x60 - Brand Red

Air Force at Colorado College (Fri.), Denver at Air Force (Sat.)
Take a tour of Colorado Springs this weekend, starting near downtown at World Arena on Friday. The Falcons are winless in their last 25 games against the Tigers, but this might be the year (and no, I'm not a closet Cubs fan). Head a few miles to the north side on Saturday, as Denver visits Cadet Ice Arena for what certainly should be the Academy's biggest home game of the season. Combined, Air Force is 8-74-2 all-time against CC and Denver.

While you're there: Hit the Golden Bee, an English pub in the swanky Broadmoor Hotel that was imported from London 40 years ago. It's famous for its yard-sized ales, as well as ragtime, sing-along pianists in the evenings.

Stick Salute

Way to go, American International! The Yellow Jackets finally discovered the win column with a 4-1 triumph over Army on Sunday and then liked it so much, they won again, 3-2, against Bentley on Tuesday. Sophomore forward C.J. McConnell has been the man lately, netting three goals in the last two games, including the overtime winner Tuesday. AIC's wins leave Vermont and Northeastern as the only winless teams in college hockey.

Bench Minor

• After we sang the praises of Findlay's power play last week, the Oilers responded with an 0-for-13 weekend. Their conversion percentage dipped from 22.2 to 17.2 in the process. Surprisingly, they still managed a win and a tie against Canisius. On a side note, sophomore goalie Jon Horrell (1-4-0) hasn't won since the season-opening game against Michigan State on Oct. 14. Freshman Will Hooper is getting most of the work now.

• Sorry to do this, but I also have to give a bench minor to the Colgate students lauded in my colleagues' Hockey East/ECAC notebook this week. As a full-blooded fan of Buckeye football, I find their actions disgusting and distasteful. I dropped $200 to get into that game. Hopefully, I don't have to pay that much at the College Hockey Showcase this weekend.


• While most of the country enjoys a couple of days off this week, Alabama-Huntsville must wonder what the big deal is. The Chargers never seem to have to go to work. They haven't played since losing to Miami on Nov. 8 and won't drop the puck again until Dec. 5 at Niagara. That's almost a month's vacation.

They're tied with Harvard and Brown for the
fewest games played (6) in the nation, and both of those teams are in action this weekend. Huntsville coach Doug Ross must have taken that Labatt "Free Your Time" commercial on CBC to heart.

• Kudos to Canisius freshman Billy Irish-Baker for netting the game-tying goal against Findlay on Saturday. And also for having a name that rivals that of teammate Todd Bowler.

• Speaking of the Golden Griffins, they mustered only 17 shots in a shutout loss to the Oilers on Friday. That total is never good, but it was especially abysmal because Canisius had seven power-play

Quinnipiac is in good shape at second place in Atlantic Hockey. But the Bobcats are doing all of their damage at home (5-0-0). They're 0-4-2 on the road.

Army coach Rob Riley has been stuck on 299 career victories for four games (0-3-1). He'll have this weekend off to think about it and then take the Black Knights to league-leading Holy Cross on Dec. 5-6. The Black Knights' 1-4-2 record in November marked their first losing month since last November.

Army's woes have been rooted mostly in the offensive end. The Black Knights have scored just five goals in their last four games and are averaging just 1.7 goals per game this season. They haven't tallied more than three goals in a contest yet.

Quinnipiac and UConn skated to a 1-1 draw in the second part of their three-game battle for the "Heroes Hat." Considering the teams combined for 78 shots in the game, it's safe to say goaltenders Jamie Holden
(QU) and Scott Tomes (UConn) were the heroes of the night.

• In last week's notebook, Holy Cross coach Paul Pearl bemoaned his team's power play ineffectiveness. The Crusaders, presumably avid readers of the site, might have taken the criticism to heart. They
popped in four man-advantage markers this weekend, including three in Saturday's 6-5 overtime win against Sacred Heart. For the weekend, INCH National Player of the Week Greg Kealey scored one power-play goal and set up two others. The Crusaders' success helped them sweep Atlantic Hockey's weekly awards – offensive (Kealey), goaltender (Tony Quesada, shared with Holden) and rookie (James Sixsmith).

A variety of sources were utilized in the compilation of this report.

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