times teams from the MAAC/Atlantic Hockey Association had tried
to defeat a member of Hockey East, and 45 times the little guy
But you kind
of got the inkling that would change when banged up Quinnipiac
visited struggling Merrimack for a two-game set last weekend.
Sure, the numbers were stacked against an upset, but Merrimack
is far from a superpower and Quinnipiac is anything but a pushover.
In the end,
we saw a split – 4-1 Merrimack on Friday, 3-2 Quinnipiac
on Saturday. The series proved that bottom-dwellers in Hockey
East can still beat top-tier teams from Atlantic Hockey, but also
that the AHA continues to gain ground on the big boys.
game, Hockey East was 40-0-5 all-time against the MAAC/AHA.
time you can beat a team from one of the Big Four conferences,
you're excited," Bobcats coach Rand Pecknold said. "Given
that Hockey East kind of had our league's number there for awhile,
it was good to get that monkey off our back.
Dumais and the Quinnipiac Bobcats posted the first win for
an Atlantic Hockey/MAAC team over a Hockey East foe.
we could play with Merrimack – or any team in Hockey East
– if we played well and got good goaltending. They have
a good team. But our guys did what they had to do to win.
want to say it was just a win. It was a good win for us. But I
would certainly be just as happy beating Mercyhurst on Friday."
victory was especially impressive considering the mountain of
injuries they have had to deal with in the first half. School
policy precludes Pecknold from going into specifics, but he said
it has been tough, at times, to dress 18 healthy guys for a game.
He was half-joking, at most.
Rob Hammel, sophomore forwards Michael Bordieri and Tim Morrison,
freshman forward Dustin Hughes and freshman defenseman Jamie Dowhayko
have all missed significant time with injuries. Several are done
for the year.
That has Pecknold
looking forward to the mid-season break for reasons other than
eggnog and candy canes.
got two games this weekend and then three weeks off," Pecknold
said. "I think we need this break probably more than anyone
in the nation."
hasn't gotten any breaks health-wise this year, but Pecknold couldn't
have asked for more from his goaltenders, junior Jamie Holden
and senior Justin Eddy. Both goalies allow less than three goals
a game and boast save percentages above .910. The two have split
time most of the season, although Holden is the only one to have
played both games in one weekend, and he earned the win over Merrimack
while Eddy suffered the loss.
even made a decision about who's going to play this weekend yet,"
Pecknold said. "We have confidence in both of them."
Matt Craig (7-5—12) paces the Bobcats. He was instrumental
in the upset of the Warriors on Saturday, notching two goals and
an assist. For his efforts, he's the reigning Atlantic Hockey
Offensive Player of the Week.
phenomenal Saturday," Pecknold said. "But he went three
or four games before that without a point. We want him to be a
little more consistent."
AND HEARD IN THE LEAGUES
Joe Who? – If someone told you before the season
that two Niagara Purple Eagles would be tied for seventh on the
national goal-scoring leaders list at the beginning of December,
you would have assumed the players were Hobey Baker candidate
Joe Tallari and some other guy.
(1-5—6) has had trouble solving opposing goalies thus far
this year. Fortunately for coach Dave Burkholder, junior Barret
Ehgoetz (10-9—19) and freshman Jeremy Hall (10-6—16)
have picked up the offensive slack.
Hall has scored
six goals in Niagara's last five games, including two markers
in an 8-3 loss to Ferris State on Saturday. The night prior, Ehgoetz
tallied the Purple Eagles' first goal in an impressive 2-2 tie
on the Bulldogs' home ice.
had a 2-1 lead late in the third period Friday, but Ferris tied
it up with less than four minutes to play. A win would have been
Niagara's third over the Big Four this season.
Big Tie Against Big Red – Mercyhurst also
finagled a tie against a big-time opponent last weekend, playing
to a 3-3 draw at Cornell. Unlike Niagara, however, the Lakers
had to manufacture a late goal to do so.
With his team's
goalie pulled, sophomore forward Scott Reynolds buried a rebound
with 5.5 seconds to play in the third period. The tally extended
his point streak to seven games.
sophomore goaltender Andy Franck was sharp again for the Lakers,
making up for a 47-20 Cornell advantage in shots. He made five
saves in overtime.
think he's among the best goalies in the conference," Mercyhurst
coach Rick Gotkin said. "He's playing extremely well."
is now 2-2-1 against Big Four opponents.
Great Weekend Getaways
at Niagara (Fri.-Sat.)
Remember the good ol' days when UAH used to play
hockey games? Well, it's time to get nostalgic. The Chargers
(3-3-0, 2-0-0) will drop the puck for the first time since
Nov. 8 in this battle of teams unbeaten in CHA play. Huntsville's
Jared Ross leads the nation in points per game (1.83). These
will be just the fourth and fifth games for the Purple Eagles
(6-6-1, 4-0-0) at Dwyer Arena this season.
While you're there: Get some Christmas shopping done
at the nearby Walden Galleria mall in Cheektowaga. If you're
feeling generous, I'm in the market for a white Edmonton
furor over the Buckeyes' football loss last week, I forgot
to congratulate Wayne State defenseman Aaron Hundt
on his assist in the Warriors' 3-2 win over Michigan State
two weeks ago. Hundt, who has junior eligibility with WSU,
played two seasons as a walk-on with the Spartans before
transferring to Detroit after the 2001-02 season. He has
0-2—2 this year and is receiving significantly more
playing time than he did in East Lansing.
Findlay failed to score in its trip to
Colorado last weekend,
losing by identical 4-0 scores to Denver and CC. It was
the first time since 2000-01 the Oilers were shut out in
back-to-back games. Their power play, which we decried for
an 0-for-13 skid in last week's notebook, went 0-for-9 in
the Rockies. Perhaps the offense will get on track against
another Colorado team, Air Force, this weekend.
AT THE BOTTOM OF THE BAG
• Who woulda thunk Air Force would
be above .500 in nonconference games (6-4-0) but winless in College
Hockey America (0-4-0)? And this after getting swept by Colorado
College and Denver in non-CHA games last weekend. Granted, five
of the Falcons' wins were against Atlantic Hockey teams, but they
also beat Miami. In league play, they've been swept by Alabama-Huntsville
• In losing to those WCHA teams, Air Force
has now gone winless in 16 straight versus DU and 21 in a row
against CC. The Academy's 0-for-10 power play effort against the
Pioneers on Saturday didn't help matters. But on the bright side,
junior defenseman Ross Miller returned to the lineup last weekend
after missing 11 of the team's first 12 games while recovering
from offseason shoulder surgery.
• College Hockey America went 1-6-1 last week – all
against non-league foes. Bemidji State's 7-2
win over UConn was the only success. All six
CHA teams will play conference games this weekend, marking the
first such occurrence this season.
• After a horrendous start (seven straight losses, including
one to the U.S. Under-18 Team), Sacred Heart
is on the rise. The Pioneers have won four of their last five,
and, surprisingly, are tied for second place in Atlantic Hockey.
With a home-and-home against skidding Bentley
this weekend, they probably won't fall from that spot.
• It's not the sexiest matchup, but the Wayne State
at Bemidji State series this weekend at the John
S. Glas Fieldhouse might be fun to watch. It's the rematch of
last season's CHA Tournament championship game, which WSU won
to nab the league's first automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
It also starts a stretch of 12-straight league games for Bemidji,
which just split three consecutive non-conference series. In their
last game, seven different Beavers scored – including five
in the second period – in the aforementioned rout of UConn.
Beavers head coach Tom Serratore might wish this series were played
at Wayne State, however, as Bemidji is 4-2-0 on the road this
year. It's the school's best start away from home since 1996-97.