Foes Need Booster Shots
only things harder to find than flu shots nowadays are shots on
goal by Bemidji State's opponents.
completely choked the life out of visiting Wayne State in a sweep
last weekend. Final two-game shot totals? Try 103 for Bemidji
and 25 for the Warriors.
Bill Wilkinson lightly disputed the numbers, but the dominance
was undeniable. Bemidji hasn't allowed an opponent more than 20
shots in its last six games, surrendering an average of just 16.7
during that time frame. Only twice has an opponent topped 30 shots
a veteran team right now, and a veteran defensive corps,"
Beavers coach Tom Serratore said. "We stress attention to
our defensive zone, no question. We work hard to block shots and
contest shots and we have good gapping. We emphasize play away
from the puck."
also credited his team's knack for staying out of the penalty
box for keeping opponents' shot totals down.
defense faces a stiff challenge if it wants to keep its stingy
streak going. Two-way forward and assistant captain Andy Murray
broke, dislocated and tore tendons in an ankle Friday night and
will be out at least two months. Serratore stopped short of calling
the injury devastating, but he couldn't downplay the loss of a
forward who played about 30 minutes a game.
it's a big loss," Serratore said. "He's big. He can
skate. He's mean. And, you know that half of having a good defense
is having a good offense. When Andy was on the ice, the puck was
in the other team's end 80 percent of the time. And then the line
that comes out after him has a lot of offensive-zone faceoffs.
So right there, you allow fewer shots."
With an increased
role in Murray's absence, junior forward Brendan Cook netted a
hat trick Saturday and won CHA Offensive Player of the Week honors
in the process.
AND HEARD IN THE LEAGUES
Snow Friggin' Way – Apparently, there was some
snow in New England last weekend and everybody panicked and postponed
a bunch of sporting events. Among them were two Atlantic Hockey
games: Bentley at Sacred Heart and Canisius at Quinnipiac.
word on a rescheduled time for the Golden Griffins and Bobcats,
but we're happy to report the Falcons and Pioneers have found
a new date. They will tangle at 7 p.m. Jan. 6 in the Milford Ice
Pavilion in Milford, Conn.
– Don't tell Army coach Rob Riley the Black Knights' football
team looked bad in its 34-6 loss to archrival Navy last weekend.
Riley would love his team to post a "6" in the score
column. Or even a "3."
Army has struggled
offensively the entire season, averaging less than two goals a
game. In their last six contests, the Black Knights have generated
just six goals. With a 2-6-2 league record, they are still tied
for fifth in Atlantic Hockey, but Riley must be wondering if his
team used up all of its offense in its 9-2 exhibition win over
Ryerson in early October. Nine goals is more than a month's worth
Your Ticket to Boston – Look at what former Niagara
head coach Blaise MacDonald had to say about his old team as he
prepares his UMass Lowell River Hawks for the Purple Eagles on
Sunday: "Niagara is a team that if they get into the NCAA
tournament this season, which they have a really good chance of
doing, would not surprise me at all to see them win and advance
and then win and advance again." Do the math in your head
and realize he's saying Niagara could go to the Frozen Four.
Great Weekend Getaways
vs. Sacred Heart at Bridgeport, Conn. (Fri.)
Sacred Heart is still looking for its first nonconference
victory of the year, and what better place to get it than
the home of the AHL's Bridgeport Sound Tigers? The neutral-site
game along Connecticut's coastline will mark a homecoming
of sorts for three players – the Pioneers' Peter Giatrelis
and Erik Roos and Colgate's J.R. Bria. Giatrelis, a freshman,
is part of a five-way atop Sacred Heart's goal-scoring list
with five markers this season. The Pioneers will be the
first and possibly only Atlantic Hockey team the Raiders
play this season.
While you're there: Coastal Connecticut is where New
York City cool meets New England charm. Or something like
that. Regardless, if you're in Bridgeport early enough Friday,
swing by the Garbage Museum in nearby Stratford. I've never
been there myself, but how could you not check out something
called the Garbage Museum?
Cross (11-4-1, 11-1-1) is off to its best start
since going 13-3-0 in its first 16 games of the 1979-80
season. The Crusaders have done it with terrific goaltending
by Tony Quesada (1.87 GAA, .932 percentage) and strong offensive
contributions from Pierre Napert-Frenette (9-8—17),
Jeff Dams (5-12—17) and Greg Kealey (3-12—15).
Few expected coach Paul Pearl's team to be where it is right
now – leading Atlantic Hockey by 13 points –
but they'll need the cushion because three of their final
four games this year are against Quinnipiac and Mercyhurst.
flip side of Holy Cross are the Bentley Falcons.
By the time you read this, it will have been more than two
months since they have won a game. Not what you'd expect
from a team that was picked to finish third in the league
by another college hockey site. But the Falcons have gone
0-8-3 since beating AIC 6-3 in the consolation game of the
Q-Cup way back in October. Not coincidentally, that was
the last time Bentley scored more than three goals in a
game. The Falcons haven't been all that strong defensively,
either, failing to hold opponents under two goals yet this
year. On the bright side, they have potentially winnable
games against UConn and either Air Force or Sacred Heart
coming up in the UConn Hockey Classic.
AT THE BOTTOM OF THE BAG
• Amazingly, Mercyhurst didn't
score a single power-play goal during its 9-0 destruction of American
International on Saturday. The 0-for-3 performance wasn't
what you would expect from the Lakers, who boast the best conversion
rate in the country (31.3 percent). Equally surprising was the
fact that Mercyhurst's nine goals came from nine skaters who weren't
David Wrigley, Adam Tackaberry or Rich Hansen.
• Alabama-Huntsville sophomore goaltender
Scott Munroe left late in Saturday's game against Niagara
with an undisclosed injury. There was no word this week on his
availability for the Bemidji series this weekend.
• Huntsville reinstated junior left wing
Keith Rowe, sophomore center Bruce Mulherin and sophomore left
wing Chris Martini last week and all three played in the Chargers'
series against Niagara. No official reason was
ever given for their four-game suspensions other than "a
violation of team rules and departmental policy." Martini,
a transfer from Iona, notched his first point for the Chargers
with an assist Saturday.
• Holiday wishes go to all league teams that are done until
the New Year – Air Force, Army, Canisius and Quinnipiac.
• Although we haven't even reached mid-December yet, Air
Force has already come through on its New Year's resolution
– to win a College Hockey America game. The Falcons snapped
their 20-game conference winless skid with a 5-2 win at Findlay
on Saturday. Ironically (or maybe not), the Academy's last league
win also came at the Oilers' expense – way back on Nov.
24 of last season.
in this team," said Air Force coach Frank Serratore, brother
of Tom. "They work hard every day and they come to play every
night. This is a fun and focused group to be around. This is the
most enjoyable group I have coached in a long, long time. I have
coaching them "
weekend did end on a sour note, however, with a 4-2 loss to the
U.S. Under-18 team in Michigan. But they have two good excuses
for that: 1.) Starting goaltender Mike Polidor didn't play, and
2.) It was their third game in less than 48 hours.
of the six most-penalized teams in college hockey reside in Atlantic
Hockey or the CHA. Bentley leads at 25 minutes
per game, followed by No. 2 Canisius (23.43),
No. 3 Huntsville (23.25), No. 5 Quinnipiac
(21.79) and No. 6 Sacred Heart (21.58). Only
fourth-place Clarkson (22.33) keeps it from being a sweep by the
Cross junior defenseman Chris Sullivan will miss the
Crusaders' Jan. 3 game against Huntsville after
receiving a game disqualification for butt-ending against Army
on Saturday. But he will be eligible for Holy Cross' exhibition
holiday tournament in Montreal. Coach Paul Pearl's squad will
face Concordia and Dalhousie at 9 p.m. on Dec. 27 and Dec. 28,
respectively, Crusaders SID Katherine May predicted.
senior forward Nick Kormanyos was back in the Purple Eagles' lineup
last weekend after missing four games with a head injury.
the AHA/CHA notebook three weeks ago, Wayne State
senior goaltender Marc Carlson predicted he'd get a start in the
Warriors' series at Bemidji last weekend. No
such luck. Sophomore Matt Kelly got the nod for both games and
faced all 103 shots the Beavers took."That's just the coach's
prerogative," Wilkinson said. "Matt played very well
Friday, so we went with him again. But we will probably split
Matt and Marc for most of the next six games here."