(And It Feels So Good)
Minn., nestled on the western end of northern Minnesota's Iron
Range, is a textbook example of a quiet small town. With approximately
2,000 residents, it's the kind of place where not much happens,
and people like it that way.
Like most communities in that neck of the woods, however, Coleraine
is a hockey-mad burg. And the town's love of the game should reach
a fever pitch Saturday when two native sons – brothers,
no less – bring their Division I teams to a bandbox of a
rink called Hodgkins-Berardo Arena that should be filled to capacity...and
“The place looks like hockey, smells like hockey and a lot
of great hockey has been played in that building over the years,”
said Bemidji State coach Tom Serratore, a 1982 graduate of Greenway
H.S., located in Coleraine. "It's a historic rink."
Tom Serratore would like to add to the barn's history at the expense
of older brother Frank (Greenway H.S. class of '75), bench boss
at Air Force. More important to the younger Serratore, however,
is keeping his team in its groove against College Hockey America
foes. At 5-1-0 in the CHA (8-6-2 overall), the Beavers are off
to their best-ever start in conference play.
Interestingly enough, the neutral site game in the Serratore's
backyard sort of just happened. Upon release of the conference
schedule last summer, Tom Serratore wasn't pleased to learn that
Bemidji State would host a home series against Air Force during
the first weekend in January because the school's students would
be on holiday break, making for sparse crowds at the Beavers'
home rink, John Glas Fieldhouse. Tom unsuccessfully discussed
alternate dates with his older brother. That's when Frank tossed
out the notion of playing the game in Coleraine.
"It would give us the opportunity to spread college hockey
to the Range and give us the potential to play in front of a full
house,” said Tom Serratore, noting that he and BSU athletic
director Rick Goeb had previously discussed playing neutral site
exhibition games in different northern Minnesota cities.
While the game serves as a homecoming for the Serratores, it should
also be noted that both rosters feature players from the area
and, of course, it never hurts to showcase one's program in front
of an audience that may include future recruits. And even though
the contest is technically a Bemidji State home game, expect a
bi-partisan crowd to bring a different level of energy to the
“Everyone’s really looking forward to it,” Tom
Serratore said. “People are going to be treated to a great
SEEN AND HEARD IN THE LEAGUES
Charge of the Light Crusade – While Atlantic Hockey
has another week off before conference play resumes, league leading
Holy Cross hosts one of the weekend's most intriguing matchups
against last year's CHA regular-season champion, Alabama-Huntsville.
Crusaders have struggled outside the league, posting an 0-3-0
record, but those losses have all come against teams in the top
15 – Maine, Massachusetts and Dartmouth, the latter two
by 2-1 scores.
series promises to be a better matchup for the Crusaders. UAH,
which stands third in the CHA, is a bit more of a mystery than
they were at this time last season, in part because they've played
the fewest games of any team in Division I (10). They are 1-5-0
in their last six, and winless on the road (0-4-0) after trips
to Miami and Niagara.
are still a couple of weeks away in Worcester, so the Chargers
will have a little friendlier welcome than they might have in
front of the increasingly rabid Hart Center crowd.
Great Weekend Getaway
State at Colorado College (Friday): Last March
the Warriors quite nearly pulled off the unthinkable upset
against the nation's No. 1 team at the NCAA Midwest Regional.
Now they meet again, with much different rosters. Four former
Tigers are now in the NHL, while Wayne State lost quite
a bit to graduation. So far, CC has handled its departures
better, but the Warriors – who played last weekend
in North Dakota – may be able to catch their hosts
flat-footed. The Tigers haven't played since Dec. 13 and
are missing arguably their two best players (Brett Sterling
and Mark Stuart, both at the World Junior Championship).
While You're There: Can't afford a room at the Broadmoor?
Neither can we. But we can afford a drink at the Golden
Bee, a classic old tavern on the famous hotel's grounds.
And you get complimentary bee stickers thrown at you by
Mercyhurst's David Wrigley, who continues
to torment higher-profile opponents. He had two goals in
the Lakers' 3-2 win over Rensselaer, giving him 4-6-10 in
eight non-conference games this year.
understand that kids leave college sports programs for various
reasons – many of them understandable – but
Jeremy Hall's departure from Niagara is curious because
it seems as if the forward never wanted to play for the
Purple Eagles in the first place. According to published
reports, Hall harbored doubts about his choice of schools
right from the start and had been talked out of leaving
by coach Dave Burkholder on at least one occasion. Nevertheless,
Hall bolted western New York during the holiday break for
Danville of the USHL, obstensibly to resurface at a higher
profile school a year from now. It's Hall's choice –
and right – to do what he did. It just doesn't
AT THE BOTTOM OF THE BAG
• Bemidji State's dalliance in neutral
site games may expand in the near future should the school
decide to build a new rink on the current site of John Glas Fieldhouse,
reports Jess Myers in this week's WCHA notes. If a new arena is
in the cards, the city of Thief River Falls would like to have
the Beavers use their new rink – the new Ralph Engelstad
Arena, a.k.a. the "Little Ralph" – as its home
away from home until the construction in Bemidji is complete.
The Thief River Falls venue, which features individual seats (with
armrests) for 3,800, was financed by Engelstad before his death
as a gift to his hometown.
on the Serratore brothers, courtesy of the Air Force
and Bemidji State sports information departments. The siblings
are one of just two combinations in any Division I sport featuring
family members coaching against each other in the same conference,
joining the ACC’s Tommy and Bobby Bowden (Clemson and Florida
State football, respectively).
Hockey was like the OK Corral last weekend. Four teams
participated in shootouts, with Holy Cross and Connecticut posting
"victories". Holy Cross beat Concordia in an exhibition
game in Montreal, while UConn got past Bentley in the first round
of the UConn Hockey Classic. Sacred Heart also took part in a
shootout at the UConn tournament, falling to Air Force in the
UConn's win in its holiday tournament marked
the Huskies' second championship in the event since they joined
Division I. The Huskies' 1-0 win over Air Force in the title game
marked their third victory over a CHA opponent this year (of five
Quinnipiac makes its return to the airwaves Friday
night with a NESN-televised game at Providence. The Bobcats' first
televised game of the year very nearly produced a major upset
- they fell 5-4 at Michigan. Since losing four straight –
two to those Wolverines, two to No. 3 Wisconsin – Quinnipiac
is 5-1-2, including Atlantic Hockey's first-ever win against a
Hockey East team (Merrimack). They go for No. 2 against the Friars.
Bentley goaltender Simon St. Pierre now holds
the school record for career saves with 2,095, after he stopped
45 shots in a 4-4 tie with Connecticut at the UConn Hockey Classic
(UConn won the shootout, 2-1, to advance to the tournament's championship
• From the Frying Pan to the Fire Dept., Findlay
and Wayne State certainly deserve kudos for their performances
at the Subway Holiday Classic in Grand Forks, N.D., last weekend.
Findlay led host North Dakota, 1-0, with 10 minutes remaining
in the third period before the top-rated Sioux scored three unanswered
goals to advance to the championship game. Wayne State, meanwhile,
had already earned a berth in the title match on the strength
of its 3-2 OT win against nationally-ranked Brown. The Oilers
dueled to a 1-1 draw with Brown in the third-place game the following
How do the
teams plan to wind down from last weekend? Wayne State plays at
Denver and Colorado College this weekend. Findlay travels to Notre
Dame for a single game Saturday.