folding and Vermont switching leagues, a lot of questions have
been raised as far as conference affiliations and alignments for
to be playing whom and in what leagues in 2004-05? Heck if we
know. But we're keeping an eye on it. Most of the rumblings we've
heard have centered on Mercyhurst, Quinnipiac, Holy Cross and
Robert Morris as the major movers and shakers. Other, more far-fetched
possibilities have been floated (Alaska Anchorage to the CHA,
perhaps?), but for now, we'll stick to the four aforementioned
Rumored to be headed to: CHA or ECAC
Atlantic Hockey powerhouse would love to increase its scholarship
limit from the Atlantic Hockey maximum of 11 to the NCAA cap of
18. The easiest way to do that? Join another conference.
commissioner Bob DeGregorio Jr. has stated his desire to change
the league's scholarship rules, but that doesn't mean it's a sure
thing. A jump to the CHA or ECAC would be. Moving to the CHA would
probably be more feasible for the Lakers, whose lack of a Northeast
locale, in Erie, Pa., might preclude an ECAC invitation. Also,
Mercyhurst's women's team is already a CHA member and the league
is reportedly highly interested in the men's squad.
coach Rick Gotkin told INCH he hasn't heard a word about a possible
exciting and scary," Gotkin said. "I think we're just
going to sit tight and play this thing out for now. But, if the
complexion of Atlantic Hockey were to change, we might be forced
to look at something else."
Rumored to be headed to: CHA, ECAC or Hockey East
the Bobcats have long wanted to increase their scholarship limits.
Also like Mercyhurst, the Bobcats' women's squad will be a member
of the CHA – starting next season. Quinnipiac, a small,
private, academically sound institution with a solid hockey program,
could also be an attractive option for the ECAC. (An ECAC committee
held its first meeting regarding future membership on Wednesday.)
Finally, Quinnipiac has been mentioned as a possible candidate
should Hockey East decide to further expand to 12 teams. Ah, rumors.
Quinnipiac athletics director Jack McDonald, a former chairman
of the Division I Ice Hockey Championship Committee, told the
New Haven Register that the school is open to joining
no question Quinnipiac is preparing itself to play at the highest
level," McDonald said. "Everyone wants to advance themselves.
The ECAC and Hockey East have storied histories, and if an invitation
were to come, we'd welcome it."
Rand Pecknold told INCH that the university is happy with its
relationship with Atlantic Hockey and a change is not essential.
But the Bobcats certainly are interested in awarding more than
to do what's best for Quinnipiac hockey," Pecknold said.
"We want to move forward. We're happy with our league, the
leadership of Bob DeGregorio and the teams we play.
is a tumultuous time in college hockey. We want to find a league
we're comfortable in, we can succeed in, and where we're surrounded
by quality academic institutions."
Rumored to be headed to: ECAC
jumped ship for Hockey East, Holy Cross was often the first school
mentioned as a possible replacement in the ECAC. The Crusaders
have a lot in common institutionally with ECAC teams, and their
success this year in Atlantic Hockey (12-1-1 league record) might
prove that they could hang with tougher competition.
for sure: They're not downplaying the prospect.
possible," Holy Cross Athletic Director Richard M. Regan
Jr. told the Boston Herald. "We haven't really had
much time to think about this. I think we have the same attitude
there that we have on any league we're in: That we're generally
comfortable where we are, but we always keep our eyes open to
see if there's something that makes more sense. Clearly, it's
something we'll think about."
coach Paul Pearl also told INCH the school would be interested
in the ECAC if the league came calling. As of yet, that hasn't
we'd look at everything, as everyone does," Pearl said. "But
I don't want to discount our league at all. We've just gotten
it to the point where it's more respected nationally. At this
point in the season, I think this only serves as a distraction.
year, we had Fairfield and Iona dropping hockey and we had to
answer all those questions. Everything had been such a positive
this year until this came along. The timing certainly isn't what
we would want."
Rumored to be headed to: CHA or Atlantic Hockey
will join the Division I ranks as an "expansion" team
next season. The Colonials have yet to declare a conference affiliation,
but Atlantic Hockey and the CHA are both expected to extend invitations
in the coming months. To date, no offers have been made.
Bob Peters told the Bemidji Pioneer that Robert Morris
has applied for CHA membership for its women's team for 2005-06.
feel comfortable with them in the (men's) league, (too),"
Peters said. "It's an option."
coach Derek Schooley told INCH that the school is going to "sit
back and see where the dominoes fall" for the time being.
going through the processes right now," Schooley said. "We're
looking for the league that's the best fit for us. There's no
need to make a knee-jerk reaction right now."
So, to sum
all that up, everyone's willing to listen to overtures from other
leagues. As you'd expect, right? It will be interesting to see
which domino falls first.
to keep in mind: If one of Atlantic Hockey's Division I core members
(read: anybody but Mercyhurst, Bentley and American International)
leaves the conference, the league might lose its automatic bid
to the NCAA tournament because it would have fewer than six full-time
So if the
ECAC and/or Hockey East raid Atlantic Hockey for expansion, there
could be a scenario where teams from the CHA and Atlantic Hockey
would be forced to combine into one conference. It's a very real
possibility, according to several Atlantic Hockey coaches.
AND HEARD IN THE LEAGUES
Air Force's Hawaiian Norwegian – Air Force freshman
forward Theo Zacour is the reigning CHA Rookie of the Week after
scoring a pair of goals in last Thursday's win over Wayne State.
Overall, the 5-foot-10, 160-pounder is tied for third on the Falcons'
roster with 13 points and his seven goals are tied for the team
lead this year.
interesting, however, is the fact that Zacour was born in Hawaii
and grew up in Oslo, Norway. His father, Zack, a Pittsburgh native,
also attended the Air Force Academy. While in Colorado Springs,
he met a local girl named Randi, who eventually became his wife.
The military family moved around a bit, leaving Hawaii for Oslo
when Theo was 2 years old, moving to Colorado Springs when he
was 5, then back to Oslo when he was 8.
there until heading to Ontario for junior hockey at 16.
While in Norway,
Theo's parents lived off-base and put Theo through the regular
Norwegian school system.
were big on integrating us," Zacour said. "So I got
to become multicultural, which not a lot of people get to do."
Zacour retired from the Air Force a few years ago, he and Randi
still live in Oslo. Theo visits twice a year.
just love the lifestyle over there," Theo said. "It's
a lot more relaxed than in the States. My dad's teaching third
Great Weekend Getaway
at Findlay (Fri.-Sat.): Like some off-ice drama
with your hockey games? Then head to northern Ohio where
Findlay will play its first home games since the school
announced it was cutting the program after this season.
Coach Pat Ford was outspoken
in criticizing the administration's handling of the situation,
even going so far as to say the team will refer to itself
as "The Oilers" (without "Findlay")
for the rest of the year. It will be interesting to witness
the team's emotional status, as well as the crowd's reaction,
when the Oilers take the ice Friday.
and Niagara will be there, too. The Purple Eagles trail
first-place Bemidji State by two points in the CHA standings,
but they have two games in hand on the Beavers.
you're there: Findlay will be rocking this weekend (moreso
than usual). The school and the city are co-hosting the
7th annual Findlay Chili Cookoff from 5-7 p.m. Saturday
in the same building as Clauss Ice Arena. Proceeds from
the cookoff benefit Cancer Patient Services of Findlay and
Hancock County. Last year, the event raised $7,000. Buying
a ticket to the cookoff will also grant you admission to
either Saturday's hockey game or UF's men's or women's basketball
games that weekend. The male roundballers are ranked 13th
in the nation in Division II. Plus, as if you needed another
reason to go, Brutus the Buckeye will be at the cookoff.
I'm psyched for gridiron recruiting season!
to Brian Cavanaugh and the Canisius Golden Griffins
for their home sweep of Quinnipiac last weekend. The Griffs
haven't made much noise this season, but they have quietly
– very quietly – sneaked into a tie for third
place in Atlantic Hockey. Eight of their next nine games
are on the road, but Cavanaugh's charges are undefeated
in their last four games and 4-1-2 in their last seven after
starting winless in their first nine.
coach Rand Pecknold heaped much of the praise for last weekend's
sweep on Canisius junior goaltender Bryan Worosz. Worosz,
who stopped 23 shots in a shutout Friday and 18 more Saturday,
"was the difference in the games," Pecknold said.
realize it was against Maine, but did you see that Sacred
Heart mustered just one shot in the first period
of its 6-0 loss to the Black Bears on Saturday? Ugh. In
all, the Pioneers were outshot 33-11 for the game. Sounds
a little bit like when Maine held Holy Cross to one shot
in the second period of the Black Bears' 7-0 win over the
Crusaders in October. Memo to Atlantic Hockey teams with
future games in Orono: Shoot! From mid-ice, if you have
On the ice,
the Falcons head to West Point for a rivalry series against Army
this weekend. Adding to the excitement, Friday's tussle will be
aired nationally on CSTV.
been talking about this for a while now," Zacour said. "I've
never played against Army, but the coaches told us they're the
two best games of the year. I'm sure emotions will be running
AT THE BOTTOM OF THE BAG
• With Friday's 2-1 win over Bentley,
Rick Gotkin passed former Lakers baseball coach
Joe Jordano for first place on the school's all-time wins list
in any sport. Gotkin added another victory on Saturday, giving
him 287 in 16 years in Erie. Jordano amassed 285 wins in 10 years
on the diamond before leaving for Pitt.
It took a long, long time, but Army finally broke
the three-goal barrier against AIC on Friday.
The Black Knights' 5-2 win marked their highest offensive output
all season. By two whole goals! They reverted to old form on Saturday,
though, tying the Yellow Jackets, 2-2. Army is the lowest scoring
team in Division I, averaging just 1.79 goals per
Bemidji State earned its first ever road win
against Niagara, 3-2, on Saturday. The Beavers
had been 0-8-1 at Dwyer Arena before the series-splitting victory.
Despite the close final score, Bemidji held a sizable 43-19 advantage
in shots in the game, including 21-8 in the third period.
Niagara spent everything it had on Friday. The Purple Eagles raced
to a 4-0 first period lead and a 16-4 shots advantage in the series-opener.
In the end, Niagara won 6-3 and outshot Bemidji 37-22 in game
The good news in Buffalo is that star Niagara forward
Joe Tallari might finally be finding his stride. After an abysmal
first half (3-5—8), Tallari has three goals and three assists
in his last four games. He had two goals and an assist Friday,
as his line (along with Justin Cross and Hannu Karru) contributed
nine of Niagara's 16 points in the game.
Air Force senior forward Adam Larson picked up
his first career point with a goal in the Falcons' 5-2 win over
Wayne State last Thursday. The little-used 22-year-old from Apple
Valley, Minn., registered an unassisted marker early in the third
period to account for the final goal of the game.
in 11 games as a freshman in 2000-01, but didn't play at all the
last two seasons. He has dressed three times this year with the
one goal to show for it.
Quinnipiac junior forward Matt Craig is out indefinitely
with an undisclosed injury, Pecknold said. The London, Ontario,
native leads the Bobcats in scoring this year with 9-5-14. He
was picked as the Atlantic Hockey Preseason Player of the Year
by the league's coaches this fall. He didn't play against Ohio
State or Canisius last week, and he's not expected to play against
Holy Cross on Saturday.
junior forward Bobby Acropolis (an INCH All-Name Team candidate)
returned to the ice last week against Ohio State. He missed the
first half of the season with an injury.
the final score, Holy Cross got props from Northeastern
coach Bruce Crowder after the Huskies' 5-2 win Saturday night.
"I said to Paul (Pearl) after the game that I don't know
if we played a team all year that played us as tough defensively,"
Crowder said to the Boston Herald. "I thought their
defensive zone coverage was excellent. To me, it was very stifling.
Their kids competed extremely hard. It was a real hard, tough
victory for us."
the compliment was nice to hear, until he "looked at the
tape and saw that their third goal was a complete defensive breakdown
on our part."
of sources were utilized in the compilation of this report.