Atlantic Hockey Notebook: January 14

Posted: January 14th, 2019 / by Melissa Burgess

Here are the current Atlantic Hockey standings:

  1. Air Force
  2. Mercyhurst
  3. AIC
  4. RIT
  5. Army
  6. Niagara
  7. Robert Morris
  8. Bentley
  9. Sacred Heart
  10. Canisius
  11. Holy Cross

Who’s Hot: The RIT Tigers climbed three spots in Atlantic Hockey standings, thanks to a pair of wins over AIC this past weekend. Overall, RIT has won three in a row and hasn’t lost a game since December 8. They’re on their way up, but will face a hot Bentley team this coming weekend. Speaking of….

Bentley beat Robert Morris twice this weekend, outscoring them 10-3 in the pair of games. Those two big wins were Bentley’s first conference action of 2019 and first since December 1. Thanks to those wins, the Falcons moved up two spots in Atlantic Hockey standings.

The Crusaders of Holy Cross, meanwhile, haven’t lost since January 4. Since then, they’ve beaten Mercyhurst once (a 5-4 victory) and tied and beaten Niagara. The Crusaders may still be at the bottom of Atlantic Hockey, but they’re only two points from bumping both Sacred Heart and Canisius down in the standings. What they do going forward could help move them out of the basement.

Mercyhurst’s Lakers beat Canisius twice this past weekend, which helped move them up to second place in Atlantic Hockey standings. Those two wins are helping turn things around for ‘Hurst, who had previously split a series against Holy Cross after dropping a pair of games to Ohio State to finish out the 2018 calendar year.

Who’s Not: AIC dropped both of its games to RIT this past weekend, by scores of 6-3 and 3-2. Overall, the Yellow Jackets have lost five of their last six games dating back to December 30. These losses have brought them down in the standings, from the top of Atlantic Hockey last week to third this week. While there’s still time to make up those losses and grab some points in the final few weeks of the season, they need a strong finish if they hope to be in the top of the conference at season’s end.

Canisius followed up their stellar wins over North Dakota by losing twice to Mercyhurst this past weekend, by scores of 6-2 and 6-3. The Griffs were outplayed in both games, and their goaltending struggled. These losses dropped them all the way to 10th in Atlantic Hockey, certainly not where Trevor Large and co. would like to be at this point in the season.

Niagara hasn’t won a game since December 7 – which is obviously not good for the Purple Eagles. They tied and lost to Holy Cross this past weekend, and they’ve dropped a few games lately in the final minutes. These strings of non-wins have dropped them all the way to sixth in Atlantic Hockey, a place they’ll try to dig out of starting this weekend against Mercyhurst.

Robert Morris, meanwhile, have dropped four straight games, including the pair to Bentley this past weekend. They let the Falcons put up five goals in each of those games and have overall allowed 22 goals against in the last four games. Ouch!

Finally, Sacred Heart only played one game this past weekend, dropping a 3-1 decision to Yale. The Pioneers haven’t won since December 8, falling to Vermont, AIC and Yale in the stretch since then. They’ll hit a busy stretch here with eight games in the next 19 days, starting with a battle against the Yellow Jackets Tuesday night.

Army, Air Force Tie: In the ever-heated battle of Army West Point vs. Air Force, the winner is…. no one. The two teams tied twice this past weekend (say that five times fast). The score each game: 2-2. The weekend series marked the return to conference action for both teams; Army hadn’t played an Atlantic Hockey team since their bout with Canisius way back on December 1. Since then, they lost to Dartmouth, Brown and RPI.

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Atlantic Hockey Notebook 1/9

Posted: January 10th, 2019 / by Melissa Burgess

It’s been a busy week and a half in Atlantic Hockey, between non-conference action against teams like the University of North Dakota and Vermont, and in-conference action between foes like RIT and Niagara and Holy Cross and Mercyhurst.

Here are the current Atlantic Hockey standings:

  1. AIC
  2. Air Force
  3. Niagara
  4. Mercyhurst
  5. Army
  6. Robert Morris
  7. RIT
  8. Canisius
  9. Sacred Heart
  10. Bentley
  11. Holy Cross

Here’s a look at what each team did this past week:

AIC: The Yellow Jackets fell to UMass 6-1 on Saturday, January 5, but rallied back with a 6-5 win over conference opponent Sacred Heart on Tuesday, January 8. Captain Shawn McBride had the lone goal in the loss to UMass. The Yellow Jackets held on for a win against the Pioneers despite giving up three straight goals in the final 25 minutes of play. Martin Mellberg had a hat trick, while Jeff Baum, Tobias Fladeby and Kyle Stephan also scored. They’ll now prepare to host RIT for a pair of games this upcoming weekend.

Air Force: The Falcons dominated St. Lawrence on Friday, beating them by a decisive 7-1 score. Air Force scored six straight goals before giving up one. Evan Giesler and Kyle Haak each scored twice. Kieran Durgan, Evan Feno and Walker Sommer also scored. They followed it up with a 4-1 loss to Western Michigan University as part of the Ice Vegas Invitational in Las Vegas, Nevada; Matt Koch had the lone goal. It’s an exciting weekend ahead as Air Force hosts Army for a pair of sold-out games.

Niagara: It was a rough weekend for the Purple Eagles. They managed to tie RIT 4-4 on Friday but fell to the Tigers the following night, 2-1. Luke Edgerton had a pair of goals Friday, while Niko Kovachis and Ludwig Stenlund also scored. Kovachis also scored Saturday on the power play, the lone goal in the loss. Niagara gave up the game-winning goal on the man advantage with just two seconds remaining in regulation – a heartbreaker of a loss. They’ll hit the road this weekend for a series against Holy Cross.

Mercyhurst: The Lakers split their series with Holy Cross this past weekend, beating them 4-3 before falling 5-4 the next night. Joseph Duszak had a hat trick in Friday’s win, while James Anderson also added a goal – which Duszak assisted on. Duszak also scored in Saturday’s loss. Taylor Best, Derek Barach and Joshua Lammon  had the other goals for the Lakers. Mercyhurst will now take on a home-and-home with Canisius.

Army: The Black Knights had just one game this past weekend, a 2-1 overtime loss to non-conference foe RPI in Troy, NY. Brendan Soucie had the only goal for Army, while Jared Dempsey made 28 saves. They’ll hit the road this weekend for a pair of games against Air Force in what should be a thrilling matchup as usual.

Robert Morris: Robert Morris lost both of their non-conference games this past weekend, dropping decisions to Brown (7-4) and St. Cloud State (5-2). Grant Hebert had a hat trick on Friday; Eric Israel also scored. On Saturday, goals came from Nick Prkusic and Nick Lalonde. They’ll host Bentley this weekend for a series.

RIT: The Tigers tied with Niagara on Friday 4-4 before beating them the next night, 2-1. Alden Dupuis scored twice Friday, with Abbott Girduckis and Will Calverley also adding goals. RIT scored twice on the man advantage. On Saturday, Girduckis had the opening goal for the Tigers. Niagara tied it in the third period, but RIT stole the game with just two seconds remaining in regulation, as Adam Brubacher scored the game-winner on the power play. They’re back in action this weekend with a pair of games against AIC.

Canisius: The Griffs were named the CHN Team of the Week after beating North Dakota twice over the past weekend. Canisius pulled off upsets by scores of 3-1 and 2-1 despite being outshot badly in both games. Grant Meyer had a goal in each game, while David Parrottino, Cameron Heath and Felix Chamberland also scored. Goaltenders Blake Weyrick and Matt Ladd combined for 78 saves. The Griffs will now look to feed off those big wins in the home-and-home against Mercyhurst this weekend.

Sacred Heart: The Pioneers fell 3-2 to non-conference Vermont. Ryan Steele and Jordan Kaplan had the goals for Sacred Heart, including one on the man advantage. Kaplan also had an assist. They also fell to AIC, 6-5, on Tuesday. The Peioneers got goals from five different players: Ryan Steele, Nick Boyagian, Austin Magera, Vito Bavaro and Marcel Godbout. They’ll face another tough opponent this weekend, playing Yale on Saturday.

Bentley: The Falcons tied non-conference Dartmouth this past Saturday, 3-3. Jonathan Desbiens scored a pair of goals in the tie. Drew Callin also notched a goal as the Falcons overcame a 2-0 deficit. Aidan Pelino made 24 saves. They’ll return to Atlantic Hockey action this weekend in the series against Robert Morris.

Holy Cross: Though they’re last in Atlantic Hockey, Holy Cross held their own this past weekend against Mercyhurst. They fell 4-3 on Friday but received goals from Michael Laffin, Matt Slick and Conner Jean. They then beat Mercyhurst 5-4 the following evening thanks to a late goal from Kevin Darrar. The Crusaders scored four straight en route to the win. Spencer Trapp, Johnny Coughlin, Peter Crinella and Neil Robinson scored. Three of Holy Cross’ five goals came on the power play. They’ll host Niagara for a pair this weekend.

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ECAC Notebook: 1/9

Posted: January 9th, 2019 / by Josh Seguin

Despite minimal conference games, the last few weeks have told us a ton about a lot of teams in the ECAC. Mainly there have been some positives, but many more setbacks as teams have tried to get back in a rhythm of playing regular games. The highlights of non-conference play, thus far, have been Union’s win over St. Cloud, who is second in the pairwise, and Clarkson’s recent win over Minnesota Duluth. The Golden Knights seem to be trending in the right direction and are certainly a team to watch going forward.

In terms of the Pairwise, Quinnipiac is fifth, while Union (15), Clarkson (16), Cornell (17), Yale (20) and Harvard (22) are bubble bound. If any of those bubble teams can pick up wins in the second half, it could mean good things for their chances of getting to the tournament come March. That said, the .477 winning percentage of league teams against the other conferences will make it tough for teams to break into the top-15.

As teams head into a more consistent conference schedule, it seems like teams like Clarkson, Brown and Harvard are trending in the right direction, while Quinnipiac, Yale and Dartmouth are trending down a tad. On Brown, we have to give them credit for the job they are doing in recent weeks…
The Bears are 4-1-2 in their last seven games and over the weekend won the Three Rivers Classic. They could have beat Providence, as well, just last week but fell just short., mainly because a questionable PC goal was allowed to stand.

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Atlantic Hockey Notebook 12/31

Posted: December 31st, 2018 / by Melissa Burgess

The end of the 2018 calendar year is upon us, and though there are still a few months left in the Atlantic Hockey regular season, it’s interesting to see where teams are at in the standings at this point in season.

Here are the current Atlantic Hockey standings:

  1. Air Force
  2. AIC
  3. Niagara
  4. Robert Morris
  5. Army
  6. Mercyhurst
  7. RIT
  8. Sacred Heart
  9. Canisius
  10. Bentley
  11. Holy Cross

The only conference action this past weekend saw the AIC Yellow Jackets best the Robert Morris Colonials by a score of 4-3.

Luke Lynch put RMU ahead just 1:51 into the second period, but the lead lasted only minutes as Justin Cole tied the game for AIC. Joel Kocur potted a goal later in the second period, and the Yellow Jackets maintained the lead for the remainder of the period and the initial 7:40 of the third period.

Grant Hebert tied the game for Robert Morris, and the teams continued to exchange goals from there. In the end, Hugo Reinhardt had the game-winner for AIC on a power-play goal with just 3:57 to play. Tobias Fladeby also scored for AIC, while Jacob Coleman had the other goal for Robert Morris, shorthanded.

Zackarias Skog needed to make only 14 saves in the win. Francis Marotte made 24 saves but took the loss.

Elsewhere, Mercyhurst dropped a pair of games to non-conference opponent Ohio State by scores of 3-1 and 5-4.

Ohio State scored twice Friday before the Lakers got on the board with just 58 seconds remaining in regulation, on a goal by Steven Ipri. Ohio State added a power-play goal with two seconds remaining to seal the win. Garrett Metcalf stopped 37 of 40 shots faced in the loss.

It was a closer game on Saturday, with Ohio State narrowly edging Mercyhurst in the final ten minutes of play. The Lakers got on the board first thanks to Geoff Kitt, but Ohio State scored twice in a span of 2:31 to tie, then take the lead.

The Lakers got a pair of goals then, with James Anderson and Steven Ipri scoring early in the second period. But the goals kept coming, with Ohio State re-upping their lead just 21 seconds later.

Taylor Best scored the fourth goal for the Lakers, giving them the lead with under six minutes to play in the second period. That lead lasted for nearly four minutes before Ohio State tied the game. Sasha Larocque had the game-winning goal with 9:26 to play in regulation. Stefano Cantali had 40 saves.

Canisius was in action this past weekend, visiting #14 Union for a pair of games. The Griffs tied Union on Friday in a 2-2 match. Austin Alger opened the scoring for Canisius, who exchanged goals with Union. Jimmy Mazza had the other tally for the Griffs, while Blake Weyrick stopped 40 shots.

The teams re-matched on Saturday, with Canisius dropping a 5-3 decision. Alger had a pair of goals for the Griffs; Mitchell Martan also scored for Canisius. But Union had four straight goals in the first and second periods, including two on special teams, and ultimately, the Griffs were unable to complete the comeback. Matt Ladd made his season debut after being added to the team on December 18; he stopped 28 shots.

Air Force and Bemidji State skated to a 3-3 tie on Saturday. Joe Tyran, Walker Sommer and Kieran Durgan all scored for the Falcons, who went 1-for-4 on the power play. Durgan also registered seven shots on goal, while netminder Billy Christopoulos made 26 saves in 64:39.

Finally, Dartmouth beat Army 5-2. The Golden Knights struck first on a goal by Kevin Dineen, but Dartmouth scored five straight goals throughout the rest of the game in the commanding win. Brendan Soucie had the other goal for Army with 13:29 to play in the third period, but at that point, it was too little, too late.

Jared Dempsey had 11 saves on 15 shots faced, while Matt Penta allowed one goal on seven shots. For Dartmouth, Adrian Clark had 21 saves.

There’s a busy slate of games coming for Atlantic Hockey. First up: Holy Cross visit the USNTDP for a 2 p.m. New Year’s Day matchup.

This coming weekend in conference action, it’s RIT vs. Niagara and Holy Cross vs. Mercyhurst.

Canisius hosts North Dakota for a pair of games; Sacred Heart facing Vermont; Robert Morris facing Brown and St. Cloud State/Union; Air Force facing St. Lawrence University and Vegas, and Army taking on RPI. In addition, Bentley faces Dartmouth and AIC hosts UMass.

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Atlantic Hockey Notebook 12/17

Posted: December 17th, 2018 / by Melissa Burgess

There was only one game in Atlantic Hockey this past weekend, but boy, was it a good way – particularly if you’re a fan of the RIT Tigers. The Tigers snapped a five-game losing streak and captured their first win in over a month with an 8-4 victory over the Niagara Purple Eagles on Saturday.

It was a back-and-forth game this past weekend between the Tigers and the Purple Eagles. Jake Hamacher put the Tigers up 1-0 just 1:29 into the game for his first of two goals on the night. RIT would hold that lead until 15:21 into the first period, when Nick Farmer tied it up.

Hamacher regained the lead for RIT just 15 seconds later, but Niagara wouldn’t give up that easily, tying it on a shorthanded tally by Alex Truscott with under two minutes to play in the opening frame.

Andrew Petrucci and Abbott Girduckis scored 1:13 apart early in the second period to put the Tigers up 4-2, but even that lead was only safe for so long. Ludwig Stenlund made it a one-goal game with a power-play goal near the midway point of the game.

From there, it really was RIT’s game to lose. The Tigers scored four goals in the third period, including three empty-netters, en route to the big win. Gabe Valenzuela, Erik Brown, Alden Dupuis and Will Calverley all scored in the final period. Both Dupuis and Calverley scored shorthanded.

Niko Kovachis added a goal for Niagara late in the third, but it wasn’t enough to power the Purple Eagles to a comeback.

Both teams are now done for the calendar year, with Niagara rounding out 2018 on a two-game losing streak. But there’s still plenty of Atlantic Hockey action to come in the final weekend of the year, including a series between Robert Morris and AIC.

There’s also non-conference action to watch for Canisius (Union), Mercyhurst (Ohio State), Air Force (Bemidji State), Army (Dartmouth & Brown) and Bentley (New Hampshire). Holy Cross also takes on the USNTDP on January 1.

Here are the Atlantic Hockey standings:

  1. Air Force
  2. AIC
  3. Niagara
  4. Army
  5. Mercyhurst
  6. Robert Morris
  7. RIT
  8. Sacred Heart
  9. Canisius
  10. Bentley
  11. Holy Cross

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ECAC Notebook: 12/12

Posted: December 12th, 2018 / by Josh Seguin

Now that many teams have entered the annual holiday break, we can take a look back at the first half and everything that we have learned about the league. It is clear that power has shifted back to the Greater New Haven area, as Quinnipiac is the undisputed top dog in the and Yale will probably end up right on its heels. The Bobcats picked up a split against upstart Massachusetts over the weekend, while the Bulldogs dropped a lone game to the Minutemen.

QU has had most of the success in non-conference action in recent weeks, as the league’s record against the other conferences has plummeted. With many games still to go in the busy holiday stretch, that can improve and it will be integral for the few teams that have tournament aspirations. In terms of the conference standings, they are starting to take shape with Yale at the top with 13 points and Quinnipiac hot on its trails with 12. The Bobcats have a game in-hand, however, and in a cruel set of circumstances we will have to wait until mid-February before the two teams play in Hamden. Dartmouth, as I have nicknamed Jeckyll and Hyde this year, is in third, while Cornell is in fourth.

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Three Things I Think: Big Ten, Dec. 10

Posted: December 10th, 2018 / by Jashvina Shah

It was the weekend of offenses. Well, only if it was the Notre Dame-Penn State series, which saw 19 goals on the weekend. Most of that came from Saturday’s game whe Penn State score nine goals.

Yes, nine goals. On Notre Dame.

Wisconsin swept Michigan State, which sounds correct. Minnesota and Michigan tied on the first night before the Gophers defeated the Wolverines. 

Penn State’s offense is really good

It’s one thing to score goals and another thing to score goals on Notre Dame and Cale Morris. While I have said before that it’s very difficult to sustain high-scoring offenses for a long time, there’s no question Penn State’s is quite powerful. 

Evan Barratt leads the country with 13 goals and 29 points. Next is Alex Limoges, who has 29 points. The Nittany Lions are averaging 5.29 goals per game — over a goal per game more than the runner-up, Minnesota State. 

The question always remains how good a team’s shooting percentage actually is, though. Because Penn State still leads the country in shots on goal and averages 41.06 shots on goal per game, almost 13 shots more per game than Minnesota State takes. 

Even so, Penn State still ranks second in goals per shots on goal with a 12.9 percent conversion percent. In that department the Nittany Lions trail Minnesota State by less that two percent. 

This is an interesting statistic to keep an eye on, because in previous years Penn State was still shooting and still scoring, but not at nearly as high of a rate. In 2016-17, when Penn State led the country in goals per game with 4.10, they also converted 9.3 percent of their shots on goal. But again, that was for the whole season.

In 2016-17 through Dec. 10, Penn State was averaging 4.87 goals per game and taking 48.27 shots on goal per game. The Nittany Lions converted 10 percent of those shots.

The Badgers are quietly getting better

Between the power of Penn State’s offense, the high expectations for Ohio State, questions about Michigan, a new coaching staff in Minnesota and the return of Cale Morris, other teams in the Big Ten were almost forgotten. Wisconsin was one of those forgotten teams and it’s easy to see why.

The Badgers were a good team with a bright future, but all of that collapsed after 2014. Since then Wisconsin struggled to win, even with high-end talent. Goaltending was supposed to solve any issues, but Kyle Hayton’s arrival last year fixed nothing. 

So this year, no one really knew what to think. But right now the Badgers are tied for first place in the league with Ohio State. They’ve won eight games overall and four in the conference. The Badgers also haven’t lost in their last six games and are on a three-game winning streak. Daniel Lebedeff’s save percentage isn’t great, but it’s above .910, which isn’t bad.

Ohio State is the best team in the Big Ten

It’s strange that the Buckeyes have been using a goaltending tandem, but it seems to be working. Ohio State is tied with Wisconsin for first has played just eight games, two less than the Badgers. Ohio State has just four losses this season and only two in the conference.

The important thing is the Buckeye defense and goaltending is still really good. That’s no surprise since Steve Miller is still there, and the team’s commitment to defense from last year is still there. 

Ohio State has only allowed more than two goals in a conference once this year when it gave up four goals to Penn State. Overall the Buckeyes have surrendered just 13 goals in eight conference games. And Tommy Nappier’s .951 save percentage is second nationally. 

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Atlantic Hockey Notebook 12/9

Posted: December 9th, 2018 / by Melissa Burgess

The Sacred Heart Pioneers captured a pair of wins over the RIT Tigers this weekend. Elsewhere, Robert Morris and Holy Cross, and Air Force and Mercyhurst, split their respective series. Niagara then split their weekend with Colgate in non-conference action.

AIC, Army, Canisius and Bentley were all inactive this week.

Mike Lee scored the game-winner for Sacred Heart on Friday, as the Pioneers beat the Tigers 4-3 in overtime. Lee also scored in regulation, while Marcel Godbout and Jason Cotton also scored. Ryan Kruper, Adam Brubacher and Alden Dupuis scored for RIT. Josh Benson made 27 saves in the win.

The Pioneers then took a 6-4 win over the Tigers in the rematch Saturday, powered by a trio of third-period goals. The Tigers took an early lead and went up 2-0 on goals by Brubacher and Shawn Cameron, with both goals coming on the man advantage. Sacred Heart got on the board with a shorthanded goal from Matt Tugnutt later in the first period.

Brubacher scored his second of the night, again on the power play. But the Pioneers scored twice in a span of 2:31, with goals coming from Nick Boyagian and Marc Johnstone, to tie the game before the second period was over. Bryston Traptow regained the lead for the Tigers in the back-and-forth game early in the third, but Ruslan Rakhmatov and Austin McIlmurray scored later in the third, with Matt Tugnutt also adding a goal, for the 6-4 win.

Robert Morris shut out Holy Cross 2-0 on Friday, but the teams flipped positions on Saturday with the Crusaders taking the win. Luke Lynch and Michael Coyne had the goals for the Colonials Friday, with Francis Marotte notching a 36-save shutout.

The next night, Michael Laffin notched both goals for the Crusaders in their 2-0 win. Erik Gordon made 26 saves in the shutout victory.

Elsewhere, Air Force shut out Mercyhurst 2-0 Friday before falling to the Lakers 4-1 Saturday. Kyle Haak and Trevor Stone were credited with goals in Friday’s win, while goaltender Billy Christopoulos made 18 saves in the shutout.

The following night, Joseph Duszak registered a pair of goals in Mercyhurst’s victory. Jeremy Wu and Joshua Lammon also scored, with half of the Lakers goals coming shorthanded. Haak had his second goal of the weekend for the lone goal for the Falcons. Garrett Metcalf made 33 saves.

Finally, the Purple Eagles beat Colgate 4-2 on Friday before falling 2-0 Saturday.

Justin Kendall put Niagara up with 34 seconds remaining in the first period. Colgate tied the game, then took the lead, early in the second period. Johnny Curran tied the game for Niagara late in the second with a power-play goal before Reed Robinson gave the Purple Eagles the edge early in the third. Eric Cooley also added a goal in the win.

Here are the Atlantic Hockey standings:

  1. Air Force
  2. AIC
  3. Niagara
  4. Army
  5. Mercyhurst
  6. Robert Morris
  7. Sacred Heart
  8. Canisius
  9. RIT
  10. Bentley
  11. Holy Cross

There is only one Atlantic Hockey game next weekend, with RIT hosting Niagara.

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Three Things I Think: Big Ten, Dec. 2

Posted: December 2nd, 2018 / by Jashvina Shah

After another season of Big Ten play, it’s evident the teams are pretty even. Wisconsin and Penn State split while Ohio State and Minnesota and Michigan State and Michigan almost split — the Buckeyes won a game and tied while Michigan State won a game and tied. Notre Dame swept RPI.

The Buckeyes are now first in the conference with a three-point lead over Notre Dame. Michigan is still fourth, while Penn State – despite its 10 overall wins, which is tied with Notre Dame for first in the conference – is last. But only eight points separate Ohio State and Penn State.

Only the Buckeyes and Fighting Irish have four wins, while every other team in the Big Ten has just two conference wins. The difference between place No. 3 and place No. 7 lies in the ties and shootout wins. 

Can Notre Dame keep up the scoring?

The Fighting Irish quickly took down RPI this weekend. They scored eight goals total, just after I wrote a story about the team trying to fill in for some of its lost scoring from last season. The Fighting Irish really aren’t that far off from where they were at this time last year, but last year they didn’t score eight goals on the Engineers.

Even if Notre Dame wasn’t going to find replacement scoring, I still wouldn’t be worried about the team. Cale Morris is Cale Morris and there is no substitute nor equal to solid goaltending. 

It seems like the Fighting Irish are in a much better spot than last season, and some of the other players who scored last year have been stepping up. But, before last weekend Jeff Jackson did say that the team is still trying to find consistency in its lines. There’s no proof yet that Notre Dame will keep up its scoring.

Offense isn’t sustainable

I spoke to Mel Pearson last week about the team’s goaltending situation. Michigan currently doesn’t have the same level of goaltending — at least when it comes to numbers — as it did last year with Hayden Lavigne’s save percentage. I asked Pearson if he thought the Wolverines can still make a run like they did last year given they have been scoring well of late.

His answer was simple: Not really. Pearson said he wants that goaltending back because offense isn’t the way to win championships. At some point, the offense is going to run out. He said it would for them and it most likely will for Penn State.

I agree. Defense and goaltending does win championships, and there’s no better proof of that than the Big Ten from a few years ago. Pearson was still in the WCHA at the time, but Michigan boasted players like JT Compher and Kyle Connor. It wasn’t enough. Like the other Big Ten teams that year, the Wolverines were stalled pretty early into the NCAA tournament.

It’s still a little early to see who’s going to fare well defensively but it’s worth noting.

The curious case of the goaltending tandems

Right now there are a few teams in the Big Ten that have been using two goaltenders. Most notably is Ohio State. After a great performance last season, Sean Romeo was presumed to be the starter by many. But then came sophomore Tommy Nappier. He played in siz games last season but has been splitting starts with Romeo and has already played in nine.

And he’s doing really well.

Nappier has a .951 save percentage, the second-highest in the country. Of the top-10 goaltenders, only five goaltenders have played in more games than him, and one of those is Cale Morris. Romeo’s save percentage is .912, but the rotation seems to be working for Ohio State. The Buckeyes seem poised to make a return to the NCAA tournament, which poses an interesting question.

Will the Buckeyes end up in the NCAA tournament with a goaltending rotation?

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Atlantic Hockey Notebook 12/2

Posted: December 2nd, 2018 / by Melissa Burgess

This week in Atlantic Hockey, AIC, Air Force and Mercyhurst all swept their respective series over Holy Cross, RIT and Bentley. Army and Canisius split their series, as did Robert Morris and Sacred Heart. Finally, Niagara dropped a pair of non-conference games.

The Yellow Jackets snagged a 4-3 win over Holy Cross in a mid-week matchup on Tuesday to open their series. Tobias Fladeby scored twice, including the game-winner, while Joel Kocur and Hugo Reinhardt also scored for AIC. Errka Vanska, Ryan Leibold and Neil Robinson scored for the Crusaders. Zackarias Skog registered 13 saves in the win.

AIC then captured a 4-2 win over the Crusaders in the rematch over the weekend. Kyle Stephan, Luka Maver, Blake Christensen and Jared Pike all scored for the Yellow Jackets in their second win of the week. Jack Surowiec and Matt Barry had the goals for Holy Cross. Skog registered 24 saves in his second victory of the week – both of which have helped propel AIC up in the Atlantic Hockey standings, where they now sit second.

Air Force outscored RIT 6-1 over the course of two games this weekend. Although RIT struck first in Friday’s game, the Falcons scored the next three, including one on the man advantage. Kieran Durgan, Evan Feno and Matt Pulver registered goals in Friday’s win, with Dan Willett scoring the lone goal of the weekend for the Tigers.

Feno then added a pair of goals on Saturday, with Evan Giesler also scoring for the Falcons in the 3-0 win. Billy Christopoulos had 48 saves over the course of the two wins, pushing Air Force up to the top of Atlantic Hockey.

Elsewhere, the Lakers nabbed two wins over Bentley, starting with a 5-3 victory Friday powered by a hat trick from Derek Barach. Joshua Lammon and Steven Ipri also scored for the Lakers, who registered a pair of power-play goals. Brendan Hamblet, Drew Callin and Matt Lombardozzi scored in the first period for Bentley, but they couldn’t maintain their momentum and fell.

In the rematch, the Lakers took an early 2-0 lead on two more goals from Barach, but couldn’t hold on Michael Zuffante and Tanner Jago scored on the power-play for Bentley, and it wasn’t until 16:39 of the third period that Mercyhurst would take the lead. Brendan Riley had the game-winning goal for the Lakers.

Army and Canisius split their weekend, with the Black Knights taking a 5-4 win Friday and the Griffs rallying for a 4-2 win Saturday. Daniel Haider, Dominic Franco, Dalton MacAfee, Zach Evancho and Mason Krueger all scored for Army in the win Friday. Nick Hutchison scored a pair for Canisius, while captain Ian Edmondson and Austin Alger also scored.

Dylan McLaughlin had a pair of goals Saturday, while Edmondson and Alger also registered goals. Tucker DeYoung and Trevor Fidler had the goals for Army, but Canisius was powered by a 31-save performance from goaltender Blake Weyrick in the win.

Robert Morris and Sacred Heart split their weekend series. Austin Magera had the game-winning goal for Sacred Heart in Friday’s win; Matt Tugnutt also scored. Saturday’s game required overtime to solve, with Michael Louria notching the game-winner for Robert Morris. Alex Tonge, Jordan Kaplan and Luke Lynch also registered goals over the weekend.

Finally, the Niagara Purple Eagles dropped a pair of games to non-conference for Western Michigan, falling by scores of 3-2 and 7-3. Justin Kendall and Eric Cooley scored for the Purple Eagles, while Noah Delmas had three goals over the course of the weekend.

Here are the Atlantic Hockey standings:

  1. Air Force
  2. AIC
  3. Niagara
  4. Army
  5. Mercyhurst
  6. Robert Morris
  7. Canisius
  8. RIT
  9. Bentley
  10. Sacred Heart
  11. Holy Cross

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