We’ve reached the unofficial halfway mark of the season. It’d been a fun and exciting first half of the season. Outside of conference play, the league as a whole as struggled. All 12 teams combined to go 11-46-7 in nonconference games. But there was one huge win and that belongs to Sacred Heart. Possibly the upset of the year, the winless Pioneers shocked Yale with a 7-6 win.
But once conference play started, the league changed and teams began to assert themselves. Traditional powers Air Force and RIT continued their run of success, the Falcons are in first in the standings while RIT sits in a three way tie for third with Mercyhurst and Robert Morris.
It comes as no surprise that Air Force and RIT are at the top of the standings at this point of the season, there have been a few surprise teams. Mercyhurst and their 12 freshmen are tied for second in the standings. Four of the top 10 freshmen point producers in Atlantic Hockey are Lakers, led the Nardo Nagtzaam’s 13 points.
The impact of underclassmen isn’t limited to just the Lakers. Six of the top 10 point producers in the league are either freshmen or sophomores, led by Air Force’s Cole Gunner.
Along with the surprises this year, Atlantic Hockey also has it’s share of disappointments. UConn and Holy Cross, both Atlantic Hockey tournament semifinalists last year, sit in ninth and seventh place, respectively. The Huskies have the league’s top power play and a lot of returners from last season, but it hasn’t translated into success. The Crusaders entered the season with one major question mark: who will replace Adam Roy in net. Halfway through the season and it seems that the Crusaders have yet to answer that. The combination of Matt Ginn and Thomas Tysowsky have been unable to replace Roy.
The second half of the season is just around the corner. The fight for the top four spots in the standings will be a fight to the finish. Teams will need to continue their success if they want to make the playoffs, while others will need a turnaround if they want to make it. It’s sure to be an exciting second half.