Another Atlantic Hockey season is underway, with a lot of questions at the helm. Can Air Force build off their championship success in the postseason to fight their way to the top during the regular season? Will Mercyhurst be the best team in Atlantic Hockey? Can teams like Sacred Heart, Bentley and Niagara find ways to improve this season and move up in the standings?
As of October 15, only four teams have been in conference action so far in Atlantic Hockey; Canisius, Holy Cross, Niagara and AIC have all played a pair of conference games, and have each gone 1-1.
The Golden Griffins and Crusaders split a pair of games this weekend in Worcester. Holy Cross came off Friday night with a 4-2 win behind a pair of goals from Mitch Collett; Peter Crinella and Neil Robinson also scored in the win. Tommy Nixon stopped 28 shots. The teams battled hard in their Saturday night rematch, with Canisius narrowly edging Holy Cross 7-6 thanks to four goals in the third period.
Alternate captain Dylan McLaughlin had a goal and two assists, while Tucker Weppner had 20 saves in his first NCAA Division I collegiate victory. Sophomore forward Austin Alger made his debut for Canisius this past weekend after being granted a waiver by the NCAA. He is a transfer from Miami (Ohio).
Elsewhere, Niagara and AIC split a pair of games. The Purple Eagles won 4-3 in overtime on Friday, but the Yellow Jackets snagged a 3-1 victory Saturday. Ludwig Stenlund had a pair of goals Friday, including the overtime game-winner, while Dylan Mills registered three assists for Niagara.
On Saturday, the teams exchanged power play goals before the Yellow Jackets pulled ahead thanks to a goal late in the second period by Darius Davidson. Kyle Stephan added an insurance goal in the third, and Stefano Durante registered 13 saves.
In non-conference action, Mercyhurst fell to Miami (Ohio) (3-0) and tied 6-6 with the University of Notre Dame in the Icebreaker Tournament. (Since it was a tournament game, it went to a shootout, which Notre Dame won). Air Force fell to Denver 4-1, then Colorado College 6-1. UConn topped Army, but the Black Knights came back with a 3-2 win Saturday over Merrimack.
Bentley dropped a 1-0 decision to Merrimack, while RIT split the weekend with UMass Lowell, falling 2-1 Friday before winning 5-4 in overtime Saturday. Finally, Sacred Heart lost both games against Northeastern, while Robert Morris split their weekend series with Bowling Green.
Lots of action in the week ahead, with Bentley and AIC facing off for a series on Tuesday & Thursday. Army and Robert Morris meet for a pair of games, as do Air Force and Canisius. Non-conference opponents include Penn State (Niagara), St. Lawrence (Holy Cross), Ferris State (Mercyhurst), Colgate (RIT) and Clarkson (Holy Cross).
Here are the current Atlantic Hockey standings:
- Holy Cross
- Robert Morris
- Sacred Heart
- Air Force