AHA wrap up

Posted by: Timothy O'Donnell

Well the first weekend of conference play has come and gone, and some things have become clear. Some teams continue to have success (Air Force), some teams are surprisingly struggling (RIT), and yet others just can’t get a win. AHA teams are all over the map in the early going this season, with many teams not separating from the pack yet.

After nonconference play and the  first full weekend of conference play, here’s my AHA power rankings.

1. Air Force – Seven game unbeaten streak without Jason Torf has the Falcons rolling.  Stephen Caple has more than just filled in for Torf, he has exceeded expectations. The Falcons are 5-0-2 since Torf went out, while Caple has allowed more than two goals just once. Cole Gunner has made a huge splash in just his first year..

2. Mercyhurst –  The Lakers two wins brings them to six points and second place in the conference. The Lakers are being outscored yet they are undefeated early in conference play.

3. UConn – UConn still has room to grow. After a big home victory over Holy Cross, the Huskies traveled to Mercyhurst and were swept in the two game series. The Huskies haven’t had consecutive wins this season. They’ll need to be more consistent as the season continues.

4. Holy Cross – The Crusaders lost two straight games after their huge win at Boston University but got back on track Saturday, winning at Niagara. Freshmen Matt Ginn has been getting almost all the starts in net for Holy Cross (Sat. was the first game he didn’t start) and has played well. The Crusaders have enough offensive weapons to make a run in the AHA if Ginn can continue his solid play.

5. Canisius – The Golden Griffins have been a surprise this season. With 12 freshmen on the roster, there were low expectations around the Golden Griffins but they have surprised in the early going. The Golden Griffins split a weekend series at Bentley. Unfortunately for Canisius, their quick start in conference play isn’t likely to continue. They’re averaging just under two goals a game, while surrendering three a game.

6. RIT – RIT’s struggles continue without Shane Madolora in net, but they did score their first goal at Frank Ritter Ice Arena. But it’s not just that Madolora was missing, the Tigers haven’t been able to score consistently. The five goals scored on Saturday were the most the Tigers scored since Oct. 15.

7. Bentley – The Falcons split their weekend series with Cansius in Buffalo. Bentley only scored two goals with a Canisius goalie in net. Their only other goal of weekend was and empty net goal. While the Falcons were up against a good goalie tandem, they will need to score more going forward. The Falcons have scored three or more goals just twice.

8. Niagara – The Purple Eagles lost a couple of very talented offensive weapons last season, but they have kept on rolling this year. They have scored three or more goals in all but three games this season. That includes this past weekend when the Purple Eagles split with Holy Cross. Niagara put up four goals in a win and another three in the loss. The offense is there, the Purple Eagles just need to get their goaltending situated.

9. Robert Morris – The Colonials continue to struggle this season. They have to string together consecutive wins and don’t have a player with more than three goals. The Colonials are another AHA team that is struggling to score this season, averaging 1.89 goals per game. In net, the Colonials have split starts between Eric Levine and Brooks Ostergard. One of them will need to step up as the starter for the Colonials.

10. AIC – The Yellow Jackets have won twice this season, both conference games. While they sit near the top of the standings at the moment, they are not likely to stay there. The Yellow Jackets are getting most of their offensive production from Steve Mele, Michael Penny, and Jon Puskar. All three have eight points on the season. But beyond those three there is not much scoring beyond those three.

11. Army – The Black Knights are winless on the season and there doesn’t seem to be a light at the end of the tunnel.  The Black Knights are having difficulty scoring and keeping the puck out of their net. Averaging 1.67 goals a game and giving up 4 a game, the Black Knights have lots to improve on if they want to win this season.

12. Sacred Heart – The Pioneers are another winless team. They have won this year, but it was an exhibition game against Ryerson. The Pioneers have yet to even to record a tie this season. It looks to be another long year for the Pioneers.

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