Three Things I Think: Atlantic Hockey, Dec. 3

Posted by: Melissa Burgess

It was a busy weekend for Atlantic Hockey, as every team aside from Robert Morris played at least one game. Niagara came out on top with a pair of wins to regain the top spot in the conference.

Canisius is now second in the conference despite falling to non-conference Clarkson this weekend. Army, meanwhile, fell three spots in conference standings after this weekend’s games.

Here are the Atlantic Hockey standings as of December 3:

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

Niagara Regains Conference Lead

The Purple Eagles continued their strong season as they swept a weekend against Air Force this weekend to regain the top spot in Atlantic Hockey. They’re now 8-2-1 in conference play, and 9-5-1 overall this season.

Niagara scored three times in Friday’s opening period, then added a power-play and shorthanded goal in the second period. Derian Plouffe had a pair of goals and added an assist for the Purple Eagles in Friday’s 6-3 win. Eric Cooley and Tanner Lomsnes also had three-point nights.

Niagara then beat Air Force 5-2 Saturday. Nick Farmer had a pair of goals in the win, while Zach Mills, Derek Brown and Lomsnes also scored for the Purple Eagles.

Air Force was held scoreless on six power-play opportunities in Saturday’s loss. The Falcons now have several weeks to wait before their next game, which comes against Colorado College on December 29. They’ll close out the year against Denver on the 30th.

Streaks Were Meant to Be Broken

The Sacred Heart Pioneers broke a seven-game winless streak, defeating Mercyhurst 5-3 in their second game of the weekend. The Pioneers badly needed a win, as they’re currently sitting dead-last in Atlantic Hockey and hadn’t won since November 4.

Vito Bavaro got his team on the board in the first period, before the teams traded goals in the second. Jason Cotton and Kory Kennedy scored for the Pioneers, and the team went in to the third up 3-2.

Cotton added another goal on the power play early in the third, and Jordan Kaplan secured Sacred Heart’s lead. Brett Magnus had 25 saves in the win.

The Pioneers now face a tough non-conference opponent, Yale, on December 9. They’ll return to conference action with a pair of game against Holy Cross in the final weekend of 2017.

Meanwhile, as Sacred Heart’s streak came to an end, so too did Canisius’. The Griffs’ five-game winning streak ended with a 5-1 loss to non-conference Clarkson on Saturday night. Clarkson is now on an eight-game winning streak of their own.

Canisius and Niagara prepare for an intense Battle of the Bridge December 8-9 which will see the top two teams in Atlantic Hockey face off.

Holy Cross, RIT Split Pair

Holy Cross and RIT aren’t having bad seasons, and they’re now third- and fourth-ranked in the conference after splitting a pair of games. The Crusaders won 4-2 Friday, with the Tigers beating them 5-3 Saturday.

The teams traded goals throughout Friday’s game, with Holy Cross striking first and RIT coming back on the man advantage. It’d be tied at two for several minutes following Abbottt Girduckis’ equalizer, before Holy Cross struck twice in the final 1:29 of play.

Brett Mulcahy and Mitch Collett scored the late goals for Holy Cross to secure Friday’s win.

It was much of the same Saturday, with the teams trading goals in the first and second period. Holy Cross took a 3-2 lead with 7:56 to play in the middle frame, but RIT charged back with three unanswered goals to nab the win.

Myles Powell had two goals for the Tigers, with Adam Brubacher, Mark Logan and Erik Brown also adding goals. Ryan Ferrill, Danny Lopez and Tommy Muratore scored for the Crusaders in Saturday’s loss.

Holy Cross scored on one of five power-play opportunities in the loss.

Atlantic Hockey faces a somewhat lighter schedule moving forward, as the conference prepares for a break beginning December 18. First up, however, the conference faces a busy weekend with 13 games between December 8-10.

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