Quinnipiac Stays on Top
It was the biggest weekend series of the year to date, and when all was said and done, the Quinnipiac Braves had gone to Erie, Penn., and come out with probably a little more than they had bargained for.
The Braves, who owned a one-point lead in the standings over Mercyhurst entering last weekend’s play, extended that lead by sweeping the Lakers, 3-1 and 4-2, Friday and Saturday.
Both games entered the third period tied at one. Quinnipiac broke the deadlock late on Friday, when Jed Holtzman scored the game-winning goal at 16:47 of the third period. Saturday, goals by Chris Cerrella and Todd Bennett, at 3:50 and 10:20 of the third period, respectively, game Quinnipiac the lead for good. Both nights, Shawn Mansoff added empty-net goals in the final minute of play.
The wins put distance between the two clubs for the first time this season, and mark the first two losses in league play for Mercyhurst, which became a member of the MAAC this year.
A couple of items to note about the standings: First of all, even though Quinnipiac has a five-point lead, Mercyhurst still has two games in hand, which could put the Lakers right back on Quinnipiac’s heels. At the same time, Mercyhurst’s lead over third-place Canisius has dropped from seven down to three points. Both teams have played 11 league games. Interesting finishes are in the crystal ball, I’m sure.
Bentley’s Soderquist Suspended for Four Games
The Bentley College Falcons will be without their leading scorer for the next two weeks as senior captain Ryan Soderquist was suspended for a total of four games for allegedly spearing a linesman in the second period of the Falcons’ game at Fairfield on Saturday night.
According to a release issued by the Fairfield Sports Information Office, Soderquist was upset about an offsides call made by the same linesman just minutes earlier. During or after an ensuing faceoff was when the spear apparently took place.
Bentley’s Sports Information Office would not comment on the incident earlier this week. Bob DeFelice, Bentley’s athletic director, stated that it was school policy not to comment on disciplinary decisions until after they were finalized with the league. Since the league announced the suspension on Wednesday, DeFelice has been unavailable for comment.
The suspension is a total of four games — one game for the automatic suspension that accompanies a game disqualification, plus an additional three games issued by the school.
The league felt that the four-game suspension was sufficient and announced that it would not impose additional penalties.
During the game itself, Soderquist received a five-minute major for abusing an official, plus the aforementioned automatic game disqualification. During the major penalty, Fairfield scored three goals to make a 2-1 deficit into a 4-2 Fairfield lead. Bentley rallied late in the game, and Marcus Willy tied the game with a six-on-five goal with 38 seconds to play.
The game ended in a 4-4 tie, the two clubs’ second overtime game in as many nights. Friday night, Fairfield won the game 30 seconds into overtime for its second victory of the season. The Stags also won the season series against Bentley, 2-0-1, the first season series won by Fairfield in its two years in the MAAC.
Soderquist currently leads the MAAC in league scoring with 24 points (eight goals, 16 assists). His 28 points (11g, 17a) overall place him second behind Quinnipiac’s Chris Cerrella.
Games of the Week
Canisius at Sacred Heart Saturday, January 15, 2000, 7:30 ET Sunday, January 16, 2000, 3:00 ET
This weekend MAAC play will see a series between two teams heading in opposite directions: Sacred Heart and Canisius. The Pioneers have lost five of their last six, including consecutive league games to Connecticut. Canisius is riding a five-game winning streak and an eight-game unbeaten streak. Their last loss, though, was a 5-2 loss to the Pioneers back on November 12.
What this has translated to in the standings is Canisius moving from the bottom of the league into third place, sitting only three points behind second-place Mercyhurst. Sacred Heart has moved south and is now tied for fifth place with Iona.
The good news for Sacred Heart is that the Pioneers are only four points away from Canisius, so a sweep would result in a big move in the standings. The bad news — the Pioneers are only four points ahead of ninth-place Fairfield, so getting swept could mean a continued plunge in the standings.
"It’s an important weekend for us because of the standings," said Sacred heart head coach Shaun Hannah. "Canisius is a good team and they’re playing well, but we’re a hungry team looking to get out of the little skid we’re in right now. That usually makes for great hockey."
Hannah, whose team is recovering from a bout with the flu bug that ran rampant through his club last week at Air Force, is concerned about winning the special-teams game.
"Their power play seems to be rolling pretty well," Hannah said, "so we can’t take any unnecessary penalties. Their [penalty kill] is playing well, so we have to be a little hungrier on the power play.
"Five-on-five, we have to play our system. I think we match up pretty well with them five-on-five."
Canisius knows the important of starting fast, especially given the results of the last meeting of these two clubs.
"We felt that we played pretty well against Sacred Heart and came up on the short end of the stick," said Canisius coach Brian Cavanaugh. "We got off to a slow start in the first period, played a solid second period, but then didn’t play well enough in the third period to win the game. That was a tough loss."
The player who made a difference in that contest was Sacred Heart freshman Martin Paquet, who scored a pair of goals and added two assists.
"We hadn’t seen Paquet before we played last. During warmup I saw him and I was impressed with his talent level, skill and size," Cavanaugh said. "I warned the team that this is a player we needed to give some attention to out on the ice, but we didn’t do a good enough job of that. Each team has a couple of players who you have to pay particular attention to in order to shut them down, especially on the road. He is certainly one of those players."
The weekend series will take place on Saturday and Sunday, instead of the conventional Friday and Saturday, due to a scheduling conflict with the Sacred Heart women’s hockey team.
For Hannah, the extra day before the series is welcome.
"The extra day was good because it allowed us to work on a few extra things," Hannah said. "It doesn’t throw us for a loop; I think it’s beneficial."
MAAC PLAYER OF THE WEEK
David Deeves, Canisius So., C, 5-7, 175, Barrie, ON/Collingwood Blues
Deeves scored three goals and one assist to lead Canisius in a sweep of defending MAAC champion Holy Cross. Saturday, Deeves netted two third-period goals, including the game-tying goal at 4:50 of the third and the game-winning goal with 40 seconds remaining in the game. Friday, Deeves registered a goal and an assist as the Ice Griffs skated to a 6-3 win. On the season, Deeves has eight goals and seven assists for 15 points. He is tied for the team lead in goals scored.
MAAC GOALIE OF THE WEEK
J. C. Wells, Quinnipiac Jr., G, 5-10, 175, Sheffield, MA/Boston Bulldogs
Wells stopped 38 shots in two Quinnipiac wins over second-place Mercyhurst on Friday and Saturday night. Saturday, Wells stopped 28 shots to lift the Braves to a 4-2 win and a five-point lead in the MAAC standings. On the season, Wells is now 5-1-2 with a 3.28 goals-against average and an .874 save percentage. He moved his career win total to 41, with a record of 41-8-4.
MAAC ROOKIE OF THE WEEK
Rae Metz, Fairfield Fr., F, 5-11, 175, Kent, OH/Danville Wings
Metz led Fairfield to a win a tie over Bentley this weekend, scoring three goals and two assists in the two games. In Friday’s 4-3 overtime win, Metz scored two goals, including the overtime game-winner 30 seconds into the extra frame. In Saturday’s 4-4 tie with Bentley, Metz added a goal and an assist. Metz posted 4-4-8 in three games against Bentley this season, helping the Stags to a 2-0-1 record. On the season he has 9-9-18 and currently is tied for fourth among all MAAC rookies in scoring.
Around the League
The Yellow Jackets dropped a pair of games to conference rival Iona, 5-0 on Friday and 5-3 on Saturday… AIC snapped a 104-minute scoreless drought dating back to its December 11 games vs. Wayne State with a goal at 6:14 of the third period Saturday… Chance Thede (Westminster, CO) made 69 saves in the two games last weekend. Tim Kolasa (Chesterfield Township, MI) dished out two assists on Saturday, tying him for the team lead with 12 points on the season. He now has 3-9-12 from the Blue line for the Yellow Jackets. In conference play, he leads the Yellow Jackets with eight points… The Yellow Jackets host Mercyhurst on Friday and Saturday night at 7:00. AIC dropped a 9-3 decision against Mercyhurst on December 3 in Erie, PA… Junior defenseman Aaron Arnett (Durham, Ont) leads AIC in scoring with 2-10-12… The Yellow Jackets are the least-penalized team in the MAAC, averaging 6.6 penalty minutes per game in all games and 5.9 pm/game in MAAC contests… Senior goalie Tom Patty (East Alstead, NH) ranks 9th in the MAAC with an overall save percentage of .872.
Freshman Marcus Willy (Marshfield, MA) capped a two-goal Bentley comeback on Saturday with a goal at 19:28 of the third period to force overtime. He also scored a goal in Friday’s loss… The Falcons host UConn for a pair games Friday and Saturday at the John A. Ryan Skating Arena… The Falcons are 0-1 against UConn this season, losing 8-1 on November 12… Senior forward Brian Gangemi (Tewksbury, MA) is tied for fifth in conference scoring with 8-10-18. Steve Tobio (Belmont, MA) is tied for 2nd in MAAC defenseman scoring with 4-13-17… The Falcons rank 3rd in the MAAC in scoring with 3.54 goals per game overall and 4.44 in MAAC play.
With two victories last weekend, the Ice Griffs moved into third place with 14 points, three ahead of UConn. The Ice Griffs converted on four of four power play opportunities on the weekend, going 3-for-3 on Saturday after 1-for-1 on Friday night. Joel Tarvud (Sudbury, Ont) registered four assists in Saturday afternoon’s win. Matt Shewchuk (Herdman, PQ) netted two goals in the Canisius 6-3 win on Friday night… The Ice Griffs travel to Sacred Heart for a pair of games at the Milford Ice Pavilion, Saturday at 7:00 and Sunday at 3:00… The Ice Griffs lost 5-2 at Sacred Heart on November 12. Canisius went 4-0 against Sacred Heart in 1998-99… Sophomore Corey Lucas (Scarborough, Ont) leads Canisius in scoring with 7-12–19. He scored a goal in five consecutive games from Nov. 13 to Dec. 10.
UConn travels to Bentley this weekend for a pair of league games in Watertown, MA. In their only meeting this year, UConn defeated Bentley 8-1 on November 12 at the UConn Ice Arena. UConn’s 3-2 win at Sacred Heart last Monday was their first win away from the UConn Ice Arena this season. UConn is 1-9-1 away from Storrs this year… The Huskies are on a five-game winning streak, outscoring opponents 22-9… Ciro Longobardi (Wallingford, CT) scored a goal and two assists to lead the Huskies in their 3-2 win over Sacred Heart. He owns a six-game point scoring streak with 5-5–10 over that stretch. He has a goal in four consecutive games… With 8-6-14, Longobardi is now tied with junior forward Michael Goldkind (Silver Spring, MD) as the teams leading scorer. Goldkind has 4-10-14… In conference play, senior goalie Marc Senerchia (Greenville, RI) leads the MAAC with 2.49 goals-against average… UConn is 5-0-0 at home this season averaging 5.8 goals per game and outscoring opponents 34-9.
The Stags scored four power play goals in the second period on Saturday night… Freshman Ryan Tormey (Hanover, MA) ranks second in the MAAC in power-play points with 3-8–11. Casey Laflamme (Biddeford, ME) is tied for third in power play points with 5-5-10… Fairfield faces Iona in a home and home series Friday at Iona and Saturday at home… The Stags are facing Iona for the first time this season. The Stags went 0-5 against Iona in 1998-99… The top five leading scorers for Fairfield are freshmen. Metz, Tormey, Laflamme, Dan Cotter (Franklin, MA), and Steve Calderara (Douglasville, GA) have combined for 24-42–66, accounting for 66% of Fairfield’s offense… The Stags lead the MAAC in league power-play efficiency, scoring on 14 of 49 chances (28.6%)… Laflamme is tied for first in the MAAC with four power-play goals in league play.
Freshman Brandon Doria (Bayonne, NJ) assisted on all three Holy Cross goals on Friday. He is tied for second on the team in scoring with 5-8-13 and ranks among the leading rookie scorers in the MAAC… Junior forward Brian Askashian (Lowell, MA) scored two goals in Saturday’s one-goal loss. He has 6-1–7 on the season… The Crusaders match up with Quinnipiac in a home-and-home series, Friday at home and Saturday night in Northford, CT. Holy Cross fell to Quinnipiac 8-4 on December 3. Holy Cross was 1-3-0 against Quinnipiac last year… Senior forward Chris Fattey (Hamburg, NY) sat out Saturday’s game with an injured hand. He leads Holy Cross in scoring with 5-15–20 and set a MAAC regular season record with five assists versus Iona on November 19… The Crusaders have lost four games in a row and eight of their last nine. Their last win was a 3-1 triumph December 4 at Fairfield… Saturday’s six-goal output tied a season high for the Crusaders. They also scored six against Iona on November 19.
Iona opened the 2000 portion of its schedule with two wins over last-place American International. Friday the Gaels shut out AIC 5-0 before coming back Saturday to win 5-3. Mike Fraser (Brandon, Man) allowed just one goal in five plus periods of play on the weekend. His shutout on Friday night was his second of the season… The Gaels faceoff with Fairfield in a home and home series this weekend Friday at home and Saturday at Fairfield. This is the first meeting of the season between the Gaels and Stags. Iona went 5-0 against Fairfield in 1998-99… Erik Nates (White Plains, NY) leads the Gaels in scoring with 8-11-19. He is tied with for the team scoring lead with MAAC Preseason Player of the Year Ryan Carter (Fort Nelson, BC), who has 8-11–19… Freshman Ryan Manitowich (Calgary, AB) leads the Gaels and is tied for third in the MAAC with 13 goals this season… Freshman goalie Mike Fraser leads the MAAC with an overall save percentage of .920… The Gaels killed off all five AIC power plays they faced on the weekend. Iona’s penalty killing ranks third in the MAAC overall, having stopped 54 of 67 (80.6%) opponent power plays.
Sophomore goalie Peter Aubry (Windsor, Ont) stopped 62 of Quinnipiac’s 66 shots on the weekend, the first goaltender this season to hold Quinnipiac under four goals in one game. The Lakers’ 11 shots in goal in Friday’s game tied a program low. They also had 11 shots in 1990 against Kent State… The Lakers play American International Friday at 7:00 and Saturday at 4:00 in Springfield, MA. Mercyhurst blew out AIC 9-3 on December 3… Lakers head coach Rick Gotkin is two wins shy of 200 in his career… Louis Goulet (Kapuskasing, Ont) leads the Lakers in scoring with 11-9–20. He ranks sixth in the league in overall scoring… In league play, the Lakers are 4-0-1 when trailing after two periods. They’ve outscored opponents 21-9 during the third period of MAAC games. Friday’s loss snapped the Lakers’ nine-game unbeaten streak (8-0-1) in MAAC league play, a regular-season record.
The Braves are 7-3-2 in games decided by two goals or less… The Braves match up with Holy Cross in a pair of MAAC games Friday at Holy Cross at 7:00 and Saturday at the Northford Ice Pavilion at 5:00. Quinnipiac posted an 8-4 win over Holy Cross on December 3. The Braves were 3-1 against the Crusaders in 1998-99… Chris Cerrella (N. Massapequa, NY) leads the MAAC in overall scoring with 16-13–29. Four of the top five scorers in the MAAC are from Quinnipiac…The Braves lead the nation in goal scoring with 5.65 goals per game… Freshman Brian Herbert (Langley, BC) leads all MAAC rookies in scoring with 13-12–25… Dan Ennis (Kitimat, BC) leads the MAAC in defenseman scoring with 4-14–18.
Sacred Heart dropped three games on the week. Monday they lost 3-2 to conference rival UConn before dropping a pair of games Friday and Saturday at Air Force by scores of 6-1 and 7-3. Junior defenseman Derek Young (Whitby, Ont) scored two of the Pioneers’ four goals in their series at Air Force… The Pioneers host Canisius in a pair of MAAC games Saturday at 7:00 and Sunday at 3:00. The Pioneers defeated Canisius 5-2 on November 12. Last year, Sacred Heart went 0-4 against Canisius. Canisius is on a five game winning streak while Sacred Heart rides a four game losing streak heading into the weekend… Alexis Jutras-Binet (Quebec, PQ) notched his 23rd career win December 29 against Findlay at the UConn SNET Classic to set a school record, breaking Bill Sawyer’s mark. Sacred Heart’s top eight scorers are either freshmen or sophomores.
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