Getting the “W”
The last two winless teams in Atlantic Hockey picked up their first victories last Friday. Mercyhurst defeated Holy Cross 4-3 in overtime, and AIC downed Army, 4-3.
Both squads lost the following night.
That particular night (Friday) we really played well, said AIC coach Gary Wright, in his 25th season behind the bench. We went to the net hard and buried our chances, and Dan Ramirez was excellent in net.
Ramirez made 32 saves for the win, while three Yellow Jackets picked up their first goals of the season. Thats good news for Wrights team, which has had to depend heavily on rookie Michael Penny. Before last weekend, Penny had scored half (four) of AICs goals through six games.
Hes been an instant help, said Wright, whose team lost all-star Jereme Tendler to graduation. Hes centering our first line. We have two freshmen (Penny and Nielsson Archibal) on our first line.
Penny has been a big addition. He plays well on both ends of the ice. He shoots a lot — hes not afraid to take shots, which is good for a freshman.
Ramirez and senior Tom Fenton have been splitting time in net, but Wright says theres no grand design to the goaltending.
I wouldnt call it platooning, he said. Its just a situation of both goaltenders playing well.
Wright says his teams main problem is the same it has been for a few years now — scoring goals.
Our goals-against is better, he said. The last few games weve been giving up three goals a game. When you give up three goals a game at home you should win or tie.
The Yellow Jackets play a home-and-home series this weekend with Sacred Heart.
It will be a challenge, no doubt, said Wright. Theyre one of the top programs in our league. You look at what theyve accomplished over the years.
We played them tough last year (one goal loss and a tie) so we can build on that.
Players of the Week for November 10, 2008
Jordan Cyr – Holy Cross
Cyr tallied four goals in a weekend split with Mercyhurst. The transfer from Rensselaer had a pair of goals in each game.
Goaltender of the Week for November 10, 2008:
Joe Calvi – Bentley
The sophomore stopped all 24 shots he faced on Friday to blank Connecticut 1-0. It was his third career shutout.
Rookie of the Week for November 10, 2008:
Rody Selk – AIC
An AIC player wins the award for a second straight week. Selk scored the opening goal of Friday and assisted on the game winner in a 4-3 victory over Army.
Not So Special
RIT and Canisius both recently ran into a special teams buzzsaw — the Niagara Purple Eagles. In a 6-2 victory over the Tigers on Friday, Niagara scored four power play goals and scored shorthanded, while holding RIT to just 1-13 with the man advantage. The previous weekend against Holy Cross, the Tigers scored five power play goals and had two shorthanded tallies, but Niagara turned the tables on them.
We watched their penalty kill on tape and it looked kind of passive, said RIT coach Wayne Wilson after the game. It certainly wasnt tonight.
On Tuesday, the Purps hosted Canisius and rang up three shorthanded goals on the same Golden Griffins power play en route to a 5-2 win. Canisius went 0-7 on the power play.
With the three short-handed goals, I dont know if you see that two times in a season and it happened three times tonight, said Canisius head coach Dave Smith. It was bizarre.
For the first time, AHA players have swept the Hockey Commissioners Association National Division I Player and Rookie of the Month awards.
Air Forces Jacques Lamoureux was named Player of the Month for October. Lamoureux has scored a point in every game this season. He leads the nation in goals (11), points (19), power-play goals (seven) and game-winners (five).
And dont just call him Mr. October. Lamoureux had a hat-trick in his first game in November.
The National Rookie of the Month award went to Canisius Dave Kostuch, who had four goals in October and currently leads all rookies nationally with five goals.
Around the League
Rumor Mill – AHA commissioner Bob DeGregorio was spotted at Niagaras Dwyer Arena last Friday, attending the RIT-Niagara game. This adds to the speculation that Niagara is interested in joining Atlantic Hockey. The league has been in conversations with Niagara and Robert Morris, but has continued to say there are no plans for imminent expansion.
Air Force – The Falcons soared even higher despite not playing last week, moving up a notch into the 13th position in the USCHO.com Division I poll.
Army – Josh Kassel returned to the net on Saturday after a three-game layoff and stopped 24 shots in a 3-1 win over AIC.
Bentley – The Falcons 1-0 over UConn on Friday was their fourth straight home-opener win.
USCHO covers Atlantic Hockey all week long on the Atlantic Hockey Blog, with weekend recaps on Monday, picks on Friday, and updates during the week.