The 2008-2009 season has been a record-setting one for Air Force, which opened 13-0, tops in school history for both longest winning streak and best start to a season.
The Falcons’ “travel partner” (the team they always play four times a season), RIT, has also set a school record for consecutive wins this season. Last weekend’s sweep of Connecticut were the Tigers’ sixth and seventh straight victories, the longest winning streak for RIT since moving to Division I.
While on this run, which began with a 3-2 overtime win at Air Force on December 6, the Tigers have outscored their opponents 33-18, including a season-best seven goals on Saturday. The five goals scored in the second period were a Division I-era record.
“We’ve just been pounding away,” said RIT coach Wayne Wilson. “We’ve worked hard and were patient and got some breaks.”
After losing his top two scorers to graduation, Wilson says he expected everyone to pick up the slack this season. In Saturday’s 7-4 win, all 12 forwards had at least one point. RIT has six players with at least 17 points, and nine in double digits. The Tigers’ offense is ranked sixth in Division I.
“We’re very happy with the depth and the way or defensemen are contributing,” said Wilson. “It seems like a different line has been getting us going each game. That makes for a good locker room with everybody feeling good about themselves, that they’re contributing.”
Junior defenseman Dan Ringwald leads the team in scoring with 21 points, 19 of those coming as assists. Senior Brennan Sarazin has 10 goals, tops on the team.
RIT looks to keep things going against AIC at home this weekend. The Yellow Jackets are struggling (0-7-1 in their last eight games) but split four games with RIT last season.
“Anyone can beat anyone in this league,” said Wilson. “UConn was in last place coming in here and they gave us all we could handle. They’re a dangerous team. AIC beat us twice last season.
“Standings mean nothing. You have to prove it on the ice every game.”
Players of the Week for January 12, 2009
Owen Meyer — Army
The junior forward has given the Black Knights a boost since returning from injury. Meyer had three goals, two of them game winners, to help Army to a home sweep of Mercyhurst.
Dustin Cloutier — Bentley
Cloutier racked up five points, including a hat trick, to help the Falcons to an 8-3 win over Canisius on Friday.
Goaltender of the Week for January 12, 2009:
Jay Clark — Army
Clark gets the award for the second week in a row. The sophomore stayed hot, making 60 saves on 64 shots in a 2-1, 4-3 sweep of Mercyhurst.
Rookie of the Week for January 12, 2009:
Dave Kostuch — Canisius
Kostuch was a bright spot in a disappointing weekend for Canisius. He scored three goals on the weekend in a pair of losses to Bentley. Kostuch is the top rookie in the nation in goalscoring, averaging .63 goals a game.
Ups and Downs
It was a tale of two weekends for Bentley, which was swept by RIT on home ice on January 2 and 3, but turned the tables at Canisius last weekend, taking two games from the Golden Griffins, 8-3 and 4-3.
Special teams were the difference. The Falcons were 0-11 on the power play against RIT, but scored seven goals on 13 attempts last weekend.
“We made a couple of adjustments made, but you also need to get some bounces,” said Bentley coach Ryan Soderquist. “We scored on our first two (attempts) and that gave us some confidence.”
The Falcons weren’t able to capitalize on their momentum, dropping a 2-1 game at Connecticut on Wednesday. The Huskies tied the game with an extra attacker goal with 35 seconds to play, and then won it with a shorthanded tally by Matt Miller in overtime.
“Their goalie (Beau Erickson) played a hell of a game,” said Soderquist. “We had four or five really good chances but couldn’t put them home. He was able to get over on a couple of backdoor plays and stopped some breakaways. Dain Prewitt had a breakaway 10 seconds into overtime and didn’t score.”
Bentley travels to Maine for a game on Friday.
“We’re excited about it,” said Soderquist. “It’s a great building to play in and our last non-conference game of the season. We don’t have to worry about standings or anything. We can just play our game.”
Around the League
AIC: Four of the Yellow Jackets’ six top scorers this season are freshman and sophomores. Rookie Neilsson Arcibal leads the team with ten points in 21 games.
Army: The Black Knights will appear on national TV for the second time in eight days when they host Holy Cross on Sunday at 4:00 p.m. ET. The game will air live on ESPNU, and Army is 3-0 in its last three nationally television games.
Holy Cross: After a 4-10-1 start, the Crusaders are undefeated in their last four games and have won three in a row. One more win will match their longest (but strange) unbeaten streak from last season, when Holy Cross went 1-0-4 in December.
Sacred Heart: Senior forward Bear Trapp had three points last weekend, giving him 135 on his career and moving him into third place on the all-time list at Sacred Heart.
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.