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This Week in Atlantic Hockey

College Hockey:
This Week in Atlantic Hockey: Oct. 15, 2009

Slow Start

It wasn’t the start that Atlantic Hockey teams wanted. AHA squads went 1-9 to open the season:

Canisius got the conference’s only win on Saturday, a 1-0 victory over Ferris State thanks to a sterling performance by goaltender Dan Morrison (48 saves). The Golden Griffins lost to the Bulldogs 5-1 the night before.

Army lost twice in the Icebreaker Tournament in Omaha, Neb., once to the host Mavericks (6-4) and then to St. Lawrence (5-2) in the consolation game.

Air Force was swept at Bemidji State (3-1 and 7-3), a reversal of last year’s series in Colorado Springs. Goaltender Andrew Volkening will not be playing every minute of every game in net this season, as he was pulled at the 12:13 mark of the second period on Saturday after surrendering six goals on 17 shots.

Holy Cross dropped a 2-1 decision at Providence. The Friars got the game winner late in the second period.

RIT came up short in a 3-2 loss to Colgate at Blue Cross arena in front of 7,421 fans. The attendance set a record for both RIT and for a home game by an Atlantic Hockey school.

Mercyhurst dropped a pair of games at the Kendall Hockey Classic in Anchorage, Alaska. The Lakers lost 5-3 to the host Seawolves on Friday and then 5-1 to Alaska on Saturday.

“We played pretty well on Friday,” Mercyhurst coach Rick Gotkin said. “When you play well you expect to win, but sometimes it’s not that simple. It was a very winnable game against a good team.

“Saturday we were not playing well, and Fairbanks really took it to us. I don’t think we could have won that game even if we did play well. But we stunk up the joint.”

Gotkin says one positive his team can take away from the weekend was making good on its goal to limit the opposition’s scoring chances.

“We limited two pretty good teams in terms of shots on goal,” he said. “It’s something we need to focus on this season: limiting the other team’s transition and not turning the puck over. I thought we did a good job of that.

“It’s a tough trip. It’s a tough trip for North Dakota, for anybody.”

The Lakers travel to Western Michigan this weekend for a pair of games. Mercyhurst has a tough start to the season with nine of its first 10 games on the road. The Lakers are trying to avoid the slow start they had last season, when they opened with eight straight road games and won just one of them.

“We want to build on some of the things we did last week and correct others,” Gotkin said. “And we’re looking forward to a trip with less wear and tear. A six-hour bus ride beats an eight-hour plane trip.”

Weekly Awards

Player and Goalie of the Week for Oct. 12, 2009
Dan Morrison – Canisius

The sophomore netminder’s performance was so impressive it earned him duel honors from the league. His 48-save shutout performance led the Golden Griffins to a 1-0 victory over Ferris State. Those 48 stops are the most in a shutout in school history, breaking the old mark of 46 that was set back in 2000.

Rookie of the Week for Oct. 12, 2009
Eric Artman – Air Force

Artman opened his college hockey career in style, with a goal in each game in a apir of Falcons losses at Bemidji.

Preseason Predictions

Atlantic Hockey doesn’t do a preseason all-star team, but if it did, here’s who I would predict as choices:

Forwards:

Jacques Lamoureux, Air Force — A no-brainer. Lamoureux led the nation is goals (33) by a wide margin last season.

Owen Meyer, Army — Meyer is the most dominant player in the league. Every team knows when he’s on the ice.

Matt Fairchild, Air Force — Has the knack for scoring big goals in big games. One of the best skaters in the league.

Defense:

Dan Ringwald, RIT — Can do it all on the blue line: runs the power play, sets up goals and is rock-solid.

Carl Hudson, Canisius — Had 14 goals last season and should top that this year.

Goalie:

Andrew Volkening, Air Force — He got pulled on Saturday, but he’s got the stats and the track record over two-plus seasons to earn the honor.

Let’s compare this list to the one the league puts out in March and see how I did.

Beginnings

On Oct. 8, Sacred Heart named long time Yale assistant C.J. Marottolo as its new coach. Marottolo replaces Shaun Hannah, who resigned suddenly in September.

“It’s a home run for me,” said Marottolo, who lives just 25 miles from Milford.

“Any assistant coach aspires to be a head coach,” Marottolo said. “Sacred Heart is a great school with an emerging hockey program. Shaun built a good foundation here.”

Plus, the new coach doesn’t have to change his address.

“Family was an important consideration,” Marottolo said. “It was important not to disrupt them, so this is a wonderful opportunity.”

Marottolo said his 13 years at Yale has prepared him for the job, but now, the buck stops with him.

“Everything falls on you,” he said of being a head coach. “The wins and losses come back to the head coach, as they should. Tim Taylor and Keith Allain gave me a lot of responsibility at Yale, but it was their name on the program.”

The new coach says he’s getting acclimated in a hurry at Sacred Heart, which opens its season on Oct. 31 at Princeton.

“I’m still learning the players’ names,” he said. “[Assistant coaches] Lou Santini and Dan Muse and I are starting fresh. I haven’t loooked at game tape from last year. I want to get my own impressions of the players.

“We have our goals for the year but for now they’re staying within our team. Obviously we want to win games and we’ll do that by working hard and paying attention to the little things. I can’t tell you how excited we are to start the season. We’re ready to go.”

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.


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