AIC is looking for a sea change this season, and so far, so good. The Yellow Jackets are currently 1-1-1 in league play, coming off a three-point weekend against Holy Cross. It’s ridiculously early, but this is the best start in conference play for AIC since 2002.
Freshmen are leading the way, with rookies accounting for nine of AIC’s 13 goals so far this season. Frosh netminder Ben Meisner is sporting a 1.51 goals-against average and a .955 save percentage through two outings.
“We felt pretty good about our incoming class and last year’s class as well,” said Yellow Jacket coach Gary Wright, who is currently sidelined after suffering an accident that required him to have surgery on both legs.
“They’ve made even more of an immediate impact than we thought,” said Wright. “[Defensemen] Jeff Ceccacci and Chris Markiewicz are playing very well and [Adam] Pleskach has gotten a lot of attention. Our leading scorer had nine goals all last season and Adam has five already.”
Since the beginning of the season, assistant Mike Field has been filling in for Wright on the ice at practices and on the bench during games. Wright’s injuries are severe enough that he has been unable to travel with the team on the road.
“The players have responded very well to Mike,” Wright said.
“So far, so good,” said Field, who was a senior at AIC just two seasons ago. “The biggest thing is making the transition easy when coach Wright comes back.”
“We’ve consulted on most things, and Mike has done an excellent job for such a young coach,” said Wright.
“We’re taking it as it comes,” said Field. “Working hard in practice and getting that to translate into success on the ice.”
Player of the Week for Nov. 2 , 2009
Dan Ringwald, RIT
The senior defenseman is a candidate for Player of the Year in the AHA, and performances like this show why. Ringwald had six points in a pair of victories over Connecticut, including a natural hat trick in the first period of Saturday’s contest.
Goalie of the Week for Nov. 2, 2009
Ben Meisner, AIC
The freshman stopped all 30 shots he faced for his first career shutout in a 3-0 win over Holy Cross.
Rookie of the Week for Nov. 2, 2009:
Chris Tanev, RIT
The rookie defeneman lit the lamp three times last weekend to help the Tigers to pair of wins over Connecticut. Tanev is a team-leading plus-6 so far this season.
Player of the Month for October 2009:
Dan Ringwald, RIT
Ringwald had nine points in October, including at least one in his last five games.
Other players nominated: Cody Omilusik, Army; Marc Menzione, Bentley; Cory Conacher, Canisius; Justin Hernandez, Connecticut; Everett Sheen, Holy Cross; Nick Johnson, Sacred Heart.
Goalie of the Month for October 2009
Thomas Tysowsky, Holy Cross.
The freshman from Amherst, N.Y., had an excellent start to his collegiate career, posting a 2.39 GAA (second in the league) and a .912 save percentage (third) in October.
Other goalies nominated: Ben Meisner, AIC; Joe Calvi, Bentley; Dan Morrison, Canisius.
Rookie of the Month for October 2009:
Adam Pleskach, AIC
Pleskach scored a least one goal in three of his first four games, and leads the team with five goals and seven total points.
Other rookies nominated: John Kruse, Air Force; Dan Koudys, Bentley; Sean Ambrosie, Connecticut; Chris Tanev, RIT.
Not Very Sentimental
Last Friday’s 6-2 win over Connecticut was RIT coach Wayne Wilson’s 189th behind the Tiger bench, the most in school history. At the buzzer, goaltender Jared DeMichiel scooped up the puck as the team left the ice. In his post-game interview, Wilson was asked if the team presented it to him in the locker room.
“Yeah, but some kid probably has it by now,” said Wilson. “It’s nice, but it’s a number right now. Give me a puck at NCAAs or maybe after my last game. I hope this wasn’t my last win.”
It wasn’t. Wilson got No. 190 on Saturday.
What’s a Guy Gotta Do?
In that same RIT-UConn game on Friday, Tigers defenseman Al Mazur recorded a hat trick, the first ever by a defenseman at RIT in the Division I era. He’s a lock for player of the week, right?
Nope. The next night classmate D-man Dan Ringwald had a natural hat trick, edging out Mazur for the weekly honors. In all, RIT blueliners have scored 12 of the team’s 25 goals.
Army rookie Andy Starczewski, a native of Whitesboro, N.Y., had more than 200 family and friends in the stands when the Black Knights traveled to Colgate last Friday. Starzewski came through with a goal and an assist in the 4-4 tie.
Two of the better sophomore forwards in the league are out of commission. Mercyhurst’s Phil Ginand, who had 34 points last year including 10 power-play goals, is applying for a medical redshirt for the rest of the season due to a knee injury.
RIT forward Tyler Brenner, who was second on the team last season with 35 points, also has a knee injury, but fortunately for the Tigers will miss only a month or two.
Canisius has had a habit of falling behind early in games this season, but fortunately for the Golden Griffins, goaltender Dan Morrision has been stellar in the late stages of games. The sophomore has a save percentage of .953 in the third period so far.
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.