NIAGARA, N.Y. — A 1-0 shutout win over Robert Morris. A magnificent 43-save performance in an overtime championship game victory against Niagara. All-tournament honors, the tourney Most Valuable Player award, and an NCAA playoff berth.
What can you say about Alabama-Huntsville goaltender Cameron Talbot’s work in the 2010 CHA tournament?
According to Talbot, not much.
“I know these guys are going to come out and support me and block some big shots and put some pucks in the net,” Talbot said. “It’s just my job to keep us in the game until they find a way to do it.”
The road to the CHA championship was not easy for Talbot or the Chargers. Alabama-Huntsville struggled to a 12-17-3 record prior to Saturday’s 3-2 overtime victory over Niagara and failed to score more than four goals in a single game this season — and managed to do that only four times.
Talbot, however, was a bulwark. He appeared on the national radar after stopping 39 shots in a win over Notre Dame in the first game of the season. He bolstered the Chargers in a road sweep at Air Force. Talbot even recorded a pair of assists during the 2009-10 campaign, outscoring team captain Ryan Burkholder.
The 6-foot-3, 185-pound netminder from Caledonia, Ontario, saved his best for last. He let a single Neil Ruffini goal stand up for the win over Robert Morris, and held his ground when the Purple Eagles and a full house of partisan fans were ready to celebrate a championship at his expense.
“I was hoping that we could find a way to get the puck out, get it down the ice, and put one in the back of the net,” Talbot said. “It didn’t happen at the end of the third, but in the beginning of overtime, we came out flying, and good things happen when you do that.”
In his two wins, Talbot stopped a total of 72 shots while allowing just two goals.
The finest critique of Talbot’s work may have come from Niagara coach David Burkholder.
“What are you going to do? Sit here and talk about their goalie,” he said. “We threw 45 pucks on [Talbot], and we can’t win. That’s the story of the game.”
Moran Marks End of Stellar Career
When Niagara senior winger Chris Moran scored at the 7:53 mark of the first period in the CHA championship game against Alabama-Huntsville on Saturday night, he cemented a personal streak that can never be broken.
Moran ends his collegiate career with at least one point in every CHA tournament contest in which he has participated, collecting four goals and five assists for nine points in seven games. He had a goal and an assist in the 2010 event, earning a spot on the tournament all-star team.
Moran is Niagara’s all-time leader in assists (103) and his 141 points are fourth in school history. When the puck dropped on Saturday night, the Buffalo, N.Y., native also became the career leader with 146 games played.
The 2006-07 CHA rookie of the year, Moran capped his senior year with First-Team All-CHA and CHA Tournament All-Star honors. In 2007-08, Moran was a key member of the Niagara squad that won a CHA postseason championship and secured an NCAA berth.
“He’s one of the most skilled players we’ve ever had,” Burkholder said after Saturday’s game. “I just told him that his name is going to be in the media guide for a long, long time, and in the record books. That’s something that might not mean anything to him now, but 20 years from now, when he comes back and sees the banner that he hung, and he’s still going to be in the record books — for his children, it’s going to be kind of a neat thing.”
Talbot took Most Valuable Player honors with two goals allowed on 74 shots in two games.
Other all-tourney team members included forwards Ron Cramer, Robert Morris (0 goals, 2 assists, 2 points); Ryan Cramer, Bemidji State (3-0-3); Moran, Niagara (1-1-2); Cody Campbell, Alabama-Huntsville (1-1-2); and defenseman Tyler Gotto, Niagara (2-0-2).