Three things I learned from Atlantic Hockey this weekend:
Good goaltending translates into four points – Only Connecticut and Niagara were able to get sweeps this weekend (this is written prior to the second Air Force-Canisius game on Monday night), and both teams rode stellar goaltending to four point weekends.
Connecticut goaltender Garrett Bartus stopped 64 of 65 Holy Cross shots in 3-1 and 3-0 victories. The Crusaders outshot the Huskies both nights but Bartus was the difference.
Niagara senior Chris Noonan allowed a goal in each game in a pair of 2-1 wins for the Purple Eagles. Noonan and Niagara have now won six straight games, the longest streak for the Purple Eagles since 2001.
Mercyhurst’s goaltending situation got a little murky this weekend – Senior Max Strang had started all but one game for the Lakers this season, but coach Rick Gotkin went to the bench down 4-1 to Rochester Institute of Technology after two periods and brought in sophomore Jordan Tibbett,. Tibbett played well in relief and got the start on Saturday, making 37 saves in a 2-2 tie.
“Max Strang has played great for us,” said Gotkin after the same on Saturday. “We know Jordan Tibbett can play. It’s certainly a good problem. That’s what coaches do. You hope you make the right decisions. Our guys, just like everybody else, wants to win. Every guy who gets a chance tries to make the best of it. Max Strang has made the best of his chances and Jordan Tibbett has made the best of his chances.”
American International is out of the basement for good this season – The Yellow Jackets have finished at the bottom of the AHA standings almost every year, including the last two seasons where they fell to last on the final day of play. But a split against Sacred Heart give AIC a seven point lead over the Pioneers with eight games to play, and I’m calling this one in favor of the Yellow Jackets. On Saturday, AIC scored two goals in the third period to come from behind and tie Sacred Heart and then won the game on Adam Pleskach’s goal in overtime.
Getting my vote
Here’s my ballot for Monday’s USCHO.com Division I Men’s poll:
4. Boston College
5. Boston University
6. Notre Dame
7. Ohio State
9. Ferris State
10. Colorado College
15. Western Michigan
16. North Dakota
19. Northern Michigan
Russell Jaslow contributed to this report.