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College Hockey:
Three Things: Atlantic Hockey Monday Nov. 5

Three things from Atlantic Hockey play this weekend:

1. This was the first weekend of two-game inter pod series between teams that will not see each other again unless it’s in the postseason.

The marquee matchup was between Holy Cross and Air Force, two teams that are expected to be near the top of the standings. Nothing was settled with a split. The Crusaders overcame a 2-0 first period deficit on Friday and dominated the rest of the way, outshooting the Falcons 34-17 over the final two periods.

On Saturday, Air Force again held a 2-0 lead after the first period, but this time kept it rolling for a 7-0 win.

The big winners this weekend were Mercyhurst and Niagara, which each captured four points and the season series with Sacred Heart and Connecticut, respectively.
 
2. Things are shaping up for another log jam in the standings. Sweeps are going to be hard to come by, and the teams which have been at the bottom of the standings are narrowing the gap. Army and American International are showing improvement early in the season. I saw both games of the AIC-RIT series and it was a pair of close, entertaining contests. Rochester Institute of Technology took three points from AIC thanks to a 3-0 win on Saturday. Friday’s 2-2 tie featured a combined 74 shots on goal (42-31 RIT).
 
3. Which leads me to a discussion of attendance in the the AHA. AIC was generous with its reported attendance of 185 and 237 this weekend. It’s a pity that more weren’t there to see some very entertaining hockey. Right now the bottom six teams in Division I in attendance are Atlantic Hockey teams. In all nine of the bottom twelve are from the AHA. Only the usual suspects, Air Force and RIT are drawing well. Mercyhurst has yet to play a home game, so the Lakers aren’t included. Holy Cross has a smaller rink, so despite being 45th in attendance, the Crusaders have sold out both of their games at the Hart Center, squeezing an average of 1,712 people into a rink that’s listed as holding 1,400. Robert Morris is also filling a respectable 72% of its seats despite a ranking of 53rd. But the rest of the schools near the bottom are filling less than 50% of their arenas so far. Hopefully this will pick up as potential fans are missing some good games. We’ll check back on this in a few weeks.
 
4. I lied. Four things this week. On Thursday, Atlantic Hockey handed down its most severe sanctions ever, suspending Canisius’s Matthew Grazen seven additional games as a result of his checking-from-behind penalty on Air Force forward George Michalke. Grazen was DQed in the game, mandating a one-game suspension.  The league tacked on seven more, including two this past weekend. Grazen will sit the next three and then is suspended for Canisius’ series at Air Force in February. That move, meant to head off any retaliation, is also unprecedented.

These eight total games surpass the six game suspension handed down to Canisius’ Carl Hudson for his part in a brawl that took place at RIT on Feb 9, 2008. Hudson was assessed a double DQ for leaving the penalty box  and slamming a player’s head to the ice during the fight. That was worth three games and the league tacked on three more.

Frankly, Grazen’s actions don’t seem as egregious as Hudson’s. I have seen the tape of the Grazen infraction and it’s dangerous but I didn’t see an intent to injure. Seven games is probably excessive but I can’t fault the league in wanting to send a message that these kind of dangerous actions will have severe consequences.

 

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  • RamboWildcat

    Gotta love NMU staying under the radar! They dominated Michigan this past weekend and look great. 

    • Anonymous

      Next weekend should be a great series. Our power play was atrocious in Alaska this past weekend, if your Wildcats play like they did against U of M you won’t be under the radar much longer.

  • Anonymous

    Being a CCHA fan, it’s great to see the entire league being this competitive.  I know it’s early, but I can’t remember the last season where there was this much parity.   

    • Paula Weston

      I think it’s a lot of fun.  Murder on my picks, but fun — and good hockey every weekend. 

  • Roymiracle

    I was at the NMU/UM contest and all I have to say is that the Wolverines should thank both refs for that overtime win. Two of the worst calls I have ever seen. Michigan might be a great hockey team this year, but this weekend they played like the Charlestown Chiefs and got the calls of the Montreal Canadiens.

    • Psage

      Johnstown (not Charlestown)

  • Michigankeck

    I was a the NMU  / U of M game Saturday visiting my son who attends NMU.  This Friday I will be back home to seen NMU at WMU where i live and where my daughter goes to school.  What luck to see these 2 games back to back!

  • Yooper

    CCHA is a great league this year.  Ferris St., LSSU, NMU have always been under the radar.   You should read the blog sent by a partisan UM fan under the Ann Arbor newspaper sports article on the two UM/NMU games:   He claims UM had no business loosing to a nothing team like NMU and the Wildcats should have been swept by scores of 9-0 and 10-0.  He fears that since UM couldn’t beat NMU then they are going to get clobbered when they play somebody good.  How’s that for
    typical Big 10 arrogance. 

    • Ssweetmj

      Not B10. But U of M.

  • wmu2012

    Where is a mention of WMU?  5 of 6 points still undefeated this season and no mention.  Really?  This will be a great weekend going to an event Friday will be there Saturday

  • streaker

    Roymiracle: Michigan won a shootout, not an OT win. By the look of the box scores and the audio I listened to, both teams were chippy all weekend, but Michigan’s goalie did lose his cool on Friday. If you are referring to the five minute major and DQ on NMU Saturday, the NMU player clocked the Michigan player shoulder to head. That’s a penalty in the CCHA no matter if Fred Plesch himself was doing the game, so I’d suggest that, instead of making cracks about Michigan or the “partisan officiating” you’d pocket your green and yellow glasses for a rulebook. Michigan paid dearly for their mistakes, but didn’t make NMU pay enough, which is why they only took two points this weekend. 

    • Roymiracle

      Really? did you see the play? Cause the Audio ain’t gonna cut it. They said the NMU player was head hunting? I know thats what the call was, but the UM player skated head down into a clean check. I know the rules, I used to be level 2 linesman. I am saying the call was wrong. The UM guy skated head down into a clean check, thats not a penalty, unless you call the UM player for being dumb. Also, the first UM power play was a gift as they called NMU for slashing when Hunwick jumped out of the crease to interfere with the NMU forecheck. The guys stick touches Hunwick as he tries to avoid him and they called slashing. It was bad officiating all the way around. Both teams were chippy, but it was clean for the most part, the Refs just had a bad game. 

  • Winnipeg Jet

    Wheres the love for Northern Mich. They can finally score goals this year. Ill be shocked if they dont finish top 10 in the country. Very solid D core with Scott Macaulay anchoring it. The guys a great player, but even a bigger beauty

  • So a Michigan player punching someone in the face and only getting a misconduct while the player he hit gets a dq isn’t UM favouritism?

    • Anonymous

      Punching him in the face after kicking/tripping him, then kicking an NMU helmet down the ice, and to top things off throwing his stick like a 3 year old and nearly hitting a linesman.  Yet, the NMU player didn’t throw a punch, grab a face mask, or act like a kid who just found out Santa isn’t real, and somehow he gets a DQ for fighting.  If tying a guy up after being assaulted by two different players is now fighting, then I guess the refs of the CCHA have lost what little bit of logic they had left.  I wonder why such an objective reporter like Paula didn’t say anything about what happened?

  • Lakerman11

    Lake Superior State is severely underrated. They were 10th in the CCHA pre-season, and (so far) have made some incredible strides early in the year. A lot of people forget that they knocked out OSU in the first round last year, and nearly knocked out Notre Dame. Behind solid goaltending from Kevin Kapelka, great defense from Zack Trotman and Andrew Perrault, and strong offense from Domenic Monardo, Kyle Jean, and Collin Campbell, look for LSSU to be the sleeper team all the way to Joe Louis Arena.