Three (four) things from Atlantic Hockey play this weekend:
Six of the 12 games on slate this weekend were postponed due to the massive blizzard that hammered the Northeast. The Western pod got its games in (Rochester Institute of Technology at Robert Morris, Air Force at Mercyhurst and Canisius vs. Niagara), but all three Eastern pod series had to be rescheduled. Two games were made up on Sunday (American International at Army; Connecticut at Bentley). The rest will take place (weather permitting, of course) as follows:
Bentley at Connecticut: Monday, Feb. 11
Sacred Heart at Holy Cross: Tuesday, Feb. 12
Holy Cross at Sacred Heart: Tuesday, Feb. 19
Army at American International: TBD
Extra special teams
There’s never a dull moment when RIT goes on the power play. The Tigers lead the nation in efficiency (25.9%) but also have given up six shorthanded goals, tied with several teams for second most in Division I. Twice the Tigers have given up two shorties in a single game, and incredibly they are 1-0-1 in those contests. Just one of the SHGs against has come in AHA play, and the Tigers won that game as well.
On Friday, Robert Morris killed all five RIT power plays en route to a 3-0 win. It was a nice comeback for goaltender Eric Levine, who was tagged for four goals on 14 shots in the Colonials’ 8-1 loss to Mercyhurst last Tuesday.
Saturday was a different story. In the 4-3 RIT win, the first six goals of the contest, three for each squad, came on the power play. The only even strength tally of the evening was the game winner by Tiger defenseman Dan Schuler with nine minutes to play.
Degree of separation
The RIT-RMU series was one of three scheduled between teams separated by a point in the standings. Their split meant nothing changed, with the Colonials a point ahead in sixth place.
Air Force came into its series at Mercyhurst trailing the red-hot Lakers by a point for second place, and three points for the Falcons in a 2-2 tie and a 4-2 victory means the teams are still separated by a point, but this time Air Force is in the lead.
The final one-point-of-separation series was Connecticut and Bentley. Weather dictated that only one game of the series was played this weekend, and the Huskies came away with a 4-1 win at the JAR on Sunday. So these teams also remain a point apart, with UConn now ahead in seventh place.
Starting the countdown
Niagara’s split with Canisus was enough to clinch a first-round playoff bye for the Purple Eagles. Niagara needs three points in its final six games to win the regular season title and could wrap things up as early as this coming weekend when its squares off in a two-game series with Robert Morris.