Suspensions Threaten Quinnipiac’s Chances Against Cornell
Entering one of the bigger weekends of the year, it’s an obvious disappointment for Quinnipiac coach Rand Pecknold to be without Dan Ennis, who has been out with an injury since early in the season and is not expected to return, and Ryan Olsen, who broke his leg earlier in the year against RPI. But to make matters worse, the Braves will enter this weekend’s game against ECAC foe Cornell without five more players, all suspended for a violation of team rules.
According to Pecknold, the actual players involved and the violation will not be discussed outside of the team. Pecknold identified the players only as “key” players. He also noted that this leaves the team with only four defensemen and 10 or 11 forwards.
“Good teams battle through adversity and we’ll have to try to do that,” said Pecknold.
Quinnipiac garnered its first win against a “Big Four” opponent when it defeated then-nationally ranked Union, 3-2, on December 3. One week following, the Braves were embarrassed by Minnesota, 11-2, bringing the club back to Earth entering the holiday break.
This weekend’s matchup with Cornell would have been a good measuring stick of just how well Quinnipiac can match up against the rest of Division I. Though the team has shown some bright lights throughout the season, it has also struggled at times. This weekend’s being Quinnipiac’s final nonconference game, it is now more difficult to display to the voters why Quinnipiac may deserve to be in the national polls.
ITECH MAAC Hockey League Player of the Week:
JOHN DIGENNARO, BENTLEY
Jr., F, Amesbury, MA
DiGennaro wins the award for his play in Bentley’s 4-1 win over Holy Cross on December 16, the Falcons’ first win of the season, scoring two goals and adding an assist. His first goal was the eventual game-winner late in the first period, and his second goal gave the Falcons a 3-1 lead in the third period. DiGennaro leads the team with seven goals and 11 points.
Also Nominated: Nathan Mayfield , Jarrett Zielinski , Ciro Longobardi .
ITECH MAAC Hockey League Goalie of the Week:
STEPHEN FABIILLI, CANISIUS
Sr., G, Sudbury, ON
Fabiilli was outstanding in goal in leading the Ice Griffs to a 1-1 record last week. He stopped 41 shots in the 4-2 win over CHA member Alabama-Huntsville in the opening round of the SCI Holiday Shootout on Friday. In the 3-1 loss to CCHA opponent Nebraska-Omaha in the championship game on Saturday, he turned away 29 shots. In the two games, he saved 66 of 70 shots for a .943 save percentage.
Also Nominated: Scott Hamilton , Ray DeVincent .
ITECH MAAC Hockey League Rookie of the Week:
SCOTT TRAHAN, BENTLEY
Fr., F, Chelmsford, MA
Trahan was a key factor in Bentley’s win over Holy Cross, tallying two assists in the victory. His first assist set up the eventual game-winning goal, and his second came on an empty-net goal to end the game. For the year, Trahan has four points on a goal and three assists.
Also Nominated: Alex Rogosheske , Jason Carey .
AIC Looking for the Wright Stuff
First-half surprise AIC will return to action this weekend when the Yellow Jackets travel to Holy Cross on Friday before hosting Bentley on Saturday. The ‘Jackets, picked ninth in the pre-season poll, are off to a solid first-half start, compiling a 4-5-1 record in the MAAC, good for a tie for fifth place.
But this weekend, a bit more will be on the line for the Yellow Jackets as head coach Gary Wright, a 16-year veteran behind the AIC bench, will go for win number 200. Entering the weekend, Wright has compiled a 199-239-28 record at AIC.
Wright, who has spent his entire head coaching career at AIC, served as an assistant at the University of Maine in the pre-Shawn Walsh era prior to arriving at AIC. Though the Yellow Jackets struggled a bit last season, missing the playoffs by finishing in ninth, Wright guided AIC to a successful opening campaign in the MAAC in 1998-99. As a preseason eighth pick that season, Wright guided the Yellow Jackets to a fifth-place finish and earned himself the inaugural MAAC Coach of the Year award.
No Holiday Hardware for the MAAC
With only three of the 11 MAAC teams competing in holiday tournaments, I guess it was difficult to be too optimistic about the MAAC bringing home much hardware in the pre-New Year jamborees. But that’s not to say that two teams didn’t come close.
UConn and Canisius both advanced to the championship games of their tournaments. UConn, the host school of the SNET/UConn Classic, knocked off league rival Holy Cross to advance to the finals against Wayne State. Canisius, playing in the SCI Holiday Shootout in Huntsville, Ala., knocked off the host school in the opener, defeating Alabama-Huntsville, 4-2.
But for both teams, the result was close, but no cigar. UConn, leading in the final minute of the game, surrendered a goal to Wayne State with the goaltender on the pine and only 35 seconds showing on the clock. And then, this time with 25 seconds left in the first overtime, Wayne State completed the comeback when Maxim Starchenko buried the game-winner. The loss prevented UConn from winning the SNET/UConn Classic in back-to-back years. Last year, the Huskies defeated Sacred Heart in the championship game.
Canisius’ championship game loss was not as dramatic as UConn’s, but difficult to swallow nonetheless. Though possibly a bit outmatched by CCHA member Nebraska-Omaha , the Griffs hung in the game late and trailed, 2-1, in the game’s closing minute. But even with the extra attacker, Canisius couldn’t manage the tying goal, and when UNO scored an empty-netter with 24 seconds remaining, that was all she wrote.
Holy Cross, the third MAAC member playing in tournament hockey over break, finished fourth in the SNET/UConn Classic. After dropping the opener to UConn, Holy Cross lost to Queens College from Canada, 3-1. The game does not count toward the Holy Cross record, as it was not against an NCAA school.
Pioneers’ Bourget Nominated for Humanitarian
Sacred Heart University senior Eddy Bourget is one of 12 finalists for the Hockey Humanitarian Award, given annually at the Frozen Four in April. The award, presented by the Hockey Humanitarian Award Foundation, is now in its sixth year of existence. The candidates for the awards are chosen from both men’s and women’s college hockey.
Bourget posted a career-high 17 points last season and has struggled a bit on the scoresheet this season, registering just three assists in 14 games. But one place Bourget has not struggled is in the classroom. Since arriving at Sacred Heart, Bourget has been on the Dean’s List every semester and was named to the MAAC All-Academic Team for the past two seasons.
Around the League
The Yellow Jackets were idle last week… American International plays at MAAC foe Holy Cross at 7:00 on Friday, January 5… American International defeated the Crusaders 4-3 in overtime on November 10… Eight of the Yellow Jackets’ next nine games are against teams either tied or below them in the MAAC Hockey League standings… Nine of AIC’s final 15 games are at home, including five of seven during the month of February… Senior goaltender Chance Thede was ranked 15th in the nation in the NCAA’s first statistical rankings with a .919 save percentage. Thede has been a huge reason why the Yellow Jackets, picked ninth in the MAAC Hockey League preseason poll, are currently tied for fifth in the conference standings.
The Black Knights tied Canadian institution Queens 3-3 in an exhibition game on Sunday… Army entertains Mercyhurst on Friday, January 5 at 7:00… Army is now 2-1-1 all-time against the Golden Gaels… The Black Knights extended their home unbeaten streak against Canadian teams to 23 games… Sophomore Joe Dudek scored a power-play goal with 2:46 left in the third period to salvage the 3-3 tie against Queens… Junior forward Nathan Mayfield scored twice for the Black Knights and senior Mike Fairman registered two assists in the victory. This was Mayfield’s first career multi-goal game… Junior Joe Carpenter missed the game with a sprained ankle, the first DNP of his career. He had played in 82 straight games.
The Falcons were idle last week… Bentley goes on the road to play American International at 7:00 on Saturday, January 6… The Falcons went 2-1 against the Yellow Jackets last season with their one loss coming in overtime… Junior John DiGennaro, the ITECH MAAC Player of the Week, sophomore captain Marcus Willy and freshman Scott Trahan, the ITECH MAAC Rookie of the Week, have been playing well since becoming Bentley’s top line. In the three games that they have skated as Bentley’s top group, they have combined for 12 points. DiGennaro has four goals and one assist, Willy has a goal and three assists and Trahan has three assists. Bentley is 1-2 in those games with nine goals and 11 goals against . In action before the line was formed, Bentley was 0-9-1 with 17 goals and 63 goals against.
The Ice Griffs defeated CHA member Alabama-Huntsville 4-2 on Friday in the opening round of the SCI Holiday Shootout… Canisius lost to CCHA opponent Nebraska-Omaha 3-1 on Saturday in the championship game in the first ever meeting between the two teams… Canisius next plays at Mercyhurst on Tuesday, January 9 at 7:30… Canisius now has an all-time record of 2-3-1 against Alabama-Huntsville… Junior forward Jarrett Zielinski scored three goals on the weekend and was named to the all-tournament team for his efforts… Senior goalie Stephen Fabiilli, the ITECH MAAC Goalie of the Week, made 41 saves in the win against Alabama-Hunstville and 29 saves against Nebraska-Omaha allowing only four goals on the weekend… Fabiilli’s 70-save performance also earned him a spot on the all-tournament team.
The Huskies defeated MAAC rival Holy Cross 4-3 in the first round of the SNET UConn Classic on Friday. Connecticut lost to CHA member Wayne State 5-4 in overtime in the championship game of the SNET UConn Classic on Saturday night… Connecticut travels out west to play CHA member Air Force on Friday, January 5 and Saturday, January 6. Both games begin at 9:05… Freshman goalie Jason Carey made a career high 39 saves in net in the loss to Wayne State. Carey holds an overall record 2-2-0 record and a 3.40 goals against average in 299:44 played… Senior forward Ciro Longobardi scored the game-winning goal with 38 seconds left in the victory over Holy Cross. Longobardi goal gave the Huskies their first lead midway through the second period in Connecticut’s loss to Wayne State… Senior forward Eric Goclowski recorded a goal and two assists in the two games.
The Stags were idle last week… Fairfield goes on the road to faceoff against Holy Cross at 7:00 on Saturday, January 6… Fairfield went 1-2 against the Crusaders last season while being outscored, 15-12… Fairfield has defeated Quinnipiac, Iona, and Connecticut for the first time since joining the league… Sophomore Rae Metz has remained the Stags’ top offensive threat. In 14 games, he has 16 points and now sits in a tie for 10th place in overall scoring. He is also 2nd in the MAAC for power-play points and first in power-play goals with four… Freshman Craig Schnappinger has emerged as the starter in net for the Stags. He is 4-1-1 for .750 winning percentage in his six conference games, has a 2.30 goals against average and a .880 save percentage.
The Crusaders lost to Connecticut 4-3 in the opening round of the SNET UConn Classic on Friday. Holy Cross lost to Canadian Queens on Saturday in the consolation, an exhibition game for both teams… Holy Cross hosts American International on Friday, January 5 with the faceoff at 7:00… Freshman goaltender Rick Massey set a career high with 33 saves in the loss to Connecticut… Freshman forward Steve Sullivan scored his first collegiate goal against Connecticut. The goal gave Holy Cross a 2-0 lead in a game eventually won by the Huskies… Sophomore Tim Bernstein has assisted on the first Holy Cross goal in the last three games… The Holy Cross power play unit, which is ranked first in the MAAC, has been kept off the board in the last two games … Freshman forward Jeff Dams leads the Crusaders in goals with seven, which places him tied for 11th overall in the MAAC and tied for second among freshmen.
The Gaels were idle last week… Iona travels to Alaska to play CCHA member Alaska-Fairbanks on Friday, January 5 and Saturday, January 6. Both games begin at 7:00 AT… These games will be the first ever meetings between the two teams… The Gaels boast the top five scorers in the MAAC and claim six of the top eight spots… Three of the top four MAAC goal-scorers and assist-makers play for the Gaels… Freshman Tim Krueckl tops all freshmen in points and is tied for the conference lead with four power-play goals… Freshman Joe Krmpotich leads the MAAC with three short-handed points … Through the first 17 games of the season, the Gaels are 9-6-2, 8-3-2 in the MAAC which is an improvement from their standing at this point last season when they were 7-7-3, 5-7-1 in the MAAC.
The Lakers lost 3-1 to CCHA member Bowling Green on Thursday… Mercyhurst goes on the road to face Army at 7:00 on Saturday, January 5… Mercyhurst was the first MAAC team to play a member of the CCHA this year and it was the first ever meeting between the two schools… The Lakers are now 0-4-1 against non-MAAC opponents this season and have been outscored 16-5 in those five games… Mercyhurst killed five of six penalties against Bowling Green and saw its top-ranked penalty-killing percentage fall from .951 to .940… Junior goaltender Peter Aubry’s top-ranked save percentage of .947 dropped a bit as well to .942… Mercyhurst has given up two or fewer goals in 10 of 13 games… Mercyhurst rallied for two third-period goals at Army December 9 to win the first-ever meeting between the two schools 2-1. Senior Jeff Gould scored the game-winner with 0.4 seconds remaining in regulation.
The Braves were idle last week… Quinnipiac finishes its eight-game road trip against ECAC opponent Cornell at 7:00 on Saturday, January 6… Quinnipiac will be the second MAAC team to face Cornell this season. Sacred Heart upset the Big Red 5-3 on November 4… Freshman goaltender Justin Eddy has registered at least 30 saves four times this season, including a school record 58 save effort in a 1-1 tie at St. Lawrence on November 3. Eddy broke the school record set by John Mattison, who stopped 57 shots in a 9-0 loss to Alabama-Huntsville on November 18, 1994… Senior Chris Cerrella leads the Braves and the MAAC with 22 points, senior Shawn Mansoff is second on the team with 17 points, and junior Ryan Olson is third with 16 points . Sophomore Matt Erhart is the Braves’ highest-scoring defenseman with 10 points … Olson is out for six weeks with a broken foot suffered on December 2 at RPI and junior Dan Ennis is out for the season with an MCL injury suffered on October 27 against Army.
The Pioneers were idle last week… Sacred Heart hosts Army at 7:00 on Saturday, January 6… Sacred Heart went 1-1 against Army last year with each team winning on its home ice. The Pioneers are now 1-4 all-time against the Black Knights… Sophomore Eddy Ferhi is ninth in the nation in save percentage; in eight games the sophomore netminder has turned away 266 of the 286 shots he has faced, for a .925 save percentage. Ferhi has a 3-2-2 record, with a 2.67 GAA and one shutout, a 6-0 win over Fairfield University on Dec. 8… The Pioneers are 19th in the nation in scoring offense with 48 goals in 14 games so far this season. Sacred Heart averages 3.43 goals per outing… Sacred Heart is ranked 13th in penalty-killing percentage with an .857 average… In the game against Army, head coach Shaun Hannah will be behind the bench for the 130th time as the head coach of the Pioneers… Three Pioneers are tied for the team lead in points with 14: junior assistant captain Lloyd Marks, sophomore Martin Paquet, and junior Chris Mokos.