This Week In The MAAC: Feb. 8, 2001

Tightest Race in MAAC is for Survival

It’s appropriate that CBS has brought back the popular TV show Survivor recently — especially if you take a look at the bottom of the MAAC standings. As the season has progressed, the playoff picture continues to clear and then become foggy again, as no less that seven teams fight for their playoff lives, in other words, to not get voted off the island.

Teams like Bentley, currently sitting in last place, and Canisius, a little more comfortable in fifth, looked like their fate was decided. Bentley entered last weekend with just four points, but a weekend sweep of AIC and Army, two clubs themselves in the mix, pushed Bentley within eight points of the final playoff spot, currently held by Army.

Canisius, playing what coach Brian Cavanaugh called the toughest part of its schedule, has registered just one point in their last four games, after seeing a five-game winning streak come to an end. To defend the Ice Griffs, four games were on the road, and the next six contests are in the friendlier confines of Buffalo.

Teams that are included in between Canisius and Bentley are Sacred Heart (18 points), AIC (17 points) and Army (16 points) — all of whom control their playoff destinies, sitting above the eighth-place cut line; and two others, Holy Cross (14 points) and Fairfield (13 points) — who join Bentley looking in from outside. Bentley currently has eight points and Canisius 19.

The translation to all of this? Any one weekend can have major impact on the MAAC playoff picture.

Now, if you want to look at who has the easiest road ahead and whose course is toughest, here you go. For the fifth- through 11th-place teams in the league, the table below outlines the average winning percentage (MAAC only) of their remaining opponents, along with each club’s league points, total games left in the regular season, and home and road games remaining.

 Rk  Team         Pts   Gm   OppW%  Hm  Rd
5 Canisius 19 7 .521 5 2
6 Sacred Heart 18 7 .517 6 1
7 AIC 17 7 .594 5 2
8 Army 16 6 .486 2 4
9 Holy Cross 14 7 .487 4 3
10 Fairfield 13 9 .504 6 3
11 Bentley 8 7 .516 2 5

So what does this tell us? Statistically, that Holy Cross and Army have the easiest schedules, though only two of Army’s six remaining games will be played among the comforts of home.

AIC certainly has the toughest remaining schedule, with the top five teams (Mercyhurst, Iona, Quinnipiac, Connecticut and Cansius) making up six of AIC’s seven remaining games. The only benefit will be that five of those seven are at home, a place AIC has a 6-3-0 record this season in MAAC play.

Can these numbers tell us much? Probably not. Any coach will tell you that the game is played on the ice, not on paper. But at least you have something to make you think.

Weekly Awards

ITECH MAAC Hockey League Player of the Week
SHAWN MANSOFF, QUINNIPIAC
Sr., F, Edmonton, AB

Mansoff wins the award for his outstanding play in victories over Canisius and Mercyhurst. He recorded six points (3-3-6) in the two wins. He scored one goal and added two assists in the 7-2 win over Canisius and scored two goals, including the game-winner, and tallied an assist in the 4-1 win over first-place Mercyhurst. He is now second on the team with 24 points (12-12-24).

ITECH MAAC Hockey League Goalie of the Week:
EDDY FERHI, SACRED HEART
So., G, Charenton, FR

Ferhi was stellar in goal in the win over Fairfield and in the tie versus Holy Cross. He made 41 saves, including 17 in the first period, in the 4-1 win over Fairfield. In the 2-2 tie with Holy Cross, he made 29 saves, including five in overtime. He now has a .931 save percentage and a 2.36 goals against average.

ITECH MAAC Hockey League Rookie of the Week:
JUSTIN EDDY, QUINNIPIAC
Fr., G, Apple Valley, MN

Eddy was brilliant in victories over Canisius and first-place Mercyhurst. He stopped 56 shots in the 7-2 win over Canisius, a season high in a MAAC game this year. In the 4-1 win over Mercyhurst, he was solid in making 31 saves. He stopped 87 of 90 shots in the two wins for a .967 save percentage.

Playoff Tickets on Sale

Tickets for the 2001 Easton/MAAC Hockey League Championship, taking place March 15-17 at the UConn Ice Arena in Storrs, Conn., are now on sale through the University of Connecticut ticket office. The semifinals take place Thursday, March 15 at 4:00 and 7:30 p.m., and the championship game is set for Saturday, March 17 at 12:00 p.m.. The winner, for the first time, will receive an automatic bid to the NCAA championship.

All-session passes are $12 for all three games, while single-day passes are $8.00 for adults and $3.00 for students, seniors (62 and over), and children (12 and under). Fans can call the UConn ticket office at 1-877-AT-UCONN (288-2666) for more information.

Tickets for the quarterfinals, to be played on Saturday March 10, will be available through the host institutions. The top four finishers in the MAAC will host a quarterfinal game. The tickets will be $8.00 for adults and $3.00 for students, seniors (62 and over), and children (12 and under).

Team Notes

AMERICAN INTERNATIONAL

The Yellow Jackets defeated Holy Cross, 4-3 in overtime, on Friday night but lost to Bentley, 7-4, on Saturday night… American International hosts Mercyhurst at 7:00 Friday night and play at Canisius Sunday afternoon at 2:00. Freshman Trent Ulmer netted the game-winner against Holy Cross with 1.6 seconds left in overtime. This marked the second time this season that Ulmer has defeated the Crusaders in overtime… Senior goaltender Chance Thede kept the Yellow Jackets in the game all night stopping 48 Crusader shots. Thede would record 38 saves the following night in the loss to Bentley, giving him a weekend total of 86 saves. He now leads the MAAC with 747 saves on the year and only needs 64 stops to break his own AIC single-season record of 810… Sophomore forward Andy Luhovy netted his seventh goal of the season Friday night and has tallied nine points in the last five games. The forward now has 16 points on the year.

ARMY

The Black Knights were defeated by Bentley, 7-4, on Friday night but beat second place Iona, 6-5, on Saturday night… Army competes against Canadian institution Royal Military College at home at 7:00 Saturday night… Army’s game against Fairfield on Tuesday night was postponed and is rescheduled for Tuesday, February 20 at 7:30 P.M…. Junior forward Tim Fisher had a five-point weekend , extending his point-scoring streak to a career-high eight games… Senior forward Mike Fairman notched his team-leading third game-winning goal of the season, beating Iona with 1:47 to play… Army remained unbeaten at home against Iona and improved to 22-2-1 all-time against the Gaels… For the second straight week, Army broke the MAAC on-campus attendance record with a sellout crowd of 2,911 for Saturday’s game against Iona… Fairman, Fisher and senior Garrett Brougham had goals in both games this weekend.

BENTLEY

The Falcons won their first two home games of the season with wins over Army, 7-4, on Friday night and American International, 4-2, on Saturday night… Bentley entertains Iona at 7:30 Saturday night in their only game next week… Sophomore goalie Kevin Williams made his second career start on Friday and made 21 saves, including 13 in the first period, in the victory over Army… Bentley had a shorthanded goal in each game during the weekend, both with the opponent’s goal empty. Junior Steve Tobio tallied against Army while sophomore Marcus Willy scored the final goal against American International… Freshman Mike Mulligan scored his 10th and 11th goals of the year this weekend, tying him with John DiGennaro for the team lead in goals. DiGennaro leads Bentley in scoring with 20 points … Senior goalie Ray DeVincent stopped 29 shots and earned his third win of the year in the victory over American International.

CANISIUS

The Ice Griffs lost road games at Quinnipiac, 7-2, on Friday night and at Connecticut, 4-1, on Saturday night… Canisius battles American International at home on Sunday afternoon at 2:00… Senior forward Matt Shewchuk scored two goals from the Ice Griffs this weekend, including the lone Canisius goal against Connecticut… Seniors Todd Bisson and Jason Spence joined Matt Shewchuk as Ice Griffs with more than 100 games played in their career. Spence is only five games away from tying Kelly Leroux for most games played by a defenseman … The Ice Griffs return home for a six-game homestand after dropping three of their last four on the road… Junior goalie Sean Weaver saw his first action in net since December 3 in Friday night’s game against Quinnipiac. Weaver made 17 saves in the final two periods allowing four goals against the Braves… The Ice Griffs will look to defend their Dunn Tire Hockey Classic crown against CHA-member and local rival Niagara University on February 20. Last year, Canisius defeated the Purple Eagles 2-1.

CONNECTICUT

The Huskies lost to first place Mercyhurst, 6-3, on Friday night but defeated Canisius, 4-1, on Saturday night… Connecticut has a road game at Fairfield at 8:00 Friday night and a home game against Mercyhurst at 7:30 Saturday night… Freshman goalie Artie Imbriano saw time between the pipes for the first time since Jan. 14 against Army and his second game in over a month due to a series of injuries. He earned the 4-1 win over Canisius on Saturday night, stopping 19 shots on goal in playing the entire game. He currently holds a 3.12 goals against average, in almost 732 minutes played in 14 appearances in net… Junior defenseman Mike Boylan recorded two goals in the two games. His first goal brought the Huskies with in one early in the third period in the loss to Mercyhurst. On Saturday, Boylan’s goal was the game-tying tally with less than two minutes remaining in the first period. Currently, Boylan ranks fifth in defenseman scoring in the MAAC overall stats. He leads Huskie defenseman with eight goals and seven assists for 15 points… Senior Eric Goclowski tallied four assists in the two games.

FAIRFIELD

The Stags lost to Sacred Heart, 4-1, on Friday night… Fairfield hosts Connecticut at 8:00 Friday night and plays at Quinnipiac Saturday night at 7:00… Fairfield’s game against Army on Tuesday night was postponed and is rescheduled for Tuesday, February 20 at 7:30 P.M…. Sophomore Jim Lubinski scored Fairfield’s lone goal, with assists to freshmen Hunter Greeley and John Wyson . It marked Lubinski’s fourth and Greeley’s fifth consecutive games with at least one point… The Stags out shot the Pioneers 42-26, but were 0-1 on the power play… Freshman goalie Craig Schnappinger recorded 22 saves in the loss. His record now stands at 6-8-1 overall and 6-7-1 in the MAAC… The Stags have nine games remaining, including two with Army and one with Holy Cross, Canisius, and Bentley each of whom are battling for a playoff spot.

HOLY CROSS The Crusaders lost a road game at American International, 4-3 in overtime, on Friday night and tied Sacred Heart, 2-2, Saturday night… Holy Cross is home against Iona at 7:00 Friday night… Freshman forward Greg Kealey recorded three goals, two on the power play, in the two games. Kealey is tied for first on the team in points , leads the team in goals , and is fourth in assists . In the MAAC, Kealey ranks first in power-play goals , which also places him in the top-10 in the NCAA, and second among freshman in scoring with 23 points… Junior goaltender Derek Cunha made 37 saves against Sacred Heart, one below his season-high, to help the Crusaders pick up a valuable road point… Holy Cross is back on top of the MAAC in power play percentage at 23.1%… Junior Pat Rissmiller did not tally a point against Sacred Heart, breaking a stretch of three games where Rissmiller registered multiple point games… The Crusaders last five MAAC games have been decided by a total of four goals. Holy Cross plays their next three games at home.

IONA

The Gaels lost to Army, 6-5, on Saturday night in their only game last week. Iona plays road games at Holy Cross at 7:00 Friday night and at Bentley at 7:30 Saturday night… The Gaels were denied their first ever victory at Tate Rink and the Black Knights and Gaels split the season series… Iona is 4-5 against the Crusaders since the two teams elevated to D-I, including two 4-3 victories on 11/17 and 1/18 in overtime… Iona is 4-1 against Bentley in three years of MAAC action. The Gaels won 7-5 at John A. Ryan Arena on 11/12 and 5-0 at Sports Plus on 11/18… Iona’s seven game conference unbeaten streak was snapped in the loss to Army… Against the Black Knights, sophomore Ryan Manitowich scored his league leading 19th goal while conference assist leader junior Nathan Lutz added two more and also tallied his first goal of the year… Iona is 4-3 in games decided by one goal.

MERCYHURST

The Lakers earned a 6-3 win over Connecticut on Friday night and lost 4-1 to Quinnipiac on Saturday night but still remain atop the MAAC standings… Mercyhurst plays at American International at 7:00 Friday night and at Connecticut at 7:30 Saturday night… Junior Tom McMonagle recorded four points in the two games. He scored two goals and added an assist in the win over Connecticut and tallied the only Laker goal in the loss to Quinnipiac. Since returning from injury, he has scored at least one point in seven of eight games and has scored five goals in his last three games… Five different players scored in the victory over Connecticut. Senior Jeff Gould had a six game scoring streak snapped at Quinnipiac… The Lakers defeated and tied American International on November 3 and 4. Mercyhurst leads the all-time series 5-0-1… Mercyhurst snapped a three-game losing streak to the Huskies with Friday’s 6-3 win. All three losses came in succession at Connecticut last year. Connecticut still leads the all-time series 4-3.

QUINNIPIAC

The Braves ended a three game losing streak with wins over Canisius, 7-2, on Friday night and Mercyhurst, 4-1, on Saturday night… Quinnipiac goes on the road to play Sacred Heart at 7:00 Friday night and entertains Fairfield at 7:00 Saturday night… Senior forward Shawn Mansoff , the ITECH/MAAC Player of the Week, recorded six points in the two wins. He tallied one goal and two assists in the win over Canisius and scored two goals, including the game-winner, and an assist in the defeat of Mercyhurst… Freshman goalie Justin Eddy , the ITECH/MAAC Rookie of the Week, stopped 87 of 90 shots in the two games. He made 56 saves in the win over Canisius which is a season high in a MAAC game this year and 31 saves against Mercyhurst… In the win over Canisius, the Braves racked up a MAAC and school record six power-play goals… The Braves have killed off 23 consecutive penalty-killing situations, including a school-record 16 against Canisius on Friday night… With two goals against Canisius, senior forward Chris Cerrella moved past Bill Veneris into first place on the Quinnipiac career goals list. In addition, Cerrella needs one assist to become the third Quinnipiac player to record 100 career assists. Cerrella is in third place on the Braves career scoring list with 193 points.

SACRED HEART

The Pioneers won a home game against Fairfield, 4-1, on Friday night and tied Holy Cross, 2-2, on Saturday night… Sacred Heart hosts Quinnipiac at 7:00 Friday night in their only game next week… Sophomore goalie Eddy Ferhi , the ITECH/MAAC Goalie of the Week, allowed only three goals in 125 minutes. In the win against Fairfield, he turned away 41 shots, including 17 in the first period. In the tie with Holy Cross, the sophomore netminder made 29 saves, with five in the extra session… Freshman Mike Reagan had two goals and an assist in the 4-1 win over Fairfield. Reagan has 13 points so far in his rookie campaign. He has four power-play goals and one game-winner this season… The Pioneers are 6-1-1 at home this season and have six more games at home this season… Out of the 77 goals the Pioneers have tallied this year, 35 of them have come in the second period… Freshman Marc-Andre Fournier notched his second game tying goal of the season on Saturday, against Holy Cross. He had the game-tying goal at Iona on Nov. 25 in a 5-5 contest.

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