With league games few and far between this season, CHA teams have to make the best of the situation.
Most teams like to have one or two nonconference series under their belts before heading into the conference schedule. Niagara, which opened league play with a home split against Findlay, will play three of its first four games against conference foes, a situation Purple Eagle head coach Margot Page would rather have avoided. She had no choice when her team was left out of the ECAC/Hockey East split.
Wayne State, which plays its first CHA game Saturday at Niagara, plays only two league games before Christmas and, after a Nov. eight home game with Niagara, the Warriors don’t return to conference action until Jan. 29.
Mercyhurst plays its first 10 games against nonconference foes and then, after a home-and-home series with Findlay, Nov. 8 and 10, they will play just one CHA game before February.
Findlay is the only league member that will play at least one CHA contest in each month, from October through February.
Despite this, the CHA has already shown it may be in for an interesting race. Most observers made Niagara and Mercyhurst the favorites to win the league this season but Findlay opened with a 4-3 win at Niagara before dropping a 5-3 decision the following night.
The scheduling snafu which sees each team playing only six league games this season, came about due the league’s formation late in the summer after teams had completed their scheduling for 2002-03. In the future, CHA teams will play four games against each conference member.
Still, the short race now promises to be an interesting one. Wins are more meaningful and losses magnified in such a short season. An upset or two can throw the conference standings askew.
CHA “HOUSE”HOLD HINTS
Findlay won the inaugural CHA Women’s game and, in the process, earned its first victory over Niagara, downing the Purple Eagles 3-2 … Oiler seniors Melissa Oliver and Chantelle Russell both played their 100th career game in the victory … Niagara senior forward Jennifer Goulet scored the first goal in league history, putting the Purple Eagles ahead 1-0 at 11:25 of the opening period … Freshman goalie Breanne Doyle earned a victory in her first collegiate appearance, stopping 26 shots in Saturday’s 5-3 win … Niagara seniors Candice Celeen and Amber Maly both played in the 100th career game Friday … Four Laker players played in their 100th career game in Mercyhurst’s losses to St. Lawrence … Seniors C.J. Ireland and Randi Pilger played in game number 100 in Saturday’s 4-1 loss while classmates Jennifer Jeffrey and Elizabeth Betteridge reached the mark in Sunday’s 5-2 loss … Wayne State’s Cheryl Anderson is the younger sister of Minnesota’s Gwen Anderson … The sisters scored goals less than 24 hours apart over the weekend when Cheryl scored in the Warriors’ 2-1 loss to Colgate Friday night and Gwen scored in the Gophers’ 8-0 win over St. Cloud State Saturday afternoon … Combined, the duo has five career goals in 123 games … Cheryl’s goal was the third of her career.
Offensive Player of the Week–Heidi Tallqvist, So., F, Findlay
Defensive Player of the Week–Krissy Langley, So, D, Wayne State
Rookie of the Week–Breanne Doyle, Fr., G, Niagara
St. Cloud State at Niagara (Friday)
Niagara won the teams’ only previous meeting, 7-0, Jan. 5, 2000, in St. Cloud … The Purple Eagles, after giving up five goals on nine power-play chances to Findlay, killed off three penalties in the third period of Saturday’s win … Friday’s game is the only time this season that Niagara is scheduled to face a WCHA opponent … The Purple Eagles are 4-2-1 all-time against the WCHA.
Wayne State at Niagara (Saturday)
Niagara has won all four previous meetings with the Warriors … Seven different players each scored a point as Wayne State split a pair of 2-1 decisions with Colgate … Junior Anna VanderMarliere and sophomore Tina Thibideau split starts against Colgate … VanderMarliere made 25 saves in Friday’s loss while Thibideau had 22 saves in Saturday’s win.
St. Cloud State at Mercyhurst (Saturday-Sunday)
Mercyhurst won 2-1 in overtime and 4-1, Dec. 15-16, 2001, in St. Cloud in the teams’ only previous meeting … The Lakers are one of only two teams in the country to have already played six games this season … Senior forward Randi Pilger has scored two goals this season, both of which have been game-winners … The Lakers fell out of the top 10 in this week’s USCHO poll after being swept by No. 7 St. Lawrence.
Colgate at Findlay (Saturday-Sunday)
The two teams split a series at Findlay last season, Nov. 23-24, 2001 … The Oilers won game one 2-1 while Colgate took the finale 5-4 … The Oilers were 5-for-12 on the power play last weekend against Niagara … Findlay junior forward Janet Ploncinsky has three goals in four games on the season, all of which have come on the power play … The Oilers have already been assessed three bench minor penalties in their first four games … Colgate is playing its second consecutive series against CHA competition after splitting with Wayne State last weekend … The Raiders will also face Mercyhurst later this season.