This Week in the CHA: March 3, 2005

First off this week, a little correction to the last column. I mistakenly wrote that Niagara had already sewn up third place in the CHA standings with 18 points to Wayne State’s 13. I overlooked the fact that Niagara had played 18 league games, while Wayne State still had four more to go, making a move up the standings still possible for the Warriors

And as it turns out, WSU did a good job of making a move on the Purple Eagles, taking a 5-1 win against Air Force on Saturday, then coming back from a 3-1 deficit midway through the third period to record a 3-3 tie the following afternoon.

The three-point weekend gave coach Bill Wilkinson’s squad 16 points in CHA play with a 6-8-4 record, and kept the team’s hopes of a .500 season (in league play and overall) alive.

But in order to reach even water, the Warriors will have to get by the Alabama-Huntsville Chargers, who, after posting back-to-back shutouts against Robert Morris last weekend, moved to within a point of Bemidji State for the top spot in the conference standings.

But the chances UAH of passing the Beavers for first place are slim, considering that Air Force, Bemidji’s opponent this weekend, has not taken a win from the Minnesota school since Jan. 13, 2001. Since that time, Bemidji State has gone 12-0-1 against the Falcons, and the last AFA win at home against Bemidji came on Dec. 3, 2000.

No matter what, though, both Bemidji and Huntsville have already earned byes in the first round of the Wells Fargo CHA Championship, which moves to the IRA Civic Center in Grand Rapids, Minn., this season.

No Charge Against UAH

Alabama-Huntsville’s consecutive shutouts of Robert Morris were the first in back-to-back games since the Chargers beat Findlay, 4-0, on Feb. 24, 2001, and followed that with a 7-0 defeat of Air Force in the CHA semifinals on March 9.

The last time UAH held one opponent scoreless in a two-game series came during the opening weekend of play of the 2000-01 season, when the Chargers downed Bowling Green by 3-0 and 2-0 scores on Oct. 13 and 14. The wins also marked the first time in school history that UAH posted back-to-back shutouts on the road.

Junior goaltender Scott Munroe was between the pipes for both contests last weekend, turning aside all 71 shots he faced to record his second and third shutouts of the season — his first coming Jan. 15 in a 5-0 win against Lake Superior. He has seen action in 26 straight games for UAH, including 24 consecutive starts, and has a 9-3-2 mark with a 1.50 goals against average, .950 save percentage and three shutouts since the first of the year.

Interestingly enough, the last time the Chargers were held without a goal on a weekend came during the same campaign, as Denver recorded 4-0 and 3-0 wins on Jan. 26 and 28, 2001.

Of course, the shutouts also marked the first time the Colonials were held scoreless on a weekend in their short history, and extended their scoreless streak to 214 minutes and 25 seconds. Robert Morris was also shut out by Bemidji State, 3-0, on Feb. 26. The last time RMU scored was as the 8:49 mark of the second period in a 2-1 overtime loss to BSU on Feb. 25.

Ross Rises To The Top

While Munroe was shutting out the Colonials, Jared Ross saw his name rise to the top of the CHA’s all-time goal-scoring list, as his two tallies against Robert Morris gave him 72 for his career. That mark moved him out of a tie with Niagara’s Barret Ehgoetz, who was held to just a pair of assists in a 4-3 loss to nonconference opponent Massachusetts last weekend.

Ross’ goals gave him 21 for the season. He and Bruce Mulherin (24 goals this year) are just the third teammate duo in CHA history to reach the 20-goal mark in the same season.

Miscellaneous Notes

• Barret Ehgoetz set a career high last week by posting his 28th assist of the season.

• Ehgoetz has played in 111 straight games dating back to March 1, 2002.

• Ryan Gale scored 16 goals in his first three seasons combined, but broke the 20-goal mark for the Purple Eagles this year.

• Air Force’s Eric Ehn has 21 points this season, the most by a Falcons freshman since Andy Berg grabbed 33 in 1999-00.

• Jason Bloomingburg tied the Wayne State record for goals in a season with 18 by netting two in last weekend’s 5-1 victory.

• Adam Krug posted goals in consecutive games last weekend for the first time in his WSU career.