This Week in Atlantic Hockey: Nov. 2, 2006

Westward, Pioneers

The Sacred Heart Pioneers went West last weekend, venturing to Michigan to take on Wayne State and Michigan State. It was the first meeting ever between Sacred Heart and either of the two schools.

Against Wayne State on Friday, the Pioneers trailed 1-0 midway through the third period before getting the equalizer from Alexandre Parent, and then freshman Dave Jarman scored the game winner with 4:28 to play. It was Jarman’s biggest collegiate goal … and his first.

“(Peter) Ferraro put a shot on net and it went off the goalie and I was there for the rebound,” Jarman told USCHO.com after the game. “We do a lot of the dirty work on the fourth line.”

“I thought we had a real strong third period,” said coach Sean Hannah. “We played hard and created some opportunities to score. Dave (Jarman) had an excellent game for us.”

Jarman got another goal on Saturday, but a late comeback by the Pioneers came up short and Sacred Heart fell at Michigan State 7-5.

“(Michigan State) came out really hard,” said Hannah. “They outshot us and outplayed us. They were great on the power play. We got better as the game went on and adjusted to the pace. In the third period we went to work, and were able to chip away.”

Parent led the Pioneers with four points on the weekend, while sophomore goalie Stefan Drew stopped 19 shots on Friday for his first win of the season. Senior Jason Smith made 31 saves in a losing effort on Saturday.

Sacred Heart is home this weekend, hosting Mercyhurst.

“It’s exciting to finally be home,” said Hannah. “The non-conference games help you gauge where you are. But the league games are so important. There are no easy games in our league. Every game is a big game. We’ve got to be prepared.”

For Jarman, it was a weekend he’ll never forget. “I’ll probably tape it up somewhere or put it up in the stall,” he said of the puck used to score his first collegiate goal. “Definitely my biggest goal for sure. They get more special each level you move up.”

Weekly Awards

Player of the Week
Ben Cottreau, Mercyhurst
: The junior from Toronto, Ontario had his second hat trick of the season in a 5-4 overtime loss to Connecticut on Saturday. Cottreau also had one goal on Friday, and it was a big one — the eventual game winner in a 6-2 win. Cottreau leads the Lakers in scoring with eight goals and three assists.

Goaltender of the Week
Ray Jean, Bentley
: Jean made a whopping 76 saves to help the Falcons to a win and a tie against Princeton. The senior made 42 stops in a 3-3 tie with the Tigers on Friday, and then stopped 34 of 37 shots for the victory on Saturday, Bentley’s first-ever win against an ECACHL team.

Rookie of the Week
Ian Dams, Holy Cross
: Dams made 51 saves on 54 shots in a pair of close games last week. He made 29 saves in a 2-1 win over Merrimack, and followed it up with 22 more in a 2-1 loss at Yale. Dams has a .914 save percentage and a 2.65 GAA so far.

Homeward Bound

Another team looking forward to some home cooking is Bentley, which has played five road games to date. Bentley has been to Central New York, the heart of the Rocky Mountains, and Northern New Jersey in the first three weeks of the season, posting a 2-2-1 record. Last weekend, the Falcons played a two-game series with Princeton, earning a win and a tie against the Tigers. It was the first time the Falcons had ever defeated an ECACHL team.

As it had done the previous Saturday at Air Force, Bentley came back from a three-goal deficit in both games against Princeton. On Friday, the Falcons trailed 3-0 at the midway point before sophomore Jeff Gumaer scored his first of two goals on the evening. The second one tied the score at three with 4:40 to play.

On Saturday, Gumaer got two assists and Tom Dickhudt scored twice, including the game winner with 7:35 to play as Bentley defeated Princeton 4-3. Again, Princeton led 3-0 in the second period, but this time the Falcons did more than tie the game. Senior goalie Ray Jean made 76 saves in the series to earn AHA Goalie of the Week honors.

“We’re young,” said coach Ryan Soderquist in discussing his team’s penchant for falling behind early. “We only had four upperclassmen in the lineup on Friday and Saturday. I think we’re going to be good, but we’re learning that you have to take things one shift at a time and get it done every single time. If you lose your focus for one second, the puck’s in your net.”

Fortunately for them, the Falcons have the talent to erase those deficits.

“The guys weren’t getting rattled and stuck to the game plan,” said Soderquist. “We were able to get a goal and then another and build on that. It speaks volumes about their confidence that they can get it done in adverse situations.”

Now it’s home for a game with Connecticut on Friday before visiting the Huskies on Saturday. Bentley took all four games from UConn last season.

‘We’re excited,” said Soderquist. “It’s a home game and then a road game that’s only an hour and a half away. We’ve been all over the place for the last three weeks, and each time we went out, it took four days.

“We finished 2-2-1 at the end of a tough month and we’re pretty proud.”

Around the League

• Atlantic Hockey is currently tied for second in the Commissioner’s Cup Standings, earning six points in four games. The league trails Hockey East by three points, but has four games in hand. The WCHA also has six points, but that’s through six games, so the AHA has two games in hand there. AHA teams went 2-0 in Commissioner’s Cup play last weekend, with Air Force defeating Alabama-Huntsville 7-5 and Sacred Heart beating Wayne State 2-1. Next up is Connecticut at Massachusetts on November 18. “There’s some awareness of it in the locker room,” said Sacred Heart coach Sean Hannah of his team’s Commissioner’s Cup games. “It puts a little more importance on it than a regular non-league game.”

• Air Force’s Eric Ehn had a hand in six of the Falcons’ seven goals on Friday, leading them to a 7-5 win over Alabama-Huntsville in the semifinals of the Lightning College Hockey Classic in Tampa, Florida. Ehn leads the nation in goals with 10. The Falcons had a rough time getting to Tampa thanks to a snowstorm that hit Colorado last Thursday, the day they were supposed to fly out. Instead, they left late and spent the night in Atlanta, finishing their trip on Friday morning.

• It’s a ways off, but mark your calendars: CSTV will carry live the Army at Air Force game on Saturday, January 20. The game time has been moved up an hour to 6:05 Mountain Time to accommodate the broadcast.

• Connecticut lost to Mercyhurst 6-2 on Friday to open the season 0-5 for the first time since 1961. But the Huskies rebounded the next night to defeat the Lakers 5-4 in overtime. Chris Myhro got the game winner 1:08 into the extra period. Also in that game, Matt Scherer scored his 45th and 46th career goals to move into first place on the all-time Division I era list at UConn.

• Holy Cross’ 2-1 win against Merrimack was its second straight against Hockey East opponents. The Crusaders defeated Massachusetts 3-2 in October of last year.

Thanks to Matt Mackinder for his contribution to this column.

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