Looking Back: Atlantic Hockey’s 20 Greatest Games

The end of a decade marks a time to look back. Atlantic Hockey was born in 2003, succeeding the MAAC, which came into existence in 1998. With most of the Division I legacy of the member schools being written in the past 10 years, let’s take a look back at the top 20 AHA games of the past decade.

These games were picked because of their historic significance, watchability, or both.

So, in chronological order:

March 24, 2001
Grand Rapids, Mich.
Michigan 4, Mercyhurst 3

The MAAC’s first autobid turns some heads as the Lakers give Michigan all it could handle in the first round of the NCAA tournament. The Wolverines get the game winner with four minutes to play.

Oct. 19, 2002
Hamilton, N.Y.
Connecticut 5, Colgate 4

The Huskies score twice in the final two minutes to earn the first win by a MAAC team over a member of one of the “Big Four” conferences.

March 20, 2004
West Point, N.Y.
Holy Cross 3, Sacred Heart 0

Crusaders goalie Tony Quesada posts his second shutout of the weekend and Holy Cross wins its first AHA title and first trip to the NCAA tournament.

March 19, 2005
Northford, Conn.
Mercyhurst 3, Quinnipiac 2 (ot)

The Lakers, who defeated Holy Cross 4-3 in overtime in the semifinals, get a goal from Scott Champagne 4:56 into the extra stanza to deny the host Bobcats the AHA title in their final season in the league.

March 25, 2005
Worcester, Mass.
Boston College 5, Mercyhurst 4

The Lakers again put a scare into a major program in the NCAA tournament, this time taking Boston College to the limit in a 5-4 loss.

Holy Cross celebrates its ouster of Minnesota (photo: Jason Waldowski).

Holy Cross celebrates its ouster of Minnesota (photo: Jason Waldowski).

March 24, 2006
Grand Forks, N.D.
Holy Cross 4, Minnesota 3 (ot)

The game that put the AHA on the map. The Crusaders stun the top-seeded Gophers in the first round of the NCAA tournament. Tyler MacGregor scores the goal heard ’round the college hockey world 53 seconds into overtime. The Crusaders, who would have most likely made the NCAA tournament as an at-large team if they had not won the AHA title, finish the season with 27 wins.

Feb. 23, 2007
Watertown, Mass.
RIT 3, Bentley 0

The Tigers, who moved up from Division III the previous season and are ineligible for postseason play, stun the league by winning the regular season title in their first year in the conference.

March 17, 2007
Rochester, N.Y.
Air Force 6, Army 1

Never before in the storied series between these two teams has a game meant so much — the AHA title and a bid to the NCAA tournament. Freshman Andrew Volkening gets the surprise start and makes the most of it, recording 23 saves.

Minnesota's Mike Carman celebrates his game-winning goal (photo: Skip Strandberg).

Minnesota’s Mike Carman celebrates his game-winning goal (photo: Skip Strandberg).

March 24, 2007
Minnesota 4, Air Force 3

The Falcons blow a two-goal lead in the final 10 minutes of the game to the Gophers, who are almost upset by an AHA team for the second year in a row.

Dec. 29, 2007
RIT 4, Minnesota 3

The Tigers upset the host Gophers in the first round of the their holiday tournament in front of a stunned crowd of 10,046.

March 7, 2008
Rochester, N.Y.
RIT 5, Holy Cross 4 (ot)

The Tigers cap off an amazing quarterfinal series with the Crusaders, who give RIT all it can handle in a wild pair of overtime games. RIT’s Matt Smith gets the game winner, his sixth goal of the weekend.

Josh Frider scores in the second overtime (photo: Ange Lisuzzo).

Josh Frider scores in the second overtime (photo: Ange Lisuzzo).

March 16, 2008
Rochester, N.Y.
Air Force 5, Mercyhurst 4 (2ot)

The fifth-seeded Lakers, playing their third game in three days, are denied by Josh Frider’s goal 56 seconds into the second overtime.

March 29, 2008
Worcester, Mass.
Miami 3, Air Force 2

The Falcons again lose a third-period lead in the NCAA quarterfinals, putting a scare into the RedHawks.

Nov. 28, 2008
Colorado Springs, Colo.
Air Force 4, Colorado College 1

In front of over 3,000 fans at Cadet Arena, Air Force defeats its local rival for the first time in 23 years, extending its season-opening winning streak to 13 games.

Jan. 16, 2009
Columbus, Ohio
Army 3, Miami 2

The Black Knights stun the second-ranked RedHawks thanks to a 56-save performance by goaltender Jay Clark.

Feb. 13, 2009
Watertown, Mass.
Air Force 3, Bentley 2

With the Bentley Falcons on a power play late in regulation, Matt Fairchild steals the puck and finds Mike Phillipich for the shorthanded game winner with one second to play. Those two points would come in handy: Air Force would go on to tie for the regular season title.

March 27, 2009
Bridgeport, Conn.
Air Force 2, Michigan 0

Shots in this NCAA quarterfinal game were 43-13 in favor of the Wolverines. Andrew Volkening stops them all to give the AHA its second NCAA tournament win.

March 28, 2009
Bridgeport, Conn.
Vermont 3, Air Force 2 (2ot)

In what will go down as one of the most bizarre finishes in college hockey history, Catamounts defenseman Dan Lawson’s shot rips through the back of the net and play continues for over five minutes before a video review gives the win to Vermont, denying the Falcons their first trip to the Frozen Four.

Oct. 10, 2009
Rochester, N.Y.
Colgate 3, RIT 2

An AHA-record 7,421 fans go home disappointed as the Tigers drop a 3-2 decision to the Raiders.

Oct. 24, 2009
Colorado Springs, Colo.
Air Force 3, RIT 2 (ot)

Matt Fairchild gets the winner for the Falcons with one second left in overtime. How big those two points will be remains to be seen. Air Force currently leads RIT by a point in the standings but the Tigers have two games in hand. There’s still plenty of history to be written as we enter the new decade.


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