Hot starts in Atlantic Hockey

A pair of Atlantic Hockey teams are off to great starts. Holy Cross is 4-1-1 in league play, its best opening in conference play since 2003. The Crusaders 5-4-1 overall start is their best since 2005. Holy Cross has been able to win on the road (4-1-1) and in close games (4-0 in one-goal contests). Holy Cross has already won three games in overtime, tying its single-season record set in 1994-1995. And there’s plenty of hockey to go.

Off to its best start, period, is Robert Morris. The Colonials are 7-2-1 so far with both losses coming in overtime. This past weekend, Robert Morris took three points  from Sacred Heart and lead in the standings with a 6-2-1 conference record.

On the other side of the momentum scale is Canisius, which is winless in its last six games after getting off to a 4-1-1 start. It doesn’t get any easier for the Golden Griffs this weekend as Robert Morris and Air Force come calling. After that, Canisius begins a six game road trip that will see them at Bentley, RIT, Notre Dame and Wisconsin.

Player of the Week

Your AHA Player of the Week tallied a whopping six points last weekend.

Nathan Longpre, Robert Morris – The senior from Peterborough, Ontario had a goal and an assist on Friday and four assists on Saturday to help the Colonials to a three point weekend against Sacred Heart. He now has 73 career assists, most in school history.

Ryan Zapolski, Mercyhurst – The senior stopped 50 of 51 shots last weekend to lead the Lakers to a sweep over Army. His shutout on Friday was the seventh in his career.

Tony Thomas, Air Force – The rookie had two goals and three assists to help the Falcons to a weekend split with Colorado college (6-4 loss) and Yale (4-3 win).

Jason Torf, Air Force – Another rookie, Torf picked a great time to pick up his first career win: a 4-3 victory over No. 3 Yale. He made 34 saves.

Begging to Differ

My colleague Dave Starman made an interesting proposal in a column this week: Eliminating the drop-down shot block as a way to increase scoring. You need a USCHO Extra subscription to read the whole thing, but the gist is that with the improvements to shin pads, players can go down in front of a shooter and block a good scoring chance with less fear of injury than in the past. Players are getting really good at blocking shots.

With all due respect to Dave, the shot block is an exciting play that can get a team motivated the same way a good hit can. Here’s a case in point:

Shot Blocking – RIT’s Taylor McReynolds

With the amazing season the Tigers had, they sure had a lot to choose from for a highlight video to be played at their annual banquet. This is the only video they showed.

Make that a penalty? No way.

Getting My Vote

My Men’s D-I Poll ballot this week:
1. Duluth
2. BU
3. North Dakota
4. Maine
5. UNO
6. Yale
7. New Hampshire
8. Miami
9. Michigan
10. Notre Dame
11. Union
12. BC
13. Alaska
14. Denver
15. Western Michigan
16. RPI
17. Wisconsin
18. Merrimack
19. Michigan State
20. Robert Morris