The elusive four points

Three things I learned from Atlantic Hockey this weekend:

Sweeps are sweet – Rochester Institute of Technology and American International played the only two-game series this weekend, and RIT continued its dominance over the Yellow Jackets with a pair of victories.

“Our effort level was up and down tonight; we wanted to raise the bar,” RIT coach Wayne Wilson said after Saturdays’ 4-2 win. “I didn’t think we started playing well until they scored. I wasn’t really happy with our inconsistent effort, but it is hard to win two. We got the sweep we were looking for. Sometimes you just got to look at the bottom line — did you get the job done?”

Netting it out – Besides RIT, there were four other teams in contention for a four point weekend. Robert Morris, Canisius, Mercyhurst and Niagara all had a pair of games. The Colonials came close, earning a win and a tie to set a new school record for longest unbeaten streak (seven games).

“Tonight was a good win for us, and we’ve really found our identity lately. Kudos to our guys for setting a new program record,” Colonials head coach Derek Schooley said. “It feels good to win a couple games, and our guys have been putting in the work day-in and day-out to get it done.”

Niagara and Mercyhurst also picked up three points, while Canisius dropped its pair of games. Holy Cross won its only game of the weekend, defeating Army at home.

Sacred Heart dropped a pair of non-conference games, while Bentley, Connecticut and  Air Force were already off for the holidays.

Standing watch – There’s only one game left before the holiday break, but it’s a big one in terms of position in AHA the standings. Robert Morris hosts RIT next Saturday. With a win, RIT can claim first place at the turn, while RMU can extend its unbeaten streak and move into a three-way tie for second.

Getting my vote:
Here’s how I’ll vote in tomorrow’s USCHO.com Division I men’s poll:
1. Minnesota Duluth
2. Boston College
3. Ohio State
4. Minnesota
5. Notre Dame
6. Merrimack
7. Boston University
8. Union
9. Western Michigan
10. Colorado College
11. Colgate
12. Ferris State
13. Denver
14. Mass-Lowell
15. Lake Superior
16. Denver
17. Cornell
18. Michigan State
19. North Dakota
20. Air Force

52 COMMENTS

  1. RIT could be in first place in terms of total points, thanks to two extra games played, but Air Force will be in first in terms of win percentage. But, that’s hard to see through the orange-and-black goggles.

  2. GOPHS sweep, Friday night 5-3, Saturday 6-2 I think Penn State will try to get in shootout with the GOPHS and they won’t be able to hang. The gophers are starting to fire on all cylinders, watch out!

    • I agree with the sweep whole heartedly, although to think the gophers can get 11 goals this weekend seems a bit of a stretch. I can see 5-3 tonight in a game in which the gophers jump out to a 3-0 lead and then let PSU back in it while getting an empty netter to close it out. However on the back end I see it as a much tighter contest as I think PSU gives everything they have but ultimately fall short because the talent isn’t on par with Minnesota. In my opinion 3-2 Gophs. Either way the end result is the same and we are out of the weekend with a much needed 6!

    • I agree but I would say more 1-0, 2-1, maybe 3-2 games because if Adam Wilcox and PJ Musico play their best they are both really good.

    • Agreed. Hoping for a statment wknd from Minny. And if it turns into a track meet, AWESOME – no way can PSU hang with the Gophers in that type of game.

  3. With the thorough whooping Minnesota handed Michigan last week how can you pick anything but a sweep for Minnesota? Penn State has been playing better this season, but lets not get carried away and think they can steal 3 from the gophers coming off their best hockey weekend in months. Penn State hasn’t played meaningful games at the D1 level. I want to see them win when it counts, before I concede that they can hang with the big boys.

  4. This is probably the worst time for Penn State to have to play MN. They would have been better off playing them a month ago compared to now as the Gophers are playing some of their best hockey of the season. The one thing PSU has going for them is that the games are at Pegula.

    • This is Penn State’s chance to validate their overwhelmingly successful season. Should be their most important home series all year. I think the Gophers have the talent and are playing well enough recently to sweep. But I’m not going to guarantee it. All that said I’m looking forward to this weekend. I think the results will say a lot about how the two teams finish the season.

      • I wouldn’t call this an overwhelmingly successful season with the lightweight schedule they have had. With their SOS ranked at 47, they should be successful.

        • The question is will Skoff or Musico play? All my fellow Gopher fans seem to think that a sweep is easy pickings. I am not so sure. Penn State has only lost once at home and anyone who has watched them knows they are much better at home then they are away. If Wilcox plays like he did last weekend and the Gophers have the same sense of urgency then *can* sweep and although I would like to see it, I know that we struggled there last year, so I am leaning towards a split.

          • Completely agree with this – a Gopher sweep would be huge, but a split on the road is probably more realistic. Penn State had better be on their best game though, especially on defense.

    • Decatur, 5-2-1-1 is how I see it. Of course the SO win is against Minn, sorry Sat1992. And I do believe in “Miracles”…We require 6 this weekend to start. We get it…

      • You guys have the potential for a sweep, your team is riding high, with great goaltending. I think that Wisconsin is playing better, but their young D can be exploited. I expect two low scoring games, as both offenses struggle, but that the Spartans get the sweep, will setup as nice showdown next week with the Gophers.

  5. Picking against a Gopher sweep again Paula??? No wonder you can’t even pick half of your games right! You call yourself a sports writer??

  6. Despite the comments above, I don’t believe any time in the B1G right now has the ability of displayed the consistency to run the table. That will make for an interesting finish.
    Looking at the schedule above, it appears that Michigan has the easiest go this weekend, despite the woes of Wisconsin, they are actually playing better. I agree with Drew here, I expect Michigan to rebound against Ohio State and play well, but cannot envision them making much post-season noise until they get their goaltending issues sorted out, which have been a total roller coaster ride this year. However, if one of them gets hot, you never know, but the post season does not have the cupcakes included and you can’t go deep into the post-season without quality goaltending. I still think Michigan will sweep this weekend.
    Michigan State/Wisconsin; Michigan State should be riding high after their weekend sweep against Penn State and I think that this will propel them to a road sweep, they are playing well on both sides of the puck and getting quality goaltending, which spells problems for Bucky. I suspect that Bucky will hang around for awhile on both nights, but their inability to score and Michigan State’s eventual exploitation of Bucky’s young D corps will undo them each night. I expect lower scoring game each night, but that Michigan State will get the 6 points that Decatur and The Noke are looking for.
    The toughest matchup of the weekend Penn State/Minnesota. Both teams have high potent offense and Penn State has only lost once at home, this will be a tough test for the Gophers. Last year Minnesota eeked out two wins, but by the slimest of margins. I expect that the both game will be entertaining. It will be another good test for the Gophers to see if they are truly over the hump. If Wilcox plays like he did last weekend and the Gophers have the same sense of urgency to their game, they *can* sweep, but Penn State is a totally different team at home, so if the Gophers experience any of their previous inconsistency, they *will* have troubles. I will be pulling for a Gopher sweep with all my heart, but I suspect that they will split.

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