Three (four) observations from the weekend that was in Atlantic Hockey:
What a weekend means
Three sweeps, a split, and a win/tie resulted in more separation in what has until recently been a logjammed Atlantic Hockey standings. There are now some teams or groupings separated by four points, i.e. a weekend sweep. Four points means teams are one weekend from moving up:
- First-place Robert Morris, which swept Holy Cross in a pair of close games, has a four point lead on Canisius, which kept pace with a sweep of Niagara.
- Canius now leads third-place Mercyhurst, which managed a single point at Sacred Heart, by four points.
- Behind Mercyhurst are five teams all within four points of each other: Air Force (swept American International), Bentley and Rochester Institute of Technology (which split their series) and Holy Cross.
- The pattern changes a bit with eighth-place Sacred Heart trailing Holy Cross by three points, but we’re back to fours again with Army, which is a quartet of points behind the Pioneers.
- The bottom three teams: Army, American International and Niagara are separated by, you guessed it, four points. Or to put it another way, one weekend.
The usual suspects were all over the scoring sheets this weekend, trying to keep pace with the national goal scoring leader, Union’s Daniel Ciampini. Ciampini had a hat-trick in his only game this weekend, an 8-3 win over Rensselaer, so he leads the chase for the scoring title by three goals over a group that includes RIT’s Matt Garbowsky. Garbowsky scored twice in the Tiger’s 5-2 win at Bentley on Saturday.
Canisius’ Ralph Cuddemi led the way with four goals this weekend, a pair in each game in a sweep of Niagara. Cuddemi is now up to 16 goals this season. tied for fifth nationally.
Adding a trio of goals to his season total over the weekend was Air Force’s Scott Holm in a sweep of AIC. Holm now has 14 goals. Robert Morris senior Cody Wydo had a pair of goals in Friday’s 4-3 win at Holy Cross, bringing his season total to date to 16.
Held off the scoreboard this weekend but still among national leaders are Bentley’s Andrew Gladiuk (15 goals) and Max French (14).
How the west was won
With Connecticut leaving the league, reducing the number of teams to an uneven 11, the AHC threw out the “scheduling pods” this season. But you know you’re still tracking East vs. West, right? Four eastern schools hosted western squads this past weekend, and the results were clearly in favor of the visitors with the west coming out on top 5-2-1.
So far this season, the six teams in the old western pod are 34-17-11 against the five eastern squads. That’s the reason why with five weeks to go in the regular season, western schools hold five of the top six spots in the standings.
More than an exhibition
Army and Canada’s Royal Military Academy met for the 79th time on Saturday, with the Black Knights coming out on top 8-0 to retain possession of the Challenge Cup trophy.
CJ Reuschlein had a pair of goals for Army, while Clint Carlisle led all scorers with a goal and three assists. Cole Bruns made 19 saves for the shutout.
Army is at Princeton on Tuesday to close out its non-conference schedule.