Three things from this past weekend in Atlantic Hockey:
Air Force and Mercyhurst, teams with large batches of newcomers and therefore expected to take a while to gel, look very much ahead of schedule.
The Mercyhurst Lakers, who split with No. 20 Colgate to kick off the college hockey season last weekend, opened Atlantic Hockey conference play with an impressive road sweep of Bentley.
The games were a rematch of last season’s wild quarterfinal series won my Mercyhurst in three games. This time out, Mercyhurst swept a regular season series at Bentley for the first time since 2006, thanks in part to freshmen.
Rookies accounted for five of the six Laker goals in the series, including three by frosh Taylor Best. Best already has four goals on the young season.
Rookies also played a huge role in Air Force’s 5-4 overtime upset of No. 5 Denver on Friday.
Kyle Haak registered a pair of goals in his first collegiate game to pace the Falcons, who had five rookies in all contribute seven points in the contest.
Freshman goalie Billy Christopoulos made 28 saves for his first collegiate win.
Denver earned the split with a 3-1 win on Saturday.
Big wins, more losses
Atlantic Hockey teams have scored two wins against ranked teams so far. Besides Air Force’s win over fifth-ranked Denver on Friday, Mercyhurst topped No. 20 Colgate in a wild, 9-7 affair on Oct. 3.
But for the most part, AHC teams haven’t fared well in non-conference games. The league is 2-11-1 so far against non-league opposition.
It was hoped that things would look up thanks to more non-conference home games on the schedule, and so far six of the 14 non-league games have been held in AHC buildings. Atlantic Hockey went 2-4 in their own buildings vs. 0-7-1 on the road.