To be the man, you gotta beat the man.
Had TJ Moore not put on a show, it’s likely Air Force and Bentley would’ve led off the weekend. Instead, in a wild weekend series at Niagara, we’re talking about back-to-back hat trick nights for the Crusader junior.
On Friday, the Crusaders scored seven goals in the second and third en route to an 8-2 victory, outshooting the Purps, 30-12, along the way. After an evenly played first period, where each team scored once and split the shot totals almost evenly (Holy Cross led, 8-6), the visiting team piled on four goals. Moore scored twice in the second, adding to his first period strike to earn a chapeau shower.
On Saturday, Holy Cross took a 3-2 lead, all behind Moore. His second hat trick of the weekend paved the road for the Crusaders, who held that lead through the first 20, only to surrender it in the second, then fall behind in the third. They rallied, scoring late with their net empty to earn a tie, proving that even with a dominating player, nothing is over until it’s over.
One player had six goals in a weekend. A player with one career hat trick had two in two nights, making him the first person in program history with three in his career. He became the first player in Holy Cross history to have hat tricks on consecutive nights, and he became the third player in program history to do it in a single period (matching Tyler McGregor in 2005 and Adam Schmidt in 2012).
Not a bad start, right?
East Coast, West Coast Falcons Fly
For college hockey’s elite, the first weekend of the regular season is always an exercise in exhibition. Teams give their fans the first glimpse into the roster as they skate through a victory over a team from the proletariat.
Someone didn’t send Atlantic Hockey that memo.
At New Hampshire’s fabled Whittemore Center, the Bentley Falcons loudly announced their arrival, defeatin the host Wildcats, 5-1, behind three goals from freshmen. Leading 2-0 after the first period thanks to rookie Connor Brassard and sophomore Alexei Solovyev, they added a third from freshman Dino Balsamo. Up 3-1, they put the Wildcats away behind an early third period goal from another diaper dandy, Jonathan Desbiens, before adding an empty net goal late.
Meanwhile, Air Force carried the torch out west, winning the Ice Breaker Tournament held in Denver. In the opening game against fifth-ranked Boston College, the Falcons simply outworked the Eagles. Trailing 1-0 in the second period, they scored twice in the third, potting the game winner with under nine minutes left to take a 2-1 decision.
The next night, they tied Ohio State, 3-3, winning a shootout, 1-0, to decide the trophy’s residence.
It’s an encouraging first step for a league that’s struggled to get non-conference wins with regularity over the past few years.
As expected, the AHC opener between Sacred Heart and Army West Point provided a look at the potential of both teams.
For Army West Point, a 4-0 victory marks a 1-0-1 start to the season. They held serve on their own home ground, finding the back of the net for a decisive scoreboard victory. In the quest to challenge the league’s top slots, they handled their business and walked away with two points.
But Sacred Heart kept coming. The Pioneers outshot the Black Knights 26-8 over the final two periods, including a 14-2 margin in the third with the only goal coming on an empty net.
They’ll meet again on Friday with an expectation of more fireworks.