Three Things: On to Rochester

Three things from the quarterfinal round in Atlantic Hockey:

On to Rochester

The home teams all advanced in the Atlantic Hockey quarterfinals, with Canisius (defeated Niagara), Air Force (over Bentley), Army West Point (defeated Mercyhurst) and Robert Morris (beat Holy Cross) moving on to Blue Cross Arena.

Fourth-seeded Robert Morris will take on top-seed Canisius in the first semifinal, while No. 3 seed Army West Point will meet second-seeded (and 18th ranked) Air Force for the fifth time this season in the other semi.

Close calls

While only Army West Point and Mercyhurst needed a third game to decide things, all four series had tight games on Saturday. Canisius, Air Force and Robert Morris completed sweeps, but by the slimmest of margins in the clinching games.

Robert Morris withstood a comeback attempt by Holy Cross to win 3-2. The Colonials entered the third period on Saturday up 2-0 thanks to a pair of goals by Daniel Leavens, but the Crusaders made it a one-goal game with under four minutes to play. RMU got an empty-net goal from Brady Ferguson and looked to put the game away with 1:18 left, but Peter Crinella made things interesting, pulling Holy Cross back to within a goal in the final seconds.

Out West, Air Force completed the sweep with a 2-1 win over Bentley on Saturday. The Air Force Falcons outshot the Bentley Falcons 39-14 but needed a third period goal from Ben Kucera to move on.

And regular season champ Canisius narrowly escaped a possible Game Three with Niagara thanks to Ryan Schmelzer’s power play goal with 1:15 left in the game. The 2-1 win extended the Golden Griffins’ unbeaten streak to 17 games and tied the school record for victories in a season (21).

Niagara, which missed an astounding 234 man-games to injury, ended the season on a high note with a pair of postseason wins (over Rochester Institute of Technology in the first round) after managing just three victories in the regular season.

And finally, on Sunday, Army West Point was able to mount a third-period comeback and defeat Mercyhurst 4-3 to win the series 2-1. The Lakers had forced a third game with a 3-2 overtime win on Saturday.

In the deciding game, Mercyhurst outshot Army West Point 52-34 but allowed the tying and winning goals in the third period. Black Knights goaltender Parker Gahagen made 40 saves before leaving the game with an injury with 8:58 to play. Cole Bruns stopped all nine shots he faced in relief.

Predicting the NCAAs

The USCHO Pairwise Predictor is now live. Air Force is currently tied for 15th in the pairwise, so it would need a lot of things to break its way to make the tournament should the Falcons not win the AHC championship this weekend.


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