Four to one
Six series were played in Atlantic Hockey this past weekend; five of them were league affairs.
Just one team achieved maximum output: The Army Black Knights, on the road no less, and against their archival, Air Force. After being the only team in league play to be on the wrong end of a sweep last week, the Black Knights took care of business with 3-2 and 2-0 wins in Colorado Springs.
AWP goaltender Cole Bruns allowed just two goals on 67 shots over the weekend, including 29 on Saturday for his second career shutout.
Air Force, which had only 11 healthy forwards due to a rash of injuries, still managed to outshoot Army West Point in both games, including 30-16 on Friday.
A pair of defensemen paced the Black Knight offense, with junior Dalton MacAfee and sophomore Alex Wilkinson chipping in a goal and two assists each.
Army West Point had managed just one win in 15 prior meetings with Air Force, but came out on top both nights in the only regular season meetings between the schools this season.
Shootout in Happy Valley
Mercyhurst made its first trip to Penn State a memorable one, earning a split with PSU that saw a total of 23 goals scored in the two game series. On Friday, the Lakers opened a three goal first period lead and hung on for a 7-4 win. The Nittany Lions outshot Mercyhurst 54-29 but Brandon Wildung’s 50s saves, second most in his career, was more than enough for the win.
But unfortunately for Wildung and the Lakers, 50 stops wasn’t good enough on Saturday. The senior again made 50 saves, but this time in a 7-5 loss. The Nittany Lions got the game-winner from Nikita Pavlychev with under five minutes to play and tacked on an empty-net goal to come away with a non-conference split.
Atlantic Hockey is now 11-16-3 (.417) in non-league play, well ahead of the .338 winning percentage the conference posted last season.
Bentley visits Merrimack on Friday for the sole non-conference game on the schedule this week.
Alone at unbeaten
Niagara continues to exceed expectations, posting a win and a tie at home against Bentley this past weekend.
American International’s 3-2 overtime win at Rochester Institute of Technology on Saturday left the Purple Eagles as the sole unbeaten team in league play.
Niagara (4-0-1) trails first place Army West Point (5-3) by a point in the standings but has three games in hand.
The Purple Eagles, picked to finish last in both the coaches and media preseason polls, will battle for the top spot in the standings against Army West Point this weekend at Dwyer Arena. Niagara has just three more home games before the Holidays. The Purple Eagles will play eight of their next nine games away from Dwyer after the AWP series.