Hockey season starts to gear up for its final swing around this time of year. The cream of the crop rise to the occasion and create separation from league compatriots, and potential playoff matchups start to formulate just enough.
But find me a team that will feel good, and I’ll show you someone who’s openly lying. Canisius might have the conference lead, but the Griffs split with RIT this weekend – the same Tiger team that hadn’t won since December 9. Holy Cross had snuck in to tie for first place in the league but lost twice this weekend at home, allowing Niagara to regain momentum for the top seed.
Robert Morris is right on Mercyhurst’s back for the last home ice quarterfinal slot, but the Colonials just went to overtime twice against 11th-place Bentley, who swept them earlier this year.
And speaking of the bottom three, that Tiger win put a little sliver of distance between RIT and Air Force, Sacred Heart and Bentley, but Air Force and Sacred Heart didn’t play on Saturday thanks to the government shutdown.
This is life in Atlantic Hockey. There’s separation, but nobody can really feel good about it.
Shut it down
Let’s cycle back to that Air Force-Sacred Heart series.
The federal government shut down this weekend, forcing the closure of “non-essential” activities. In Colorado, that meant the Air Force Academy could not play its regularly scheduled game against Sacred Heart.
All home and away events are cancelled until further notice, meaning the league will work to reschedule the Sacred Heart game sometime in February.
Air Force is scheduled to travel to Niagara this weekend, but if the government cannot resolve the shutdown before the weekend, it’s safe to assume the games would, once again, need rescheduling.
North of the border
Army West Point operates under a different arrangement, which allowed the Black Knights to play its scheduled rivalry game in Canada against the Royal Military College.
The Black Knights won that game by a 5-0 score. It marked the seventh straight victory for the academy, which restarted the annual series in 2012 after a five-year hiatus, and extended West Point’s unbeaten streak to 11 games.
After taking a 1-0 lead in the first period, Army extended to three in the second, never looking back by adding two more in the third. Michael Wilson had a couple of power play goals, and Cole Bruns recorded the series’ first shutout since 2015, which he also had.
The win ensures Army’s firsties of an undefeated series victory over the Paladins, while Bruns wraps up four victories against RMC.