College hockey notes: Atlantic teams no pushovers

If anyone still believes that games against Atlantic Hockey teams should be easy wins for ECAC Hocke
PHOTOGRAPHER:

If anyone still believes that games against Atlantic Hockey teams should be easy wins for ECAC Hockey clubs, you only had to look at last weekend’s results to see that wasn’t the case.

Four of the league’s teams went

4-1-1 against the ECACH. Connect­icut beat Brown, 4-1, in Prov­idence, R.I.; Canisius went 1-0-1 against Clarkson at Cheel Arena; and Mercyhurst won the Rens­selaer Holiday Tournament, beating RPI and Princeton. The only loss was Army’s last-second 5-4 defeat to Union.

The big wins were by Canisius and Mercyhurst.

Canisius became the first Atlantic Hockey team to win at Cheel when it came from behind to beat Clarkson, 4-3, in overtime last Friday. The Golden Griffins were 13.8 seconds away from losing when

Jason Weeks scored to tie it. Spencer Churchill scored with 1:14 left in overtime to win it.

The next night, the Griffins had a 2-0 lead before the Knights rallied to tie.

“Our league has some programs that are very, very committed to recruiting and putting a great product on the ice,” Canisius coach Dave Smith said. “If you watch our games night in, night out, the standings show that the parity is great. What is making our league so much better is that every night, you have to play your best hockey in order to get points in your league. Now, we’re going out of our league, and we’ve had some success this past weekend because we’re ready to play on back-to-back nights against a quality opponent.”

The Lakers’ tournament title was impressive.

They jumped out to a 3-0 first-period lead against the Engineers in the semifinal and cruised to a

4-1 win. That set up a meeting with seventh-ranked Princeton in the final.

Mercyhurst wasn’t intimidated. The Lakers chased Tigers goalie Zane Kalemba by scoring four first-period goals. Princeton rallied to tie it with four third-period goals, but the Lakers bounced back and won it when Scott Pitt scored with 1:21 left in the third.

Also giving Atlantic Hockey a lift has been the play of Air Force. The Falcons were the last team to lose a game this season, when they dropped a 4-1 decision to Denver. Air Force had won its first 13 games, and is ranked 10th in the USCHO.com/CBS College Sports hockey poll.

“Atlantic Hockey is getting more and more competitive every year,” Mercyhurst coach Rick Gotkin said. “This year, with what Air Force has accomplished to date, coupled with other non-conference wins, has certainly helped continue to move our conference forward. We all knew it was just a matter of time before teams in our league would start to have success out of conference on a more consistent bases.”

UNION AT RPI TOURNEY

Union coach Nate Leaman confirmed Wednesday that the Dutchmen will play in next year’s RPI tournament. Last week, RPI coach Seth Appert said he had been talking with Leaman about coming to the tournament.

Union joins Lake Superior State in the tournament. It’s the first time the Dutchmen will play in the tourney since 1999.

Leaman said Union and RPI may play a non-league game in Glens Falls next season.

BODIE TO UNION

Union has secured a commitment from forward Kyle Bodie of the British Columbia Junior Hockey League’s Powell River Kings.

He is the team’s second-leading scorer, and third in the league, with 16 goals and 35 assists in 33 games. Bodie will be joining former Kings Mike Wakita and Adam Presizniuk, along with his hometown friend, Kelly Zajac. They are from Winnipeg, Manitoba.

“Kyle has been in the program a few years, and is deserving of this scholarship,” Powell River coach Kent Lewis said in a statement. “He has elevated his game every year, and is definitely one of the more dominant player in the league. Union is going to have a real solid player for four years.”

Bodie was just named to the Coastal Conference team for the BCJHL All-Star game Jan. 14

TOUGH LOSS

Video replay for all ECACH games won’t be coming for another two years. Dartmouth coach Bob Gaudet probably wishes there was replay for Sunday’s game against Boston College.

With 38.2 seconds left and Dartmouth clinging to a 1-0 lead, a goal-mouth scramble led to a goal by BC’s Brian Gibbons. Dartmouth goalie Jody O’Neill had the puck in his glove, but referee Tim Ben-

­edetto signaled the puck was over the goal line.

There was a discussion between four officials. The goal judge was asked whether the puck went in.

According to a report in the Valley News, the officials first talked to BC coach Jerry York, who was upset because he thought the goal would be waved off.

But it was Gaudet who became angry when the goal was allowed to stand.

“The referee called it on the ice,” Gaudet said. “I don’t know what happened after that. He went to the goal judge, and I’m not exactly sure what happened. It appeared like he called it off, then he went to their bench, and it appeared he called it [good]. I’ve never seen that happen before.”

O’Neill said: “They thought the puck had already crossed the goal line when I grabbed it. The ref was right there, and he made the call. Definitely a heartbreaker.”

BC won the game in overtime, 2-1, on Barry Almeida’s goal with 1:14 left.

LOCAL UPDATE

Here’s a look at how college hockey players from the Capital Region did over the past week.

u Boston College sophomore defenseman Nick Petrecki (Clifton Park) had an assist in the Eagles’ 5-1 win over Harvard last Friday. Unfortunately for Petrecki, he didn’t make the Team USA squad for the World Junior Championships, which will take place Dec. 26 to

Jan. 5 in Ottawa.

u St. Lawrence junior forward Tara Akstull (Clifton Park) picked up an assist in the Saints’ 5-1 win over Ohio State last Friday. She also had an assist the next day in a 5-4 victory over the Buckeyes.

Categories: College Sports

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