February 2, 2011

Atlantic Hockey Journal: Crusaders on the move

by Allen Lessels

Holy Cross sophomore Rob Linsmayer had two goals and three assists last weekend. (photo: Peter Cooke)

Holy Cross made a nice little move in the standings last weekend with a pair of wins over UConn.

The Crusaders jumped from a tie for eighth place into a tie for fifth in the bunched-up Atlantic Hockey playoff picture.

The league’s dozen teams, with four weekends left in the regular season, can be broken into four distinct groups at the moment.

Defending champion RIT leads the top tier of four teams. The Tigers hold a four-point lead on second-place Niagara. Robert Morris is one point behind Niagara and Air Force one behind that.

Then they really start to clump together.

Holy Cross, Canisius and Mercyhurst each own a share of fifth place with 19 points.

Bentley, UConn and Army come next. They each have 16 points and are tied for eighth.

AIC swept Sacred Heart last weekend to leapfrog the Pioneers and take over the 11th spot, but only two points separate those two.

Holy Cross — thanks in part to senior goalie Adam Roy (Feeding Hills, Mass.) and sophomore forward Rob Linsmayer — upgraded into a new, loftier neighborhood with the 4-2 and 4-0 wins over UConn.

Roy went into the weekend with one win for the season and stopped 46 of the 48 shots he faced on the way to picking up two more wins.

He had 28 saves on Saturday night to earn his second career shutout. Roy’s record is only 3-6-1, but he has a 2.80 goals-against average and .915 save percentage.

Linsmayer had two goals and three assists for the weekend and at 8-14-22 for the season. He is second in scoring on the team to senior Everett Sheen’s 9-14-23.

The Crusaders will try to climb even higher in the standings this weekend when they take on AIC for a pair, Friday night in West Springfield and Saturday night in Worcester.

Player of the Week

Jacques Lamoureux, sr., Air Force

Lamoureux added to his own school career record with his 16th game-winning goal in a 3-2 decision over Canisius on Saturday night. He had four goals and an assist to lead the Falcons to a three-point weekend.

Looking Ahead           

UConn at Army, Friday; Army at UConn, Saturday

The Huskies and Black Knights each managed only a tie for a single point in the standings in their respective series last weekend. UConn, Army and Bentley are all tied for eighth place in Atlantic Hockey.

Around Atlantic Hockey

AIC

Sophomore goalie Ben Meisner stopped 70 of 75 shots and junior forward Nielsson Arcibal contributed a goal and three assists to lead AIC to 6-4 and 2-1 wins over Sacred Heart. … The Friday night win snapped an eight-game (0-7-1) Yellow Jacket winless stretch. … AIC plays a home game against Holy Cross on Friday night, and the teams move on to Worcester for a rematch on Saturday.

Air Force

Air Force’s power play is heating up. The Falcons have converted 10 of their 26 power-play chances (38 percent) in their past four games. The power play ranks six in the nation with a 23.4 percent success rate. … Air Force sits fourth in the league standings and is at front-runner RIT on Friday and Saturday. The Falcons beat RIT, 4-3, at home Nov. 7.

Army

Sophomore goalie Ryan Leets turned back 61 of 64 shots he faced during the weekend but had only a tie to show for the effort against Bentley. The Black Knights lost Friday night’s game, 2-1, and needed a third-period goal from junior Mike Hull to pull out a 1-1 tie Saturday. … UConn is at Army on Friday, and Army travels to Storrs on Saturday.

Bentley

Freshman goalie Branden Komm, who played prep hockey at Northfield Mount Hermon, made a successful return from an injury and led the Falcons to three points with a 2-1 win and 1-1 tie against Army. The win was his first. Komm is now 1-2-1 with a 1.97 goals-against average and .930 save percentage. Bentley plays host to Sacred Heart on Friday night to open a home-and-home series.

Canisius

Senior captain and defenseman Phil Rauch had an assist in a 4-4 tie with Air Force on Friday night. That followed up on the first goal of his career, in his 118th game, in a win over AIC on the previous Monday. Rauch has a goal and seven assists for eight points for the season. He had five assists for his career coming into the season. … The Griffs play Robert Morris at home on Thursday and are at Robert Morris on Saturday.

UConn

The Huskies dropped 4-2 and 4-0 decisions at Holy Cross and followed up a promising December (they were 3-2-0) with a tough January (1-7-1). … UConn is tied with Army in the Atlantic standings, and the teams play Friday at West Point and Saturday in Storrs. The Huskies came from behind to beat Army, 3-2, on Oct. 23.

Holy Cross

Senior Adam Roy’s 28-save, 4-0 blanking of UConn on Saturday night marked the team’s first shutout of the season. … The Crusaders are 2-0-1 in their last three games and take on AIC for a pair this weekend. The series starts at AIC on Friday night. The teams return to the Hart Center at Holy Cross on Saturday for the second annual “Pink the Rink” night to benefit the “Pink Revolution,” a group of individuals with a commitment to those touched by cancer at UMass Memorial and UMass Medical School in Worcester.

Mercyhurst

An extra-attacker goal by sophomore Paul Chiasson with one minute left in regulation lifted Mercyhurst to a 3-3- tie at RIT on Saturday night. … It was Chiasson’s second goal of the game, making it six times this season he has scored more than one goal in a game. … Mercyhurst has a home-and-home series with Niagara this weekend, starting on the road on Friday night.

Niagara

The Purple Eagles took Robert Morris to overtime twice, but came up with only one point for the weekend. Niagara lost 6-5 in overtime on Friday night and Saturday’s game ended 2-2. … Senior Brian Haczyk extended his scoring streak to 21 games on Friday night, but the string was snapped when he went scoreless on Saturday. Haczyk was at 12-3-15 in eight games in January and linemate Paul Zanette was at 6-10-16.

Robert Morris

The Colonials matched a school record for wins with Friday’s 6-5 overtime triumph at Niagara. The teams tied 2-2 on Saturday night and Robert Morris is now 15-8-4 overall and at 10-6-4 in the league is a point behind second-place Niagara. …

Sophomore goalie Eric Levine had 56 saves on Saturday night, 20 of them in the first period. … The Colonials are at Canisius on Thursday and the teams meet again on Saturday at Robert Morris.

RIT

Junior forward Tyler Brenner scored a pair of goals in Saturday night’s 3-3 tie with Mercyhurst to give him 20 for the season. He’s the third Tiger to score 20 in one season at the Division 1 level. … Sophomore Shane Madolora made 44 saves to run his overall record to 11-0-5 and his Atlantic Hockey mark to 11-0-4. … RIT hosts Air Force for a pair this weekend. The first-place Tigers lead fourth-place Air Force by six points in the standings.

Sacred Heart

The Pioneers slipped into last place in the league standings with 6-4 and 2-1 losses to AIC. … Junior Matt Gingera scored a pair of goals in Friday night’s loss, but a Sacred Heart comeback came up short. … The Pioneers are at Bentley on Friday night and then will try to keep their good luck going at the Arena at Harbor Yard in Bridgeport when the same teams play Bentley there on Saturday at 3:30. Sacred Heart beat AIC, 4-2, and Air Force, also 4-2, in its first two games in Bridgeport.

Allen Lessels can be reached at feedback@hockeyjournal.com