American International did something last weekend it was unable to do all of last season -- the Yellow Jackets came up with more than two points in an Atlantic Hockey weekend.
Freshman goalie Ben Meisner tossed a 3-0 shutout at Holy Cross on Friday night in Springfield, and junior Dan Ramirez came back with 44 saves the next night in a 4-4 tie in Worcester.
The three points for the weekend also matched the total number of points AIC was able to collect from December on last season. The Yellow Jackets went 1-15-1 in their final 17 league games.
Meisner, who is from Halifax, Nova Scotia, and played at the Winchendon School, and several other newcomers have been key for AIC thus far. He had 30 saves for the shutout on Friday and has a 1.51 goals-against average and .955 save percentage in his two games.
Meisner’s was the first shutout for AIC since Tom Fenton made 22 saves in a 3-0 win over Army on Jan. 30, 2007.
Next up for the Yellow Jackets is a pair of games at Connecticut on Friday and Saturday. The Huskies swept AIC, 3-1 and 6-2, last season.
NEHJ Player of the Week
Dan Ringwald, sr., RIT
One good turn by a defenseman deserves another. Blueliner Al Mazur scored three goals in Friday night’s 6-2 win over Connecticut and Ringwald followed up with his own hat trick -- a natural one with three goals in the first period -- in a 7-0 triumph on Saturday. Ringwald’s weekend also included three assists on Friday night.
Bentley at Air Force, Friday and Saturday
Air Force is quickly back atop the league standings with six points and Bentley, with four points, is one of the teams giving chase. Holy Cross and Mercyhurst each have five points and RIT is tied with Bentley.
Air Force beat Bentley, 3-0, in the tournament semifinals last year and took three of the four regular season meetings.
Around Atlantic Hockey
The contributions of some of those AIC freshmen, besides Meisner: Forward Adam Pleskach leads the team in scoring with five goals and a pair of assists through the first five games; forward Richard Leitner has a goal and three assists; forward CharlesLaChance has a couple of goals; and freshman defenseman Jeff Ceccacci has a goal and a pair of assists.
The Falcons salvaged something from their trip, earned their first road win of the season and took over first place in the league with a 4-1 win over Canisius on Sunday night. … Freshman Kyle De Laurell, a hometown kid from Colorado Springs, scored his first goal for the game-winner on the power play. He’s third on the team in scoring at 1-5-6.
After a successful weekend against ECAC teams, the Black Knights go looking for their first league win in a pair of games at RIT. Army tied Colgate, 4-4, on Friday night and then beat Rensselaer, 2-1, on Saturday for its first win against an ECAC team since the 2004-05 season. … Army was 1-2-1 with RIT last year. The win was a 5-3 decision at RIT.
The old and the new combined to help Bentley earn a split with Mercyhurst. Freshman Dan Koudys picked up his second game-winning goal in a row in a 4-2 victory on Friday night and also had two assists. Senior forward Marc Menzione had three goals and an assist for the weekend. He had both goals in Saturday night’s 6-2 loss.
The Golden Griffins ride a split with Air Force into a series against Mercyhurst (Friday in Erie, Saturday in Buffalo).
… Junior forwards Vincent Scarsella (two goals and an assist), Cory Conacher (game-winning goal and an assist) and sophomore goalie Dan Morrison (41 saves) led Canisius to a 3-1 win over Air Force on Saturday night.
The only winless team in the league, the Huskies are struggling on both ends of the ice. They have scored only eight goals in six games for a league low of 1.33 a game and have allowed a league high 4.67. … They look to get on track with a pair at home against AIC this weekend.
After picking up a single point in a weekend series against AIC, the Crusaders will look to rebound against Sacred Heart (at Sacred Heart on Friday, at Holy Cross on Saturday). . . . Junior forwards Jordan Cyr, 2-5-7, and Everett Sheen, 4-3-7, lead the Crusaders in scoring.
After starting the season with eight road games, the Lakers are home for five of their next six, starting with Canisius on Friday night. The teams meet again at Canisius on Saturday night. . . . Mercyhurst opened with four straight losses and has gone 2-1-1 in its last four, including a split with Bentley last weekend.
The Tigers bounced back from being swept at Air Force with a couple of home wins against UConn. … Junior forward Andrew Favot leads RIT with two goals and eight assists for 10 point and four of the next five high scorers are defensemen. Dan Ringwald is at 3-6-9 and senior Al Mazur and freshman Chris Tanev at 4-1-5 each. Sophomore ChrisHaltigin has 1-4-5 totals.
Four seniors are at the top of the scoring statistics through five games for the Pioneers. Forward Dave Jarman leads the way at 4-5-9 and forwards Nick Johnson (6-1-7) and ErikBoisvert (2-5-7) are right behind. Defenseman Paul Ferraro, who was injured and missed most of last year, is at 1-4-5.
Allen Lessels can be reached at email@example.com.