October 31, 2013

Atlantic Hockey: AIC enjoying some early success

By Allen Lessels

One young Atlantic Hockey team took on another on Saturday night at the Olympia Ice Center in West Springfield, Mass.

Thanks in large part to a freshman goalie making a successful collegiate debut, AIC had the edge in this one and knocked off Sacred Heart, 4-1.

Ty Reichenbach, the freshman goalie, made 20 saves.

“Ty was a real stabilizer for us tonight,” AIC coach Gary Wright told the Springfield Republican.

Reichenbach is from Billings, Mont., and had another year of eligibility with the Notre Dame Hounds of the Saskatchewan Junior League, he told the paper. He was mostly being recruited by colleges for the 2014-15 season. Then AIC called and was interested in him for this year.

Ben Meisner was a workhorse in net the last few years for the Yellow Jackets and playing time is up for grabs.

Reichenbach took a giant step toward earning more with the win over Sacred Heart.

Senior Ryan Kerpan and freshman Hunter Leisner are the other goaltenders on the team.

Kerpan was in the net for AIC’s opener, a 10-4 loss at Providence.

To be sure, it’s been only two games, but the Yellow Jackets are showing some early and balanced offensive punch.

Eight different players, including two freshmen and two sophomores, scored the AIC goals in the first two games.

Freshman forward David Norris and freshman defenseman Carson Grolla each had one and so did sophomore forward Chris Porter and sophomore defenseman Brandon Lubin. Lubin played in 32 games as a freshman and had 11 assists but did not have a goal.

Senior forward Blake Peake and junior forwards Nathan Sliwinski, Jason Popek and Brandon Fagenheim had the other goals.

AIC and Sacred Heart are both off to better starts than last season.

The Pioneers did not win their first game until late in February a year ago and finished with just two wins. They already have two wins overall and a win in the league.

AIC was winless in its first eight games at 0-5-3 last season.

The Yellow Jackets head to Michigan State for a pair of games this weekend and then get back to league play to close out November.

They have one-game weekends with games at Bentley on Nov. 8, at Holy Cross on Nov. 15 and home against UConn on Nov. 23 and then get busy during Thanksgiving week.

They play Army at home on Tuesday, Nov. 26 and Mercyhurst is in for games on Nov. 29 and 30.

Player of the Week

Ty Reichenbach, fr., G, AIC

Reichenbach stopped 20 of the 21 shots he faced to lead the Yellow Jackets to a 4-1 home win over Sacred Heart in his collegiate debut on Saturday night. The 6-2, 180-pound netminder is from Billings, Mont., and played in the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League.

Game of the week

Sacred Heart at UConn, Saturday

The Pioneers, who have a win over Bentley and a loss to AIC, are providing the first Atlantic Hockey test of the season for two teams this weekend. They play at Holy Cross on Friday night and at UConn on Saturday night.

Atlantic Hockey Power Rankings 
  1. Air Force (4-2-0, 2-0-0) – Falcons run winning streak to four games with wins over Canisius, 3-2, and Niagara, 7-4. Juniors Chad Demers at 2-7-9 and Cole Gunner at 5-3-8 lead Air Force. Falcons at RIT on Friday, Mercyhurst on Saturday.
  2. Niagara (1-4-1, 1-1-1)Ryan Rashid scored with 2:09 left to pull Niagara within 5-4 of Air Force. Empty net and power play goals closed it out, 7-4. Purple Eagles off until Nov. 8 and 9 games at Ohio State.
  3. Canisius (1-2-0, 0-2-0) – Junior Keegan Asmundson made 36 saves in his first start of the season and third of his career for a 4-1 win over No. 17-ranked Denver on Saturday. Senior Kyle Gibbons got the game-winner with a shorthanded goal.
  4. Sacred Heart (2-3-0, 1-1-0) – Junior Brian Sheehan scored his first goal of the season in a 4-1 loss to AIC on Saturday. The Pioneers have a couple of league games at home this weekend. Holy Cross is in on Friday night and UConn on Saturday night.
  5. Mercyhurst (1-5-1, 0-0-0) – Junior forward Matthew Zay scored midway through the third period to lift the Lakers to a 3-3 tie at Alaska on Saturday. On Friday, Mercyhurst was unable to hold a 4-1 lead at the halfway point of the game and lost, 5-4.
  6. UConn (0-2-1, 0-0-0)Matt Grogan stopped 47 shots, including all 33 he saw from the end of the first period on, to lead the Huskies to a 2-2 tie with Union. UConn plays its first league games when Army comes to Storrs on Friday and Sacred Heart visits Saturday.
  7. Robert Morris (0-4-1, 0-0-1) – The Colonials roared back with three goals in the third period, but could not catch Ohio State at home on Saturday night and fell 4-3. Robert Morris lost at Ohio State, 5-3, on Friday. Robert Morris plays Penn State at home on Friday.
  8. AIC (1-1-0, 1-0-0) – Eight different players, including two freshmen, have scored AIC’s first eight goals. The Yellow Jackets head to Lansing this weekend for a pair of games against Michigan State, Friday at 7:05 p.m. and Sunday at 1:05.
  9. Bentley (1-5-0, 0-1-0) – The Falcons were shut out in their only game of the weekend, 3-0, at Harvard on Saturday night. They play at Merrimack on Friday night and then get back to Atlantic Hockey play with a game at Army on Saturday.
  10. RIT (0-3-2, 0-0-0) – Junior forward Brad McGowan scored his first goal of the year with 7:19 left in the third period to lift RIT to a 3-3 tie at Penn State. The Tigers play Air Force at home on Friday.
  11. Holy Cross (0-5-0, 0-0-0) – The Crusaders lost a pair of games to Quinnipiac, 4-2 and 4-1, of the ECAC last weekend. They look to get back on track and seek their first win of the season at home against Sacred Heart on Friday.
  12. Army (0-2-0, 0-0-0) – The Black Knights open the Atlantic Hockey portion of their schedule at UConn on Friday night. They return home to play Bentley on Saturday. Nine of Army’s first 12 games are on the road.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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