December 13, 2013

Atlantic Hockey: Outdoor games on tap for four teams

By Allen Lessels

Four Atlantic Hockey teams are headed for showdowns in outdoor showcases the next couple of weeks.

First up, Niagara is in Rochester on Saturday night to take on RIT as part of the festivities at Frontier Field, the summer home of the Rochester Red Wings. The Red Wings are the AAA affiliate of the Minnesota Twins.

Two weeks later, Bentley and Holy Cross square off in a league game to kick off Frozen Fenway on Dec. 28 at Fenway Park. That event runs through Jan. 9.

Niagara players have had the Frontier game circled on their calendars for a while, said coach Dave Burkholder.

“First off, it’s an honor and we’re thrilled RIT asked us to be part of this great outside festival in the city of Rochester,” he said. “It’s going to be a great week and a fun night. I think it’s going to be, no pun intended, a home run for Frontier Field.”

Niagara sophomore forward Mike Conderman is especially looking forward to the game. He’s a native of Rochester and is in his first year at Niagara after transferring in from UMass-Lowell.

“I’ve been there to watch baseball games,” Conderman said. “That’s going to be pretty neat and unique. … It should be a lot of fun. I’m real excited for it.”

Niagara and RIT are coming into the game from different angles.

The Purple Eagles are still trying to find a spark to turn around a rough start to the season and would like nothing better than to pick up a win to close out the first half and savor over the Christmas break.

RIT is on a bit of a run now after its own tough start and wants a strong finish to the semester.

Niagara has struggled on special teams in particular. The Purple Eagles are averaging 2.47 goals a game and giving up 3.67. They have only five power play goals in 68 chances (7.4 percent) and opponents are at 19-for-74 (25.7).

Freshmen goalies Jackson Teichroeb and Adrian Ignani have split time down the middle and have pretty much matching statistics. Teichroeb has a goals against average of 3.55 and Ignani is at 3.41 and each has a save percentage of .890.

Conderman is one of three Purple Eagles with four goals, but no one has more than that.

Niagara is 0-7 in nonconference games and just under .500 at 3-4-1 in the league. The Purple Eagles have lost five straight.

RIT has won five straight. Freshman Mike Rotolo took over in net for the Tigers five games ago and has won all his starts with a 2.00 GAA and .935 save percentage.

RIT has 18 power play goals in 68 chances (26.5 percent) and the numbers are exactly split between non-league and league games (9-for-34).  Opponents are 15-for-63 (23.8).

Niagara and RIT meet again in late January. They are at Niagara on Jan. 24 and at RIT the next night.

Player of the Week

Andrew Gladiuk, so., F. Bentley

Gladiuk had two goals and three assists to lead the Falcons to a 7-2 win over Robert Morris on Saturday night. He had an assist in Bentley’s 4-1 win on Friday

Games of the week

Bentley at Boston University, Saturday

The Falcons get their third and final shot at a Hockey East win this season. Bentley lost 2-1 at Maine on Oct. 19 and 3-1 at Merrimack on Nov. 21. Boston University has wins over Holy Cross (3-2) and UConn (4-1).

Atlantic Hockey Power Rankings

  1. Mercyhurst (9-7-1, 7-1-0)  – The Lakers swept Sacred Heart, 7-1 and 4-1, and have won their last five league games. Junior Jimmy Sarjeant has a .926 save percentage and 2.40 goals against average to go with his 9-3-1 record.
  2. Bentley (7-7-1, 6-2-1) – Junior Alex Grieve had a hat trick in Bentley’s 4-1 win over Robert Morris on Friday. Sophomore Andrew Gladiuk had two goals and three assists in a 7-2 win that completed the sweep on Saturday.
  3. UConn (6-5-2, 5-2-1) – The Huskies went 1-for-6 on the power on Friday and 1-for-7 on Saturday and each of the goals was a game-winner over Niagara. Trevor Gerling had the first in a 3-2 triumph and Tyler Bouchard (Glastonbury, Conn.) the next night in a 2-1 win.
  4. Air Force (7-5-4, 4-2-3) – For the second time in a week, the Falcons scored with an extra attacker to pull out a tie. Alex Halloran scored this one, his second of the night, and Air Force tied Holy Cross, 3-3. The teams played to a 2-2 tie on Friday.
  5. RIT (6-7-2, 5-3-0) – Freshman Mike Rotolo picked up two more wins, 3-2 and 5-2 over AIC, to keep his record perfect at 5-0-0. The Tigers play Niagara at Frontier Field on Saturday as part of Frozen Frontier festivities.
  6. Canisius (5-8-1, 4-4-1) – Senior Kyle Gibbons had a goal and two assists and Tyler Wiseman and Patrick Sullivan each had a short-handed goal in the third period to lead the Golden Griffins to an 8-2 win over Army on Friday. Army won Saturday’s game, 2-0.
  7. Holy Cross (4-9-2, 3-4-2) – The Crusaders picked up a couple of Atlantic Hockey points with 2-2 and 3-3 ties at home with Air Force. Next up is a Frozen Fenway clash with Bentley on Dec. 28.
  8. AIC (3-10-0, 3-6-0) – Since posting an 8-7 win over Bentley on Nov. 8, the Yellow Jackets have scored 14 goals in eight games. They travel to Orono to take on the University of Maine on Friday and Saturday.
  9. Niagara (3-11-1, 3-4-1) – The Purple Eagles went 0-for-7 on the power play on Friday night and 0-for-5 on Saturday in a pair of one-goal losses, 3-2 and 2-1, at UConn. Niagara plays RIT outdoors at Frontier Field in Rochester on Saturday night.   
  10. Sacred Heart (4-12-0, 3-7-0) – The Pioneers went 0-13 on the power play and were swept by Mercyhurst, 7-1 and 4-1. Sacred Heart plays UConn on the first night of the UConn Hockey Classic on Dec. 29.  
  11. Army (3-11-0, 3-8-0) – Junior Rob Tadazak was pulled from the net in an 8-2 loss at home to Canisius on Friday. He bounced back with a 15-save, 2-0 shutout the next night. Sophomore Shane Hearn (Auburn, Maine) scored both Army goals in the win.
  12. Robert Morris (2-10-1, 2-5-1) – Sophomore forward Zac Lynch scored a goal each night, but the Colonials lost a pair to Bentley, 4-1 and 7-2. Robert Morris is at league-leading Mercyhurst on Saturday.