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Thread: Atlantic Hockey

  1. #1
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    Atlantic Hockey

    Very interesting season for Atlantic Hockey this season, plenty of parity top to bottom while approaching the remaining 7 or 8 games in the season. Air Force & Canisius have proven so far that they are deep and ready to play, six teams (RM, Army, Hurst, Bentley, HC, RIT) trying to find that consistency down the stretch, two teams in AIC & SH closing in on the pack, while Niagara is struggling to find itís rhythm.

    Air Force > 20GP, 28Pts.
    Canisius > 20GP, 28Pts.

    Robert Morris > 20GP, 24Pts.
    Army > 20GP, 23Pts.
    Mercyhurst > 22GP, 23Pts.
    Bentley > 20GP, 20Pts.
    Holy Cross > 20GP, 20Pts.
    RIT > 21GP, 20Pts.

    American International > 22GP, 17Pts.
    Sacred Heart > 20GP, 15Pts.

    Niagara > 21GP, 8Pts.

    It is tough to go wire to wire as top seed and win the conference, which team do you think will drive hard to the finish and have the best shot at winning it all, and who is your underdog pick?

    Canisius is looking mighty impressive top to bottom, while it can be anyone in the group of six that peaks at the right time can make it an interesting for a 2017 play-off run.

    Are there any Atlantic Conference rumorsí circulating out there? We all know the change from 14 to 18 scholarships and whether teams will put the additional funds into their program, anything else on the horizon? Would be nice to get to 12 teams, anyone coming in?

    AIC with 13 freshmen onboard this season have made tremendous progress, should only get better in the next few seasons as their players mature. Well done indeed.

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    Re: Atlantic Hockey

    Glad you started this post, I look forward to contributing.

    I completely agree with the way you separated the teams, although I might put Army and RMU at a slightly higher level than the other 4 in that group. It should be very interesting coming down the stretch. As a Bentley fan, I'll try to represent why I think the Falcons are one of the teams to beat going forward.
    Since the new year, they haven't outright lost a weekend series, including 3 points against then conference leading Army and this past weekend's sweep against RIT. One of the Falcon's biggest struggles in the first half was special teams, with both their PK and PP being among the bottom 5 in the country. Since the new year, the PP has been running near 35%, and while the PK hasn't been quite that good, they held RIT 0/8 this past weekend. On the defensive side, they've been struggling a little bit as the injury bug seems to have bitten a few top defensemen in Chris Buchanan and Alexey Solovyev, but if they can get those guys back, they're looking at a good support system around their goaltender. Speaking of goalies, Coach Soderquist has decided to split time between junior Jayson Argue and freshman stud Aidan Pelino. I think that the competition for the starting job has pushed these guys to play their best, and hopefully they will continue to perform at the level they have been in the coming weeks.

    Their upcoming schedule is where they can make it or break it. In the next two weekends, they face Air Force and RMU. If they can manage splits or better, they've set themselves up really well for a strong push up in the AHC standings facing SHU and HC in the final two weekends. I predict that the series against Holy Cross in the final weekend of the season could be very deciding in terms of AHC seeding, possibly deciding which of those two teams gets a first round bye with the 5 seed. The Falcons have a tough road ahead, but I'm optimistic that they're finally finding some consistency and can make that push to Rochester that they haven't been able to achieve since 2008.

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    Re: Atlantic Hockey

    Bentley has a real good shot at seeding 5th however looking at the standings and schedules to me it really is a duck shoot on who will get the bye for 5th, it is going to depend on who steps up to the plate or falters down the stretch.

    My take is give AF, CA, Army and RM the first four bye's for arguments sake.

    Bentley, HC, Hurst & RIT are vying for that 5th coveted playoff position. The Hurst has played more games but have 3 valuable points in hand for them so perhaps that is a wash, or a detriment seeing it takes away any potential of a sweep. Bentley, HC & RIT have up to three additional games on their in conference schedules but with each and every team motivated no contest will be an easy one if we go by past years. A win over a top seed, or a loss to a lower seed can impact the race significantly.

    Bentley > AF, AF, RM,RM, SH, SH, HC, HC - Perhaps 12 points?
    Hurst > SH, SH, RM, RM, CAN, RIT - perhaps 8 points?
    HC > AIC, AIC, RIT, RIT, ARMY, ARMY, BENTLEY, BENTLEY - Perhaps 10 points
    RIT > RM, RM, HC, HC, AF, AF, HURST - Perhaps 10 points.

    I am of rough counting some games for two opposing teams which cannot happen, but Bentley & HC have an advantage on paper. RIT and Hurst have a shot but maybe needs a bit of anarchy on the other teams path to make it happen. It really is much too close to call with any one single team on the list being able to leg out the race under the right scenario.

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    Re: Atlantic Hockey

    Quote Originally Posted by acohen527 View Post
    Glad you started this post, I look forward to contributing.

    I completely agree with the way you separated the teams, although I might put Army and RMU at a slightly higher level than the other 4 in that group. It should be very interesting coming down the stretch. As a Bentley fan, I'll try to represent why I think the Falcons are one of the teams to beat going forward.
    Since the new year, they haven't outright lost a weekend series, including 3 points against then conference leading Army and this past weekend's sweep against RIT. One of the Falcon's biggest struggles in the first half was special teams, with both their PK and PP being among the bottom 5 in the country. Since the new year, the PP has been running near 35%, and while the PK hasn't been quite that good, they held RIT 0/8 this past weekend. On the defensive side, they've been struggling a little bit as the injury bug seems to have bitten a few top defensemen in Chris Buchanan and Alexey Solovyev, but if they can get those guys back, they're looking at a good support system around their goaltender. Speaking of goalies, Coach Soderquist has decided to split time between junior Jayson Argue and freshman stud Aidan Pelino. I think that the competition for the starting job has pushed these guys to play their best, and hopefully they will continue to perform at the level they have been in the coming weeks.

    Their upcoming schedule is where they can make it or break it. In the next two weekends, they face Air Force and RMU. If they can manage splits or better, they've set themselves up really well for a strong push up in the AHC standings facing SHU and HC in the final two weekends. I predict that the series against Holy Cross in the final weekend of the season could be very deciding in terms of AHC seeding, possibly deciding which of those two teams gets a first round bye with the 5 seed. The Falcons have a tough road ahead, but I'm optimistic that they're finally finding some consistency and can make that push to Rochester that they haven't been able to achieve since 2008.
    Falcons got to Rochester in 2011-12, where we won first game against RIT 4-1, then lost 5-4 in 2OT, and then lost third game 3-0, so no final four AHC tourney that year.

    But, Falcons got to final four AHC tourney in 2008-2009 at Blue Cross, where we lost 3-0 to Air Force; we had 19 wins that season (including 2 in post-season).
    Last edited by Snively65; 01-30-2017 at 09:31 PM.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Snively65 View Post
    Falcons got to Rochester in 2011-12, where we won first game against RIT 4-1, then lost 5-4 in 2OT, and then lost third game 3-0, so no final four AHC tourney that year.

    But, Falcons got to final four AHC tourney in 2008-2009 at Blue Cross, where we lost 3-0 to Air Force; we had 19 wins that season (including 2 in post-season).
    I remember that double OT game (probably a bit more fondly). Had just gotten back to campus from the Honors spring break trip to San Diego.

    Probably one of the loudest I've ever heard Ritter.

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    Re: Atlantic Hockey

    Seeing this is for everything Atlantic, anyone have an update on the rumour of Holy Cross replacing Notre Dame in Hockey East next season?

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    Re: Atlantic Hockey

    Quote Originally Posted by Blitz View Post
    Seeing this is for everything Atlantic, anyone have an update on the rumour of Holy Cross replacing Notre Dame in Hockey East next season?
    Just know of these threads from last fall:

    http://board.uscho.com/showthread.ph...ross-to-go-D-I

    http://board.uscho.com/showthread.ph...in-Hockey-East

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    Re: Atlantic Hockey

    Thanks for the thread links Snively. I' d still like to see Q-Pac go to HEA with RIT going to the ECAC . They already compete with many of those same schools in Dlll sports. I can't tell you how many times I've been on RPI's campus in Troy and seen an RIT team there competing in track and field or soccer or baseball or some other sport. Conversely I've seen the same up in Henrietta when on RIT's campus. Always seems to be an RPI, Union, Clarkson or SLU bus in one of the parking lots. I guess we'll know more soon.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Downstate_RIT_Fan View Post
    Thanks for the thread links Snively. I' d still like to see Q-Pac go to HEA with RIT going to the ECAC . They already compete with many of those same schools in Dlll sports. I can't tell you how many times I've been on RPI's campus in Troy and seen an RIT team there competing in track and field or soccer or baseball or some other sport. Conversely I've seen the same up in Henrietta when on RIT's campus. Always seems to be an RPI, Union, Clarkson or SLU bus in one of the parking lots. I guess we'll know more soon.
    Probably makes more sense for the Q to join HEA than Holy Cross, but word has been that the Q is perfectly happy with ECAC and their in-state rivalry with Yale. I think that many in HEA are fine with an odd number of teams, which was the case for over a decade before bringing on board UVM, NICC, and Yukon.

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    Re: Atlantic Hockey

    Quote Originally Posted by Snively65 View Post
    Probably makes more sense for the Q to join HEA than Holy Cross, but word has been that the Q is perfectly happy with ECAC and their in-state rivalry with Yale. I think that many in HEA are fine with an odd number of teams, which was the case for over a decade before bringing on board UVM, NICC, and Yukon.
    Q to Hockey East is but a dream many have.
    ECAC affiliation allegedly ups their academic bona fides much to the chagrin reportedly of other ECAC members

    Many in the ECAC would love to see RIT join their Liberty brethren - however travel partners might prove problematic
    HC might be a better fit logistically and academically

    Sadly, RIT's best shot might have been when UVM decamped
    SLU65

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    Re: Atlantic Hockey

    As the season winds down the tournament seedings start to take shape. Canisius and Air Force have both locked up byes. Canisius will finish between 1-3 and Air Force 1-4. The only other team with a shot at first is Army but they could theoretically finish as low as 8th which means they have locked up at least home ice in the first round. AIC will finish either 9th or 10th ensuring a road series at either #7 or #8. Niagara will be 11th and playing at the 6th seed in the first round. While highly unlikely Sacred Heart can still possibly finish 5th with a multiple tie at 27 points but is the only team that can still drop to 10th behind AIC. Everyone else can either get byes or home ice or believe it or not fall to 9th and be on the road.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BC/HE View Post
    As the season winds down the tournament seedings start to take shape. Canisius and Air Force have both locked up byes. Canisius will finish between 1-3 and Air Force 1-4. The only other team with a shot at first is Army but they could theoretically finish as low as 8th which means they have locked up at least home ice in the first round. AIC will finish either 9th or 10th ensuring a road series at either #7 or #8. Niagara will be 11th and playing at the 6th seed in the first round. While highly unlikely Sacred Heart can still possibly finish 5th with a multiple tie at 27 points but is the only team that can still drop to 10th behind AIC. Everyone else can either get byes or home ice or believe it or not fall to 9th and be on the road.
    For sure, a lot of parity below Canisius and Air Force at the top and above Niagara at the bottom. And, a lot of games against one another for teams 3 through 10 the next two weekends.

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    Re: Atlantic Hockey

    The fun thing about this league is that any given night, anyone can beat anyone. A bounce here, a penalty there...even as rough of a year as Niagara has had, they've had some good wins and other games where they've lost but been the better team. You can't take anything for granted.

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    Re: Atlantic Hockey

    Have a question hoping some posters will pine in with their thoughts.

    Currently Atlantic Hockey each and every team makes post season play. Do you think if Atlantic Hockey went to a system whereby only 8 teams advance while 3 teams do not make post season play would make the regular season even more competitive and make for a stronger conference. Some would say allowing each and every team into the post season does not foster competition as certain teams can waffle every year with very little consequence.

    I don’t know the answer as some may argue that teams consistently at the bottom may potentially fold programs, however conference results this season demonstrate each and every team is capable of playing a high level game as the overall standings are very close in points.

    The system right now allows an 11th place team to get hot at the right time and potentially win it all, exciting for us fans who enjoy watching an underdog perhaps not for the team slagging it out game in and game out in the regular season who end up on the wrong end of the stick.

    Is there an advantage to all 11 teams making the play-off run or time to overhaul to an 8 team play-off field?

    Will an 8 team play-off format increase competition and deliver a better product in the regular season, or is the current format the better choice and why?

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    Re: Atlantic Hockey

    Quote Originally Posted by Blitz View Post
    Have a question hoping some posters will pine in with their thoughts.

    Currently Atlantic Hockey each and every team makes post season play. Do you think if Atlantic Hockey went to a system whereby only 8 teams advance while 3 teams do not make post season play would make the regular season even more competitive and make for a stronger conference. Some would say allowing each and every team into the post season does not foster competition as certain teams can waffle every year with very little consequence.

    I don’t know the answer as some may argue that teams consistently at the bottom may potentially fold programs, however conference results this season demonstrate each and every team is capable of playing a high level game as the overall standings are very close in points.

    The system right now allows an 11th place team to get hot at the right time and potentially win it all, exciting for us fans who enjoy watching an underdog perhaps not for the team slagging it out game in and game out in the regular season who end up on the wrong end of the stick.

    Is there an advantage to all 11 teams making the play-off run or time to overhaul to an 8 team play-off field?

    Will an 8 team play-off format increase competition and deliver a better product in the regular season, or is the current format the better choice and why?
    I think this is a really interesting post, and it is definitely something I have thought about before. Ever since I started following Bentley and College Hockey 3 years ago, I thought the Atlantic Hockey playoff format was kind of strange. I think there are both good and bad aspects of everyone getting a playoff spot. While it may seem noncompetitive in nature, I think it actually increases competition within Atlantic Hockey. By keeping everyone in it, it encourages teams that the season really isn't over until it's actually over, and if you can keep fighting and gaining momentum any team in the conference can make that push to Rochester. In an 8 team playoff, Niagara might as well have given up weeks ago, but since they still have a chance they are fighting every weekend to get better (they took 3rd place Army to OT this past weekend). And who knows, maybe they can start putting things together and make a run. I also think with all the byes that an 11 team playoff provides, teams are fighting that much harder in the regular season to get into that illustrious top 5.

    I also think that one of the biggest themes in the AHA is that any team can win on any given night, just like AICJacketsVoice said a few posts earlier. In a way, this makes the playoffs that much more exciting, in that an underdog can pull off a huge upset in the playoffs. I also think that this can be a bad thing, in that a team like Canisius or AF can get knocked by a team that is perhaps not quite as deserving based on their regular seasons. For example, possibly the best goaltender in the NCAA this season has been Charles Williams, and he could have one bad night against the 9 seed in the quarterfinals, and just like that his incredible senior season is over. I specifically remember 2 years ago, Bentley played Mercyhurst at home in the 4-5 seed matchup. The series went to 3 games, the first of which was decided in overtime, and the Falcons DECIDEDLY outplayed the Lakers all 3 nights yet came away with nothing. I even remember walking out of the JAR that Sunday night looking at the Mercyhurst fans, and they basically gave us a shrug saying, "We have no idea how we won this series." Hurst went onto the finals that year, only to fall to the Tigers in the championship game 5-1. We had a really talented group of seniors that year, and they were devastated to lose the way they did. Doesn't really say much towards an 8 team playoff or 11 team, but just goes to show how anything can happen in the playoffs.

    Anyways, I like the current format and until the league becomes a little more competitive/possibly if more teams start to make the NCAA tourney without the AHA exemption, they should stick to the format to let everybody have a chance. Also with 11 teams and the way the inter-division series works (playing some teams 4 times), a tough schedule can really hurt a team in the standings and could punish a team that deserves a spot in an 8 team playoff.
    Last edited by acohen527; 02-14-2017 at 03:47 PM.

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    Re: Atlantic Hockey

    Read your post and took to the final sentence to realize the biggest item i had overlooked, the un-balanced schedule due to uneven and unequal number of teams. You are absolutely correct it very well might make a drastic situation where a team does get through or does not get through with the top 8 scenario only due to luck in scheduling.

    Personally i still like a top 8, but with 11 teams do not know how to make it work.

    I still do not know if everyone in particularly makes people/teams accountable.

    More thoughts welcome.

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    Quote Originally Posted by acohen527 View Post
    I think this is a really interesting post, and it is definitely something I have thought about before. Ever since I started following Bentley and College Hockey 3 years ago, I thought the Atlantic Hockey playoff format was kind of strange. I think there are both good and bad aspects of everyone getting a playoff spot. While it may seem noncompetitive in nature, I think it actually increases competition within Atlantic Hockey. By keeping everyone in it, it encourages teams that the season really isn't over until it's actually over, and if you can keep fighting and gaining momentum any team in the conference can make that push to Rochester. In an 8 team playoff, Niagara might as well have given up weeks ago, but since they still have a chance they are fighting every weekend to get better (they took 3rd place Army to OT this past weekend). And who knows, maybe they can start putting things together and make a run. I also think with all the byes that an 11 team playoff provides, teams are fighting that much harder in the regular season to get into that illustrious top 5.

    I also think that one of the biggest themes in the AHA is that any team can win on any given night, just like AICJacketsVoice said a few posts earlier. In a way, this makes the playoffs that much more exciting, in that an underdog can pull off a huge upset in the playoffs. I also think that this can be a bad thing, in that a team like Canisius or AF can get knocked by a team that is perhaps not quite as deserving based on their regular seasons. For example, possibly the best goaltender in the NCAA this season has been Charles Williams, and he could have one bad night against the 9 seed in the quarterfinals, and just like that his incredible senior season is over. I specifically remember 2 years ago, Bentley played Mercyhurst at home in the 4-5 seed matchup. The series went to 3 games, the first of which was decided in overtime, and the Falcons DECIDEDLY outplayed the Lakers all 3 nights yet came away with nothing. I even remember walking out of the JAR that Sunday night looking at the Mercyhurst fans, and they basically gave us a shrug saying, "We have no idea how we won this series." Hurst went onto the finals that year, only to fall to the Tigers in the championship game 5-1. We had a really talented group of seniors that year, and they were devastated to lose the way they did. Doesn't really say much towards an 8 team playoff or 11 team, but just goes to show how anything can happen in the playoffs.

    Anyways, I like the current format and until the league becomes a little more competitive/possibly if more teams start to make the NCAA tourney without the AHA exemption, they should stick to the format to let everybody have a chance. Also with 11 teams and the way the inter-division series works (playing some teams 4 times), a tough schedule can really hurt a team in the standings and could punish a team that deserves a spot in an 8 team playoff.
    I think the everybody gets in the playoffs scheme lessens the regular season. I agree with your premise that top to bottom any team can beat any other team because of the parity of the league. Niagara should of beaten Army the other night and had a great chance to put it away in overtime. I was there. We see examples of teams experimenting with different lineups, pulling goalies way early, and other game time strategies that they might not make if they were trying to win the league championship. I think most coaches of Atlantic Hockey teams use the regular season to prepare for the playoffs. Until the league regularly receives at large bids I think coaches will use the regular season as a pre--season to the real season that counts, the playoffs.
    Last edited by Downstate_RIT_Fan; 02-14-2017 at 08:43 PM.

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    Re: Atlantic Hockey

    If a league had 16 teams like the old ECAC before Hockey East formed then setting an 8 team playoff made sense. However with byes for the top 4 or 5, with up to 12 teams it is best to include everyone. With best of three series it is almost impossible for the very bottom teams to advance far needing to take 2 series on the road and then face the highest seed in the semifinals. Mid level teams do advance and often are the hottest teams and represent the league well in the NCAA's if they advance. Usually they at least have the first series at home. I don't like leaving out only 2 or 3 teams. Hockey East did that and returned to the all in format after a short trial.

    Canisius has locked up at least second now with their win over Niagara tonight. Only Air Force can catch them. Army can still get second but no longer first.

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    Re: Atlantic Hockey

    One weekend to go and still lots to be determined. Canisius, Air Force and Army have locked up 3 of the 5 byes. Canisius and Air force will be either 1st or 2nd. Army either 3rd or 4th. RMU while in excellent shape for one of the other byes could still fall to 6th. Holy Cross, Mercyhurst and Bentley are all still alive for a bye. Not sure if Bentley has locked up home ice yet as they still could fall into a tie with Sacred Heart if they lose twice and with a Sacred Heart sweep of Air Force and possibly RIT for the last home ice spot. Sacred Heart could pass RIT for that too but it would take getting at least 3 points from Air Force in the high altitude so their chances are somewhat dim for getting out of an away series especially since Air Force is in a position to get an at large NCAA bid should they win out and lose in the AHC championship game or even semifinal. SH could still fall below AIC too which will finish 9 or 10. Niagara will be 11th.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BC/HE View Post
    One weekend to go and still lots to be determined. Canisius, Air Force and Army have locked up 3 of the 5 byes. Canisius and Air force will be either 1st or 2nd. Army either 3rd or 4th. RMU while in excellent shape for one of the other byes could still fall to 6th. Holy Cross, Mercyhurst and Bentley are all still alive for a bye. Not sure if Bentley has locked up home ice yet as they still could fall into a tie with Sacred Heart if they lose twice and with a Sacred Heart sweep of Air Force and possibly RIT for the last home ice spot. Sacred Heart could pass RIT for that too but it would take getting at least 3 points from Air Force in the high altitude so their chances are somewhat dim for getting out of an away series especially since Air Force is in a position to get an at large NCAA bid should they win out and lose in the AHC championship game or even semifinal. SH could still fall below AIC too which will finish 9 or 10. Niagara will be 11th.
    I do not think that there is any way that Air Force could get an at-large bid at this point, as very few possible pair wins remain, if any, going into the AHC tournament. Even years when the AHC had a team ranked as high as 12th in the PWR at this point in season, that team could not maintain the ranking with so few pairs remaining to be won.

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