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AICJacketsVoice
02-26-2017, 09:58 PM
Here we are. 11 teams, and (probably) one berth in the NCAAs. As such, let's take a look at the bracket:

FIRST ROUND BYES, MATCHUPS AGAINST FIRST ROUND WINNERS:
#1 Canisius (vs. lowest advancing seed)
#2 Air Force (vs. middle advancing seed)
#3 Army (vs. highest advancing seed)

FIRST ROUND BYES, PREDETERMINED MATCHUP:
#5 Holy Cross at #4 Robert Morris (RMU 3 at HC 4, RMU 6 at HC 0 on 1/27-28)

FIRST ROUND:
#11 Niagara at #6 RIT (RIT 7 at NIA 1, RIT 6 at NIA 2 on 12/2-3)
#10 AIC at #7 Mercyhurst (AIC 5 at MH 3, AIC 3 at MH 6 on 10/28-29)
#9 Sacred Heart at #8 Bentley (BEN 3 at SHU 2, SHU 5 at BEN 4 on 1/20-21, SHU 0 at BEN 4, BEN 2 at SHU 3 on 2/17-18)

I'm not going to make any predictions here on who I think will win. Instead, I'm going to ask an essential question for each series--one that the winner will better be able to answer:

Niagara vs. RIT: Who will step up in the absence of key players?
Both of these teams have had more than their fair share of injuries this year to key players, and have had to delve far down the depth charts. With so many critical pieces for both teams gone, who will step in and be the hero--will a forward score some huge goals, or will one of the goaltenders steal the show?

AIC vs. Mercyhurst: What matters more, exuberance or experience?
There's no doubt that the Lakers are an older, more seasoned squad. They have just one freshman who played 20+ games this year. AIC has 10, at all positions, including their starting goalkeeper. But they're a fiery, energetic bunch with a ton of talent. Does the wisdom of age win out in a postseason series, or can the kids keep producing under the pressure of playoffs?

Sacred Heart vs. Bentley: Who can get the most out of players beyond the top line?
It's no secret that SHU goes about as far as Jasper-Danforth-Minello takes them every night. Meanwhile, the Falcons have the deadly duo of French and Schmidt that has carried the load for them all year. Odds are they'll both get theirs--and when the big boulders are even on the scale, it's the pebbles that tilt the balance. Can SHU's stud offensive defensemen make it happen, or does Bentley find some scoring depth from from their other guys?

acohen527
02-27-2017, 01:40 PM
Here we are. 11 teams, and (probably) one berth in the NCAAs. As such, let's take a look at the bracket:

FIRST ROUND BYES, MATCHUPS AGAINST FIRST ROUND WINNERS:
#1 Canisius (vs. lowest advancing seed)
#2 Air Force (vs. middle advancing seed)
#3 Army (vs. highest advancing seed)

FIRST ROUND BYES, PREDETERMINED MATCHUP:
#5 Holy Cross at #4 Robert Morris (RMU 3 at HC 4, RMU 6 at HC 0 on 1/27-28)

FIRST ROUND:
#11 Niagara at #6 RIT (RIT 7 at NIA 1, RIT 6 at NIA 2 on 12/2-3)
#10 AIC at #7 Mercyhurst (AIC 5 at MH 3, AIC 3 at MH 6 on 10/28-29)
#9 Sacred Heart at #8 Bentley (BEN 3 at SHU 2, SHU 5 at BEN 4 on 1/20-21, SHU 0 at BEN 4, BEN 2 at SHU 3 on 2/17-18)

I'm not going to make any predictions here on who I think will win. Instead, I'm going to ask an essential question for each series--one that the winner will better be able to answer:

Niagara vs. RIT: Who will step up in the absence of key players?
Both of these teams have had more than their fair share of injuries this year to key players, and have had to delve far down the depth charts. With so many critical pieces for both teams gone, who will step in and be the hero--will a forward score some huge goals, or will one of the goaltenders steal the show?

AIC vs. Mercyhurst: What matters more, exuberance or experience?
There's no doubt that the Lakers are an older, more seasoned squad. They have just one freshman who played 20+ games this year. AIC has 10, at all positions, including their starting goalkeeper. But they're a fiery, energetic bunch with a ton of talent. Does the wisdom of age win out in a postseason series, or can the kids keep producing under the pressure of playoffs?

Sacred Heart vs. Bentley: Who can get the most out of players beyond the top line?
It's no secret that SHU goes about as far as Jasper-Danforth-Minello takes them every night. Meanwhile, the Falcons have the deadly duo of French and Schmidt that has carried the load for them all year. Odds are they'll both get theirs--and when the big boulders are even on the scale, it's the pebbles that tilt the balance. Can SHU's stud offensive defensemen make it happen, or does Bentley find some scoring depth from from their other guys?

I can't say much about SHU, but Bentley has way more depth than advertised. Last season, there were only two Falcons outside of French and Schmidt (and Gladiuk) to put up 15+ points. This year, there are 5 guys, including 3 freshmen. Last year, only 7 guys outside the top line with 10+ points; this year, 11 (6 of which are freshmen). The young guys on this team are super talented, and with French drawing most of the defensive attention from opposing teams night in and night out, anybody has the chance to break out and put pucks in the net on any given night. I distinctly remember last year watching games and thinking, "alright, Glads-French-Schmidt are on the ice, time to capitalize!". But this year, I feel like we get great chances no matter who is on the ice. Another example of our depth is at the end of close games, in crunch time, Soder would always throw that top line out and work them as hard as they could work. But this year, and especially in the last few weekends, its always a toss up between the first three lines to see who picks up that last shift of a tie or 1 goal game. Even the 4th line scored twice against Holy Cross this past weekend, with Tyler Deresky picking up both goals. Another funny stat; and I don't know how rare this is, but the Bentley Falcons were not shutout ONCE this entire season. Not against Charles Williams, not against Francis Marotte, not against Parker Gahagen, and not against Shane Starrett. With the talent between the pipes this league has shown this season, I think this is an incredible feat and also shows that even if our best guys don't perform, someone's going to put the puck in the net.

Despite all of that, we were unable to perform against SHU this year in 4 games against them, splitting the season series. Those games were also particularly chippy, as the second series resulted in multiple game misconducts and even a 2 game suspension for a SHU player. It really should be a fun first round series, and a definite test. I think the games are going to come down to goaltending- How will Brett Magnus perform for SHU, and who will Soder start? Pelino, the standout freshman who recently received back to back Goalie of the Week awards? Or Argue, who's coming off an injury and a good performance Saturday against Holy Cross. Looking forward to this Friday!

riverchief1
02-27-2017, 04:36 PM
With the Riverhawks having the bye week this weekend in HE and no team to root for (except hoping UNH beats Merrimack so we get UNH in the quarterfinals as not expecting Amherst or Maine to do anything), looking to head to JAR to see SHU Pioneers take on Bentley. Daughter goes to SHU where they rank dead last in DI hockey attendance so figured I'd join the SHU hockey team parents, if they even go, and add at least one body to the fanbase!

Snively65
02-27-2017, 04:57 PM
With the Riverhawks having the bye week this weekend in HE and no team to root for (except hoping UNH beats Merrimack so we get UNH in the quarterfinals as not expecting Amherst or Maine to do anything), looking to head to JAR to see SHU Pioneers take on Bentley. Daughter goes to SHU where they rank dead last in DI hockey attendance so figured I'd join the SHU hockey team parents, if they even go, and add at least one body to the fanbase!

Will Bobby V be at the JAR this weekend?

LTI Alum
02-27-2017, 05:47 PM
With the Riverhawks having the bye week this weekend in HE and no team to root for (except hoping UNH beats Merrimack so we get UNH in the quarterfinals as not expecting Amherst or Maine to do anything), looking to head to JAR to see SHU Pioneers take on Bentley. Daughter goes to SHU where they rank dead last in DI hockey attendance so figured I'd join the SHU hockey team parents, if they even go, and add at least one body to the fanbase!

Dead last in attendance in an arena that holds 8500. Talk about empty. I feel sorry for the players. Hopefully there will be some juice at Bentley for the games. GO HEART!

riverchief1
02-27-2017, 06:12 PM
Will Bobby V be at the JAR this weekend?

Doubtful but my daughter says you always see him around campus, very visible and involved, and doing a good job by all accounts Just stay away from the Red Sox!

riverchief1
02-27-2017, 06:19 PM
Dead last in attendance in an arena that holds 8500. Talk about empty. I feel sorry for the players. Hopefully there will be some juice at Bentley for the games. GO HEART!

Yeah, it's pretty bad when you compare it with Lowell's crowds averaging over 5,700 a game and ranking 8th in country in attendance. Even during the Dark Ages of Lowell Hockey the several seasons before Bazin, it was never that bad at Tsongas.

The team has been doing better the past few years since that debacle at Tsongas when they were the on-paper last ranked team in DI and Lowell was ranked first on-paper. But they play in the Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport, several miles off campus, and while a vast improvement over their previous home in rinky dink little local rink, they get swallowed up in it and students need to drive or take a shuttle to get there. Rumor is that a new appropriately-sized on campus rink is in the planning stages (think Quinnipiac size, neighborhood of around 3,000 or so) which would be nice. Campus is building left and right, just acquired the former GE headquarters next door and basically doubled the size of the campus (daughter parks this semester in the former GE parking garage which she likes as the resident overflow lot last semester was an exit up the Merritt Parkway at the Trumball Mall!), they're building a gorgeous new state of the art health sciences building she'll have her classes in next fall among other buildings, and we're very pleased with the education she's getting there. But student attendance at hockey and many athletic contests seems lacking which is too bad.

But looking forward to seeing them play this weekend and fill the hockey void created by Lowell's bye week.

LTI Alum
02-27-2017, 08:32 PM
Yeah, it's pretty bad when you compare it with Lowell's crowds averaging over 5,700 a game and ranking 8th in country in attendance. Even during the Dark Ages of Lowell Hockey the several seasons before Bazin, it was never that bad at Tsongas.

The team has been doing better the past few years since that debacle at Tsongas when they were the on-paper last ranked team in DI and Lowell was ranked first on-paper. But they play in the Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport, several miles off campus, and while a vast improvement over their previous home in rinky dink little local rink, they get swallowed up in it and students need to drive or take a shuttle to get there. Rumor is that a new appropriately-sized on campus rink is in the planning stages (think Quinnipiac size, neighborhood of around 3,000 or so) which would be nice. Campus is building left and right, just acquired the former GE headquarters next door and basically doubled the size of the campus (daughter parks this semester in the former GE parking garage which she likes as the resident overflow lot last semester was an exit up the Merritt Parkway at the Trumball Mall!), they're building a gorgeous new state of the art health sciences building she'll have her classes in next fall among other buildings, and we're very pleased with the education she's getting there. But student attendance at hockey and many athletic contests seems lacking which is too bad.

But looking forward to seeing them play this weekend and fill the hockey void created by Lowell's bye week.

Glad your daughter is enjoying Sacred Heart. I have heard rumors of a campus rink for a few years now, but can never substantiate them. Hopefully it happens. You are right, SHU is building a lot and acquiring more land. Neither the old rink or the new venue can attract fans, but I think they could. The AHL Sound Tigers always have had a decent fan base, and Quinnipiac and Yale are virtually always sold out. Junior Hockey is thriving in So. CT., and high school hockey out draws Sacred Heart.

Keep an eye on #17 Justin Danforth this weekend. Wonderful speedy center for the Pioneers. And if Bobby V is there, you will know it. Quite a charismatic guy. He probably stays away from the Boston area though.

riverchief1
02-27-2017, 09:03 PM
Glad your daughter is enjoying Sacred Heart. I have heard rumors of a campus rink for a few years now, but can never substantiate them. Hopefully it happens. You are right, SHU is building a lot and acquiring more land. Neither the old rink or the new venue can attract fans, but I think they could. The AHL Sound Tigers always have had a decent fan base, and Quinnipiac and Yale are virtually always sold out. Junior Hockey is thriving in So. CT., and high school hockey out draws Sacred Heart.

Keep an eye on #17 Justin Danforth this weekend. Wonderful speedy center for the Pioneers. And if Bobby V is there, you will know it. Quite a charismatic guy. He probably stays away from the Boston area though.

Someone within SHU athletics said it was in planning stages as part of campus development when we were chatting at an admissions event in spring, 2015 just prior to my daughter accepting admission for that fall. So who knows, there's so much going on there right now and when it might show up in the queue. This article on Valentine HERE (http://www.ctpost.com/sports/article/Sacred-heart-AD-Bobby-Valenitne-paints-a-new-8382336.php) details new facilities later in the piece including “The back burner plans are a hockey rink and a natatorium (swimming)..." It mentions no land being available at that time (mid-2016) but that was before the GE property purchase which I would think opens up much more flexibility for campus planning and development at SHU.

Don't know if he'll be there this weekend. SHU baseball hits the west coast this weekend for some games so he might tag along.

AICJacketsVoice
02-27-2017, 09:24 PM
Ironically enough I won't be making the trip to Erie (thanks to my duties as the SID for our lacrosse teams who play at home this weekend), so I too might be at the JAR on Friday night to get my playoff hockey fix. If you see a guy with a "We Are AIC" hockey pin on his shirt, that's me. Come say hello. I also accept donations of pizza (the JAR's pizza is usually the best in the league)

komey1
02-28-2017, 05:52 PM
I would be shocked if Sacred Heart/Bentley doesn't go 3 games. Too relatively even teams that split their season series.
I think Mercyhurst has the best chance of winning in a sweep. I have to think they will want to come out flying after being embarrassed by RIT.
RIT should sweep Niagara, but they really limped into the post season, due in part to injuries. They are capable of making a run. They are just as capable of losing to Niagara. I think it's more likely they will win.

Snively65
02-28-2017, 07:39 PM
I also accept donations of pizza (the JAR's pizza is usually the best in the league)

Seriously? What say you, blazer? :-)

AICJacketsVoice
03-03-2017, 10:43 PM
Well, I got my JAR pizza, and I got to get on the first intermission of the broadcast with Dan Rubin. And I got to see a heck of a game. Both Bentley and SHU battled hard, as expected, with things getting chippy at times. Both sides clogged the middle of the ice and chances were at a premium, and SHU was simply able to generate more as the game went on. Still, I expect Bentley to give 'em hell tomorrow.

AIC's never-say-die attitude served them well. Some teams, especially young ones like the Jackets, would've crumbled going down 3-0 so early. They came back to make it 3-3. Couldn't pull out the W, but they certainly made their point. They belong.

And Niagara...wow. Heart and hustle and a minor miracle. Two SHGs, an EXG, just...I can't fathom it. Gotta play to the horn. They did. Great to see them get a W. Can they do it again tomorrow and stun the world?

Schmitty
03-04-2017, 12:11 AM
Well, I got my JAR pizza, and I got to get on the first intermission of the broadcast with Dan Rubin. And I got to see a heck of a game. Both Bentley and SHU battled hard, as expected, with things getting chippy at times. Both sides clogged the middle of the ice and chances were at a premium, and SHU was simply able to generate more as the game went on. Still, I expect Bentley to give 'em hell tomorrow.

AIC's never-say-die attitude served them well. Some teams, especially young ones like the Jackets, would've crumbled going down 3-0 so early. They came back to make it 3-3. Couldn't pull out the W, but they certainly made their point. They belong.

And Niagara...wow. Heart and hustle and a minor miracle. Two SHGs, an EXG, just...I can't fathom it. Gotta play to the horn. They did. Great to see them get a W. Can they do it again tomorrow and stun the world?

An RIT loss is more the expectation than the shocker.

riverchief1
03-04-2017, 07:51 AM
Here are the game highlights (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CBoq8IuuI7o), or lowlights if you're a RIT fan. Unfortunately RIT takes a page out of the Notre Dame game highlight playbook (probably wouldn't have showed any Niagara goals except for the comeback happening) and only shows the goals that tie and win it for Niagara. So not all game highlights but you still get to see the last two goals.

Had fun at the Bentley/SHU game last night. Will probably head back tonight and cheer SHU on again, too bad they can't generate more of a fanbase as the fans who were there were fun, enthusiastic, and SHU's pep band was pretty good. Did try the JAR pizza (hard and cold), maybe it's better when you get it fresh at wherever they buy it locally but it is pizza brought in from elsewhere, not made on the spot, and put under a heat lamp so I guess that's what to expect. But overall it was a nice experience and harkened back to Lowell's Tyngsboro Skate 3 or maybe Tully Forum days, sort of a throwback night.

Snively65
03-04-2017, 09:02 AM
Here are the game highlights (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CBoq8IuuI7o), or lowlights if you're a RIT fan. Unfortunately RIT takes a page out of the Notre Dame game highlight playbook (probably wouldn't have showed any Niagara goals except for the comeback happening) and only shows the goals that tie and win it for Niagara. So not all game highlights but you still get to see the last two goals.

Had fun at the Bentley/SHU game last night. Will probably head back tonight and cheer SHU on again, too bad they can't generate more of a fanbase as the fans who were there were fun, enthusiastic, and SHU's pep band was pretty good. Did try the JAR pizza (hard and cold), maybe it's better when you get it fresh at wherever they buy it locally but it is pizza brought in from elsewhere, not made on the spot, and put under a heat lamp so I guess that's what to expect. But overall it was a nice experience and harkened back to Lowell's Tyngsboro Skate 3 or maybe Tully Forum days, sort of a throwback night.

I think that SH fans outnumbered Bentley fans at least by five to one last night, not including SH's loud pep band.

Blazer, I, and others have warned JAR attendees about the pizza for years on various threads here; if you are still posting here after eating a slice, consider yourself very lucky!

AICJacketsVoice
03-04-2017, 10:03 AM
I think that SH fans outnumbered Bentley fans at least by five to one last night, not including SH's loud pep band.

Blazer, I, and others have warned JAR attendees about the pizza for years on various threads here; if you are still posting here after eating a slice, consider yourself very lucky!

It was about 50/50 (discounting myself and my broadcast partner Hunter, who were neutral and had a little AIC gear on) last night once the late-arriving Bentley students got there. But the band definitely tilted the crowd in favor of the visitors.

As for the pizza, well, I got mine before the game started, so it was hot and tasty. Maybe that's the trick? I'd like to know what pizza shop they get it from and just go there before the game.

LTI Alum
03-04-2017, 10:11 AM
I think that SH fans outnumbered Bentley fans at least by five to one last night, not including SH's loud pep band.

Blazer, I, and others have warned JAR attendees about the pizza for years on various threads here; if you are still posting here after eating a slice, consider yourself very lucky!

I can't imagine where SHU fans came from. I went to 8 of their home games this year and one game I literally counted fannys in seats just to see how close it matched the announced crowd. Not far off. High 100s ( and there are always family/freinds/fans of the visiting team there) Either they have lots of alumni in the Watertown area or Bentley fans stayed away for some reason. I agree the pep band is pretty good. Anyway. Gooooooo Heart!:)

Snively65
03-04-2017, 10:27 AM
I can't imagine where SHU fans came from. I went to 8 of their home games this year and one game I literally counted fannys in seats just to see how close it matched the announced crowd. Not far off. High 100s ( and there are always family/freinds/fans of the visiting team there) Either they have lots of alumni in the Watertown area or Bentley fans stayed away for some reason. I agree the pep band is pretty good. Anyway. Gooooooo Heart!:)

Bentley's spring break began yesterday.

LTI Alum
03-04-2017, 10:46 AM
Here are the game highlights (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CBoq8IuuI7o), or lowlights if you're a RIT fan. Unfortunately RIT takes a page out of the Notre Dame game highlight playbook (probably wouldn't have showed any Niagara goals except for the comeback happening) and only shows the goals that tie and win it for Niagara. So not all game highlights but you still get to see the last two goals.

Had fun at the Bentley/SHU game last night. Will probably head back tonight and cheer SHU on again, too bad they can't generate more of a fanbase as the fans who were there were fun, enthusiastic, and SHU's pep band was pretty good. Did try the JAR pizza (hard and cold), maybe it's better when you get it fresh at wherever they buy it locally but it is pizza brought in from elsewhere, not made on the spot, and put under a heat lamp so I guess that's what to expect. But overall it was a nice experience and harkened back to Lowell's Tyngsboro Skate 3 or maybe Tully Forum days, sort of a throwback night.

I remember games at the forum. For some reason we called it the Billerica Forum, though I think it's in Chelmsford. A dark and dingy place is my best recollection. Skate 3 was a big upgrade. I guess I won't get to see the JAR, but was always curious why it rated last in a review I read last year by someone who rated every D1 rink in the country. He rated Sacred Hearts rink, the Milford Ice Pavillion just above the JAR. The MIP was worthy of a last place rating for sure. The visitors couldn't even fit in one locker room they had to use 2. Seating was on just 1 side . Play was occasionally halted for pucks off the ceiling, and it could be cold, especially when the stands were extra empty. The price was right, though and parking was free and the concession stand actually served better than average fare at decent price. One could stand at the glass behind the goal or the corners for really up close action viewing. I loved it. The new arena they play in charges for parking and sadly has not drawn more. Concessions are worse and "up close" viewing is not as good as you are not allowed to stand.
That being said, the new place has to help with recruiting and they needed to upgrade. I think the Atlantic Hockey Conference was mandating arena upgrades given their scholarship additions and renewed attempts to get better.
What they really need is an on campus rink and as you have noted, there are rumors.