UAH Hockey: Positives, and lessons learned on Senior Day

Photo Credit: Kelsey Lee-Violet Turtle Phography

Today, the Chargers of Alabama Huntsville scored first again. Lucas Bahn walked down to the goal line and fired a puck off Bowling Green netminder Zach Rose and in to send the loud Von Braun Center crowd into a frenzy. Not long after that, Tim Theochardis scored on a turnover that left Bowling Green with a breakaway where David Fessenden had to defend against multiple shooters by himself.

After that goal, Alabama Huntsville found itself in a familiar spot. They had to answer back after having their opponent eqalize the score. They did just that as Drew Lennon put home a shorthanded tally to give the Chargers the lead that would last until the third period. Bowling Green scored two goals 54 second apart to go ahead for good, an added an empty net tally to secure the 4-2 win. Despite getting outshot, Alabama Huntsville played the Falcons much closer than they did in the opener, only getting outdone in shot attempts by 14 (50-36).

What have we learned about the Chargers today? Well, today’s effort was the best summation of what this team can do against top end talent when it plays together. Did they lose? Yes they did, on a beautiful goal from Sam Craggs, a turnover for the first goal and a power play conceded. Despite the result, there are some good things from today to remember that can serve as a guide for this group the rest of this season.

The seniors are still important

Connor Merkley, and Connor Wood both had big parts in today’s efforts for the Chargers. Merkley centered the second line, and went 12-10 on faceoffs. More than that, he provided some help on offense with the primary assist on Bahn’s goal. His physical presence in the top six is always welcome, and credit to Merkley for coming in after not playing for 23 days to put in the work he did on his line today. As for Connor Wood, well, his leadership and physicsal play lead to Alabama Huntsville getting extended power play time in the second period. Although they could not score on any of it, Wood’s determination to get to tough areas and his speed pose problems to all of his opponents. That same level of speed and truculence could land Wood a professional contract after his time at Alabama Huntsville is done. As Associate Head Coach Karlis Zirnis said of the seniors’ impact on the program ” They are people who care a lot about the program and giving everything they can to the program. They have been thru a lot and many ups and down and we are thankful for everything they done. ”

This staff sees the support it gets

Alabama Huntsville finished its home schedule second in the nation in perent capacity attendance behind only the University of North Dakota. As Zirnis notes ” I’m very thankful for the people come out and support us thru these hard times. It means a lot for our guys and our staff. We appreciate every person who has attended the game or supporting us via internet. I can promise you will we keep working hard to improve our hockey program and there are better days ahead of us.”

Game management

As Zirnis said ” We limited our mistakes in the game and played a lot more physical today. We had shoot first mentality and going hard to the net.” The game today was the most complete game that this group has played all year. They did everything they could to stay in the game, and limit mistakes. Bowling Green happened to bury one of them (the four-on-four goal) on rare turnover. Going forward, if this team can get one foundational building block from the Bowling Green series, how it played a team likely to make the NCAA tournament today would be one thing to take from the series moving forward.

Donate: To help us cover more games and tell more stories not found elsewhere about all of college sports, especially under represented athletes everywhere across the college sports landscape like unique untold stories across college hockey. Please click the below link and consider donating what you can. If you do, I will list you in every story about we write as a supporter of crowd-funded  journalism that can truly be free for all at this link:paypal.me/Seamorepsorts

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Army West Point earns a special win: What’s next

The Black Knights of Army West Point had everything to play for yesterday. They were facing a Long Island University Sharks team playing the final game of its first season in Division One. It was senior night, as the Black Knights have eight senior players and two senior student managers in their group. One of its leaders is goaltender Trevin Kozlowski. He finished the night with 20 saves on 23 shots to help his group to a 6-3 win.

On senior night, Army Head Coach Brian Riley noted “I think this is one of those special moments that really hits home.” Before the game, Army West Point did a fabulous job honoring all of the seniors partaking in their last regular season home affair at Tate Rink. These videos all included a personal shoutout from a relative or someone close to the senior. They were all nicely done, and put together with the utmost professionalism and honor for the 47 month journey every one of the ten cadets will have taken when they graduate this May.

To the game, early on, it looked like the Sharks would make Army work for their luck, and early on they did just that. The Sharks struck first in the first period, and took the 1-0 lead into the intermission. Then, the power play of the Black Knights went to work in the second period. They struck for four goals in a row on the power play, including Colin Bilek potting his 16th goal of the season. The Hobey Baker Award candidate is now second in the country in goals with 16, and first on the power play with 8 markers.

Another standout for the Black Knights was Anthony Firriolo. The sophomore defender added a hat trick on the night, and helped chip in on defense to preserve the win. The Black Knights, as a unit, where able to come from behind once again with their system. In a repetitive scene many times over this 11 game unbeaten streak, Riley’s team stuck with what they do well, consistent pursuit of the puck, and forcing the opponent to out skill you to beat them. When the Sharks made a mistake, the Black Knights often made them pay last night. For a team that lost to this same group after a series opening win back in January, this effort was needed to send them to the Atlantic Hockey playoffs in two weeks on the right foot, and to bolster their surging at-large resume for the NCAA Tournament.

What comes next

Brian Riley is not typically a superstitious person. However, on this 11 game unbeaten streak he has not gotten a hair cut or worn a different suit behind the bench. As Riley said of this superstition, ”I guess when you get on a streak it brings out the worst.” One way to ensure that Riley keeps having to wear the same suit and avoid getting a haircut for the Black Knights is in not taking unforced errors. Multiple times last night, the team negated some of their earned power play time with taking penalties shortly after they went on the power play. Riley hopes that ends now, as any margin for error is gone, as one of those mistakes could end Army’s season prematurely. As Riley put it succinctly, :If we do that in the playoffs that’s going to cost us, [and] we need to have learned our lesson on that now”

Next week for the team will be a chance for them to work on special situations and get better as a team before they play a firsr round winner hungry to spoil all of the streaks this team is on and end their at-large hopes the following weekend. The postseason begins in two weeks, but for Riley and his staff, the work of developing these leaders to be at their best on the ice is an ongoing mission.

Lucas Bahn: Thankful and growing

Photo credit: Kelsey Lee-Violet Turtle Photography

Alabama Huntsville defender, and Hendersonville, Tennessee native Lucas Bahn, and first line center Tyrone Bronte both have something in common about how they found the game of hockey. Despite living on opposite sides of the world growing up, both started off playing roller hockey. Bahn played at a rink about ten minutes from his childhood home, and grew up playing the game supported by an incredibly supportive family. Originally, Bahn was set to head to the University of New Hampshire, but he ended up coming to Alabama Huntsville.

Former Alabama Huntsville Head Coach Mike Corbett, who brought Bahn to Huntsville did a superb job of summing up what Lucas and his family bring to Alabama Huntsville.

“His mom and dad were supporters from day one, they are A1 people, Lucas wanted to be a part of our program, Lucas had the opportunity to be a part of another program and he didn’t want to.”

Further expanding on his comments about Lucas’ family, Corbett said that, “his parents are rockstars.”

To his family Lucas is thankful for all of them, saying “my family means everything to me, they’ve helped me in more ways than they could ever know.”

Lucas can do everything well for this team, and is their most consistent defender. Other than score a goal this season, Bahn has been a part of most of the key minutes that the Chargers have had in each game.

Lucas explained why he chose to stay at UAH after the reinstatement of the program this summer, saying “I decided to stay because I really enjoyed my first year.. and its close to home for me. I knew Westy (Head Coach Lance West) was coming back. I thought I would have a good opportunity to play a lot “

As his current Associate Head Coach Karlis Zirnis says of what Bahn brings, and his coachability that it is, “very easy to coach Lucas. Lucas is a very dynamic skater and uses his agility to his advantage. Lucas is a very smart player and takes coaching very well. Also Lucas is very good teammate with helping out anyway he can.” Bahn credits Zirnis for helping him become a better two way defender. This year, Bahn is making more cerebral plays on the defensive end, and is a part of why the Chargers have improved in playing team defense.

His stats and improvement from his first year to now show that. He already has more assists this year than last year, in 14 less games. In addition, a lot of what he brings is beyond the box score. His mentorship has helped players like Josh Martin integrate into the group faster, as the two have played well together, and both have a natural chemistry with one another on the ice. When Lucas plays with Dayne Finnson, he is the primary setup man for that pair, as Finnson’s slap shot is one of the harder ones on the team. On the power play, Lucas is the quarterback, and is a big reason behind the improvement in UAH’s power play from last year to this season.

Every game, Bahn typically wins multiple battles on effort alone, and several more due to his high hockey intelligence. Bahn is an incredibly cerebral player, and is often the reason why a goal is saved or created when he is on the ice. His mentorship of the freshmen that this team has is already paying off, with players like Josh Corrow seeing a more consistent amount of minutes as the year has progressed. As this program looks to build up from the foundation of this season, Bahn will have a role in adding to the foundation he is building this year. If offered the chance when his time comes, he would consider staying an extra year to use the extra year of eligibility offered to all winter sport student-athletes due to the pandemic-marred season that is happening. When you look at the growth of the program from game one against Robert Morris to where they are now in terms of playing more consistent each night, Bahn’s influence is a big part of that development.

Donate: To help us cover more games and tell more stories not found elsewhere about all of college sports, especially under represented athletes everywhere across the college sports landscape like unique untold stories across college hockey. Please click the below link and consider donating what you can. If you do, I will list you in every story about we write as a supporter of crowd-funded  journalism that can truly be free for all at this link:paypal.me/Seamorepsorts

Your donation will help expand what content we can offer and how many stories we can tell.

Army West Point Hockey: Continuing the mission with class

Yesterday, the Black Knights of Army West Point again showed their depth. 11 players got at least a point, and Trevin Kozlowski secured his first shutout of the season with a 20 save effort, and the Black Knights did what they needed to do in order to secure a 5-0 vicotry over the Sharks of Long Island University. Hobey Baker Award Candidate Colin Bilek contributed an assist and a goal on the evening to spur the victory up front. While his 14th goal of the season came as many have, on a perfect release before anyone playing against him could counter it, the best play he made was on his assist. He was able to turnover the Sharks along the wall and find a wide open Mitch Machlitt who had all of time and space he needed to wire one past Garett Metcalf. The final goal of the evening was special as Jake Felker scored his first career goal on a redirect off a Thomas Farell pass. Now, the Black Knights, with a win, would firmly put themselves on the national tournament bubble for an at large selection, given that they have not lost a game in regulation since. January 6 to league champion American International College.

There is still a pitfall that awaits this group today when they play in their Senior Night matchup against these Sharks in a few hours. They lost to this same Long Island group on Jnuary 16 in overtime after they played the better game the night before. Brett Riley will have his Sharks ready tonight, because as of now, this is the final game these Sharks will play in their first season. The chance for Riley’s group to spoil the bubble hopes of this Army team, coached by his uncle (Brian is Brett’s uncle). In addition, despite not being in the NCAA tournament picture, the senior class for Long Island will be playing to do three things in some form or fashion, and they are the following, they all want to end their careers in college hockey on a win, show off to professional scouts looking for free agents to sign,and if any of them are able to stay another season, to show to Brett and his staff how they can help his developing group next season,. All winter sports student-athletes are allowed an extra season of eligibility at the Division One Level, and some Sharks may want to avail themselves of that, if Brett and his staff will have them back.

Now, back to Army, lead by Head Coach Brian Riley. He and his group did something special for Brett and his senior class. They held a senior night ceremony for the four seniors that was all Brian’s descision. He thought of this with enough time to have the proper presentation,and worked to make sure the streaming of the festivities happened so LIU parents could see that moment. The Sharks have not had a home game against a Division One opponent this season, and Riley brought the idea up to his nephew as a matter of settled fact. He said to Brett “hey we are gonna honor your seniors.”When asked why, his response was simple, “every senior that plays college hockey deserves that moment.” Every one of Brian’s players backed the idea, and Brian said of it in total that of the sportsmanship his group showed for this moment, ” when it comes down to it we are all playing the sport that we love.”

Tonight, the 10 seniors (8 players and 2 student managers) will be honored for their years of dedication to the program. Riley is incredibly proud of all that they have done for Army West Point Hockey, and hopes that a lot more is to come for them. They already have one more home series in 13 days to look forward to at Tate Rink. Riley hopes that their Army West Point Hockey Careers finish at PPG Paints Arena, at the Frozen Four.

Donate: To help us cover more games and tell more stories not found elsewhere about all of college sports, especially under represented athletes everywhere across the college sports landscape like unique untold stories across college hockey. Please click the below link and consider donating what you can. If you do, I will list you in every story about we write as a supporter of crowd-funded  journalism that can truly be free for all at this link:paypal.me/Seamorepsorts

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Eric Lang on how AIC is staying game ready

Since the last time we talked to American International College (AIC) Yellow Jackets Head Coach Eric Lang, well not much has changed for his team on the ice, as they have not played a game. They clinched their third straight Atlantic Hockey Association regular season title due to other results. When they could have played this weekend, they were not able to find another opponent to play this weekend, and as a result, will spend 41 days between their last regular season game on January 30, a 3-0 win over Holy Cross, and March 12, their quarterfinal series opener in the Atlantic Hockey postseason.

To make up for this lack of having external opposition to play, Lang is keeping things internal. In his competitive program, he has seized on this moment to provide more competition for his deep team. Controlled scrimmages are routinely played to keep his team fresh. Lang has the ability to play three lines on each side, and have each team get two goalies. As Lang said of the battle level of these games ” we play for just about everything in anything we do here.” This pause due to the spate of COVID 19 cases across Atlantic Hockey has hit AIC, and they are out of the positive test protocol. Since coming back, Lang first wanted to ensure his team”s legs were back, and now he is working on sharpening all of the other skills a Division One Hockey player needs to have. In addition, he is controlling the scrimmages and practice environment to re-introduce contact in a safe way as well.

As for the postseason, Lang noted the benefit of playing in Atlantic Hockey. Stylistically, they benefited from playing a very physical Army West Point team in 2019 that prepared them mentality wise for the NCAA Tournament. Lang said it best when he said that ” the winner of our conference tournament has earned their way into the tournament.” The opponent this team faces in two weeks will be playing to advance, and to spoil AIC’s at large hopes. Both of those things could happen if Lang’s group is not ready, which is why for resuming play Lang said ” we’ve had a really developed strategy.”

Beyond the moment, AIC is one of the most deep teams in the country. As Lang has noted, the fifth line of his team is good enough to make the staff’s life diffucult in setting up a line chart each weekend. In addition, the work this team does to develop everyone on their roster has paid dividends throughout the regular season. In the postseason, should AIC make the national tournament, Lang notes that the biggest strength of this team is what they do right, which is a little bit of everything. For them to do well they must , as he said ” be able to possess the puck.. and shorten the game.” For this group to make it beyond the first round, they have to play the best game of their season, and make the opponent earn every inch of ice.

Going forward, Lang’s philosophy of finding the best group and building depth matters a lot to him. That depth will grow next year as Lang is open to bringing back any of their seniors. He feels that giving them the more traditional experience over a full season matters, and the staff is open to any senior taking them up on that. For everyone in this group right now, the opportunity that they have in a few weeks to progress to the national tournament is not being taken lightly. Atlantic Hockey’s postseason is tough for all its participants, and Lang’s group will be ready for it.

Donate: To help us cover more games and tell more stories not found elsewhere about all of college sports, especially under represented athletes everywhere across the college sports landscape like unique untold stories across college hockey. Please click the below link and consider donating what you can. If you do, I will list you in every story about we write as a supporter of crowd-funded  journalism that can truly be free for all at this link:paypal.me/Seamorepsorts

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Omaha Hockey: Efficiency is everything

Photo Credit: Kelsey Lee-Violet Turtle Photography

The Mavericks of the Nebraska Omaha Hockey team are one of the more efficient teams in the country when they can shoot the puck. Coming into games this evening, this team is tied for fifth in the country in shooting percentage, coming in at a 12 percent clip on the season. The Mavericks play with a speed to their game, and rely on striking first, and then defending well through their transition. That strategy, combined with the perfect weekend of hockey they faced from the Fighting Hawks of North Dakota proved to be their undoing this past weekend, as they were swept by a combined score of 11-2.

What does this past weekend mean for the Mavericks? Well, the meaning of the past is influenced by the future. That is, this team still has a lot to play for in the last two games of the regular season against the repeat Penrose Cup Champion Fighting Hawks. While they have an impressive 5-4 win against them already on their resume, one win in the last two, combined with a first round win in the NCHC Tournament would cement their place in the NCAA Tournament. If Omaha can make the Fighting Hawks defend against the transition game they play then more options open up for this team. This team is 10-1-0 when they score first, and 3-7-1 when they do not. Starts matter for every team, but this group feeds off the positive or negative of the first goal pretty significantly. Their game is reliant on racing by you, while other teams, like North Dakota, are reliant on wearing you down and then scoring goals in bunches.

The Mavericks are in a position to do a lot this season, in part because of their offense, but also because of their improved depth at the back end of the team, that has shown itself at times all season long. First off, credit to Isaiah Saville for the work he does in net for this team. While he gives up a few too many grade-a rebounds at times, his hockey sense and ability to recover are a good compliment to a team that can find itself giving up as many breakaways as it creates in a game. Certiain goalies play better on certaint types of teams, and Saville’s ability to make save after save on odd-man rushes make him a better goaltender for this group. Other goaltenders who may have a better ability to snuff out first shots also may not be as athletic as Isaiah is.

In front of Saville, this team has a diverse and deep comitee of scorers that make Omaha a threat every game. Of particular interest to us is Brandon Scanlin, sophomore defender. He has 14 points (2 goals, 12 assists) in 20 games, and compliments former Fighting Hawk Jonny Tychonick well. When either of them contributes, things end well for this group. The last win for this team against the Fighting Hawks included both of them on the scoresheet. Scanlin is only a sophomore for Head Coach Mike Gabinet, and has up to three more years in Omaha after this season due to the extra year of eligibility on offer to all 2020-2021 winter sports student-athletes to grow the offensive side of his game.

Up front, the Omaha scoring committee is still lead by three juniors, including Chayse Primeau, Tyler Weiss, and Taylor Ward. All three of this group have shown an ability to score efficiently, a big part of why this group does better when scoring first, as all three have shooting percentages of 15 percent or higher. Senior Kevin Conley clocks in fourth place in scoring, but with a better 17.2 percent shooting percentage.

Why the focus on shooting percentage? Well, Omaha is built to race by you and score, and score again on a counter attack later on in the game. They are doing that very well, and it is for that reason why they are one of the better teams in the country this season. They play a style that in the one-game elimination setting of the NCAA Tournament could prove fruitful depending on who they draw in each round. Efficiency tends to portend well to winning in the postseason over raw possession. Efficiency is why this team can compete with more physical teams like North Dakota. When the Mavericks score first, raw possession when the defense can clear pucks, and Saville makes the saves he needs to, does not mean as much. This is a team that will give any opponent in March a headache, and wants to win on their Senior Night this weekend to give UND Head Coach Brad Berry’s group one heading into the regular season finale.

Donate: To help us cover more games and tell more stories not found elsewhere about all of college sports, especially under represented athletes everywhere across the college sports landscape like unique untold stories across college hockey. Please click the below link and consider donating what you can. If you do, I will list you in every story about we write as a supporter of crowd-funded  journalism that can truly be free for all at this link:paypal.me/Seamorepsorts

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BGSU 5 UAH 0: Three Takeaways

Photo Credit: Kelsey Lee-Violet Turtle Photography

Tonight, the Chargers played a decent first and third period, where they made the Falcons of Bowling Green earn their looks, and played the team game the needed to. Then we focus on the second period, where at least 60 percent of it was spent with the Chargers defending in their own end. As this team has seen, time after time, giving high-octane teams multiple chances will come back to harm you, and tonight was no different. Despite a valiant effort by the Chargers, the Falcons used a four goal second stanza to put the game on ice. Here are three takeaways from this game.

Deja vu all over again

Remember when Bennett Stockdale scored the first goal against Minnesota State in the series opener? Well the Mavericks got the next four, including three in the second and won the game. Tonight, the Chargers had a few chances to score first. The best came off a good wrist shot from Frank Vitucci short handed that Eric Dop kicked away. After that, the Falcons went on to score four goals in the second, and one in the third to provide the final margin. The score was slightly different but the pattern remains. This team is facing a trial by combat nightly, and learning what they need to do in order to compete with the top talent in this game, Once they can improve game management, you will see less 4-0 or 5-1 results and more one or two goal games, like you saw from this team earlier in the year.

Trust the process

This team plays with heart. Yes that is a cliché to put it mildly, but the effort in the third period, and the fire that they came out with in the first matters. For a team with ten or more freshmen in the lineup every night, and a group that has 13 people on it who did not know they’d be on the Huntsville campus before June, they are playing with a remarkable amount of synergy. The results do not show it yet, but this is a group that fights for one another, and works hard for all of the game even when the staff gets a lot on film they don’t like, like the second period. Remember this through the final three regular season games. The story of this team is not so much the record, yes no one wants to only win three games in college hockey, but how they have grown throughout the year, and some key players that have emerged

What comes next

Sunday is senior day for this group with two seniors. Connor Woord and Connor Merkley. Credit both players for helpling this team develop, and buying in from day one to the new group’s teachings. They have not been on the ice as much this year as they could have been, but still play important roles. Connor Wood is the heart and soul of this tea, and his passion for the game is fun to see every night. Merkley’s breakaway against Ferris State was the game winner, and he has been a reliable leader for this program.

We say all of that to get to this. Sunday means a lot to this group, and this city. This town fought to save this program not for the end result of this season, but for the long term health of the game of College Hockey. To think that Lance West and this staff will not have this team ready to do everything they can to take on Bowling Green would be unwise. If the Chargers can get more quick outs like they did in the first and most of the third period, and use the speed they have, then options open up for this tean, and a chance to avoid a date with Minnesota State in the postseason becomes a little more realistic. Senior Day, and a chance to write some more history comes this Sunday afternoon at 3:07 PM.

Donate: To help us cover more games and tell more stories not found elsewhere about all of college sports, especially under represented athletes everywhere across the college sports landscape like unique untold stories across college hockey. Please click the below link and consider donating what you can. If you do, I will list you in every story about we write as a supporter of crowd-funded  journalism that can truly be free for all at this link:paypal.me/Seamorepsorts

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UAH-Bowling Green: Three things

Photo Credit-LSSU Athletics

This week, the Chargers take on Bowling Green in a home and home series on Wednesday and Sunday. The Falcons are a team on the edge of NCAA tournament consideration that plays with as much speed as Minnesota State, but does not control possession as much as the Mavericks. This week presents two opportunities for the Chargers, a chance to grow and show what they’ve learned, and a chance to maybe spoil at-large considerations for the Falcons.

Easier said than done, as the Falcons have five times the amount of players with double digit points than the Chargers do. Brendon Kruse leads this team, and has an impressive group of forwards with him, and two starting goaltenders behind him. In addition, the Falcons have the capability to score goals in bunches and make you defend for long stretches of time.

Here are three things to watch for from the Chargers tomorrow

Scoring first is only part of it

Multiple times over the past few series, UAH has gotten on the board first. Should that happen tomorrow, they have to figure out how to manage the waves of pressure the Falcons will send upon them. If not, well, this team will have to face 50 shots or more on net a night against David Fessenden. Despite the recent history of this program, all involved in it do not want that shot counter to get anywhere near 50.

Bronte the beauty

Tyrone Bronte is the best forward on this team right now in terms of chance generation, and speed. His line, which has featured Bauer Neudecker through most of the year will have to lead things for this team to have a chance. Bronte’s pace and Neudecker’s shot are the two best offensive traits this team has, and how they leverage them will go a long way to determining the final score tomorrow night. In addition to all of this, it is rather astonishing that Bronte had no Division One offers before UAH Head Coach Lance West reached out to him in June. He has become an instant leader for this team, and should earn a spot in an NHL Development Camp this summer if he wants to attend one (if they are held).

Protect big save Dave

The biggest factor in this series, above all else is how this team protects David Fessenden, their starting goaltender. If they keep the Falcons to the outside and force a lot of blocks and low velocity muffins, as they did for the first 45 or so minutes against Lake Superior State on Friday night, then a lot of options can open up. The other part of this equation is in transition. Can this team win some more puck battles to chip pucks out. What has happened the past few weeks shows that there are still elements for growth from Lance West’s group, and no matter what happens in these next two games, know that it is all part of a much longer journey. This is a team that firmly believes that luck is made through winning the process and repetition. Their systems have improved from last year to this year, as has their record. What needs to come next is replication. Can you earn your chances when the other team has momentum. If they can earn a few more clears on one or no shot attempts, more good things will come their way.

Donate: To help us cover more games and tell more stories not found elsewhere about all of college sports, especially under represented athletes everywhere across the college sports landscape like unique untold stories across college hockey. Please click the below link and consider donating what you can. If you do, I will list you in every story about we write as a supporter of crowd-funded  journalism that can truly be free for all at this link:paypal.me/Seamorepsorts

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Where we started… and what comes next

I don’t think we have ever hold the story of why Seamore Sports exists, here is that story.

Seamore Sports started in 2016 following the conclusion of U18 tournament in Grand Forks, ND. I love goaltending. The skill, focus and poise that it takes to play that position. We attended the Latvia vs Sweden game, when we noticed the confidence of Latvian net minder Mareks Mitens in facing 47 shots. I just loved his level of compete and the international game itself. It opened my eyes to all of the great hockey around us that we did not take the time to see and talk about.Players with stories just like Mitens’ are all around the world, and very abundant in college hockey. My love for the game of hockey just grew and grew with the more I learned and watched. It truly is a beautiful game.

I have a complicated medical condition, called Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) and when Oliver and I met, I was just starting to come to terms with my diagnosis. I was struggling with the realization that is was a life long condition and quality of life I was looking at. The disease was first called the suicide disease when it was discovered around the Civil War for its high consistent pain that it inflicted on soldiers, who years later, some committed suicide to escape the endless pain my condition gives me. With this in mind, I badly needed a distraction. Seamore Sports became that distraction and has sense evolved into our shared passion.

Earlier in the year, Oliver had introduced me to hockey by taking me to a UND vs UMD series, which still is one of the most memorable games I have ever been too. Many of you know what game I am referring to without giving details. For everyone else, it was the over time penalty shot winner from Austin Poganski. For the first time in over two years, my pain melted away and I knew the rink was my home.

Over the last five years, Seamore Sports has turned into everything I didn’t think it ever could. However, it hasn’t always been an easy thing. Towards the end of the 2019-2020 season, I was done. I was struggling with the lack of success and my passion was failing. I had even told Oliver, that it was going to be my last season and I was done. One night in Friday January, someone who I had never met walked in the media room on ice level while I was getting my computer and camera set up for the University of North Dakota (UND) vs University of Alabama- Huntsville (UAH) and asked to sit down. We had a conversation about hockey realignment and talked for a solid 45 minutes, at the end of the conversation, I introduced myself and asked if he was UAH’s Sports Information Director, he smiled and laughed, “Nope, I am head coach Mike Corbett.” Over the course of the weekend, we spent time watching and talking with UAH coaching staff and players. If you are a fan of Alabama Huntsville, and you read our work at all, thank Mike Corbett for encouraging us to start with that first conversation at Ralph Engelstad Arena.

During this time, I fell back in love with hockey. I had renewed hope that the mission of Seamore Sports was ready to change. Now, we are the voice of the Division One College Hockey underdogs, and all those who work to help them shine. Our goal is to work and talk with as many teams, players and coaches that make up this great game. We will be talking with junior hockey players, writing about so many stories that, just like Mitens, deserve a higher level of attention than the media structure in this game is set to provide. In addition, we hope to work with schools over coming years to help train interns to get into writing about more underdogs in this game and creating a network of passionate people to cover the sport we all love.

I, and this independent outlet would not be standing here today, with Oliver by my side helping me to grow this, and taking photos professionally without the people below. If you are not on this list but we have talked to you, know that you matter and are a part of this as well. Also, if you are not on this list, but are involved with this sport at any level from potential commit, to alumnae, to coach or general manager at any level, or any other of the many categories, know that we want to talk to you. Oliver writes many of his recaps with the title of “Beyond the box score” because this game is so much more than a contest to see who scores the most. It is a stage in and of itself, and overtime, its actors depart and new ones try to fill their shoes, and grow, and move to the next level. We want to highlight all those on their path to the stage, and talk about the good done by them as they leave it, and their mentors along the way.

I cannot thank the following people enough (in no particular order):

Eric Lang: Thank you for taking the time to talk to us in 2019 at the Fargo regional following the win against number one St.Cloud. Not only that, but almost 2 years later you remembered us, but not only that you remembered our son, over a phone call. It’s also nice to have a candid conversation with a coach. This game needs more coaches like you in it, and this world needs more good humans like yourself in it. This was the first regional we had covered since I gave birth to our two year old, Henrik (who loves to play floor hockey, and is enthralled with zambonis he sees during intermission), and your encouragement, along the kindness shown to us by you, Seth,and every AIC-associated person that weekend will not ever be forgotten.

Damon Whitten: You remembered our faces after about a year when Bemidji State won that first game by more than a little. You took time to help coordinate media interviews with Mareks and Yuki Miura. In addition, you, like the other coaches in this article are straight up and honest about everything. We appreciate that, and know that as the Lakers progress this year, we will work to cover you with the same verve a national outlet covers the many bigger schools you play (this goes for all teams we cover).

Seth Dussault: You, my friend, have been such a support during our transition. You where the first media relations person to really believe in our mission.Within an hour of seeing you on the day where the non upset happened, I heard you promoting AIC to Oliver, talking about one of your most famous alumnae, Congressman Richard Neal. You are always there to provide feedback on our ideas and articles, and you are one of many people we are fortunate to have in our corner

Mike Corbett: Corbs, thank you for helping me find that spark and fire again. It’s always a joy to have you on the phone and just talk hockey. Our conversations could go on for days and I love how blunt and honest you are. It is much appreciated, the realness that you bring to the table is a rare and beautiful thing. The effort you put into this game, and have put into it for the many decades you have been a part of it, is a thing we hope to more fully chronicle one day.

Brian Riley: I will never forget the fact that you reached out to us on Twitter, my jaw hit the floor and I was on cloud nine for days leading up to our first conversation.Not often does any coach reach out to us, let alone one with your background (its ok to celebrate it a bit as its extensive). Now, it’s like talking to an old friend. You have helped us understand things in the bigger picture of life, and remind us of the simple joy of this game every time we talk. As we agree that College Hockey is a big family, thanks to you, and all whom you work with for making us feel more welcomed at the ever growing table this game provides us all. The joy that you get from coaching the future leaders of armed forces is contagious. I will never understand how Army West Point is forgotten about on the national conversation year after year.

Thank you to every one who has ever read anything that we put out, and to everyone in this game for allowing an independent outlet from Fargo North Dakota to provide you unique stories on so many teams. We have only just begun, and are excited, indeed, for what comes next.

Donate: To help us cover more games and tell more stories not found elsewhere about all of college sports, especially under represented athletes everywhere across the college sports landscape like unique untold stories across college hockey. Please click the below link and consider donating what you can. If you do, I will list you in every story about we write as a supporter of crowd-funded  journalism that can truly be free for all at this link:paypal.me/Seamorepsorts

Your donation will help expand what content we can offer and how many stories we can tell.

Bracketology Version One: Respecting Atlantic Hockey, and the WCHA

Photo Credit :Kelsey Lee-Violet Turtle Photography

This year, the bracket for the NCAA Men’s Ice Hockey Regionals will be more debated than normal. The Pairwise formula that is used to approximate which team is best is not valid on its own in terms of picking a 16 team bracket. It can be used to rate teams in intra conference consideration for those who have played uneven schedules. For inter conference selection it loses most of its value. With that being said, we will focus on the bubble teams for an at large bid today ,and look at the play of three teams. The bracket should not have historical biases in nit, and should simply focus on finding the best teams.

AIC

Eric Lang’s team went on a Covid-19 pause when they were playing their best hockey a few weeks ago. The Yellow Jackets have very few weaknesses in their team, and are able to boast one of the deepest rosters in this game. Lang’s group has been playing well, and by the way have already clinched the regular season conference championship for their third straight season. The only meanignful non coference series for this team came in December, when they got swept by Quinnipiac. In both of those games, at even strength, the Yellow Jackets played an offensive firepower very tough. Since then, they have lost a mere one time in regulation to an Army West Point team deserving of consideration as well. In short, this team is more than the 2019 version that shocked the world against St. Cloud State. They are a team that pushes the fight toward their opponent, and one that would make life tough for a team like North Dakota in the first round, as long as they live up to their discipline, and error free hockey. How this team is considered “on the bubble” and not a solid at large is one of the bigger mysteries of this season.

Army West Point

Brian Riley’s team is playing their best hockey at the right time. Should they defeat Holy Cross this Tuesday, they will set themselves up well for the Atlantic Hockey postseason. In addition they have a legitimate Hobey Baker Award Candidate on their team in Colin Bilek, who is second in the country in goals per game, a stifling defense that buys into playing the team-first game that they do, and Trevin Kozlowski in net. More importantly, Riley has his team repeating their success at scale suitable to earn an at large bid. His team is the only one in conference play to beat Lang’s during regulation. In terms of teams under consideration, having that fact to support you should help. While Riley himself is quite demure on the subject we will say it, his conference lead by AIC and Riley’s group deserve inclusion at least for both of them at the time.

Lake Superior State

The Lakers played a complete series against Alabama Huntsville that showcased their scoring depth and finnese. Mareks Mitens was superb in net on Friday, and is expereced to be their main starter going through the motion. While we think that the Lakers deserve inclusion in the big gourn

Like the other teams we have listed, this team is starting to gel as the season winds down. What they do to keep their good work going is up to them.

Donate: To help us cover more games and tell more stories not found elsewhere about all of college sports, especially under represented athletes everywhere across the college sports landscape like unique untold stories across college hockey. Please click the below link and consider donating what you can. If you do, I will list you in every story about we write as a supporter of crowd-funded  journalism that can truly be free for all at this link:paypal.me/Seamorepsorts

Your donation will help expand what content we can offer and how many stories we can tell.