Photo Credit: Kelsey Lee-Violet Turtle Photography
This season, the Atlantic Hockey Association is going forward with 10 members, due to the choice of the administration of Robert Morris to not sponsor their men’s team. That decision has since changed, pending results of fundraising outcomes relative to the team, but the 10 remaining members of the conference decided to move forward themselves, and add some extra non conference games for each member school this year. We hope Robert Morris Hockey comes back, and this article is written in the present of the Colonials not being a part of Atlantic Hockey. If or when that changes, we will revise this content plan as needed to account for that.
With that in mind, here is one game or series per team against one opponent that creates the best chance for that member to put themselves, and this often overlooked conference on the map. We have nine more articles to write for the other members of this superb conference.
American International College
Well, this home and home series is a battle of champions. The reigning Atlantic Hockey Champions take on the National Champions in a fierce October home and home fracas. What Eric Lang’s team has going for him is the benefit of veterans returning. The Yellow Jackets return most of their roster, and bring in high end transfers, Chris Van-Os Shaw, and Brian Rigali to make up for some of the scoring lost by the departure of Tobias Fladeby.
In terms of what this series means to AIC, it sets the tone for their season. If Lang’s group can learn from their season opener against Providence, and win their homecoming game against the National Champions, they set themselves up well for the future. What stood out about Lang’s group that finished the season was their remarkable consistency. In a very short time, Lang has taken a school that not enough people knew about and put them on the map of college hockey, and gotten them known internationally, for the efforts of his group. If you look at this group, there only two loses in the second half of the last campaign to Army West Point, a team one bounce away from facing the Yellow Jacket
How has he done that? By building the right culture, of good people, and of a team that buys in to one another. That has lead to players recruiting players, like how Julius Janhonen heard more about AIC. In addition, that culture, this team, allows them to overcome adversity, and embrace opportunity well. They will be facing the National Champions, and one of their biggest rivals with a chance to put their group up in the Pairwise, put the rest of this sport on notice to their potential, and do all of this with a veteran roster.
Eric Lang and his staff embrace a challenge. Outside of their conference, the Minutemen are their biggest impediment to earning an at large bid. His group will be ready to face the champs, full of a roster of newer players, and talent in bunches. The puck drops in the middle of October on this momentous series. Lang will have his group of good humans ready to compete.
Look for nine more of these articles highlighting the value of nine more non conference series.
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