Photo Credit:Kelsey Lee-Violet Turtle Photography
While said during a pandemic-marred season, Canisius Head Coach Trevor Large had a point when he said,of Atlantic Hockey “the reality of it is, that the progression of our conference at some point must warrant two teams.. its becoming undeniable that there should be a closer look at having two teams that should be in that tournament.”
While the non conference start for Atlantic Hockey has not been good enough to put themselves into the two at large bid consideration yet , things have been moving up for this conference. This past week alone, Bentley didn’t just “upset” Boston College, they out played them and never trailed. RIT added to its bona fides with a win over defending . ECAC Tournament Champion, St. Lawrence. Canisius themselves came back from three down to earn a tie in Clarkson’s rink tonight.
While it is undeniable that the league has more work to do in its non conference schedule to get two or more teams in the national tournament,it is also true that they are getting closer to that goal. In the categories of near win, just this week we had Army West Point in a one goal game against Wisconsin ( excluding empty net markers) each night. We also had AIC nearly earn the win against the defending champions on Saturday night. While those teams and those reading this will rightly say that more of those almost wins need to be wins, the teams are playing the right way to compete nationally. The best near result this conference had was Mercyhurst’s effort against Minnesota. The Lakers out played a top ten team through the first two periods of their finale and had their opponent have to come back.
That is from a young team that is looking to make noise in Atlantic Hockey this season. The Lakers went on to get 5 of six points in their next weekend, and are trying to build off of the positives they have dealt with recently out of conference.
In summary, is Atlantic Hockey where it needs to be for two bids to happen? No. Is the cap closing between this league and others pretty fast. That is more and more things are happening to bring parity to the game and making two bids a reality? We think the answer to that is yes.
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