Yellow Jackets no longer joke
American International head coach Eric Lang admits the program was “the laughingstock” of college hockey as recently as two years ago.
Make no mistake. Nobody is laughing at the Yellow Jackets these days.
After registering a weekend sweep at Army, 3-0 and 5-2, AIC sits atop Atlantic Hockey (17-12-1, 17-8-1). The 17 wins are the program’s most since moving to Div. 1 in 1998-99 and most overall since 1992-93 (16-8-3). The Jackets’ closest league pursuer is another resurgent team, Bentley (14-11-3 13-7-2), which is riding the nation’s longest unbeaten streak at 11 games, including seven straight wins.
AIC junior goalie Zackarias Skog blanked Army on Friday to set team singleseason marks for wins (13) and shutouts (four). The Yellow Jackets have scored 102 goals, most in its Div. 1 era, despite missing junior forward Hugo Reinhardt, who had 11 points (five goals) in 16 games before being injured. In his absence, fellow junior Blake Christensen has set the the program record for points in a season with 37 points (13 goals).
“So far, so good. I think we have a good group,” said Lang, a former AIC captain. “Two years ago, we hoped we could win. Last year, we thought we could win. This year, we expect to win. They haven’t settled for anything. They haven’t stopped believing. They have a chip on the their shoulder. We have to continue to win games down the stretch.”
Bentley coach Ryan Soderquist‘s team swept Canisius, 3-2 and 6-4, at home. Junior sniper Jonathan Desbiens is having a breakout campaign with a team-high 13 goals and has scored in eight straight games. Junior Aidan Pelino has reached 1,723 career saves.
“The guys have played well the last month. Obviously, they’re playing with a lot of confidence and doing a little better job in the defensive zone,” said Soderquist, a product of Arlington Catholic and Bentley’s career leading scorer. “I think it started right before the Christmas break. We lost a 2-1 game to Harvard at our place. I thought we played with a lot of energy. They’re a good offensive team, and I thought we left a couple of goals out there.”
Quiz of the week
This Northeastern great scored his only NHL goal against the Bruins. Who is he? Answer below.
Tip o’ the fedora
Providence junior goalie Hayden Hawkey beat Maine, 1-0, to post season (six) and career (14) program records for shutouts. …
Endicott senior forward Tommy Besinger set singlegame team records with six assists and seven points in an 8-4 rout of Wentworth on Saturday, including his 100th career point. Senior sidekick Daniel Kucerovy helped with three goals and three assists. …
Salve Regina sophomore Danny Eruzione of Winthrop, nephew of 1980 Olympic gold medalist Mike, erupted for six points (two goals) in a 11-1 thrashing of Becker. He had support from sophomores Paul Boutoussov (two goals, two assists) and Vince Renda (goal, three assists).
Westfield State goalie Thierry Messervier made 51 saves in a 4-3 win against UMass-Dartmouth on Saturday. Two nights earlier, New Zealand native Jake Ratcliffe had a hat trick in a 6-0 win against Framingham. …
Stonehill senior goalie William Palmer had 57 stops to edge St. Michael’s, 3-2. …
Game times for tonight’s Beanpot are BU vs. Harvard at 4:30 p.m. in the consolation game, and BC vs. Northeastern at 7:30 for the title. …
The Travis Roy Foundation will host its second annual Beanpot Charity Hockey Challenge fundraiser at Agganis Arena tomorrow with a Legends Game at 3:45 p.m. and Young Guns Game at 5 p.m.