Yel­low Jack­ets no longer joke

Boston Herald - - SPORTS - BY JOHN CON­NOLLY Mil­ton’s Jim Fa­hey. Drop the puck! — jcon­[email protected]­her­

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).

Messervier solid

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.

Quiz an­swer

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