Atlantic Hockey Weekend Primer: RIT Heats Up, Mercyhurst Earns Accolades

Atlantic Hockey was once again in the national spotlight this past weekend, thanks to a big matchup between Niagara and the top-ranked team in the country, Denver. RIT also used a big series against Holy Cross to jump to the top of the conference standings and reclaim their spot as the favorite to once again advance to the NCAA Tournament.

Canisius finally gets in their first in-conference action of the season this weekend, but will face a tough task in a home-and-home series with Robert Morris, who returns after a weekend off. 

Catch all the action on FloHockey, including all of the following upcoming games this weekend.

Holy Cross @ Sacred Heart, Thursday, 7:05 PM & Sacred Heart @ Holy Cross, Friday, 7:05 PM

HOLY CROSS (0-1-1 AHA, 1-2-3 Overall)

LEADING SCORER: Neil Robinson (1 goal-7 assists-8 points)

LAST TIME OUT: The Crusaders made conference history with their shootout win over RIT on Saturday, becoming the first time to earn the extra point in the new overtime format in what would have otherwise been a 3-3 overtime tie.

SACRED HEART (3-2, 3-4-1)

LEADING SCORER: Jason Cotton (5-4-9), Matt Tugnutt (5-4-9)

LAST TIME OUT: The Pioneers split a home series against Air Force last weekend, taking the opener in dominant fashion, 7-1, but dropping the finale, 4-3. Eleven different Sacred Heart players recorded at least one point in the Friday night victory including three-point efforts from Braeden Tuck and Austin Magera, who each had a goal and two assists.

Niagara @ RIT, Friday, 7:05 PM & RIT @ Niagara, 7:05 PM

NIAGARA (0-2, 0-6)

LEADING SCORER: Four players tied with two points each

LAST TIME OUT: The Purple Eagles dropped both games to the Pioneers this past weekend, and remain winless to start the season. Niagara actually held a 2-1 lead over the nation’s top team through the first period of the series opener thanks to tallies by Chris Harpur and Brandon Stanley, but it was all Denver from the second period on through to the end of the Saturday finale.

RIT (3-0-1, 6-1-1)

LEADING SCORER: Three players tied with seven points each

LAST TIME OUT: RIT tied a league-high on the weekend with seven goals in the series-opening win over Holy Cross, a performance that included a hat trick by Andrew Rinaldi as well as a two-goal night by Will Calverly.

Bentley @ Air Force, Friday and Saturday, 7:05 PM

BENTLEY (2-3, 3-4)

LEADING SCORER: Jakov Novak (5-2-7) and Jonathan Desbiens (1-6-7)

LAST TIME OUT: The Falcons recovered from a disappointing series-opening loss at the hands of Mercyhurst on Friday to come back and post a big, 6-3 win over them the following night. Fraser Kirk made 22 saves in the victory, which was his first of the season.

AIR FORCE (1-3, 1-7)

LEADING SCORER: Brady Tomlak (3-4-7)

LAST TIME OUT: Air Force split their weekend series with Sacred Heart, rebounding from a tough loss to pull out a 4-3 victory in the finale thanks to three second period goals scored in the span of just under seven minutes that were enough to hang on for the win. Brady Tomlak and Matt Pulver each led the way with a goal and an assist each.

Robert Morris @ Canisius, Friday, 7:35 PM & Canisius @ Robert Morris, Saturday, 7:05 PM

ROBERT MORRIS (3-1, 3-4)

LEADING SCORER: Justin Addamo (1-5-6)

LAST TIME OUT: Robert Morris was idle last weekend.

CANISIUS (0-0, 1-4)

LEADING SCORER: Austin Alger (2-1-3)

LAST TIME OUT: The Golden Griffins split their weekend series with Union, getting shut out by their ECAC opponent in the first game, only to return the favor in the second. Matt Ladd stopped all 23 shots he faced on Saturday night to earn the victory. Matt Stief, J.D. Pogue, Keaton Mastrodonato and Lee Lapid each contributed with a goal.

Atlantic Hockey Monthly Awards

Player of the Month

Dalton Hunter - Mercyhurst

Sophomore, Forward - Greensburg, PA/Dubuque Fighting Saints

Dalton Hunter led Atlantic Hockey in scoring for the first month of the season, registering nine points in six October games. He had at least one point in all six games and multiple points in three of them, including wins over Arizona State and St. Lawrence.

Hunter was a vital part of the success Mercyhurst had on the power play, scoring twice and adding two assists while the Lakers had the man advantage. He also assisted on the game-winning goal in Mercyhurst’s 3-2 overtime win over St. Lawrence on October 10th. Hunter had been involved in 9 of the 15 Mercyhurst goals scored in October.

Goalie of the Month

Logan Drackett - RIT

Junior, Goalie - Calgary, ALB/Calgary Canucks

Logan Drackett backstopped RIT to a 5-1-0 record, a near top-20 ranking, and the top spot in the Atlantic Hockey standings in the first month of the season. He led the country in both goals against average and save percentage, tied for the lead in shutouts, and tied for second with wins. Drackett had 30-plus saves in five of six October games, including stopping a career-high 43 in a 2-1 win at Air Force.

Drackett opened the season with three-straight 30-save efforts, with wins over Colgate, Bowling Green in the opening round of the Ice Breaker, and Ohio State in the Ice Breaker championship game. He only conceded three goals once in the six games, in that championship game against Ohio State, and also notched shutouts against Merrimack and Air Force.

Rookie of the Month

Matt Radomsky - Holy Cross

Freshman, Goalie - Winnipeg, Manitoba/Steinbech Pistons

Matt Radomsky made his mark for the Crusaders in his first three career starts between the pipes. He started 3 of 4 Holy Cross games, picking-up his first career win in his first-ever start. Overall, he had a goals against average of 2.24 and save percentage of 0.916, both of which ranked third in Atlantic Hockey for the month.

His first career win was a 3-2 overtime victory over #6 Providence. Radomsky stopped 31 of 33 shots faced and earned the road win in his first career start. After a loss to Merrimack, he followed up with a 21-save, two-goal allowed tie against St. Lawrence.

Atlantic Hockey Weekly Award Winners

Player of the Week

Will Calverly – RIT

Sophomore, Forward – Scarborough, ONT/Chilliwack Chiefs

Calverley helped RIT to a 1-0-1 record last week, tallying three goals on six shots and finished the weekend +2. Friday, Calverley scored two goals, including the game-winner in a 7-4 win over Holy Cross. His goal at 14:47 of the third period proved to be the game winner. He scored in a 3-3 tie Saturday against the Crusaders. He also won 17-of-28 face-offs (60.7%).

Defensive Player of the Week

Adam Brubacher – RIT

Senior, Defense – Elmira, ONT/Powell River Kings

Brubacher helped RIT to a 1-0-1 record last week against Holy Cross. The senior defensemen tallied two assists, while finishing +6. He recorded both of his assists in Friday's 7-4 win for RIT, finishing +4. Saturday, Brubacher fired a shot and was +2 in a 3-3 draw.

Goalie of the Week

Matt Ladd – Canisius

Sophomore, Goalie – Getzville, NY/New Jersey Titans

Ladd backstopped Canisius to their first win of the 2019-20 season. He recorded his second career shutout by stopping all 23 shots faced in a 4-0 victory over Union at the LECOM Harborcenter. Ladd made a game-high 13 saves in the first period and turned aside all 10 shots he faced over the final two frames to help lead the Golden Griffins to victory.

Rookie of the Week

Braeden Tuck – Sacred Heart

Freshman, Forward – Calgary, ALB/Trail Smoke Eaters

Braeden Tuck extended his point streak to four games with a five-point weekend for Sacred Heart in a weekend split with Air Force. He had a goal and two assists and finished +4 in a 7-1 win on Friday, then added two more assists as the Pioneers tried to rally in a 4-3 loss to the Falcons on Saturday.

Mike Ashmore has 17 years of experience covering professional and college sports. You can follow him on all social media channels at @mashmore98.

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