Atlantic Hockey

Atlantic Hockey Transfers Making Noise

Atlantic Hockey Transfers Making Noise

Some programs are still adjusting to locker room changes and a handful of transfers have already made an impact as the semester break nears.

Dec 13, 2021 by Jacob Messing
Atlantic Hockey Transfers Making Noise

The pandemic changes of the 2020-21 NCAA hockey season left a handful of programs opting out and saw the NCAA revisit transfer rules and eligibility restraints, leading to significant changes across college hockey for the 2021-22 season.

Among those changes, players were offered a fifth-year and transfers were granted immediate eligibility. Atlantic Hockey programs wasted no time recruiting transfers, grad students, and bolstering their lineups.

Some programs are still adjusting to locker room changes and a handful of transfers have already made an impact as the semester break nears. More will likely use the break to rest and come back in the new year with a vengeful mindset to help their new team. 

AIC Still Adjusting

Among those programs adjusting to the changes are the Yellow Jackets. After three consecutive Atlantic Hockey titles the Jackets sit at 4-4 in conference play and 4-9-1 overall. Failing to string together even two consecutive wins has a new conference champion nearly locked.

A once enviable offense has been stripped down to just 2.57 goals-for per-game. While the locker room dynamic has changed, transfer Brian Rigali is thriving.

After four seasons with UConn, where Rigali added depth to the Huskies, he’s taken his new role in stride with a team-leading 10 points (3 G, 7 A) in 12 games. He’s just one point shy of matching his career high of 11 points in 29 games during the Huskies’ 2018-19 season.

A turnaround is almost certain for coach Eric Lang’s team, but anything shy of a conference tournament title likely won’t snag AIC another ticket to the National Tournament.

Bentley Falcons Flying

Sitting atop Atlantic Hockey, Bentley has won five straight and is enjoying their winter break. A 5-1 record from transfer goaltender Evan DeBrouwer has been at the center of the magic.

DeBrouwer joined the Falcons after three seasons with Arizona State. He was also the center of attention during the Sun Devils’ launch into recognition, amassing a 19-11-3 record backed by a 2.52 GAA, .919 SV percentage, and four shutouts.

A rocky follow-up season turned into a split role and now DeBrouwer is using his fresh start to lift Bentley to a surprising season with a 1.71 GAA and .946 SV percentage through seven games. 

The change of scenery seems to have been enough given his split role with Nicholas Grabko. But DeBrouwer’s consistency should start to see starts and ice time tilt in his favor. 

Canisius: Second-Half Sophomore To Watch

Within striking distance of the Falcons, but seven points back and two teams between them, the Golden Griffins boast two transfers that are sure to yield some wins in 2022.

Joey Matthews has already made his mark as the go-to puck-mover from the backend. Matthews spent 2017-20 with Dartmouth, accumulating one goal and 18 points over 82 games.

His senior year was forgone when Dartmouth, in conjunction with the Ivy League, opted out of the 2020-21 NCAA season. Now a year later Matthews has a modest two goals and nine points in 15 games as the Griffins leading scoring defenseman.

A transfer from the folded Robert Morris Colonials, Randy Hernandez went from 2021 AHA Rookie of the Year to transferring in conference.

Hernandez recorded 11 goals and 25 points in 24 games during the 2020-21 season. With just two goals and four points in 10 games, defensive adaptation, his change in role and scenery has left more to be desired. But Hernandez is more than a flash in the pan and could be a second-half surprise as the Griffins reload ahead of 2022.

Sacred Heart Has Robbins In The Nest

Third place in the conference, the Pioneers are returning to their 2019-20 breakout campaign that was cut short due to the pandemic and ultimately led into an offseason of significant turnover.

At the center of the resurgence is netminder Justin Robbins. Robbins was another transfer out of Arizona State’s crease and has carried himself well through the first half of the season. He holds a 4-4-3 record with a 2.29 GAA, and .917 SV percentage.

The Pioneers have won three of their past four and taken points in six of their past eight outings to jump the standings and keep themselves within reach of the conference title. With the second half of the season left, Robbins and the Pioneers will be tasked with longevity and consistency.

Robbins has already played three times more NCAA hockey than his first two seasons combined. A rest and reset over the semester break could be the recipe for a march into March.

Don’t miss any of these transfers in action, watch all five live with their respective programs all season long right here on FloHockey.

Have a question or a comment for Jacob Messing? You can find him on Twitter @Jacob_Messing.