Ever so quietly, the American International College hockey team has put together a late-season charge.
Heading into this weekend’s home-and-home series against Bentley, the Yellow Jackets have lost just one of their last nine games, including a seven-game unbeaten streak to improve their positioning in the standings in hopes of making a run in the Atlantic Hockey Association tournament.
A big kick start to a deep tournament run would be a first-round series in the friendly confines of the Olympia. While home was not kind to the Yellow Jackets, who started the season 2-7-2 on their own ice, they have been undefeated in their last four home contests.
However, for this scenario to play out, the Yellow Jackets would most likely have to sweep Bentley this weekend and get some help from RIT. Lucky for them, RIT has a lot to play for itself, including a shot, albiet a long one, at a top-4 finish in the AHA standings.
With the team’s 4-1 win over Army on Tuesday night, the Jackets also set a mark they have not reached in a decade – 10 wins.
In terms of his own personal accomplishments, Ben Meisner continued to build upon his school record in saves. The senior made 31 stops on the night and now has 3,566 for his career, surpassing Denver’s Ron Graham for 17th on the NCAA Division I all-time saves list. Graham made 3,565 career saves from 1970-73 for the Pioneers.
Meisner added to his accolades today when he was named Atlantic Hockey Goaltender of the Month.
Jeffs headed to NESCAC semis
The Amherst women’s hockey team, currently in a three-way tie for the ninth spot in the USCHO poll, will take on second-seeded Bowdoin in the NESCAC semifinals at Middlebury College after taking down sixth-seeded Hamilton on home ice in the quarters.
The Jeffs lost to Bowdoin in both regular season games against the Polar Bears, mustering just one goal as they fell 4-0 and 3-1.
Minutemen face uphill battle
UMass is still in the race for the final Hockey East Tournament spot, but it will be an interesting ride to the postseason.
UMass is in the eighth position with 17 points, just one point ahead of Maine following the Minutmen’s 5-2 win over the Black Bears last Saturday.
With that in mind, the Minutemen head to Durham this weekend for two games against No. 5 New Hampshire, a pair of contests with huge league implications. In addition to UMass’ ambitions, the Wildcats are currently in a furious battle for position, currently in a four-way tie for first place in the league with four games left to go. A mere two points separates first place from sixth place in the league.
While the Wildcats have not been stellar in the second half of the season, they are coming off of a three-point weekend against Vermont and have been playing with much more confidence since their 4-4 tie with No. 4 Boston College on Feb. 17. They also have a 9-3-1 home record, including a 6-3-1 mark in league play.
Meanwhile, Maine will host a Northeastern team that has stumbled badly since the Beanpot in which the Huskies were a surprising finalist, losing four out of their last five. Their last win was a 5-4 overtime win over UMass on Feb. 19.
However, points are no guarantee for Maine in this matchup. The Black Bears have been abysmal on home ice at 4-9-3 and have won just two home games in league play.
The following weekend, UMass takes on another hungry Hockey East opponent in Merrimack, who are just one point out of that four-way scrum at the top. Meanwhile, Maine will travel to New Hampshire for the conclusion of this year’s Border War, a pair of games in which UNH may be battling for the No. 1 seed in the Hockey East tournament as well as a No. 1 seed in the Northeast Regional of the NCAA Division I tournament in Manchester, N.H.