09/14 7:30 PM
SRU @ Navy
Chris Wilk Named CHMA Coach of the Year
Congratulations to Chris Wilk for being named as the College Hockey Mid-America Coach of the Year for the second year in a row. Chris is the only two time winner in the history of the CHMA. After years of diligently building his program, Chris led John Carroll to its first ever CHMA regular season league championship and ACHA Division 1 National Tournament berth. John Carroll finished with a CHMA regular season record of 13-3-0.
2012-13 CHMA All Conference Teams Announced
Congratulations to the following individuals for being named to the 2012-2013 College Hockey Mid-America All-Conference Teams:
Forward: Alex Galbraith, Mercyhurst
Forward: J.T. Grahl, Slippery Rock
Forward: Pat Mayhew, Mercyhurst
Defense: Alex Castanzo, Duquesne
Defense: Matt Curry, John Carroll
Goaltender: Justin Camuto, John Carroll
Forward: Christian Lewton, West Virginia
Forward: Dan Potter, John Carroll
Forward: Dylan Trombetta, Duquesne
Defense: Bryan Campbell, IUP
Defense: Patrick Schafer, Mercyhurst
Goaltender: Ryan Lord, IUP
Rookie of the Year:
Kevin Valasek, Mercyhurst
Mercyhurst Captures CHMA Playoff Championship
Congratulations to Mercyhurst University for winning the 2012-2013 CHMA Playoff Championship. Mercyhurst, the 3rd seed, defeated #6 Pitt 3-2, #2 West Virginia 5-3, and #5 seed Duquesne 4-1 to win their first playoff championship.
WVU Ice Hockey announces new ACHA D1 Coaching Staff
WVU Ice Hockey General Manager Terry Jarrett announces new Mountaineer D1 head coach Paul Taibi. Coach Taibi is a WVU graduate and USA Hockey level 5 coach with two decades of successful head coaching experience including two years ACHA D1, three years of Junior A and B, one PA AAA state championship, and two AAA Penguins Cup championships. Paul’s assistant coaching staff includes Steve Wheeler and Mark Brossman. Steve is a past junior player from Brockville, Canada and current Associate Professor/Associate Chair, Occupational Therapy, at the WVU School of Medicine. Steve has a USA Hockey Level 4 coaching certification and his coaching experience includes Pittsburgh area elite youth travel teams and the Morgantown Blades youth hockey program. Mark is an ex-WVU player and WVU hockey Hall of Famer. Paul and his staff represent the future of WVU hockey and will provide the experience and stability to build a nationally recognized ACHA D1 hockey program.
In addition to the new coaching staff, WVU Ice Hockey announces that Tim Bosack is re-joining the Mountaineer family as Assistant Director of Recruiting. Tim and Director of Recruiting Shawn Dorsey are already building the talent necessary to support a top tier ACHA program. Tim will also be serving as our first Director of Fundraising. Tim is a successful Pittsburgh based business owner and past WVU D1 player. Tim joins Shawn, Tony Attanucci (Strength & Conditioning Coach), and Zach Sonnefeld (Advisor to Hockey Operations) as key support team members to the new coaching staff.
WVU General Manager Terry Jarrett also extends his sincere thanks to Coach Zack Eckman for accepting the Head Coach position for the 2012-2013 season. Zack’s willingness to step up to the head coaching position on short notice after Coach Sonnefeld left for the Penguins organization was critical to the performance of our young team throughout this season. We wish Zack all the best as he embarks upon his new engineering career. We also want to express our gratitude to Nick Bodnar for his one year of service as Assistant Coach for the D1 team. Both of these past players are dedicated to the program and true Mountaineers!
John Carroll Clinches CHMA Regular Season Title and Birth to Nationals
Congratulations goes out to John Carroll University for winning the CHMA regular season title and a birth to the 2013 ACHA National Championship’s in Bensenville, IL. This is the first title for John Carroll.
Pitt and Duquesne to Play Outdoors
Pitt D1 will face off against Duquesne University in an outdoor game this Sunday, Jan. 6th at 7:30 pm at Highmark Stadium. The stadium is located at Station Square near the Gateway Clipper Fleet and the Sheraton hotel. Admission is free to all fans. Please come out and support our teams in exciting ACHA Division 1 action.
Power Outage doesn’t Turn Out the Lights on John Carroll’s Fundraising Efforts
JCU’s October charity game for the Lerner School at the Cleveland Clinic was almost derailed by a power outage. However, the Blue Streaks and Michigan-Dearborn were still able to put on a show for their special guests.
As the idiom states, even the best laid plans of mice and men oft go astray. This was exactly the case for the John Carroll Blue Streaks and their annual charity game this season.
JCU had set up the third game of their pre-halloween weekend to serve as a fundraiser for the Lerner School at the Cleveland Clinic Center for Autism. However, a power outage shortly after warm ups led to the postponement of the game between the two teams.
“We just were another causal of hurricane Sandy as we were finally getting the wind and rain from the storm it was causing a lot of car accidents and affecting transformers all over town,” said JCU coach Mike O’Grady. “We later found out that a car accident on [Route 91] had taken out a transformer knocking out power to the entire campus of Gilmour.”
The power outage, which was expected to last for hours, had the potential to tarnish what was sure to be a great afternoon for both teams, the fans and visiting students from the Lerner School. Some quick thinking cooked up a shootout between both teams that involved the full roster from each squad.
A shootout consisting of plenty of creative and sometimes humorous dekes and celebrations ensured that those in attendance still got to see some hockey that day despite the let down from the power outage. One lucky Lerner Center student got to pose with the two teams upon completion of the skills competition.
“It was a blast,” O’Grady said. “Everyone had so much fun with it, even the [Michigan-Dearborn] goalie went and gave one of the Lerner students a fist bump through the glass and the kid was elated. The celebrations were great and the score didn’t matter it was just about having fun and putting on a show for the people who stayed throughout the complications of the power outage.”
Although the power outage forced some major changes to the planned game – the rescheduled game will be played on January 13 at Dearborn – the fundraising effort was still a rousing success. While the outage eliminated the ability for the post-game ceremony to announce the results of the fundraising effort, the outage didn’t prevent the Blue Streaks from exceeding the goal they set for the game. The entire gate profit from attendance was donated along with other on-campus efforts from the week leading up to the game. O’Grady noted that a number of Dearborn players also added generous donations to the effort once the shootout concluded.
As a team at a Jesuit institution, the Blue Streaks participate in one major service project on a yearly basis. Between the various charitable efforts at games in previous years to five years coaching the Learn-to-Play program at Gilmour, JCU has maintained a consistent presence in the community for a number of seasons. While the Livestrong Foundation and food banks in Northeast Ohio have benefited from previous JCU charity games, joining forces with The Lerner School offered a different way for the team to give back.
“In the three years I have been here this was the biggest fundraising effort that our guys put forth,” O’Grady said. “The charity of choice just fell into our lap through a friend of mine who happened to work for the Lerner Center.
“We chose to go in that direction because we felt the timing was right and it would allow our guys to fulfill their requirement and allow them to experience something they would not normally get to experience.”
The relationship with The Lerner Center didn’t just end when the lights went out at Gilmour either. Some Blue Streak players were able to make a special visit to the school while the entire team participated in an open skate with part-time students from the Lerner School.
“Our guys had a blast and the kids seemed to love skating the players,” O’Grady said. “We would like to be able to give more of our guys a chance to go down to the [Lerner School] to visit and hang out with the kids and learn about what a great place the school is and all that goes into caring for and teaching the kids.”
O’Grady also pointed to more plans for the horizon with JCU’s relationship with the community. Although he doesn’t believe anything will be added for the spring semester, he hopes that JCU’s involvement with community projects continues to grow.
“We are looking to expand for next year and have two community service efforts one each semester,” he said. “It is great for our guys to help out and creates and opportunity to learn and help kids that our guys would not normally get the opportunity to interact with.”
Barring any unforeseen hiccups, all future plans for JCU’s charitable outreach are ready to expand. Even if the lights aren’t on, the Blue Streaks will be giving back.
Pitt Hockey Featured in The Pitt News
Article borrowed from The Pitt News October 25, 2012
Rob Behling stood in the net, eyeing an oncoming three-man rush.
As a junior goaltender of Pitt’s Division I men’s club hockey team, it was something Behling had faced many times before. This time, however, was a bit different. Sidney Crosby, Pascal Dupuis and Ben Lovejoy of the Pittsburgh Penguins were skating at full speed straight toward him.
Dupuis glided down the left side, took a pass and then hit Crosby on the right to put it in the goal.
“It’s an unbelievable pace. You can mentally prepare for it, but you don’t know what it’s going to be like until you’re actually doing it,” Behling said.
Add this to the list of incredible team bonding experiences that take place each season for members of the club. And don’t be deceived by the word “club.” The highly competitive team is a member of the American Collegiate Hockey Association and College Hockey Mid-America division. As of last week, the team is ranked No. 24 in the ACHA, with conference play having begun two weeks ago. Its record is 5-4 overall and 3-0 in CHMA play.
Along with Behling, nine other Panther upperclassmen took part in the unique opportunity to practice and scrimmage at a Southpointe, Pa., rink with seven Penguins players, who are currently locked out of NHL competition amidst labor negotiations. Behling’s connection with a Penguins equipment manager landed him and his teammates the opportunity to skate with the pros, who are eager for competition and a goalie to shoot on while their offseason lingers. Behling filled in as a netminder for the team last Thursday, and afterward some of the Penguins players suggested he bring along a few of his Pitt teammates for a scrimmage.
“It was kind of a joke at first, but then we got serious, and Friday we sort of finalized it,” Behling said.
Joining him for the Monday morning skate were defenseman Scott Litwack and forward Anthony Matrisciano, both seniors and New Jersey natives. The two could not be happier with their decision to play hockey at Pitt.
For Litwack and many others on the team, the hockey culture and lifestyle has become a way of life.
“It’s something we’ve been doing our entire lives. I started skating when I was probably 4 or 5 years old and been doing it for over 15 years. It’s become part of what we do I guess,” Litwack said.
“Even outside the rink we all hang out together. I spend all my free time with players on the team,” Matrisciano said.
General Manager Andy Mecs, a Pitt graduate and four-year player on the hockey club, said the team has come a long way since his playing days from 1996 to 2000, but the traditions remain true.
“It’s been hard to walk away from because it’s such a great group of guys every year, and you want them to have a good experience,” he said.
While the players themselves realize the benefits of playing hockey, the reality remains that they’re not very well-known throughout campus.
“The thing I don’t like is that we’re considered on the same level as something along the lines of an intramural sport. We have nationals. There’s rankings every week,” Matrisciano said.
Litwack agreed, adding, “It’s definitely a point of frustration. We do put a lot of time and effort into it, and we’re not recognized maybe as much as we’d like. We’re no slouches,” he said.
Despite the lack of recognition, it’s evident these players care too much about the game and one another to give it up.
“We’re not playing it for the fanfare. We’re playing because we love the game and we have fun doing it,” Behling said.
It’s easy to forget about a team that plays all of its home games about 30 minutes from campus in Harmarville, Pa. But because of tight budget constraints and the expensive cost of ice time, the team doesn’t have much of a choice. It practices twice a week for an hour and a half each night, starting around 10 p.m. because ice time is cheaper later in the day.
Matrisciano claims the late start isn’t so bad as long as you don’t have an 8 a.m. class the next day.
The travel, whether it’s carpooling to Harmarville or riding a bus to an away game, also serves as bonding time for the team.
Behling, a junior and Mt. Lebanon, Pa., native, transferred from the University of Connecticut, where he played hockey for the Huskies. Although he came to Pitt primarily for academics, he has also found his niche within Pitt’s hockey club.
“For a club sport, we do spend a lot of time together. Driving all the way to Harmarville, practicing, four-hour bus rides — It’s great. It’s not a typical club sport,” he said.
Last week the team traveled to Ohio to take on conference foe Ohio University.
“We’re talking about a three-hour bus ride to OU, then staying at a hotel. And because of our budget constraints, it’s not a comfortable stay in a hotel,” Behling said jokingly. “But again, that’s kind of the bonding and team experience that we talk about.”
Head coach Stu Rulnick, entering his second year at the helm for the Panthers, also believes in the team experience and bases part of his coaching philosophy on this principle. Rulnick, former head coach of 10 years for Plum High School, said the open-door policy he has established is good for him as well as his players.
“It helps not only with problems inside hockey, but problems outside hockey as well. It helps them and gives them confidence in the person they’re playing for,” Rulnick said.
“[Rulnick] is definitely one of the most approachable coaches I’ve ever played for,” Matrisciano said.
While the players also said there was an inevitable adjustment period in getting used to a new coach, last year’s season, the first with Rulnick at the helm, ended with 22 wins and a spot in the conference championship.
Litwack noted, “You see it in the results.”
The 20-win season was the first for this year’s senior class and is something they look to build upon this year.
“For our senior class, the first few years were kind of rough. We were around .500. We had high expectations and underachieved a little bit maybe. Coming into last year, we were more leaders. That was our big leap. We almost won our league championship,” Litwack said.
The winning season ended with a heartbreaking 1-0 loss to division rival West Virginia. Behling, playing his first season for Pitt last year, earned himself the starter role and played in 27 games, including the conference final. Despite his impressive season statistics, Behling admits, “I wish I could’ve had that one goal back,” referring to the West Virginia game. “It hit me right in the hand and dropped in.”
While the Pitt football and basketball teams now search for a new rival after West Virginia’s departure from the Big East, the hockey rivalry remains strong between the two. They’ll renew the rivalry Nov. 3 in Harmarville at 4:50 p.m.
“Certainly, West Virginia is our biggest rival because they’re in our conference. They’re really the main team we compete with to go to nationals. Especially this year, we have that expectation we can get to nationals because we were just so close last year,” Behling said.
Despite losing their all-time leading points scorer, Robby McDyre, and two other top scorers to graduation, the Panthers have high expectations entering this year.
Newcomers Cole Snyder and Nick Blaney are expected to replace some of the scoring the team has lost from last year. Likewise, sophomore forward Brian Stein has his upperclassmen teammates sensing big things to come.
“There’s some freshmen last year that are now stepping up into new roles, and they’re doing really well in them so far,” Litwack said.
As someone who has seen a number of teams come through Pitt’s hockey program, Mecs is also optimistic looking forward.
“I see how hockey and the program has progressed. I think the sky’s the limit,” he said.
Mercyhurst to Play Duquesne at Quicken Loans Arena
Three CHMA Teams Ranked in Top 25
West Virginia, Pitt, and Mercyhurst Represent CHMA in ACHA National Rankings College Hockey Mid-America is well represented in the ACHA Division 1 National Rankings to open the season. West Virginia (#18), Pitt (#22), and Mercyhurst (#25) have all landed spots in the Top 25. IUP and John Carroll have each secured votes as well. The full rankings appear below.
2012-2013 ACHA Men’s Division 1 Ranking #1
Others receiving votes: Niagara, Indiana (PA), Syracuse, Buffalo, Michigan-Dearborn, Canisius, Eastern Michigan, and John Carroll.