College Hockey Inc.
Men's Notes: Atlantic Hockey Race Goes Down to Wire
Defending Champ RIT Tries to Fend off Red-Hot Holy Cross

Holy Cross junior Liam McLinskey has six straight multi-point games (Photo: Holy Cross Athletics).

The first regular-season conference champion in NCAA Division I men’s hockey could be known as early as tonight. Holy Cross is hoping to prolong the suspense.

The Crusaders will play their final game of the regular season this evening when they host Bentley. Holy Cross enters the night trailing Atlantic Hockey leader RIT – which has two games remaining – by two points. The only way the Crusaders could delay RIT’s coronation as league champion is to defeat Bentley in regulation.

It’s entirely possible. After all, Holy Cross is riding its first seven-game winning streak since the 2010-11 season. If the Crusaders can stretch that streak to eight, RIT would need to pick up one point in its weekend series against Canisius in order to repeat as league champion.

If Holy Cross leapfrogs RIT tonight, and the Tigers are unable to gain a point against Canisius, the Crusaders would claim the conference title.

Regardless of how it all shakes out, Holy Cross’ late-season run has been impressive. The Crusaders got out of the gates quickly this season, winning each of their first four games, but a seven-game winless streak immediately followed. After a 4-3 loss to Merrimack on Jan. 2, Holy Cross was stuck with a middling 9-9-3 record.

Things began to turn the following weekend with a win and a tie against AIC. That began a 9-2-1 stretch that includes the current seven-game winning streak.

Much like he did down the stretch last year when he erupted for nine goals in seven March games, F Liam McLinskey (Jr., Pearl River, N.Y.) has anchored the offense for Holy Cross, rattling off six straight multi-point games heading into tonight.

But he’s had plenty of help. Senior Jack Ricketts (Oakville, Ontario) ranks second in Atlantic Hockey with a career-high 18 goals. Four other players besides McLinskey and Ricketts have posted 20-plus points.

At the other end of the rink, the goaltending tandem of Thomas Gale (Jr., Kirkland, Quebec) and Jason Grande (Sr., West Chester, Pa.) has combined for a .921 save percentage, the fourth-best mark in the entire nation.

Regardless of whether Holy Cross prevents RIT from repeating as Atlantic Hockey regular-season champ, recent results suggest the Crusaders are in position to make a run at the program’s first conference playoff title since 2005-06.

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Must Read:

Boston Globe: Hockey East is coming down to BC and BU, and other takeaways from the weekend
College Hockey News: Veinbergs’ midseason return another boost for surging CC
College Hockey News: Penn State fits Bouquot’s final season
College Hockey News: Team of the Week: New Hampshire
EP Rinkside: The Hobey Baker race keeps getting hotter
ESPN: Projecting the NCAA men’s hockey tournament field
Grand Forks Herald: Jake Schmaltz working to break through offensively Luke Hughes sets top skating speed by defenseman this season
The Rink Live: Kraken draft pick Barrett Hall is bringing versatility to SCSU as a freshman
The Rink Live: Jere Vaisanen’s surge for Bemidji State comes with a mix of speed and physicality
USCHO: After sweeping then-No. 2 North Dakota, Colorado College starting to believe more and more
USCHO: No mediocrity in middle of Hockey East standings with end to regular season fast approaching
USCHO: Back from injury, Bemidji State captain Looft pushing teammates ‘to realize what’s at stake’
USCHO: Gearing up to defend its championship, Quinnipiac ‘big on focusing on the controllables’

Must Hear:

Bulldog Insider: Olson, Loheit look back on five seasons at UMD
CHN Insiders: Featuring New Hampshire Head Coach Mike Souza
Inside Atlantic Hockey: Sacred Heart junior D Hunter Sansbury
Inside ECAC Hockey: Featuring St. Lawrence senior G Ben Kraws
Inside Hockey East: Featuring Northeastern’s Gunnarwolfe Fontaine & Providence’s Guillaume Richard
NCHC Icecast: How the Penrose race tightened up over the last weekend
Parting Schotts: Josh Hauge looks back at Quinnipiac-Princeton games; previews Harvard-Dartmouth
The CCHA Show: Featuring USCHO’s Jack Hittinger & the Bemidji Pioneer’s Jared Rubado
USCHO Weekend Review: Rough weekend for top 10 teams make conference races, PairWise interesting

Must Watch:

KETV Omaha: Mike Kemp, UNO first head coach and long-time administrator, announces retirement
NCAA: Michigan State, Denver enter Power 5 rankings

This is Forty:

Bowling Green will recognize the 40th anniversary of the school’s 1984 NCAA championship Saturday.

The team, including legendary head coach Jerry York, will be honored during the game against Michigan Tech. York guided the Falcons to a 34-8-2 overall record, as well as a 22-4-2 CCHA mark and a third consecutive conference title.

Future NHLer Gino Cavallini delivered the national championship when he scored in the fourth overtime of the title game against Minnesota Duluth. Other future NHLers from that BGSU squad included Garry Galley, Dave Ellett and Iain Duncan. Current RIT Head Coach Wayne Wilson served as team co-captain.

Click HERE for more information.

We’re Going Streaking:

Boston College linemates Gabe Perreault (Fr., Hinsdale, Ill.) and Will Smith (Fr., Lexington, Mass.) are both riding matching 15-game point streaks, which are the longest in NCAA Division I men’s hockey this season. They’ve combined for 21 goals and 55 points over those 15 games.

The nation’s longest streak had previously belonged to their BC teammate Cutter Gauthier (So., Scottsdale, Ariz.), who amassed a 14-gamer earlier this year.

F Ryan Leonard (Amherst, Mass.), the third member of BC’s all-freshman line alongside Perreault and Smith, is working on a 13-game point streak of his own. He has 11 goals and 24 helpers in that time.

Perreault (48 points) and Smith (46) rank 1-2 in the NCAA scoring race, while Leonard (41) sits eighth. Denver (Jack Devine, Massimo Rizzo) is the only other team with multiple 40-point players.

Bench Boss Benchmarks:

A pair of head coaches reached significant milestones last Friday.

In South Bend, Notre Dame’s 6-1 win over Minnesota was Jeff Jackson’s (Michigan State ‘78) 1000th game as an NCAA Division I head coach. Jackson, a two-time Spencer Penrose Award winner as national coach of the year, is in his 19th season leading the Fighting Irish. He also served as head coach at Lake Superior State from 1990-96

That same evening, UMass Lowell Head Coach Norm Bazin (UMass Lowell ’94) earned his 300th NCAA coaching win in the River Hawks’ 4-2 victory over Northeastern. Bazin took over at his alma mater prior to the 2011-12 campaign and won the Spencer Penrose Award the very next season. He began his NCAA head-coaching career with a three-year stint (2008-11) at Hamilton College.

Fit to Print:

“There would not be Omaha hockey or Baxter Arena without Mike Kemp.”

-- Omaha Head Coach Mike Gabinet (Omaha ’04) on former Mavericks bench boss and longtime UNO administrator Mike Kemp, who announced his retirement this week (source:

NHL Note of the Week:

Colorado C Andrew Cogliano (Michigan, 2005-07) is scheduled to play in NHL career game No. 1,271 tonight in Detroit, which would move him past Rob Blake (Bowling Green, 1987-90) and into sole possession of 10th all-time among NCAA alumni.

Cogliano was selected 25th overall by Edmonton in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft. Once Cogliano plays in game No. 1,271, only Anze Kopitar (1,346) will have played in more games from that 2005 draft class.

Fries at the Bottom of the Bag:

The next goal for Air Force senior F Will Gavin (Durham, Conn.) will be the 50th of his NCAA career. Only seven other active players have reached that milestone … Alaska sophomore G Lassi Lehti (Espoo, Finland) received his first career start Saturday against Long Island and responded with a 23-save shutout in the Nanooks’ 4-0 victory … Colorado College freshman F Zaccharya Wisdom (Toronto, Ontario) tied the NCHC single-game record with four goals in Friday’s 7-1 win over North Dakota. Wisdom finished the series with a seven-point weekend … Augustana G Zack Rose (Gr., Paradise, Newfoundland) registered the first shutout in program history in Friday’s 3-0 win at Lake Superior State … Saturday’s 1-1 tie and shootout victory with Yale on Saturday ran Cornell’s unbeaten streak to 14 games. It also secured a third straight Ivy League title for the Big Red … Vermont announced Tuesday it was removing the interim label from head coach Steve Wiedler’s (Southern Maine ’11) title and had also agreed to a four-year contract with Wiedler, who was hired July 18, 2023.

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