RMU Hockey Owns No. 1 Spot In Atlantic Hockey Conference Power Rankings


The battle over supremacy of Atlantic Hockey continues as the conference closes out the month of January this weekend, and the home stretch of February looms on the horizon.

With a four-game win streak in hand, Derek Schooley’s RMU Colonials this week climbed back into the United States College Hockey Online rankings at No. 20.

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There was one AHC program in the “others receiving votes” section of the USCHO survey, and that was Canisius in the No. 6 slot. In the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine poll, Robert Morris was the only AHC squad to be in the “others receiving votes” category.

The teams continue to jockey for position in the standings with the conference tournament just five weekends away. Let’s take time out to refill our coffee mugs and check out this week’s City Of Champions Sports AHC Power Rankings.

1) RMU Colonials (17-5-4 overall / 14-3-3, 31 points AHA) – Last Week #1: Two of the reasons the Colonials remain in first place are Alex Bontje and Greg Gibson.

Freshman defenseman Bontje blocked five shots last weekend in the Colonials sweep of Holy Cross. The 6-foot-1, 200-pound member of the blue line crew was named AHC Defensive Player of the Week.

Our own Matt Gajtka wrote this week, here on City of Champion Sports, about how junior center Gibson keeps opponents off-balance with his speed. Robert Morris wings their way west to Cadet Ice Arena in Colorado Springs for two against Air Force. (PairWise Ranking #24 / KRACH Ranking #33)

2) Canisius College Golden Griffins (12-8-6 overall / 11-4-5, 27 points AHA) – Last Week #3: Partly responsible for the rise of the Golden Griffins are Ralph Cuddemi and Ryan Schmelzer.

Junior forward Cuddemi had four goals and two assists in last weekend’s sweep of Niagara. Freshman forward Schmelzer contributed two goals and one assist against the Purple Eagles.

For their efforts, Cuddemi was given the AHC Player of the Week award and Schmelzer was named Co-Rookie of the Week with Robert Aniolella of Niagara. The Griffs are off this weekend. (PairWise Ranking #41 – Tied with New Hampshire, Bentley, and Maine / KRACH Ranking #48)

3) Mercyhurst University Lakers (12-8-4 overall / 10-5-3, 23 points AHA) – Last Week #2: Nick Phelan of Along The Boards reported that Mercyhurst has been without the services of their starting goaltender Jimmy Sarjeant the last two weekends. Rick Gotkin’s squad has gone 2-1-1 with the 6-foot, 180-pound senior netminder on the shelf. The Lakers are back in Erie this weekend for a pair of home games with Bentley. (PairWise Ranking #34 / KRACH Ranking #43)

4) Bentley University Falcons (11-11-3 overall / 9-7-3, 21 points AHA) – Last Week #4: Junior right wing Andrew Gladiuk is firing on all cylinders as the 6-foot-1, 190-pound forward leads the team with six power play goals and three game winning scores. (PairWise Ranking #41 / KRACH Ranking #49)

5) Air Force Falcons (11-13-3 overall / 10-6-2, 22 points AHA) – Last Week #6: When the calendar changed from 2014 to 2015, so did the flight plan of the Falcons. They have put together a 7-1-1 record since the beginning of January, and have won six consecutive contests. Keep an eye on Air Force as last season, they went 9-5-4 through the 2013 part of the campaign, and closed 2014 at a 11-7 clip to finish in third place. (PairWise Ranking #50 / KRACH Ranking #51)

6) RIT Tigers (9-11-4 overall / 8-6-4, 20 points AHA) – Last Week #5: This week, the Tigers are ranked sixth in the country at 88.6 percent on the penalty-kill. Sophomore defenseman Alex Perron-Fontaine leads the team with 37 blocks, and freshman defenseman Chase Norris is second with 34 blocks this season. RIT welcomes Army to the Gene Polisseni Center for two this weekend. (PairWise Ranking #48 / KRACH Ranking #52)

7) Holy Cross College Crusaders (8-12-5 overall / 7-7-5, 19 points AHA) – Last Week #7: Phelan also noted that Holy Cross has been without their starting goaltender Matt Ginn since Jan. 10 when he left the game that night in the first period against Canisius. The team has lost six straight contests without the 6-foot, 181-pound senior netminder between the pipes. The Crusaders attempt to get back on track when they host Niagara for two this weekend. (PairWise Ranking #51 / KRACH Ranking #55)

8) Sacred Heart University Pioneers (7-15-4 overall / 6-10-4, 16 points AHA) – Last Week #8: Senior goaltender Alex Vazzano turned away 58 of 61 shots last weekend as the Pioneers captured a tie and a win against Mercyhurst. The 6-foot-2, 200-pound netminder was named the AHC Goaltender of the Week. The Pioneers play AIC on Friday and Saturday. (PairWise Ranking #54 / KRACH Ranking #56)

9) Army Black Knights (5-17-2 overall / 5-13-2, 12 points AHA) – Last Week #9: The caissons kept rolling along as Army had their last non-conference matchup at mid-week. The Black Knights got within a goal in the third period Wednesday night on freshman forward Joe Llaurado’s score, but the Princeton Tigers rallied at home with two goals of their own to down the Knights 4-1. (PairWise Ranking #57 / KRACH Ranking #57)

10) American International College Yellow Jackets (3-18-5 overall / 3-12-5, 11 points AHA) – Last Week #10: The first line of the Jacks knows offense as sophomore left wing Austin Orszulak, senior center Alexander MacMillan and freshman right wing Johno May have combined for 34 of the 65 goals scored this season. (PairWise Ranking #58 / KRACH Ranking #58)

11) Niagara University Purple Eagles (3-19-2 overall / 3-13-2, 8 points AHA) – Last Week #11: Last week against Canisius, freshman center Robert Angiolella returned to the ice for the Purple Eagles after missing eight games due to injury. The 5-foot-10, 190-pound forward had two goals and an assist Saturday against the Golden Griffins. His performance earned him Co-Rookie of the Week honors. (PairWise Ranking #59 / KRACH Ranking #59)

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