Atlantic Hockey Tournament Preview


It was an irregular season across college hockey that saw many postponements and cancellations due to COVID-19. Atlantic Hockey saw their conference split into two pods as Robert Morris, Canisius, RIT, Mercyhurst, and Niagara were a part of the Western Pod. At the same time, AIC, Army, Sacred Heart, Bentley, and Holy Cross made up the Eastern Pod. After completing the regular season, Air Force slotted into the eastern region due to RIT having a higher point percentage as a third-place seed over Sacred Heart.


Each pod finished as followed:


West

1. Robert Morris - Bye

2. Canisius - Bye

3. RIT - Bye

4. Mercyhurst

5. Niagara

East

1. AIC - Bye

2. Army West Point - Bye

3. Sacred Heart

4. Bentley

5. Air Force

6. Holy Cross


The Atlantic Hockey tournament will open with the games below:


Sacred Heart vs. Holy Cross - Sunday, March 7 at 5:00 p.m.


Mercyhurst vs. Niagara - Monday, March 8 at 5:00 p.m.


Bentley vs. Air Force - Tuesday, March 9 at 5:05 p.m.


Favorite:


AIC


American International College finished the regular season as the top seed in the AHA after posting a 13-3 overall record while going 11-1-1 in conference play. The Yellow Jackets are the lone representative from the AHA in the current USCHO poll, where they sit at no. 16.


With the cancellation of last year’s postseason, AIC remains the reigning AHA champions after defeating Niagara 3-2 in overtime in front of a sellout crowd back in 2019. Following their championship win, they would move on to beat no. 1 St. Cloud State in the opening round of the NCAA tournament before dropping their second-round matchup against Denver.


Last season, AIC was primed for another deep run in the Atlantic Hockey tournament after going 21-6-1 in the conference. As they transferred that regular-season success to this year, the Yellow Jackets are hands down the favorite to win the AHA tournament once again.


While the Yellow Jackets had their final seven matchups canceled, the team currently rides a five-game win streak. The Yellow Jackets have looked the part of a nationally ranked program this season, leading their respective conference in goals per game and boasting the lowest goals allowed.


AIC has continued to play a team game built around speed. Tobias Fladeby, Chris Dodero, and Chris Theodore have each accumulated 16 points on the season to lead the club. With Stefano Durante backstopping the Yellow Jackets, they gear up for another shot at the championship game.


Dark Horse:


Mercyhurst


One team to keep an eye on in Atlantic Hockey postseason action is the Mercyhurst Lakers. While they finished with a 7-8-1 record, the Lakers are a sneaky team that has played relatively well against teams higher than them.


To start the year, the Lakers took down no. 18 Bowling Green, 2-1, along with a closely contested 4-3 overtime loss against no. 7 Clarkson. Mercyhurst also beat Robert Morris, winners of the Western Pod, twice, and RIT, who sits above them in the standings.


Looking to reach their first AHA championship game since 2015, the Lakers are led by a youthful core, with freshman Carson Briere leading the way as he totaled 18 points. Their top six point-getters are either freshman or sophomores.


With a young team looking to prove a point, their only question mark is in net. Senior netminder Hank Johnson will be the key to leading this Lakers team to success in the postseason.


The Lakers prepare to take on Niagara, a team they went 2-1-1 against during the regular season. If they dispatch the Purple Eagles, be sure to watch this team closely as the high-flying youngsters look to disrupt the AHA tournament this year



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