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2010 Atlantic Hockey Tournament

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The 2010 Atlantic Hockey Tournament took place between March 5 and March 20, 2010.

The regular season champions were the RIT Tigers. This is RIT's third regular-season championship since entering the league in 2006–07, but this is the first year RIT will be the top seed in the tournament. In 2007, RIT was ineligible for the tournament due to the mandatory probationary period, and in 2009, they were co-champions but lost the tie-breaker to the Air Force Falcons for the top seed.

RIT finished the regular season with a 22-5-1 conference record, the most wins ever recorded by an Atlantic Hockey team in conference play, and the most wins by RIT since moving to Division I.

The seeds for the tournament were:

  1. RIT Tigers
  2. Sacred Heart Pioneers
  3. Air Force Falcons
  4. Mercyhurst Lakers
  5. Canisius Golden Griffins
  6. Army Black Knights
  7. Holy Cross Crusaders
  8. Bentley Falcons
  9. Connecticut Huskies
  10. American International Yellow Jackets

Play-in RoundEdit

The play-in round is used to reduce the field of 10 to a standard bracket of 8 teams. The #7 and #8 teams hosted the #10 and #9 teams on Friday, March 5, or Saturday, March 6.

American International at Holy CrossEdit

This is a rematch of last year's #7 vs. #10 game, which Holy Cross won 1-0 in overtime. AIC had gone 2-0-2 against the Crusaders this season, with the wins coming in two low-scoring games, so a slow start to this play-in game seemed to favor AIC. After AIC notched the first goal of the game in the second period, Holy Cross jumped out to a 3-1 lead with three goals in a span of 3:02. Starting goalie Ben Meisner was chased in favor of Dan Ramirez, and although Ramirez allowed only one more goal, the damage was done, and AIC once again ends its season after just one playoff game.

5 March 2010
Hart Center – Worcester, MA
1st 2nd 3rd Final
 #7 Holy Cross 0 3 1 4
 #10 American Int'l 0 2 0 2

Holy Cross will travel to Milford to face Sacred Heart.

Connecticut at BentleyEdit

Connecticut won the last game of their season, against Mercyhurst, to avoid finishing last in the conference, sending AIC to the bottom slot once again.

All of the scoring in this game was in the first period, and the Huskies came out on the right side of a close match to produce the first play-in round upset since 2007. The Falcons were coming off a season in which they reached the AHA tournament semifinals, but after a decent start to the 2009-10 season, the Falcons ended up going just 4-12-1 in 2010, and their season ends early.

6 March 2010
John A. Ryan Skating Arena – Waltham, MA
1st 2nd 3rd Final
 #8 Bentley 1 0 0 1
 #9 Connecticut 2 0 0 2

UConn will visit RIT.


The teams would have been reseeded for this round, if necessary.

The quarterfinals were a best-of-three round played at the home rinks of the top four seeds. The games took place on March 12 and 13, with third games scheduled for March 14 had they been necessary. Unlike last year, when three of the four semifinal games went three games, this year none did, including #5 Canisius sweeping #4 Mercyhurst in Erie.

Connecticut at RITEdit

RIT, by finishing first, guaranteed that they won't meet Holy Cross in the quarterfinals, which they had the previous two years.

The first game was dominated offensively by RIT, who ended up pouring 55 shots on Connecticut freshman goalie Garrett Bartus, 46 of them in regulation time. RIT seemed to be cruising to an easy win when they went up 3-0 on a 5-on-3 power play goal 7:36 into the second period, but Connecticut tied it up with a flurry of second-period goals of their own, including a shorthanded goal that went in when RIT senior goalie Jared DeMichiel misplayed the puck. The third period was scoreless, as was the overtime period until Chris Haltigin's rocket of a shot from the point evaded Bartus at the 9:54 mark.

This game was the first time RIT allowed fewer than four goals against in AHA postseason play (4-3-0 record in seven games).

12 March 2010
Frank Ritter Memorial Ice Arena – Henrietta, NY
1st 2nd 3rd OT Final
 #1 RIT 2 1 0 1 4
 #9 Connecticut 0 3 0 0 3

In the second game, RIT cruised to the easy victory fans were expecting the previous night. Connecticut was tenacious but RIT's greater skill carried the day. This game was the first time RIT allowed fewer than three goals against in AHA postseason play.

13 March 2010
Frank Ritter Memorial Ice Arena – Henrietta, NY
1st 2nd 3rd Final
 #1 RIT 2 2 0 4
 #9 Connecticut 0 1 0 1

RIT moves on to face Thruway rival Canisius in the first semifinal. RIT earlier swept Canisius on the last weekend of the regular season to send the Golden Griffins to a fifth-place seeding.

Holy Cross at Sacred HeartEdit

Only four penalties were called in the first game, and only one of those was on Sacred Heart. Of Holy Cross's three penalties, two were overlapping, leading to Sacred Heart's first goal.

12 March 2010
Milford Ice Pavilion – Milford, CT
1st 2nd 3rd Final
 #2 Sacred Heart 0 1 3 4
 #7 Holy Cross 0 0 0 0

Matt Gingera scored the second-game winner at 4:53 of overtime, as a shot from a gassed Pat Knowlton bounced off of Gingera's leg into the net.

13 March 2010
Milford Ice Pavilion – Milford, CT
1st 2nd 3rd OT Final
 #2 Sacred Heart 2 1 0 1 4
 #7 Holy Cross 0 3 0 0 3

Sacred Heart will face Air Force in the second semifinal, a rematch of the #1/#4 semifinal in Air Force's first AHA tournament in 2006-07.

Army at Air ForceEdit

12 March 2010
Cadet Ice Arena – Colorado Springs, CO
1st 2nd 3rd Final
 #3 Air Force 1 2 0 3
 #6 Army 0 0 0 0

13 March 2010
Cadet Ice Arena – Colorado Springs, CO
1st 2nd 3rd Final
 #3 Air Force 0 2 2 4
 #6 Army 1 1 0 2

Air Force moves on to face Sacred Heart in the second semifinal.

Canisius at MercyhurstEdit

Canisius lost a pair of games at RIT on the last weekend of the series, forcing them into a fifth-place seed and a trip to Erie, rather than having the Lakers visit Buffalo if the seedings had been swapped. But that may have worked out in the Griffins' favor, as both Mercyhurst and Canisius tend to play well when visiting the other team.

12 March 2010
Mercyhurst Ice Center – Erie, PA
1st 2nd 3rd Final
 #4 Mercyhurst 0 0 1 1
 #5 Canisius 2 1 2 5

The Griffins' Carl Hudson, a candidate for Defenseman of the Year in Atlantic Hockey, received a 5-minute major and a 10-minute misconduct penalty for checking from behind at the 4:46 mark of the second period. Mercyhurst capitalized big time, scoring three times on a series of 5-on-3 power plays that resulted from a rash of additional Canisius penalties on top of Hudson's 5-minute major.

This included an unbelievable sequence. Shortly after the Lakers had tied the score at one, Mercyhurst's Mike Gurtler opened the infractions with a high-sticking penalty at 1:17 of the second. This was followed by a tripping penalty on Laker Cullen Eddy at 2:41, but Canisius couldn't capitalize on the 5-on-3. At 3:35, 18 seconds after Gurtler's penalty expired, Golden Griffin Scott Moser went in the box for roughing. 4-on-4 play continued until Dave Kostuch's hooking penalty at 4:29, giving the Lakers a 4-on-3 advantage for 12 seconds. With Eddy coming out of the box at 4:41, the Lakers already had a 5-on-3 advantage before Hudson's infraction five seconds later at 4:46.

With a two-man disadvantage already, Hudson's major couldn't start counting immediately. When Grant Blakey finally scored for Mercyhurst at 5:28, with seven seconds left in Moser's penalty, Hudson's 5-minute major finally started counting down, which meant the Lakers were still 5-on-3 when Matt Fennell found the back of the net at 5:45. The Griffins would go on to commit three more penalties, and give up one more goal, before Hudson's major expired.

Unfortunately for Mercyhurst, that was it for their scoring; Canisius came back and Ben Parker scored the game-winner seven minutes into the second overtime.

Canisius peppered Mercyhurst goalie Ryan Zapolski with 50 shots, and that was just in the first three periods; their total for the game was 68 shots, with Zapolski stopping 63.

13 March 2010
Mercyhurst Ice Center – Erie, PA
1st 2nd 3rd OT OT2 Final
 #4 Mercyhurst 0 4 0 0 0 4
 #5 Canisius 1 1 2 0 1 5

Canisius makes it to the AHA semifinals for the first time since 2004; they will face Thruway rival RIT.


The teams would have been reseeded for this round, if necessary.

Championship weekend is again being held at the Blue Cross Arena in Rochester, New York. The semifinal games took place on Friday, March 19, with the winners meeting on Saturday, March 20. There is no consolation game.

Canisius vs. RITEdit

Canisius here got another shot at RIT, who swept them on the last weekend of the season to eliminate the Griffins' chance of hosting a quarterfinal series.

In two previous AHA tournaments, RIT had lost in the semifinals both times, despite the game being played in their backyard, in downtown Rochester. This was the first time the Tigers were in the early semifinal, however.

RIT survived an early scare from Canisius. In the Tigers' two previous games at the Blue Cross Arena (in the 2009 tournament semifinal against Mercyhurst, and in the October 2009 homecoming game against Colgate), RIT had allowed a very early goal and gone on to lose the game. History appeared to be on the verge of repeating itself as Golden Griffin Scott Moser got behind the normally stalwart RIT defense and came in on RIT netminder Jared DeMichiel. This time, though, DeMichiel was ready and held his ground, allowing no goal.

After that brief scare, RIT found its game and dominated Canisius the rest of the way, outshooting the Griffins 18-6 in the first period (30-20 for the game). DeMichiel pitched the shutout for RIT, their eighth of the season (the most shutouts in RIT history, including their D-II and D-III days). RIT went 3-for-8 on the power play, while Canisius, whose in-conference power play percentage was 24% heading into the contest, went 0-7.

19 March 2010
Blue Cross Arena – Rochester, NY
1st 2nd 3rd Final
 #1 RIT 2 1 1 4
 #5 Canisius 0 0 0 0

RIT advances to the conference final for the first time.

Air Force vs. Sacred HeartEdit

The last time Air Force and Sacred Heart met in the semifinals was in 2007, when #4 Air Force upset #1-seeded Sacred Heart en route to the Falcons' first of three consecutive AHA trophies and NCAA tournament berths.

A very low-scoring match for these two powerhouse teams. Play was very even, and both goaltenders played well throughout the game. Sacred Heart scored the game's first goal in the second period, but no other goals were tallied until late in the third. Air Force took a timeout at 18:23 of the third, to get an extra attacker out on the ice. Once the puck dropped, it only took Air Force eight seconds and the puck was in the back of the net. The score was tied, and it looked like overtime was on the way. Just 49 seconds later, though, Sacred Heart dashed the Falcons' newly renewed hopes with a goal of their own. Air Force pulled goalie Andrew Volkening again but couldn't get another equalizer.

This was Air Force's first loss at the Blue Cross Arena (6-1 record).

19 March 2010
Blue Cross Arena – Rochester, NY
1st 2nd 3rd Final
 #2 Sacred Heart 0 1 1 2
 #3 Air Force 0 0 1 1

Sacred Heart advances to the final for the first time since 2004, when they lost 4-0 to Holy Cross.


Sacred Heart vs. RITEdit

RIT again started off a bit slow in this match, and again Jared DeMichiel had to make a critical save early. He gave up a rebound that went straight to Sacred Heart's Dave Jarman, but made the save on Jarman's attempt to keep the game scoreless. Seconds later, Pioneer Dave Berube checked Tiger Tyler Mazzei from behind and into the boards, earning a 5-minute major and a game misconduct. 28 seconds after Berube went to the locker room, Cameron Burt scored RIT's first goal, and the rout was on.

RIT scored goals in the first three minutes of the first and second periods, and in the last three minutes of each of the three periods, meaning Sacred Heart never had an opportunity to gain significant momentum. Their best chance was perhaps on a power play in the final minute of the first stanza, but RIT's penalty-killing forwards broke out 3-on-1 and crashed the net, finally banging the puck home on the third rebound (Mark Cornacchia's third short-handed goal of the season). Going up 2-0 instead of tied 1-1 changed the tenor of the game significantly.

DeMichiel's shutout bid was broken up by Eric Delong early in the third period, but RIT still had a 5-1 lead at that point, so the outcome was never in doubt.

20 March 2010
Blue Cross Arena – Rochester, NY
1st 2nd 3rd Final
 #1 RIT 2 3 1 6
 #2 Sacred Heart 0 0 1 1

RIT takes the Atlantic Hockey autobid and moves on to its first Division I tournament appearance. They were named the #4 seed in the 2010 East Regional in Albany, New York, where they will face the #1 seeded (#2 overall) Denver Pioneers.

All-Tournament TeamEdit

Tyler Brenner RIT Sophomore Forward
Cameron Burt RIT Sophomore Forward
Patrick Knowlton Sacred Heart Junior Forward
Dan Ringwald RIT Senior Defense
Chris Tanev RIT Freshman Defense
Jared DeMichiel RIT Senior Goaltender

Cameron Burt is the Tournament MVP.

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