Atlantic Hockey Power Rankings: Parity Reins Supreme

Canisius forward Kyle Gibbons - Tom Wolf Imaging

Four of the top five teams in Atlantic Hockey meet this weekend.

Mercyhurst has lost just one conference game all season and the Lakers are 9-0-1 since their last Atlantic Hockey Association setback over two months ago. As much as Rick Gotkin's team has dominated the league, the rest of the AHA has found consistency difficult. Is it parity or is it mediocrity? It might be a little of both, but we'll be able to tell more over the next few weeks.

1. Mercyhurst (13-9-2 Overall, 11-1-1 AHA)

The Lakers have won four consecutive Atlantic Hockey road contests following two losses at Ohio State. Mercyhurst, with the eighth best offense in the nation, has four players who have scored nine or more goals. Junior goaltender Jimmy Sarjeant has a 1.00 goals against average and a .974 save percentage the past four games since a rough outing at Ohio State.

2. Bentley (11-8-2 Overall, 9-3-2 AHA)

The Falcons got back on track this past weekend against RIT after a one-point weekend against Niagara the previous. It was quite a series for Alex Grieve and Brett Gensler. Grieve had a hat trick Friday night while Gensler had two goals each night and four assists over the two games. Eight points on the weekend for the school's all-time leading scorer, Bentley won by a combined score of 12-3.

3. Air Force (12-6-4 Overall, 7-3-3 AHA)

Frank Serratore's team swept archrival Army in its second full series without star senior goaltender Jason Torf who is out with a groin injury. Junior forward Cole Gunner had a goal and an assist to extend his point streak to eight gams.

4. Connecticut (10-7-2 Overall, 8-4-1 AHA)

The Huskies are a tough team to figure out. Four seniors who play a significant role on the team lead Mike Cavanaugh's squad, but UConn is having trouble playing well consistently. A night after a 5-1 win over visiting Robert Morris, the Huskies lost, 6-1, to the same team. Just a few weeks back UConn lost to Sacred Heart in the opening round of its tournament only to follow that up with a 2-1 triumph over UMass.

5. Canisius (8-11-1 Overall, 7-5-1 AHA)

Just when this writer thought Canisius had turned the corner, the Golden Griffins suffer a setback against Sacred Heart on home ice. Dave Smith's team had won three in a row before Saturday's 3-2 loss. This weekend possesses a big challenge, but also an important opportunity for Canisius. The Griffs host Bentley for a two-game set at the Buffalo State Sports Arena.

6. Niagara (5-12-3 Overall, 5-5-3 AHA)

The Purple Eagles, coming off a three-point weekend at Bentley, split its home series with American International. The Purple Eagles had to overcome a lot of adversity in the first half, including the removal of Ryan Murphy from the roster. The two freshmen goaltenders, Adrian Ignagni and Jackson Tiechroeb, have been up-and-down, but have been very good when they've been on their game.

7. Robert Morris (5-13-2 Overall, 5-6-2 AHA)

Derek Schooley's team recovered from a big loss at UConn with a lopsided result in the favor of the Colonials a night later. Cody Wydo, who now has 14 goals on the season, had a pair of tallies in the series finale.

8. RIT (6-11-3 Overall, 5-7-1 AHA)

After a six-game unbeaten streak the Tigers have lost back-to-back series against UConn and Bentley. RIT has scored just six goals over those four games while giving up 20.

9. American International (5-14-0 Overall, 5-8-0 AHA)

The Yellow Jackets lost six consecutive Atlantic Hockey games after starting out 3-0 in the league, but Gary Wright's team has split the past two series against Air Force and Niagara. AIC plays UMass Tuesday night, its fifth and final game against a Hockey East opponent.

10. Sacred Heart (6-16-0 Overall, 5-10-0 AHA)

The Pioneers have already won four more games than they did a season ago, including last Sunday's 3-2 win over Canisius. Freshman Justin Danforth of Oshawa, Ontario leads the team in scoring with two goals and 15 assists.

11. Holy Cross (4-15-2 Overall, 3-9-2 AHA)

The Crusaders have had trouble finding offense the past six games, scoring only seven goals over that time. Paul Pearl's team is 0-6 during that time and this weekend doesn't get any easier with a trip to Niagara.

12. Army (3-16-0 Overall, 3-12-0 AHA)

Like a lot of the other teams at the bottom of the conference Army is having trouble finding the back of the net. The Black Knights have scored just six goals over their current five-game losing streak. Army travels to RIT this weekend in a matchup of two teams trying to snap losing skids.

Jeff Cox covers college, junior and high school hockey, NCAA recruiting, NHL Draft prospects and the AHL for SBNation. Follow him on twitter @JeffCoxSBNation.

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