Jim Barry will be anxiously checking his mailbox next week, hoping to find an invitation to Penn State University for Feb. 26-29.
Barry is coach of the Navy Ice Hockey Club team that hopes to make a second straight appearance in the National Club Tournament to be played at Penn State.
Eight teams will be selected by the American Collegiate Hockey Association, and they will come from the organization's rankings. Barryis worried because his 8-2 Mids were ranked No. 10 this week and have two tough games this weekend at home, at 1 p.m. tomorrow and Sundayat Dahlgren Hall.
"Arizona was ranked seventh,and we split with them," said Barry, referring to his team's trip to the University of Arizona right after the Christmas holidays.
"We needed to beat themtwice, and if we had, we would be getting that invitation for sure."
Navy dropped its first game in Tucson, 4-1, but bounced back to take the second, 5-2, in front of 6,000 fans each night.
Now, whilewalking the plank to the nationals, Navy will play host to the rugged College Militaire Royal (17-3) of St. Jean, Quebec, tomorrow and Sunday.
"They cleaned our clocks last year, 10-2 and 9-4," said Barry of CMR, which plays in the highly competitive University League in Canada.
"Their league is one level below Division I. That's good hockey. The previous two years we split with them, but CMR is always an outstanding team."
Barry knows his Mids, who are coming off of a7-3 victory over theUniversity of Maryland (14-2-1) at Piney Orchardin Crofton Saturday, will have to play their best hockey to sweep the Canadians, and that means a continued hot hand from junior Jeff Fogarty.
Fogarty has been on a tear since he and Barry had a pow-wow following the Arizona loss.
"I had a little talk with Jeff after the first Arizona game, and he's been hot ever since," said Barry.
Whatever the coach said got through, because in the win over Arizona,Fogarty had a hat trick and one assist.
As the Mids avenged an early season 4-2 loss to Maryland Saturday night, Fogarty fired in fourof the seven goals and assisted on another, all in the first two periods.
"Jeff is one of the best college hockey players I have ever seen," said Barry, who hails from the New England area hockey hotbed and has seen many fine players.
"He has an incredible shot, reallyfast."
Fogarty was nearly drafted by the National Hockey League out of high school in Rochester, Minn. Reportedly the New York Rangerswere interested in him after he starred in a seniors all-star game.
At the time, football had Fogarty's attention, and he turned down an ice hockey scholarship to the University of Minnesota to accept anappointment to the U.S. Naval Academy to play football.
Fogarty'sfootball career was short-lived. He hung up his cleats after the first year and put on the skates, joining Barry's crew last year.
In two short years, Fogarty has become the Mids' big gun, and Barry hopes he will stay hot the rest of the way.
At the other end of the rink, Richie Doyle has been outstanding in the net for the Mids. The Navy goalie stopped nearly 40 shots in the Arizona victory and kept theTerps scoreless through two periods.
The three goals Maryland scored came with Doyle, also a Minnesota native, out of the net.
"Richie has had the flu all week, and we're keeping our fingers crossed that he will be ready for CMR this weekend," said Barry.
Barry alsosaid he and the players hope they get a huge turnout of fans for thegames this weekend. The fans are always admitted free of charge at picturesque Dahlgren Hall, and their support can be the difference in close games.
A crucial 4-3 victory over West Chester (Pa.) University just before the Christmas holidays was played in front of more than 2,000 screaming Navy fans. West Chester is another team up for a national tournament berth.
"That was a big win, and the fans were fantastic," said Barry.
"When we have a crowd like that it really gets the kids pumped up, and they play better. We're hoping for another crowd of 2,000 fans for each game against CMR."
In other Navy hockey news, their prestigious Crab Pot Tournament is all set for Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 1-2, at Dahlgren Hall.
Barry's host Mids willface off at 1 p.m. the first day against West Virginia, while Maryland and Worcester Polytech of Massachusetts will play the second game at 4 p.m.
The winners will meet for the 15th annual Crab Pot championship at 4 p.m. Sunday with the consolation set for 1 p.m.
Navy is defending champion after winning its first Crab Pot since 1983 last February by 5-3 over West Chester.
Doyle had 31 saves in the title game, and Fogarty tallied one of the goals.
Hockey fans are well aware that the Crab Pot is a spin-off of New England's Bean Pot that is played annually among such schools as Northeastern, Boston College, Boston University and Harvard.
Navy's answer to the Bean Pot derived its name from the Maryland blue crab, and now with the addition of the University of Maryland, a natural rival, the Crab Pot has true bay seasoning.