Friday reading: Harstad homecoming, WCHA previews, videos

Tigers sophomore defenseman Aaron Harstad will get a chance to play before family and friends when the Stevens Point, Wis, resident plays in the Kohl Center for the first time when CC travels to Wisconsin to open WCHA play this weekend.

“It’s exciting to get to play in place like the Kohl Center,” said Harstad, who played a state tournament game in the smaller UW women’s arena during his high school days. “A lot of my family will be there.”

CC practiced Thursday night at UW’s new practice rink because of a basketball game at the Kohl Center that night.

Also, Wisconsin’s Derek Lee is reportedly ready to play this weekend after missing last weekend due to injuries from a car-scooter accident.

Here are the preview notes for Colorado College at Wisconsin; No. 12 Boston University at No. 5 North Dakota; No. 18 St. Cloud State at No. 3 Denver; unranked Minnesota State vs. No. 2 Minnesota; and Nebraska-Omaha at Michigan Tech.

Alaska-Anchorage, Bemidji State and No. 17 Minnesota-Duluth are idle.

Here is a look at SCSU’s Nic Dowd. North Dakota received a commit from the son of its longtime athletic trainer.

Videos are becoming more commonplace for sports information departments. Here is North Dakota’s latest Through These Doors episode:

Michigan Tech’s latest In The Crease episode concerns the recent home split against Minnesota:

Thursday reading: WCHA column, Air Force, preview notes, Duluth

North Dakota’s loss at Alaska in Fairbanks could help down the road along with other notes from around the WCHA.

Air Force must regroup as it hits the road for league play.

Here are the preview notes for No. 19 Colorado College at No. 7 Cornell.

Other league series include: Bemidji State at Nebraska Omaha; Minnesota State at St. Cloud State; No. 2 Minnesota hosts USA U-18 and Canisius, including news on injuries and the goalie rotation; Wisconsin at No. 14 Minnesota Duluth; Michigan Tech at No. 5 Denver; and Alaska Anchorage at No. 4 North Dakota.

The 1993 MacNaughton Cup championship team, coached by Mike Sertich, will be honored by Minnesota Duluth this Saturday.

Monday reading: Goalies, outdoor game, Duluth, Penn State, women

Jason Torf shut out Rochester Institute of Technology for the Atlantic Hockey playoff title last season (photo: Omar Phillips).

Air Force’s  Jason Torf and Denver’s Sam Brittain are both considered “Goalies to Watch” this season.

Sophomore goalie Frank Slubowski (17-11-4, 2.03 GAA, .911 saves) led Western Michigan to its first CCHA postseason championship so his inclusion was no surprise. But I did raise an eyebrow since CC’s Josh Thorimbert did not make that top 10 considering he tied for preseason honors with Brittain in the WCHA media poll.

The USCHO preseason poll is scheduled to come out on Monday. Here is last season’s final poll so you may compare the two later.

Tickets for the North Dakota at Nebraska Omaha outdoor game went on sale at 10 a.m. CT today.

A former Minnesota-Duluth forward succumbed to brain cancer.

Penn State will play its first game at Pegula Ice Arena against Army.

Here is a look ahead at this season in Hockey East play and another perspective.

The women’s Division I schedule got underway this weekend.

Saturday reading: J. Schwartz, Guentzel, Hall, playoff recaps, previews

Here’s a preview of tonight’s St. Louis at Tampa Bay game when former Tiger Jaden Schwartz will make his NHL debut. (TV: 5 p.m. Mountain FS Midwest, SUN Network).

Expect Gabe Guentzel, pictured at left, to make his pro debut Saturday night for AHL Syracuse against Adirondack and former CC teammate Mike Testwuide. Guentzel will wear No. 10 judging from the roster.

Tim Hall made his pro debut for ECHL Alaska in a 3-1 loss at Colorado. It reads like he played his defensive role well, drawing two penalties.

Here’s a lot of good information on CC and its available personnel next season by the Gazette’s Brian Gomez: CC wing Dakota Eveland will not play next season after offseason neck surgery this Tuesday. Look for one or two more 2012 commits or one of the 2013 players to be brought in a year early.

North Dakota could be a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament, judging from the latest Pairwise rankings, if it wins its third Broadmoor Trophy in a row against Denver tonight in the WCHA Final Five championship game. ( TV: 6 p.m. Mountain ROOT Sports Rocky Mountain). Here’s plenty of recap and preview notes.

Western Michigan cruised past Miami in the CCHA semifinals on Friday. Top remaining seed Michigan defeated last-place Bowling Green State 3-2 in double overtime to end the Falcons’s memorable run at an NCAA berth.

In Hockey East, Maine downed Boston U in one semifinal while Boston College ended No. 7 seed Providence’s Cinderella run. Maine plays BC at 6 p.m. Mountain (TV: NBC Sports Network).

In the ECAC, Harvard kept its NCAA hopes alive by advancing to tonight’s championship against top seed Union. Harvard is rated at No. 19 in the Pairwise and must win the automatic berth to move on.

In the Atlantic, Air Force will take on No. 3 seed and host RIT tonight (Radio: 1300 AM, 5 p.m. Mountain)

Friday reading: Gold Pan rivalry news, other WCHA previews and notes

No doubt, this scene will be played out a few times tonight at Magness Arena.

Big news out of Denver: Red-hot freshman Ty Loney has been suspended indefinitely for violating team rules. The Post also reports coach George Gwozdecky is leaning toward starting goalie Sam Brittain at home Friday.

The Gazette looks at the Gold Pan rivalry from No. 11 CC’s perspective. The Gazette also reports that sophomore Josh Thorimbert has all but sealed up the No. 1 goalie spot ahead of Joe Howe. Here’s the Post’s preview notes. The No. 13 Pioneers are on a roll headed into the series.

No. 1/2 Minnesota-Duluth travels to desperate Alaska-Anchorage this weekend. The desperate Seawolves are mired in a seven-game losing streak. Did I mention they’re desperate for a win?

Come to think of it,  the Bulldogs are plenty motivated too after falling behind No. 1/2 Minnesota, which is idle. The Gophers are losing their longtime, well regarded AD to retirement.

No. 17 North Dakota is resting up too. Here are some excellent observations about the league from the UND beat writer and more news from Grand Forks.

A confident Michigan Tech team hosts 11th-place MSU Mankato. And yes, the Huskies are aware of the dangers of a letdown.

Like CC, Bemidji State is tweaking its power play as it heads to the sixth-place Nebraska-Omaha, which needs home points to keep in the home playoff ice hunt. UNO goalie Ryan Massa is likely to be back in net this weekend. BSU’s Jordan George has emerged from Matt Read‘s shadow.

St. Cloud State has a decision to make in net as they head to Wisconsin, which needs to get on a run if it hopes for home playoff ice.

Here’s USCHO’s WCHA roundup including Jordy Christian’s season being over.

Thursday reading: In the pros, WCHA series previews

Chad Rau, pictured celebrating a goal for AHL Houston, will play two games for the Aeros this weekend while the NHL enters its all-star break. Hopes are high he'll get a return trip to St. Paul next week when NHL play resumes.

Former Tiger Chad Rau, who played in his first two NHL games in the past couple days, was sent down to the AHL because of the NHL All-Star Break. His longtime teammate Nate Prosser has spent half the season with the Wild and the other in Houston in large part because he is the only Wild defenseman with a two-way deal, meaning he can be sent down without clearing waivers (and giving other teams a chance to claim his rights).

“Upper management says it is not about my play,” he said. “It’s just business.”

Bill Sweatt (one goal and an assist) and the rest of his AHL Wolves teammates took it up a notch in Abbotsford, B.C. with Canucks brass in the stands.

Minnesota coach Don Lucia wants road points at St. Cloud State but knows he’ll need to overcome a strong defensive team to do so. He takes on a Huskies team expected to play two defensemen as forwards due to a rash of injuries. The WCHA-leading Gophers are also looking for a way to avoid their Friday struggles. Here’s UM’s weekly preview notes.

Here’s a video preview of the series put together by St. Cloud State. The Huskies picked up a commit from a well-regarded Duluth high school player.

Michigan Tech travels to No. 1 Minnesota-Duluth. Here’s the Huskies’ preview notes and more from the Bulldogs, including NHL alumnus notes  and the weekly preview notes. The Bulldogs have a chance to add some breathing room in the standings between themselves and third-place CC, which is idle.

Here’s the latest update on the injuries at North Dakota, including some amusing comments. Nice to see some humor instead of bile over the situation. North Dakota hosts Wisconsin. Here’s video and the transcript of UW coach Mikes Eaves’ Monday press conference.

Wisconsin’s Justin Schultz is good as this blog post from Goon’s World shows with a video.

MSU- Mankato travels to Bemidji State this weekend. Here’s some preview notes from Mankato and a video interview with BSU coach Tom Serratore.

Alaska Anchorage hosts No 15 Denver. Here are the Pios notes.

Western Michigan will have its leading scorer back this weekend.

MSU-Moorhead continues to raise money for the $30-some million it will need to start up Division I hockey, bumping its deadline from the end of this month to Feb. 29.

Friday reading: WCHA previews; Prosser, Rau called up

CC will need big weekends from players like David Civitarese to offset No. 4 Minnesota's depth.

Here’s a capsule preview for the No. 11 CC at No. 4 Minnesota series. The game will be televised  live on ROOT at 6:07 Mountain tonight and FSN North at 4:07 Saturday (tape delay 6:07 p.m. ROOT). Gophers assistant Mike Guentzel has his game face on for this weekend’s series against his son, CC senior defenseman Gabe Guentzel and his assessment that his son may be trying to do too much is accurate.

Preseason WCHA Rookie of the Year Rocco Grimaldi will sit out the rest of the season at injury-riddled North Dakota, which plays at St. Cloud State this weekend.

SCSU’s Jordy Christian, who broke the Tigers hearts last Saturday, has significant hockey history flowing in his veins. Here’s a preview capsule on a series that could determine home ice for both teams.

Nebraska Omaha travels to MSU-Mankato. Both schools have dreams of better facilities including this one for the red Mavericks, which would include an on-campus hockey practice facility.

The purple Mavs need more out of their seniors.

No. 1 Minnesota-Duluth, led by star J.T. Brown,  plays Alabama-Huntsville for the first time. Here is a preview capsule. The Chargers’ boosters will need to come up with more than 50 percent of the team budget next season. Yikes.

Two Wisconsin freshmen have made the jump from high school to the WCHA. The Badgers host Alaska-Anchorage this weekend. Michigan tech is idle this weekend.

Former Tiger Bill Sweatt is the subject of this profile. Chad Rau and Nate Prosser were both called up by the Wild Friday.

Here’s NHL.com’s preview of the NBC Sports Network game; Michigan at Notre Dame at 5 p.m. Mountain.

NHL.com also gives some love to longtime Mercyhurst coach Rich Gotkin, who is known for some good quotes over the years including this one included in the article:

Before the start of 2001 NCAA regional game against Michigan, Gotkin looked across the rink and thought: “Wow, that’s Red Berenson, coach of Michigan. I wonder if he’s looking over here and saying, ‘Wow, that’s Rick Gotkin, coach of Mercyhurst.’”

Thursday reading

It’s Thursday so the previews and features are coming in. Here’s a sampling from around the WCHA.

Here’s a look at St. Cloud State’s injury situation and their line shuffling because of injuries and departures.

Gabe Guentzel has proven to be the latest Tigers Ironman. He heads into this week’s home series against SSCSU having played in 116 consecutive games. He’s missed two, both during his freshman year, out of a possible 142. That nugget was included in this USCHO notebook on the WCHA. Here’s CC’s preview notes.

The hype for the Minnesota at North Dakota (7-1-1 of late) series is building. Here’s some preview notes, how Minnesota expects to handle the Ralph’s atmosphere, which Kyle Rau expects to enjoy.  Maybe if the Gophers get out of Grand Forks with two points or more. North Dakota has been playing winning hockey with a makeshift lineup.

Wisconsin needs to use this weekend’s series at Minnesota State in Mankato to get  on a roll in league play.

No. 1 Minnesota-Duluth hopes to keep up its excellent 5-on-5 scoring when it travels to Nebraska-Omaha.

The second guessing about holding out Jason Zucker from Denver’s home series split (hence the second guessing) against Alabama-Huntsville continues. The Pioneers host a solid Bemidji State team that has one Northglenn kid seeing a little Tim Tebow in the Beavers.

Michigan Tech hosts Alaska-Anchorage this weekend. Here are the Huskies’ preview notes and the Seawolves.

Here’s the WCHA players of the week. Commish Bruce McLeod is keeping an eye on the start-up efforts at MSU-Moorhead.

The likely arrival of Jaden Schwartz in the Blues organization next season has the St. Louis faithful hopeful for a strong run. He returned to CC practice on Wednesday as expected.

Saturday reading: Gross, Holmstrom and Testwuide on TV today, Pairwise rankings, recaps, preview notes

New Nittany Lion Taylor Gross, a Pine Creek HS graduate.

It’s a real mixed bag this morning,with the usual pro updates and even some women’s college hockey. Ladies first.

Colorado Springs’ Taylor Gross, UConn’s leading scorer as a freshman, has transferred to Penn State women’s hockey at midseason. I wrote a feature on her and the other area women playing Division I back in September.

Colorado Springs’ Ben Holmstrom scored with 20.8 seconds left to force overtime in Adirondack’s 4-3 win over Hershey in the AHL outdoor game which set a league record for attendance. Linemate and former Tiger Mike Testwuide continued his hot streak, scoring Adirondack’s opening goal to record his fifth goal in seven games after a cold start.

Here’s a feature on him I did for CC sports information, where I now work part time, previewing the game, which will be rebroadcast at 2 p.m. Mountain Saturday on the NHL Network.

Here’s more reaction from CC’s home loss to Cornell from the Gazette and Brian Gomez’s game story and notes on shorthanded goals.

And while there is no doubt some concern about CC’s home loss Friday (Tigers are 5-5 in series openers this season, 7-2 on Saturdays), Denver’s home loss to Alabama-Huntsville (2-21-2) could really hurt the Pioneers in the Pairwise rankings. It’s a little early for anyone to push the panic button just yet.

CC is tied for 12th with Cornell in the current Pairwise rankings.

Minnesota-Duluth won its school record 15th straight with a dominant third period at No. 8/9 Western Michigan.

Too many penalties hurt Minnesota State in a 4-3 loss at St. Lawrence.

Here’s extensive notes and links for tonight’s North-Dakota-Clarkson game in Winnipeg.

Contrasting styles at play this weekend

Two ranked teams with contrasting styles will square off this weekend at World Arena when No. 13-ranked and ECAC-leading Cornell (8-4-1, 6-1-1 ECAC) takes on host No. 6 Colorado College this Friday and Saturday.

The Big Red live up to their name with a physical style well suited for the NHL sheet the Ithaca, N.Y. school usually skates on.

“We’ll try to take advantage of the width of the sheet because we know they’re not that accustomed to it,” Tigers coach Scott Owens said.

No doubt that was a reason the Big Red arrived in Colorado Springs a day earlier than usual, Wednesday, to acclimate to the altitude and the Olympic ice sheet at World Arena.

Dictating the style of play by making the nonconference series up-and-down games may favor the Tigers (12-6, 9-5 WCHA).

“We’ll try to keep the puck off the boards, make it an open-ice game and make them skate with us,” senior captain Nick Dineen said.

That said, Cornell looks plenty capable of winning a wide-open contest with the skill players it has, especially with the nation’s sixth rated power play (23.9 percent). CC must skate well and move its feet on defense to avoid penalties.

Defenseman Nick D’Agostino has 15 points including six power-play goals, leading the nation’s Division I defensemen, with five game-winners, tying for the national lead. Right wing Brian Ferlin and center Greg Miller are right behind with 15 and 14 points respectively.

For their part, the Tigers look ready to play well after rebounding from a home loss to Air Force with a determined defensive effort in a 2-1 win over Union.

“We’ve had a good week of practice, probably the best three days we’ve had,” Dineen said. “It will be interesting to see this weekend how that translates.”

It is the first series between the schools. Cornell leads all-time with a 3-2 mark including a 4-2 Tigers win at the Florida College Classic in 2009.

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