In the pros: O’Connell starts career off 2-0

DSCF0396Anchorage-based goalie Drew O’Connell, a former Tiger, picked up a win against his hometown ECHL Aces when the Ontario Reign needed an emergency fill-in netminder. He stopped a penalty shot  in a 3-1 win.

That so impressed the Reign, who took O’Connell on the plane back for a home game against Las Vegas (19 saves including one penalty shot) and a 4-1 victory.

The wins were first reported by the Anchorage Daily News who first reported on their hometown goalie and noted he had filled in as a backup for the Aces a few times last season. As of Wednesday night, O’Connell’s pro stats are 2-0-0, 1.00 goals-against average, .944 save percentage and 44 saves, including two penalty shots, in 65 minutes (5:00 scoreless relief on Jan. 11).

Here is a good game story featuring O’Connell’s exploits against the Aces and how former Air Force player Jacques Lamoureux passed on word through his brother (and North Dakota alumnus) Mario about O’Connell being available. That is reason No. 2,349 why I love college hockey.

In the pros: Lampl, Crabb

Lampl with SteelheadsHeavily tattooed former Tiger Cody Lampl, pictured while he was playing for Idaho,  will have some new ink to add; the name of he and his wife Ellie’s first child who is expected to be born sometime this week.

My favorite quote of the article:  “It has refocused me. I’m playing for diapers now.”

Joey Crabb continues to spark the Alaska Aces.

More Thursday reading: Atlantic expansion, CLASS award finalists, Notre Dame, Fairbanks punishment, ECAC parity, CCHA update

Four schools, including Alabama-Huntsville, are under consideration to fill the 12th Atlantic Hockey Association spot being vacated by UConn when it leaves for Hockey East in summer 2014. Judging from the article, UAH is still on the outside looking in because of geography.

All four look like strong candidates including one strong D3 and D1 start-ups at Rhode Island and Navy.

Air Force’s Stephen Carew is one of the 20 Lowe’s CLASS award finalists.

It looks like Notre Dame will fit in very well in Hockey East.

The NCAA took scholarships away from Alaska-Fairbanks.

The ECAC has more parity than in years past.

Here is a look at the progress made at Michigan State.

Tuesday reading: CCHA, WCHA lookahead, web media poll

Here are notes of interest from the CCHA’s weekly Need to Know press release …

Miami- Miami split its CCHA opening-weekend series at Michigan, falling 4-2 Friday before rebounding for a 4-3 win Saturday. The RedHawks’ win was just their sixth victory in 53 tries at Yost Ice Arena. Miami is 6-46-1 all-time at Michigan.  On Saturday, U-M held a 2-1 lead entering the third period only to surrender three straight goals in a 4-3 loss to the RedHawks.

Notre Dame- Notre Dame’s 5-1-0 start this season equals the best start for the Irish since going 5-1-0 to start the 2010-11 season.  The last time that Notre Dame had a better start than that was in 2006-07 when the Irish started that year 6-1-0 on the way to a 9-1-1 start and a 32-7-3 final record.

Western Michigan- After a weekend off, the Broncos travel to Compton Family Ice Arena to take on Notre Dame. Sophomore goalie Frank Slubowski made all four starts against the Fighting Irish last season, posting a 2-1-1 record with a 1.96 goals-against average and a .918 save percentage.

From the WCHA …

The month of November launches later this week with four, two-game Western Collegiate Hockey Association series on the docket for Friday the 2nd and Saturday the 3rd as Michigan Tech hosts Nebraska Omaha, Colorado College travels to Wisconsin, Minnesota State visits Minnesota and Denver hosts St. Cloud State.

There will also be one non-conference set contested over the weekend as North Dakota entertains Hockey East Association-member Boston University.

At John MacInnes Student Ice Arena in Houghton, Michigan Tech (2-4-0, 1-3-0 WCHA) will take on Nebraska Omaha (2-3-1, 0-1-1 WCHA) in a pair of 7:07 pm ET face-offs on Friday and Saturday. The two teams will then conclude their four-game series on Feb. 1-2 in Omaha.

At the Kohl Center in Madison, Wisconsin will play its first regular season home games of 2012-13 as the Badgers (1-2-1, 1-0-1 WCHA) go up against visiting Colorado College (3-3-0, 0-0-0 WCHA) in back-to-back 7:07 pm CT puck drops. These will be the only two regular season meetings of the two clubs and will also be the Tigers’ first two league games this season.

Defending conference champion and pre-season favorite Minnesota (4-1-0, 1-1-0 WCHA) will play a home-and-home WCHA set against Minnesota State (2-2-2, 0-2-0 WCHA), with Friday’s contest at 7:07 pm CT at Mariucci Arena in Minneapolis and Saturday’s match up at Verizon Wireless Center in Mankato at 7:07 pm CT. The No. 2-ranked Golden Gophers and Mavericks will then meet again on Jan. 25 in Minneapolis and Jan. 26 in Mankato.

And in the west, unbeaten and No. 3-ranked Denver (4-0-0, 2-0-0 WCHA) will entertain No. 18-ranked St. Cloud State (4-2-0, 2-0-0 WCHA) for a pair of league contests at Magness Arena, with game times at 7:37 pm MT on Friday evening and 7:07 pm MT on Saturday night. The Pioneers and Huskies will then meet again in St. Cloud on Jan. 18-19.

Outside the WCHA this coming weekend, No. 5-ranked North Dakota (2-1-1) will play host to No. 12-ranked Boston University (3-1-0) of the Hockey East Association. Face-offs at Ralph Engelstad Arena in Grand Forks are 7:37 pm CT on Nov. 2 and 7:07 pm CT on Nov. 3.  Through 37 non-conference games so far this season, WCHA member teams stand 20-14-3 (.583) against other Div. 1 teams. Against each of the other leagues, the WCHA is 5-0-1 vs Atlantic Hockey, 7-9-0 vs the CCHA, 3-2-1 vs ECAC Hockey, 2-3-0 vs Hockey East, and 3-0-1 vs independents.

Three teams – Alaska Anchorage (2-2-2, 0-1-1 WCHA), Bemidji State (2-1-1, 1-0-1 WCHA) and No. 17-ranked Minnesota Duluth (2-3-1, 0-1-1 WCHA) – are idle this week.

Looking ahead to the conference schedule for the weekend of Nov. 9-11, North Dakota will play at St. Cloud State (Friday/Saturday), Denver heads to Minnesota State (Friday/Saturday), Alaska Anchorage hosts Minnesota (Friday/Saturday), Colorado College entertains Bemidji State (Friday/Saturday), and Minnesota Duluth visits Nebraska Omaha (Saturday/Sunday). Both Michigan Tech and Wisconsin will be idle.

Here are more details from the Tech Hockey Guide WCHA Web Media Poll for Week 3:

Team Pts Previous Record High Low
1) Denver (7) 138 2 4-0-0 1 3
2) Minnesota (5) 136 1 4-1-0 1 3
3) North Dakota 120 3 2-1-1 2 4
4) St. Cloud State 109 7 4-2-0 2 5
5) Colorado College 74 6 3-3-0 4 10
6) Wisconsin 72 10 1-2-1 5 11
7) Michigan Tech 69 5 2-4-0 6 10
8) Minnesota Duluth 64 4 2-3-1 5 11
9) Bemidji State 55 11 2-1-1 5 11
10) Nebraska Omaha 52 8 2-3-1 6 10
11) Alaska Anchorage 29 12 2-2-2 6 12
12) Minnesota State 18 9 2-2-2 10 12

Saturday reading: WCHA roundup, Miami, NHL lockout

From the WCHA …

No. 4 North Dakota 4, Alaska Anchorage 1

GRAND FORKS — Senior forward Danny Kristo registered an assist on three of North Dakota’s four goals to help lift his team to a 4-1 victory against Alaska Anchorage at Engelstad Arena on Friday night.

No. 5 Denver 5, Michigan Tech 1

DENVER — Junior defenseman David Makowski and junior forward Nick Shore each had a goal and an assist to lead Denver to a 5-1 victory against Michigan Tech at Magness Arena on Friday night.

Wisconsin 2, No. 14 Minnesota Duluth 0

DULUTH — Sophomore goaltender Joel Rumpel made 29 saves and junior forward Mark Zengerle had a goal and an assist to lead the Badgers to a 2-0 shutout against the Bulldogs on Friday night at AMSOIL Arena.

Bemidji State 3, Nebraska Omaha 3 OT

OMAHA — Senior forward Aaron McLeod scored a goal and an assist while sophomore netminder Andrew Walsh made 39 saves to help lift Bemidji State to a 3-3 tie against Nebraska Omaha on Friday night at CenturyLink Center.

St. Cloud State 5, Minnesota State 1

ST. CLOUD — Ben Hanowski scored a pair of goals and Drew LeBlanc added a goal and three assists to lead St. Cloud State to a 5-1 win against Minnesota State on Friday night at National Hockey Center.

No. 2 Minnesota 2, USA U-18 2 OT (exhibition)

MINNEAPOLIS — Junior forwards Tom Serratore and Nick Bjugstad each scored a goal to help Minnesota skate to a 2-2 tie against the USA Under-18 Team on Friday night at Mariucci Arena.

From the CCHA …

No. 6 Michigan 4, No. 3 Miami 2

ANN ARBOR — Michigan senior forward A.J. Treais tallied two goals to power the Wolverines to a 4-2 win over Miami. Sophomore defenseman Mike Chiasson and sophomore forward Alex Guptill both recorded 1-1-2 scoring lines while freshman defenseman Jacob Trouba had two helpers.

For the RedHawks, sophomore forward Cody Murphy scored a goal on the power play and sophomore forward Austin Czarnik netted a short-handed tally. Michigan freshman goaltender Steve Racine stopped 30 shots, while Miami’s tandem of freshman goaltenders Jay Williams and Ryan McKay combined for 31 saves.

In the pros, frustration continues to mount as more NHL players are giving up on the season to find work overseas, as former Tiger Mark Stuart points out.

Friday reading: WCHA features and previews, military appreciation

No. 19 Colorado College takes on a strong No. 7 Cornell team in its first road trip of the season (No, Air Force does not count).

Minnesota State readies for its final campaign in the old WCHA. They travel to St. Cloud State.

Here is a look at the Wisconsin at No. 14 Minnesota Duluth series from a Bulldogs perspective. Wisconsin senior Derek Lee, UW’s power play quarterback, is out this weekend after a scooter-car collision.

Nebraska Omaha goalie John Faulkner is playing well so far. UNO hosts Bemidji State.

Hockey brought in big money to the Denver economy last weekend. Look for goalie Sam Brittain to start Friday against visiting Michigan Tech with Juho Olkinuora. Here is a preview focusing on Michigan Tech.

Here is all you need to know about Alaska Anchorage at No. 4 North Dakota.

Minnesota plays the USA U-18 team tonight and Canisius, which tied Air Force 1-1 on Thursday,  on Sunday. The Gophers will rest a few dinged up players.

In pro hockey, the ECHL Colorado Eagles are asking fans to nominate their family members or friends who they feel qualify as “Hometown Heroes” as part of Military Appreciation Night.

If you know of someone who deserves to be honored and recognized for their incredible efforts of military service, please fill out the attached form and return it for consideration to the Colorado Eagles by the end of business on Thursday, Nov. 1.

Three nominees will be chosen from the forms received, and honored (one per period) during our annual Military Appreciation Night on Wednesday, Nov. 7 at the Budweiser Events Center.  The honorees will receive free tickets to that night’s game, along with admittance for select family/friends.

CC remains No. 19 in USCHO poll

Colorado College’s loss to a solid UMass-Lowell team on Saturday did not cost it in this week’s USCHO poll with the Tigers remaining at No. 19 for the second straight week.

As expected, there was a change atop the rankings with Boston College retaking the No. 1 spot, followed by No. 2 Minnesota, No. 3 Miami and shorthanded North Dakota which fell to fourth from second after losing at Alaska-Fairbanks late Saturday.

Denver’s convincing wins over Air Force and Lowell pushed it from No. 7 up to No. 5. Minnesota Duluth dropped one spot to No. 14.

Michigan Tech’s win over Minnesota and close loss on Saturday garnered it some respect and an appearance in the receiving votes section along with St. Lawrence which pulled off a road sweep at Maine.

Minnesota State, Nebraska Omaha,  St. Cloud State and Wisconsin all picked up some votes while Air Force and Alaska-Anchorage received a couple.

 

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