Saturday reading: AFA, upsets, WCHA recaps, CCHA, M. Schwartz

SCSU_KossilaThe Falcons’ special teams came up big as Air Force moved from fourth to a tie for second place in the AHA with a 2-0 home win Friday over Robert Morris. Goalie Jason Torf (30 saves) is why Falcons fans can again hope for an NCAA Tournament bid.

Around college hockey, it was a tough night to be a top 5 team. Only idle No. 2 Quinnipiac did not lose. Here are recaps from the WCHA and about those upsets.

No. 15/16 St. Cloud State 3, No. 5 North Dakota 1

GRAND FORKS —  No. 15/16 St. Cloud State University men’s hockey team (15-10-0, 12-5-0 WCHA) took advantage of a dominant defensive performance to score a 3-1 victory at No. 5 North Dakota (13-8-4, 8-5-4 WHCA) on Jan. 25 in Grand Forks, N.D.

The victory helped the Huskies move into sole possession of first place in the WCHA with 24 league points thanks to a 2-1 victory by No. 14 Minnesota State at No. 1 Minnesota on Jan. 25.  The Gophers fell into second place tie along with Nebraska Omaha at 22 points.

SCSU outshot UND 33-16 in the contest and also held it scoreless until a third period power play goal broke the shutout for the Huskies.  In the first period, SCSU set the tempo by giving up only three shots on goal and followed with five shots allowed in the second period.

SCSU freshman Jonny Brodzinski opened the offense with a goal at 4:15 of the first period while senior captain Ben Hanowski added the game winner with his ninth goal of the season at 16:36 of the first period. Freshman Kalle Kossilla assisted for his 11th of the season.

No. 14 Minnesota State 2, No. 1 Minnesota 1

MINNEAPOLIS – Minnesota’s 10-game unbeaten streak came to an abrupt end on Friday night after No. 14 Minnesota State’s Brett Knowles tallied the 2-1 game winner with 44 seconds left in regulation.

For the first time in Minnesota’s last 10 games, the Gophers failed to reach the four-goal plateau although freshman goalie Adam Wilcox did his best to try and pick up the win regardless of the offensive production. The rookie netminder (16-3-4) made 31 saves – one off his career high – for his first loss of 2013. MSU goalie Stephon Williams recorded 37 saves to move to 13-6-2 this season.

Despite Minnesota State’s third period goal, the Gophers held a 38-33 shot advantage and rallied from what would have been only the third time this season an opponent outshot the squad with 20 shots in the third period (the Mavericks had nine in the final stanza).

Minnesota returns to action on Saturday in Mankato for the series finale against Minnesota State. Game time is set for 7 p.m. CT on FOX Sports North PLUS.

No. 13/14 Nebraska Omaha 5, Bemidji State 3

BEMIDJI —  Nebraska-Omaha got two goals and an assist from Matt White while Johnnie Searfoss and Jaycob Megna each pitched in a goal and helped on another to help the Mavericks hold off a late charge by Bemidji State and earn a 5-3 WCHA victory at Sanford Center Friday.

No. 20 Wisconsin 5, Alaska-Anchorage 2

MADISON — Junior forward Michael Mersch posts two goals and an assist while Mark Zengerle and Nic Kerdiles scored a goal and an assist each to lead Wisconsin to a 5-2 victory against Alaska Anchorage on Friday night at Kohl Center.

Maine 4, No. 3 Boston College 1

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. — On paper, it was a mismatch – Hockey East’s top team against the league’s cellar-dweller.

Maine flipped that mismatch on its head, however, in defeating third-ranked Boston College 4-1.

In pulling off the upset, Maine spoiled the return of BC coach Jerry York to the bench after missing four games while recuperating from surgery for a detached retina.

Martin Ouellette stopped 34 of 35 shots including all 20 in the second period when BC threatened on three power plays. He also benefited from a goaltender’s best friend, the pipes behind him, as the Eagles twice clanged iron.

The Black Bears, who hadn’t scored more than two goals in 20 of 23 games this year, took a 2-0 first-period lead, expanded it to 3-0 in the second, and after BC closed the gap to 3-1 in the third, added an empty-netter for the final margin.

“Frankly, we got some puck luck, which we perhaps haven’t had a lot of,” Maine coach Tim Whitehead said. “It could have been very different if we hadn’t had some of those bounces.

“Marty [Ouellette] was fabulous. A lot of guys made some key blocks. Any time we didn’t make the block, Marty was able to bail us out.”

Here is the rest of the article.

Merrimack 3, No. 4 New Hampshire 2

NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. — After taking a brief 2-1 lead in the second, UNH allowed two unanswered Merrimack goals. The game-winner came from freshman Brian Christie, who started the third period by winning the opening faceoff, driving the middle and netting a marker through a defender’s legs just seven seconds into the final frame from captain Jordan Heywood and junior Mike Collins.

Collins and Christie both finished with three points on the night and Merrimack held the Wildcats scoreless for the remaining 19:53, winning 3-2.

“I didn’t even see it go in,” Christie said. “Fortunately, it did.”

Here is the rest of that article.

Of note from the CCHA: No. 9 Western Michigan defeated Michigan to take sole possession of first place and Miami beat Bowling Green to give RedHawks’ head coach Enrico Blasi his 300th career win. The RedHawks are now in second place while Notre Dame, losers in its last five, fell to third.

Also, this columnist tells us why Mandi Schwartz still matters to her teammates, loved ones and Yale.

Friday reading: CC, previews, UND video, UAH, outdoor hockey

CC Rylan Schwartz vs UNHThe Gazette’s David Ramsey talks about CC goalie Josh Thorimbert’s season. Both the Tigers and the visiting Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs know how big this series is for home playoff ice.

The buzz about the No. 6 North Dakota at No. 1 Minnesota series is reaching a fever pitch. Here are links to everything you need to know from the Grand Forks Herald.

The Mankato Free Press provides plenty of links about the other series.

Two future CC players were among the 19 future NCHC student-athletes who made the NHL Draft midterm rankings. Here are short previews on the future NCHC schools in action this weekend.

Here is the Air Force preview for its Saturday-Sunday road series at last-place Sacred Heart.

This news made my Thursday:  Here is more on the Alabama-Huntsville joining the WCHA from the Huntsville paper and details from USCHO which broke the news. There were some concerns that the travel subsidy and the fact that this means one less trip to Alaska each season apparently eased.

It was also a good night for me personally since I got to cover an outdoor club hockey game. Cold but a lot of fun. It was a good reminder what makes hockey such a great sport to be around.

Monday reading: Preissing, radio show, weekend reviews, Hobey

preissing_1Former Tiger Tom Preissing, who played for EHCB  last season, signed with Biel and went through a tryout with the German league team last weekend. I will update his status when I stumble across it. Thanks to Tim Matthewson for finding this article and to Google translate.

The monthly Scott Owens radio show is at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at McCabe’s Tavern, downtown Colorado Springs.

Here are three observations on this weekend in the WCHA, including a note on CC.

Hockey East’s standings are tightening up. The CCHA goaltending was quite good while the Hobey Baker race is underway.

Friday reading: CC, UND video, J. Schwartz, Rothstein, AFA, WCHA

jaden schwartzGazette columnist David Ramsey opines on the state of the CC team this season. Here are preview notes on the Tigers and on North Dakota.

Here is the Grand Forks Herald video preview concerning this weekend’s home series against CC.

Former Tiger Jaden Schwartz is back in the Blues training camp.

CC commit Sam Rothstein is a big reason (4g, 6a) the Sioux Falls Stampede have won nine of its last 10 in the USHL.

An Air Force player is out for the season with a concussion.

Sophomore goalie Ryan Massa is back for Nebraska Omaha. Western Michigan picked up a commit as did UNO.

Here is a look at the Anchorage at Minnesota series. Minnesota Duluth will be shorthanded for this weekend’s home series against Michigan Tech.

Boston College coach Jerry York will miss the New Hampshire series this weekend to recover from eye surgery.

A little-used Michigan freshman heads to the OHL.

Thursday reading: CC, TV, WCHA, UAA, CCHA, Hockey East, Army

TV imageCC fans: Please remember to bring a new or gently used stuffed animal for Saturday’s Teddy Bear Toss during first intermission of the Minnesota game.

Here are the preview notes for CC, including news that ROOT Sports will broadcast Friday’s game as will FS North and FS Southwest.

UM freshman goalie Adam Wilcox is the national Rookie of the Month for November. UNO’s Ryan Walters (15 points) was the player honoree, beating out a strong candidacy for CC senior Scott Winkler (14 points).

Minnesota closes out the first half of the season in Colorado Springs. Here are the preview notes.

Here is this week’s USCHO column on the WCHA, including a short feature on UND captain Andrew MacWilliam.

Bowling Green’s struggles are the subject of this week’s CCHA column.

Alaska-Anchorage lost a little-used walk-on player to Canada or the Division III ranks, where he can play more often.

The Hockey East coaches’ letters to Santa were intercepted once again by the USCHO columnist.

The Army captain is a Rhodes finalist.

Tuesday reading: Lagrone, NCHC, WMU, WCHA web media poll

Here is some news on a CC commit from the NAHL …

West Division Star of the Week: Duggie Lagrone, defenseman, Fairbanks Ice Dogs
The Fairbanks Ice Dogs completed a perfect sweep in the state of Texas this past weekend with a two-game sweep of the Wichita Falls Wildcats, which followed up their sweep last week of Corpus Christi.  This past week, Dallas, Texas native and Fairbanks defenseman Duggie Lagrone, 18, felt right at home as he picked up four points and was +2 in a weekend sweep in Wichita Falls.  On Friday night, Lagrone (5’8/170) assisted on the Ice Dogs first goal in a 2-1 win.  On Saturday, Lagrone had a goal and assisted on two others (including the game-winner) in a 5-3 win over Wichita Falls.  In 16 games this season, Lagrone has 11 points.  “I think there was a little added motivation for Duggie because he was back in his home state of Texas and had a lot of family in attendance at the games,” said Fairbanks head coach Trevor Stewart.  “You could tell he was playing with some extra emotion.  He can skate really well and does a very good job at beating the forecheck and getting the puck out of the zone and up the ice.”

Here is the weekend review for the future NCHC.

Here is a preview of Northern Michigan at No. 10 Western Michigan.

This week’s WCHA web media poll was announced Monday evening.

Team Pts Previous Record High Low
1) Denver (10) 138 1 9-3-0 1 4
2) Minnesota (2) 128 2 9-2-2 1 5
3) North Dakota 120 2 6-4-2 2 6
4) St. Cloud State 107 4 7-5-0 3 6
5) Nebraska Omaha 100 5 8-3-1 3 6
6) Colorado College 90 6 7-6-1 3 7
7) Michigan Tech 67 7 4-6-0 6 10
8) Minnesota State 53 11 5-5-2 7 10
9) Bemidji State 51 10 3-5-2 7 10
10) Minnesota Duluth 45 9 3-7-2 7 11
11) Wisconsin 23 8 1-7-2 10 12
12) Alaska Anchorage 14 12 2-4-4 11 12

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.

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