CC battles back for 5-4 road OT victory

Junior Alexander Krushelnyski one-timed a pass from behind the Wisconsin net by Charlie Taft for the game-winner 25 seconds into overtime as Colorado College defeated host Wisconsin 5-4 at the Kohl Center.

Taft knocked down a pass by Wisconsin goalie Joel Rumpel and immediately passed toward the front where Krushelnyski was attacked the net.

The win, CC’s first in OT since Dec. 16, 2011 at Minnesota State (David Civitarese), ended a three-game losing skid.

“This was a good character win,” CC assistant Joe Bonnett said in a radio interview afterward.  “You have to respect our determination tonight. The Kohl Center is not an easy place to play when the students get into it.”

Wisconsin jumped out to a 2-0 lead, scoring only 89 seconds into the game after the puck deflected in off a CC defenseman’s skate.  The Tigers (4-3, 1-0 WCHA) did not look sharp but shook off their slow start by dominating the second period.

CC freshman Hunter Fejes scored his first goal as a Tiger and CC added a power-play goal by defenseman Mike Boivin, his first of the season, to tie it at 2-2 headed into the third period. CC, which out shot the host Badgers 17-7.

Wisconsin (1-3-1, 1-1-1) scored a power-play goal less than a minute into the period before CC responded and took its first lead of the contest. Scott Winkler one-timed a pass from the corner by Krushelnyski to tie the game at 3-3 and senior captain William Rapuzzi added a power-play goal with nine minutes left for a 4-3 edge.

Rauzzi hauled in a long pass from defenseman Eammon McDermott from inside the CC zone and got behind the Badgers defensemen for a one-on-one chance against Rumpel.

“Eammon McDermott continues to dazzle with his long passes,” Bonnett said. “Winkler is a big guy with a strong stick in the paint.”

It was Rapuzzi’s third goal, matching his total from his junior season, which included two empty-netters.

Wisconsin would answer when Keegan Meuer batted in his own rebound with about four minutes left to force overtime.

Tuesday reading: Guentzel, Civitarese, Labosky, CC radio show, MSU Mankato, Western Michigan preview, national TV schedule

Former Tiger Gabe Guentzel will be playing for the Norfolk Admirals of the AHL after the Anaheim organization switched affiliates. He signed an AHL contract on Sept. 21.

David Civitarese will get some extra coaching with Capitals coach Adam Oates working for AHL Hershey during the NHL lockout.

CC commit Daniel Labosky (2013 or 2014) is tied for fifth in points (15) in 11 games in the Upper Midwest Elite League.

The monthly Coach Scott Owens Show will be broadcast live from McCabe’s Tavern, 520 S. Tejon St., from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays on Oct. 9, Nov. 15, Dec. 4, Jan. 15, Feb. 5 and March 12. Schedule is subject to change, of course.

Western Michigan has the Mason Cup on display in Andy Murray’s office and the Broncos are not about to let it leave.

Minnesota State Mankato single-game tickets went on sale on Monday.

Here is the national and regional TV schedule. The first game broadcast will be the Manitoba at North Dakota exhibition (really) on Saturday night.

Sunday reading: Civitarese, Bowling Green, AAPG, Anchorage, UND

Former Tiger David Civitarese, pictured, is profiled by the newspaper that covers his junior team. Not a lot of new info but good background on his days in Okotoks.

The USCHO preseason poll will be released sometime on Monday.

Bowling Green coach Chris Bergeron said recruiting will not be affected by the school’s move from the Central Collegiate Hockey Association to the Western Collegiate Hockey Association next season.

Here is a story on the All-American Prospects Game held Saturday in Buffalo, N.Y.

Here is an excellent feature on former Coyotes coach Bob Francis and his battle for a decent quality of life.

Sullivan Arena, home of the ECHL Alaska Aces and UAA Seawolves, is unable to make ice, at least for the short term. Here are some of UAA’s options including upgrading its practice facility.

The Hockey News weighs in on the North Dakota party that led to suspensions.

American International College added a new assistant coach.

Thursday reading: Michigan, Jablonski, NCHC, Civitarese, Guentzel

Former Tiger David Civitarese made quite an impression at the recent prospects camp. Thanks to CC statistician Victoria Thomas for providing this image.

Here is a list of Michigan college players who signed pro contracts so far this offseason including Michigan Tech’s Jordan Baker going to ECHL Colorado.

Injured high school hockey player Jack Jablonski is making considerable progress.

Here is an update on CC’s $27 million in renovations at its El Pomar athletic complex, which will include a new varsity weight room and synthetic ice shooting room for the hockey program.

The National Collegiate Hockey Conference added two to its league office staff.

And from the How Did I Miss This? story department, here are two older articles on former Tigers. David Civitarese was happy to miss the Calgary Stampede last month. Gabe Guentzel made a good first impression during his first partial pro season.

Anyone traveling to Omaha later this month may want to check out this hockey game fundraiser that features former Nebraska Omaha players and current NHLers.

NHL free agency: Hillen joins Crabb in Washington

CC fans have another reason to follow the Washington Capitals (which also have David Civitarese in AHL Hershey) closely this upcoming season.

Former Tiger Jack Hillen, pictured, signed a one-year $650,000 NHL-only contract with the Caps on Tuesday morning. It looks like Washington expects him to contribute at the top club.

That leaves nine former Tigers (as of 10 a.m. MT) weighing their free agency options. They are (name, 2011-12 team):  Richard Bachman (Dallas): Brian Connelly (Calgary); Mark Cullen (Florida); Kris Fredheim (Wild); Trevor Frischmon, (Islanders); Richard Petiot (Tampa Bay);  Brett Sterling (Blues), Colin Stuart (Sabres) and Mike Testwuide (Flyers).

Here is the Hillen press release:

The Capitals announced Tuesday morning they have signed defenseman Jack Hillen to a one-year contract. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Hillen, 26, had six points (two goals, four assists), a plus-6 rating and 20 penalty minutes in 55 games with the Nashville Predators in 2011-12. He finished tied for eighth on the club in blocked shots (65).

The Minnetonka, Minn., native has 56 points (10 goals, 46 assists) and 129 penalty minutes in 230 NHL games with the Islanders and Nashville. He posted career highs in goals (four), assists (tied; 18), points (22) and penalty minutes (45) during the 2010-11 campaign with the Isles.

Hillen (5-foot-10, 190 pounds) spent four seasons with Colorado College of the WCHA, where he was teammates with newly acquired Caps forward Joey Crabb. Hillen earned WCHA Defensive Player of the Year, WCHA First All-Star Team and NCAA (West) First All-American Team honors during his senior season in 2008. He was originally signed as an undrafted free agent by the Islanders on April 1, 2008.

Monday reading: UMass-Lowell lookahead, North Dakota news, NCHC recruits, Alaska youth hockey upgrade, CC graduation rate, Civitarese

Coach Norm Bazin, center, runs through drills with the UMass Lowell hockey team at the Tsongas Center last season. Bazin, hired last spring, wasted no time turning the program around. SUN / TORY GERMANN

Here’s a good look at the 2011-12 season in Hockey East with some good 2012-13 info on UMass-Lowell, coached by former Tiger assistants Norm Bazin and Jason Lammers, which returns its top three scorers and starting goalie for the game in Colorado Springs in October.

That looks to be a very challenging game to play a night after playing at Air Force. That promises to be a big weekend for Pairwise, even though it will only be the third weekend.

Brad Berry is the lead contender for the open North Dakota assistant’s job.

North Dakota forward Rocco Grimaldi skated for the first time on Friday as he recovers from his season-ending knee surgery

A SCSU recruit scored the game-winner to claim the RBC Cup (junior A national championship) in Canada.

A good offensive defenseman and Duluth recruit was named as the USHL Defenseman of the Year. Former Tiger Tom Preissing garnered the same award for the 1998-99 season.

UMD sent out a corrected 2012-13 hockey schedule that works around the BYU-Notre Dame football game, among other scheduling demands.

The formation of the Alaska Jr. Aces should help youth hockey development in Anchorage. Why should a Tiger fan care? Consider that CC has four Alaskans — Hunter Fejes, Jared Hanson, William Rapuzzi, and Scott Wamsganz — on its roster for 2012-13 and have had a few great Alaskan players (Brian Swanson, Joey Crabb spring to mind) over the years.

Regardless of who is on the roster, the Tigers take care of academics when you consider this story about the entire department’s student-athletes. Former Tiger David Civitarese is a great example of that.

The USHL championships series will go to a decisive Game 5 on Wednesday. There are no current CC commits playing at Waterloo or Green Bay.

Alaska-Fairbanks announced its 2012-13 schedule which includes it season opener against Air Force in the Anchorage tournament.

The AHL conference final series resume on Monday. Norfolk, which includes Colorado Springs’ Jeff Dimmen (one assist, two games) has a 2-0 lead over St. John’s while Oklahoma City and Toronto are tied at 1-1 in the West finals.

In the pros: ECHL, AHL playoffs update

San Antonio's Mark Cullen had a big game against Chicago in the AHL playoffs on Saturday night.

In the AHL, Mark Cullen picked up two assists, including the first assist on the game-winner in San Antonio’s 4-3 win over Chicago, which plays Bill Sweatt.

Gabe Guentzel played his second playoff game for Syracuse and finished plus-2. David Civitarese has yet to appear for Hershey in the postseason.

Today is a busy day for former Tigers with Bridgeport’s Trevor Frischmon trying to avoid elimination in the best-of-five series against Connecticut while Houston hopes to do the same at OKC. Abbotsford, which features Brian Connelly, will try to take a 2-0 lead at Milwaukee this afternoon.

Former Tiger Brian Swanson assisted the opening goal as the Alaska Aces defeated Stockton 4-1 in Game 5 of their ECHL second-round playoff series and advanced to the Western Conference finals for the sixth time in the franchise’s nine years. They Aces will face the winner of the Las Vegas-Idaho series (LV leads 3-1).

Tim Hall played for Alaska. The loss ends Ryan Lowery’s stay in Stockton He may now be called up to AHL Oklahoma City, which holds a 2-0 lead in its best-of-five series against Houston, which has Kris Fredheim, Nate Prosser and Chad Rau on its roster.

Saturday reading: AHL and ECHL playoffs, Crabb, coaches meetings, Air Force schedule, Penn State arena, Knight injury, DU captains

Former Tiger captain Nick Dineen showed off what he can do, especially on face-offs and down low, during his short amateur tryout with the ECHL's Elmira Jackals.

Former Tiger Nick Dineen’s first pro season is over. The Eastern No. 1 seed Elmira Jackals lost to No. 5 Florida 2-1  Friday night and the best-of-seven ECHL playoff series 4-1.

Elmira had led the series 1-0 on Dineen’s game-winner in Game 1. Dineen is now a free agent. I would expect him sign an AHL contract this summer.

Alaska, which includes Tim Hall and Brian Swanson, now leads Stockton, which plays Ryan Lowery, 3-1 in the best-of-seven series. Game 5 is Saturday night in California.

Gabe Guentzel played in his first pro playoff game, a 3-2 loss for Syracuse. David Civitarese was a scratch for Hershey in its 3-1 loss. Kris Fredheim and Chad Rau’s No. 8 seed Aeros are down 2-0 in their series against Oklahoma City while Abbotsford, led by Brian Connelly, cruised past Milwaukee.

Colorado Springs’ Jeff Dimmen, a former Maine standout defenseman, is playing for the powerful Norfolk Admirals squad, which won its pro-hockey record 29th game in a row on Friday, a mark that is 11 games longer than any other winning streak ever recorded in any league since hockey was professionalized in 1904. CC fans may remember him for scoring the game-winner against the Tigers in the Florida College Classic during December 2008.

Joey Crabb received a respectable grade from the Toronto beat writer for his best NHL season.

This week’s national coaches’ meeting will have plenty of issues to discuss, including half-shields and the new conference alignments.

Construction on the new ice hockey arena for Penn State, which begins play as a Division I independent this October, began officially on Friday with a groundbreaking ceremony. Coach Guy Gadowsky, a CC alumnus, and two PSU players are interviewed in these videos.

Alaska-Anchorage announced its 2012-13 schedule which will include a game against Air Force in the Kendall Classic in Anchorage Oct. 13. The Falcons take on Alaska-Fairbanks at 3:07 p.m. Mountain on Oct. 12.

North Dakota’s Corban Knight played the last three months of the season with a broken hand.

Denver announced that junior defenseman Paul Phillips, who was an assistant this past season, will be the captain of the 2012-13 Pioneers.  Colorado Springs’ Chris Knowlton won the most improved award and will be an assistant captain along with Shawn Ostrow and Nick Shore.

Thursday reading: Aikens, AFA software training, Big 10 tourney, Dineen fight video, CC-AFA series, ECHL and AHL playoffs, WCHA

Former Tiger Bruce Aikens was named to his hometown Rochester, Minn, QB Hall of Fame.

I wrote an article for USCHO about Air Force using “video-game” software to further develop players’ mental acuity, the all-important, hard-to-quantify “hockey sense.”

The Big Ten announced it will hold its postseason tournament in Detroit and St. Paul every other year, setting the stage for a National Collegiate Hockey Conference announcement that has the new league playing in St. Paul when the Big 10 is in Detroit and vice versa.

Former Tiger Nick Dineen had his first pro fight (video) on Wednesday night.

All indications point to a home-and-home series between CC and Air Force starting with the 2014-15 season.

Here is an ECHL roundup from Wednesday.

The AHL playoffs start Thursday night. I listed all the series and have former Tigers listed by their team so fans may follow their efforts.

Eastern Conference Quarterfinals – Series “A” (best-of-5)
1-Norfolk Admirals (Richard Petiot, injured) vs. 8-Manchester Monarchs
Game 1 – Fri., Apr. 20 – Manchester at Norfolk, 7:30
Game 2 – Sat., Apr. 21 – Manchester at Norfolk, 7:15
Game 3 – Wed., Apr. 25 – Norfolk at Manchester, 7:00
*Game 4 – Fri., Apr. 27 – Norfolk at Manchester, 7:00
*Game 5 – Sat., Apr. 28 – Norfolk at Manchester, 7:00

Eastern Conference Quarterfinals – Series “B” (best-of-5)
2-St. John’s IceCaps vs. 7-Syracuse Crunch
(Gabe Guentzel)
Game 1 – Fri., Apr. 20 – St. John’s at Syracuse, 7:30
Game 2 – Sat., Apr. 21 – St. John’s at Syracuse, 7:30
Game 3 – Wed., Apr. 25 – Syracuse at St. John’s, 6:00
*Game 4 – Fri., Apr. 27 – Syracuse at St. John’s, 6:00
*Game 5 – Sat., Apr. 28 – Syracuse at St. John’s, 6:00

Eastern Conference Quarterfinals – Series “C” (best-of-5)
3-Bridgeport Sound Tigers
(Trevor Frischmon) vs. 6-Connecticut Whale
Game 1 – Thu., Apr. 19 – Connecticut at Bridgeport, 7:00
Game 2 – Sat., Apr. 21 – Connecticut at Bridgeport, 7:00
Game 3 – Sun., Apr. 22 – Bridgeport at Connecticut, 5:00
*Game 4 – Wed., Apr. 25 – Bridgeport at Connecticut, 7:00
*Game 5 – Sat., Apr. 28 – Connecticut at Bridgeport, 7:00

Eastern Conference Quarterfinals – Series “D” (best-of-5)
4-Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins vs. 5-Hershey Bears
(David Civitarese)
Game 1 – Fri., Apr. 20 – Hershey at W-B/Scranton, 7:05
Game 2 – Sat., Apr. 21 – Hershey at W-B/Scranton, 7:05
Game 3 – Wed., Apr. 25 – W-B/Scranton at Hershey, 7:00
*Game 4 – Fri., Apr. 27 – W-B/Scranton at Hershey, 7:00
*Game 5 – Sat., Apr. 28 – Hershey at W-B/Scranton, 7:05

Western Conference Quarterfinals – Series “E” (best-of-5)
1-Oklahoma City Barons vs. 8-Houston Aeros
(Kris Fredheim, Nate Prosser, Chad Rau)
Game 1 – Thu., Apr. 19 – Oklahoma City at Houston, 8:05
Game 2 – Fri., Apr. 20 – Oklahoma City at Houston, 8:35
Game 3 – Sun., Apr. 22 – Houston at Oklahoma City, 8:00
*Game 4 – Tue., Apr. 24 – Houston at Oklahoma City, 8:00
*Game 5 – Wed., Apr. 25 – Houston at Oklahoma City, 8:00

Western Conference Quarterfinals – Series “F” (best-of-5)
2-Toronto Marlies vs. 7-Rochester Americans
(Colin Stuart)
Game 1 – Thu., Apr. 19 – Rochester at Toronto, 7:00
Game 2 – Sat., Apr. 21 – Rochester at Toronto, 3:00
Game 3 – Mon., Apr. 23 – Toronto at Rochester, 7:05
*Game 4 – Wed., Apr. 25 – Toronto at Rochester, 7:05
*Game 5 – Sat., Apr. 28 – Rochester at Toronto, 3:00

Western Conference Quarterfinals – Series “G” (best-of-5)
3-Chicago Wolves
(Bill Sweatt) vs. 6-San Antonio Rampage (Mark Cullen)
Game 1 – Thu., Apr. 19 – Chicago at San Antonio, 8:00
Game 2 – Sat., Apr. 21 – Chicago at San Antonio, 8:00
Game 3 – Tue., Apr. 24 – San Antonio at Chicago, 8:00
*Game 4 – Wed., Apr. 25 – San Antonio at Chicago, 8:00
*Game 5 – Fri., Apr. 27 – San Antonio at Chicago, 8:30

Western Conference Quarterfinals – Series “H” (best-of-5)
4-Abbotsford Heat
(Brian Connelly) vs. 5-Milwaukee Admirals
Game 1 – Fri., Apr. 20 – Abbotsford at Milwaukee, 8:00
Game 2 – Sun., Apr. 22 – Abbotsford at Milwaukee, 6:00
Game 3 – Wed., Apr. 25 – Milwaukee at Abbotsford, 10:00
*Game 4 – Fri., Apr. 27 – Milwaukee at Abbotsford, 10:00
*Game 5 – Sat., Apr. 28 – Milwaukee at Abbotsford, 10:00

Here are Bemidj State’s five signees and their 2012-13 schedule.

The Gopher defensemen were the most productive in Division I.

Wednesday reading: Civitarese, CHL, Bachman, NHL playoffs

Former Tiger David Civitarese is featured in an article about the American Hockey League’s Hershey Bears.

Here are some details about the new CHL franchise beginning playing this fall at the Denver Coliseum.

Boston College celebrated its third title in five years.

The final Inside College Hockey power rankings.

This is a list of the latest early departures from Division I.

Here is an updated story on Richard Bachman, who is one of the 17 Americans on the U.S. preliminary roster for the world championships team next month.

Here are the NHL playoff match-ups. Play begins Wednesday night. Jaden Schwartz (Blues) and Jack Hillen (Predators) are the only former Tigers on a NHL playoff roster at the moment. Others may be called up from the AHL as their teams are eliminated or as NHL injuries mount. Playoffs start in that league April 15.

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