Future nonconference schedules taking shape

DC 3As heard during Ken Ralph radio interview last night: CC’s 2013-14 nonconference schedule includes games against Air Force, Clarkson, New Hampshire, Providence and Wisconsin.

The Clarkson games are on the road in return for the Golden Knights’ trip to Colorado Springs earlier this season. No further specifics were mentioned.

Future dates including Boston College and Boston University and “a couple Big 10 teams” are also in the works.

Future dates could include a couple East Coast trips when CC would play one Hockey East or ECAC team one night and another the next, Ralph said.

The Tigers have four more nonleague dates to schedule since the National Collegiate Hockey Conference, which begins play in October, uses a 24-game format.

CC will continue to coordinate with Denver as well as it has in the past. An example would be the New Hampshire and Yale games this past Thanksgiving weekend when Yale played at DU on Friday and visited CC on Saturday.

Ralph also said CC is working to schedule nonconference games with Alaska-Anchorage including road contests. As play-by-play man Ken Landau pointed out, it is easier to fly to Anchorage than Houghton, Mich., which usually involves a flight to Duluth followed by a lengthy bus ride.

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.

Updated Saturday reading: Minnesota, Great Lakes Invitational, Air Force, North Dakota commit, Union injury, New Hampshire, CCHA

Janet Hostetter/The Associated Press

Here are more details from No. 2 Minnesota’s home win over Minnesota State.

Holy Cross 3, Air Force 2

AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. — Holy Cross scored three goals in a little more than 10 minutes during the second period to rally past the struggling host Falcons (1-3-3, 1-1-1 AHA). Holy Cross moved into first place in the AHA with 3-1 record (4-1 overall).

Holy Cross outshot Air Force, 43-28, in the game. The Crusaders outshot the Falcons, 43-19, in the final 47 minutes.

“We are not very disciplined right now and we are playing a soft game,” Falcons head coach Frank Serratore said. “We had a two-goal lead and had a chance to come out and punch them in the mouth in the second period. Instead, they imposed their will on us. They took it to us in the second period. I have no beef with the way we played in the third period, but why can’t we play like that in the first two periods.”

With the NHL Winter Classic scrapped, the Great Lakes Invitational is moving back indoors.

Here is a feature on Minnesota forward Tom Serratore.

North Dakota is likely to lose a commit to Canadian major juniors.

No. 10 Union beat RPI but may have lost its captain for a good while. No. 9 New Hampshire, CC’s foe on Nov. 23,  lost at UMass.

A Canisius player is suspended for seven additional games for a hit that injured an Air Force player last Thursday.

Here are CCHA results from Friday of note:

Ferris State 3, No. 4 Miami 0

BIG RAPIDS – Sophomore goaltender C.J. Motte blocked all 25 shots he faced as Ferris State shut out Miami, 3-0. Freshman defensemen Brandon Anselmini and Connor Schmidt each potted a power-play goal, while sophomore forward Justin Buzzeo added an even-strength marker for the Bulldogs. For the Redhawks, freshman goaltender Jay Williams made 28 saves in the loss.

No. 11 Western Michigan 3, No. 7 Notre Dame 2

SOUTH BEND – Senior forward Dane Walters’ two-goal performance led Western Michigan past Notre Dame, 3-2. Broncos’ junior forward Chase Balisy added a power-play goal and an assist in the contest. Notre Dame sophomore forward Anders Lee finished with a goal and an assist, while sophomore defenseman Robbie Russo added a power-play goal. Junior forward Jeff Costello tallied a pair of helpers for the Irish. Broncos’ sophomore goaltender Frank Slubowski stopped 35 shots in the win, while Notre Dame junior goaltender Steven Summerhays made 22 saves in the loss.

No. 8 Michigan 4, No. 20 Northern Michigan 4 (Michigan wins in shootout)

MARQUETTE – Senior forward A.J. Treais scored with one second left in regulation, and had the lone goal in the shootout, to give Michigan a 4-4 tie/shootout win against Northern Michigan. Sophomore defenseman Mike Chiasson and senior defenseman Mac Bennett each tallied a goal and an assist. Junior forward Kevin Lynch added the other goal and freshman goaltender Steve Racine stopped 24 shots for the Wolverines. For the Wildcats, freshman forward Cohen Adair finished with a 1-1-2 scoring line. Junior defenseman Wade Epp, junior forward Erik Higby and sophomore forward Ryan Daugherty each had single goals, while junior goaltender Jared Coreau turned aside 31 shots.

Holmstrom brothers travel far, work hard for shot at college, pro hockey

Ben Holmstrom, shown playing for the Adirondack Phantoms of the American Hockey League, is only the second Colorado Springs native to play in the NHL.   COURTESY ADIRONDACK PHANTOMS

Here is my feature that appeared in Friday’s issue of the Woodmen Edition newspaper …

It may be across the country from their family, but Woodmen Edition area natives Ben and Josh Holmstrom are happy they chose to play NCAA Division I men’s hockey for UMass Lowell.

Ben took advantage of his four years to develop a promising professional career which young brother Josh hopes to emulate.

After fielding some offers from other schools, a season-ending knee injury left only the River Hawks interested in offering Ben a full-ride athletic scholarship.

“That made it an easy choice,” he said.

It proved to be the right one for Ben, 25, who served as a three-year captain for the River Hawks, before graduating and moving on to the professional ranks. That journey paid off with seven games with the Philadelphia Flyers spread out over the last two seasons, making him only the second Colorado Springs native to reach the NHL.

Former North Dakota standout defenseman David Hale was the first from the Springs to reach the bigs but has since retired. Ben and Hale played in what is now the Colorado Springs Amateur Hockey Association and its club team, the Pikes Peak Miners, while Josh, 23, played with the Colorado Rampage and Denver-area Colorado Thunderbirds. The brothers went on to play for the Sioux Falls (S.D.) Stampede of the Junior A United States Hockey League before moving up to Lowell.

“He’s a guy I was always looking up to,” Ben said. “I got to play against him in his final year in (American Hockey League) Binghamton. To be only the second player from Colorado Springs to make (the NHL) is something I take a lot of pride in.”

“We’re all very proud of what he accomplished,” said Josh, a 2008 Doherty High School graduate, who followed his brother out to Lowell, after finding the school to be the right fit.  “It’s a great hockey program and a phenomenal school.”

Both players continue to work hard and improve as much as they can, taking advantage of playing in what they consider the toughest hockey leagues in Division I; Hockey East, which includes Boston College, winners of three of the last five national championships, and Boston University, which won in 2009.

“Certainly one of the selling points for Lowell is being in Hockey East,” Ben said. “It is a high level and I had a lot of opportunity to play as a freshman and sophomore. It definitely prepared me while I got bigger and stronger (in four years).”

But little prepared him for the day he got the call from the Flyers the morning of March 3, 2011 and had to travel from upstate New York to Philadelphia for a game that night after two players were too sick to play.

“That was a whirlwind, driving five hours to play in front of 17,000 fans that night,” he said. “I had a lot of excitement and nerves.  The captain took aside me and told me to make sure to enjoy it because playing your first NHL game can never be duplicated. I did enjoy it.”

He got in two NHL games during the 2010-11 campaign and another five last season.

“I played with a little more confidence and with more comfort being around the guys,” he said. “It’s still a learning process.”

UMass Lowell junior forward Josh Holmstrom celebrated his goal against Miami (Ohio) during last spring’s NCAA tournament. COURTESY UMASS LOWELL ATHLETICS

Josh is on his way to a professional career as well, serving as an assistant captain as a junior, garnering all-league academic honors (3.6 grade point average) and recording the primary assist on the game-winning goal at No. 19 Colorado College last weekend.

“Josh Holmstrom brings an intensity to each and every game whether we’re playing at home or on the road,” said River Hawks head coach Norm Bazin, who spent several years as an assistant at CC. “He is someone who continues to improve and develop his skills and he will be counted upon to contribute offensively.”

Josh is enjoying being part of the proud program’s resurgence. The River Hawks surprised most of the experts by making the NCAA Tournament last spring in Bazin’s first season. They are a preseason pick to place second this season behind BC.

“It’s very exciting,” he said. “The key for us will be to keep working harder and getting better each day.”

It’s that kind of attitude that helped Ben go from a junior player with a knee injury to the NHL and his second year as captain for the American Hockey League’s Adirondack Phantoms, only a step below the Flyers. If the NHL lockout ends, the 2009-10 Hockey East Best Defensive Forward Award-winner will likely be a quick call-up to Philadelphia.

“I will never be a 40-goal scorer in the NHL,” Ben said. “I need to play my game, which is being good on faceoffs, on defense and finishing my checks. If I can do that and be consistent, I could have a good career.”

It’s an example Josh plans to follow to the pros just as he did when he took up ice hockey as a youngster  watching his older brother play in Colorado Springs.

“It’s great motivation for me,” Josh said. “He’s always pushing me and I am always pushing him. He has had a great hockey career. I just need to keep working and improving and hope mine goes as well.”

River Hawks defense too sound for CC to crack

No. 19 Colorado College ran into a good defensive team in No. 10 UMass Lowell an was unable to break through in a 3-1 home loss to the Hockey East’s River Hawks.

UML junior center Joseph Pendenza scored on a rebound off a hard shot by Josh Holmstrom to put UMass Lowell up 2-1 with 12:49 left in the third period. Holmstrom’s shot from the left faceoff circle bounced off CC goalie Josh Thorimbert’s leg pads to the right circle, where Pendenza was alone for the uncontested shot. Stephen Buco added an empty-netter with 29.8 seconds left for the final margin.

It was a big homecoming of Colorado Springs native Holmstrom before an announced crowd of 7,301 at Colorado Springs World Arena.

Colorado College (3-1) had its chances with a power play late in the third period but only two shots ended up on net against a good River Hawks defense.

“Going 0-3 on the power play killed us,” Tigers coach Scott Owens said. “We felt pretty good at 1-1 going into the third. It was just a matter of which team blinked first.”

UML blocked 18 shots, including one on CC’s final rush up ice, and kept their stickblades in the CC passing lanes, slowing down the Tigers in transition.

“That was a focus for sure,” said UML associate head coach Jason Lammers who along with head coach Norm Bazin both worked as CC assistants. “We know all too well how good they are coming up the ice. We did not do that well (Friday) night.  We wanted them to earn their ice.”

“They did that very well,” CC senior Andrew Hamburg said.

CC sophomore defenseman Aaron Harstad’s shot from between the circles through traffic clanged in off the left post to tie the game at 1-1 with 6:35 left in the second period to set up an exciting third period.

“It’s a relief to finally get it out of the way,” Harstad said of his first goal as a Tiger. “They were very good at defending the back side with their forwards. It is definitely a learning experience.”

The goal was set up by William Rapuzzi and Alexander Krushelnyski who passed around the UML zone  out to the blue line where Harstad took the shot.  It was one of the few shots to get through the River Hawks defense. CC trails in shots on goal 25-18, after UML out shot the hosts 11-6 in the first period.

CC goalie Josh Thorimbert put in a strong second period recording 13 saves, five in the first four minutes, while making a glove save with 3:06 left that kept the game tied.

He finished with 36 saves but was outplayed by junior netminder Doug Carr, who recorded 27 stops and made a number of big saves off rebounds to frustrate the Tigers. The Hockey East member River Hawks (1-1-1) were also quick to collapse on their net, denying openings for shots.

“Josh played pretty well,” Owens said. “Carr is the best goalie in the East and probably the country. They showed why they are a No. 7-10 team with Carr backstopping them.”
Lowell freshman Ryan McGrath beat three Tigers to the puck at center ice and pulled away from the two CC defensemen to generate a breakaway that he cashed in from short range against Thorimbert for a 1-0 lead for the visiting River Hawks.

UML dominated play for much of the first period and showed plenty of speed to handle the Olympic-sized sheet.  Despite that, CC came close to scoring, but Carr made a huge glove save on a rebound attempt by Rylan Schwartz with 8:23 left to preserve the 1-0 lead.

“We were a little dull,” Owens said. “It was a bit of a hangover from (Friday) night (a 6-2 road win over rival Air Force).  Initially they had great jump. They are a good team and a hungry team who were trying to salvage the weekend after losing (5-1 at No. 7 Denver) on Friday.”

Notes

Colorado Springs native Josh Holmstrom, a Doherty High School graduate, is an assistant captain for the River Hawks. His older brother Ben Holmstrom was a captain ay UML and is in his second year as captain of the AHL Adirondack Phantoms where he is teammates with former CC captain Mike Testwuide and former Maine defenseman Jeff Dimmen, also of Colorado Springs. … UML was picked to place second in Hockey Eatst behind defending champion Boston College by league media and coaches… UML head coach Norm Bazin and associate head coach Jason Lammers, both former CC assistants, were joined this season by UML alumnus and volunteer goalie coach Dwayne Roloson, a 16-NHl veteran who reached the 2006 Stanley Cup Final. … With the loss, CC is now 7-4 all-time against UML.  …. Thorimbert recorded college win No. 20 on Friday.

No. 10 UMass Lowell 3, No. 19 Colorado College 1

UMass Lowell    1              0              2              — 3

Colorado College              0              1              0              — 1

First period – 1. UML, McGrath (Amlong) 10:27. Penalties – none.

Second period — 2. CC, Harstad (Rapuzzi, Krushelnyski) 13:25. Penalties – UML, Amlong, tripping, 4:23; CC, Marciano, roughing, 7:43; CC, Collett, roughing, 7:43; UML, Wetmore, roughing, 7:43; UML, McGrath, roughing, 7:43; UML, Ruhwedel, slashing, 14:04.

Third period –3. UML, Pendenza (Holmstrom, White) 7:16;  4. UML, Buco (unassisted) 19:30 (EN).  enalties – UML, Pendeza, holding, 16:10.

Power play – UML 0-0, CC 0-3. Shots on goal – UML 11-14-14 – 39; CC 6-12-10 – 28. Saves-minutes – UML, Carr 6-11-10 – 60:00; CC, Thorimbert 10-14-12 – 58:49. Referees – Dreger, Mousseaux. Linesmen – Keltie, Swiader.  Attendance – 7,301.

Tuesday reading: Colorado College, North Dakota, poll, Wisconsin, Clarkson, AHA, Notre Dame, Northeastern, Penn State, Merrimack


Penn State’s Taylor Gross, a Pine Creek HS graduate, and Syracuse’s Kallie Goodnough fight for the puck during a 6-0 loss to the Orange Sunday at the Greenberg Ice Pavilion. The Nittany Lions are 1-3 this season. Abby Drey — Centre Daily Times Photo

Here is a fan’s take on CC and Wisconsin.

North Dakota junior goalie Clarke Saunders is profiled.

UND is No. 2 behind Minnesota in the USA Today/USA Hockey poll.

Here is my 3 Things blog about last weekend in the WCHA for USCHO.

Clarkson can take heart in its good showing on the road in Colorado Springs according to this ECAC weekend review.

Atlantic Hockey enjoyed a strong opening weekend.

Notre Dame’s goalie had a .962 saves percentage this past weekend, among other CCHA notes.

Here is more reaction to Northeastern’s big opening week.

Penn State got its first Division I men’s win on Saturday.

A former Merrimack coach succumbed to throat cancer recently.

More Friday reading: WCHA previews, weekend picks, Alabama-Huntsville’s hopes, weekend schedule

Here is the conference season preview I wrote along with colleague Tyler Buckentine, who is based in Minnesota.

Michigan Tech lost 4-2 at Lake Superior State on Thursday, something Tyler and I both predicted. We also picked MTU to win at home Saturday night against the Lakers. Here are the rest of the weekend’s picks.

Alabama-Huntsville needs to show it can compete in the WCHA and fill its arena with WCHA commissioner Bruce McLeod coming South to watch Minnesota State at the Chargers this weekend.

Here are the team season previews we wrote: Alaska-Anchorage, Bemidji State, Colorado College, Denver;

Michigan Tech, Minnesota, Minnesota-Duluth, Minnesota State;

Nebraska-Omaha, North Dakota, St. Cloud State and Wisconsin.

Here is this weekend’s schedule, courtesy of the WCHA. Michigan Tech lost at LSSU 4-2 Thursday night.

Fri
10/12/12
Michigan State
at Minnesota
6:07 p.m. CT
Fri
10/12/12
St. Cloud State
at New Hampshire
7:30 p.m. ET
Fri
10/12/12
Minnesota State
at Alab-Huntsville
7:00 p.m. CT
Fri
10/12/12
Wisconsin
vs Northern Michigan
7:05 p.m. CT
Fri
10/12/12
Ohio State
at Minnesota Duluth
7:07 p.m. CT
Fri
10/12/12
USA Under-18 Team
at North Dakota
7:37 p.m. CT
Fri
10/12/12
Clarkson
at Colorado College
7:37 p.m. MT
Fri
10/12/12
Army
vs Nebraska Omaha
9:00 p.m. CT
Fri
10/12/12
Canisius
at Alaska Anchorage
8:07 p.m. AT
Sat
10/13/12
Notre Dm/Maine
vs Nebraska Omaha
3:30/6:30 p.m. CT
Sat
10/13/12
St. Cloud State
at New Hampshire
7:00 p.m. ET
Sat
10/13/12
Lake Superior
at Michigan Tech
7:07 p.m. ET
Sat
10/13/12
Minnesota State
at Alab-Huntsville
7:00 p.m. CT
Sat
10/13/12
Wisconsin
vs Northern Michigan
7:05 p.m. CT
Sat
10/13/12
Ohio State
at Minnesota Duluth
7:07 p.m. CT
Sat
10/13/12
USA Under-18 Team
at Bemidji State
7:07 p.m. CT
Sat
10/13/12
Clarkson
at Colorado College
7:07 p.m. MT
Sat
10/13/12
Michigan State
at Minnesota
8:07 p.m. CT
Sat
10/13/12
Air Force
at Alaska Anchorage
7:07 p.m. AT

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.

Monday reading: CC at Wisconsin, Minnesota, NHL, USHL

The CC at Wisconsin series during the 2013-14 season was confirmed along with some practice notes.

Boston College was picked to win Hockey East this season by league media.

This longtime Minnesota season ticket holder got the runaround due to a new program.

The New York Times put together a guide to the top European leagues to aid fans wondering where their favorite NHL player is headed during the lockout.

The USHL plans to amp up its focus on player safety, falling in line with recent college hockey rule tweaks and changes.

Pine Creek High School graduate Taylor Gross led the Penn State women’s first practice.

Thursday reading: UNO, CC, UND, Duluth, Hockey East, Mankato

Incoming Nebraska Omaha freshman goalie Anthony Stolarz, a 2012 second round draft pick of the Flyers, pictured, may be the key to the Mavericks’ success this coming season. Here is some more background on how far the NAHL standout has come.

NHL Central Scouting announced its preliminary 2013 draft watch list and CC 2013/14 defenseman commit Gustav Oloffson of the Colorado Thunderbirds and 2014 defenseman Teemu Kivilhalme were both rated. Kivilhalme is considered as a C-level prospect while Oloffson is  B-level.

Peter Stoykewych’s younger brother Paul was rated as was Jake Guentzel.

Former Merrimack commit and BCHL standout Wade Murphy visited North Dakota on Monday and soon committed.

The Karson Kuhlman commit continues a trend of northern Minnesota talent heading to Minnesota-Duluth.

As usual, there are plenty of impact freshmen joining Hockey East this coming season.

Former MSU-Mankato captain David Backes and North Dakota standout Jonathan Toews are featured in the NHLPA video concerning the lockout.

Ticket sales have been slow for Penn State’s first season of Division I hockey so far. A few wins will change that quickly.

Union received their 2011-12 ECAC championship rings.

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