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.

WCHA roundup: UNO, Denver tie keeps both atop WCHA

rylan roadNo. 7 North Dakota 5, Colorado College 3

GRAND FORKS — Senior forward Danny Kristo had two goals and two assists and junior forward Mitch MacMillan added a goal and an assist to lift North Dakota to a 5-3 victory against Colorado College on Saturday night at Engelstad Arena.

CC’s Scott Winkler a nine game goalless streak with two in the first period while Rylan Schwartz scored to tie the game at 3-3 in the third period.

Here is the article on CCTigers.com.

No. 13 Nebraska-Omaha 3, No. 9 Denver 3 OT

DENVER — Junior forward Ryan Walters scored at 17:43 of the second period to lift the Nebraska Omaha Mavericks into a 3-3 tie with the Denver Pioneers on Saturday night at Magness Arena.

No. 1 Minnesota 7, Alaska-Anchorage 1

MINNEAPOLIS — Sophomore Kyle Rau recorded his first career hat trick and Nate Schmidt posted a career-high four assists as No. 1 Minnesota earned a decisive 7-1 win over Alaska-Anchorage on Saturday night, picking up the Gophers’ first Western Collegiate Hockey Association sweep of the season in the process.

With Minnesota’s first hat trick since Nick Bjugstad against St. Cloud State in a 5-0 win on Nov. 19, 2011, Rau ended Bjugstad’s one-day reign as Minnesota’s leading goal scorer on Saturday night against the Seawolves. The sophomore ended the night with 13 scores this season, enough to move into a tie for second in the league this year – one off the WCHA lead.

Here is video of Rau’s third goal.

Minnesota Duluth 5, Michigan Tech 4

DULUTH — Freshman forward Tony Cameranesi posted two goals and an assist and senior forward Mike Seidel added three assists to lead Minnesota Duluth to a 5-4 victory against Michigan Tech on Saturday night at AMSOIL Arena.

Wisconsin 2, No. 11 Minnesota State 1

MANKATO — Senior defenseman John Ramage scored his second overtime goal in as many nights to lift Wisconsin to a 2-1 win against Minnesota State on Saturday night at Verizon Wireless Center.

2012-2013 WCHA STANDINGS
WCHA Games
Overall
GP
W
L
T
Pts
GF
GA
W
L
T
GF
GA
1
Denver
16
8
4
4
20
54
44
13
6
4
82
57
Nebraska Omaha
16
9
5
2
20
59
49
13
9
2
88
67
3
Minnesota
14
8
3
3
19
47
34
16
3
3
84
40
North Dakota
14
8
3
3
19
52
37
13
6
3
76
55
5
St. Cloud State
14
9
5
0
18
45
33
12
10
0
70
58
6
Minnesota Duluth
16
7
6
3
17
46
44
9
10
3
60
61
Wisconsin
16
6
5
5
17
35
36
8
7
5
47
43
8
Minnesota State
16
8
8
0
16
48
43
14
8
2
75
57
9
Colorado College
16
6
9
1
13
53
62
9
13
2
81
90
10
Bemidji State
14
4
7
3
11
34
43
5
11
4
46
60
11
Michigan Tech
16
3
10
3
9
38
59
6
12
3
57
69
12
Alaska Anchorage
16
1
12
3
5
28
55
3
13
4
39
6

New UNO arena gets go-ahead from regents

An initial artist’s rendering of what UNO’s new arena would look like when viewed from Aksarben Village.

OMAHA, Neb. – The University of Nebraska Board of Regents today authorized President J.B. Milliken to enter into a letter of intent with developers for the construction of an arena at the University of Nebraska Omaha.

“UNO is very excited about the Regents’ support,” Chancellor John Christensen said.  “It has been our goal to have a campus home for athletic events that also serves the entire university and the community.  This decision moves us closer to that dream.”

“We are very pleased that the Board of Regents has approved this first step in the process of building a new home for Maverick athletics,” said Trev Alberts, Director of Athletics.  “An on-campus arena will be transformative for our department.  By having an on-campus home for our hockey team as well as providing it with dedicated practice space, we will have the opportunity to further strengthen our marquee program as well as provide enhanced competition space for men’s and women’s basketball and volleyball.

“There are still many steps to making this arena a reality,” Alberts added, “but today’s news is a welcome beginning to a process that we believe will put our department on firm financial footing for years to come.”

The current proposal for a new arena provides for a privately constructed and financed facility which would eventually be acquired by UNO through a lease-purchase agreement.  The cost of the proposed arena is estimated to be $76.3 million with the building seating approximately 7,500 for hockey games.

The proposed site of the building is at 68th and Center Streets, just south of Aksarben Village and east of Papio Creek.

Tuesday reading: WJC, Crabb, Hillen, Petersen, Bachman, Sweatt, free agents, Cullen, Fredheim, Frischmon, Petiot, C. Stuart, Emrick

Here is the final Team USA roster for its World Junior Championship camp. Thirty-four of the initial 45 players in attendance at the 2012 USA Hockey National Junior Evaluation Camp will remain to oppose Sweden and Finland in a series of international games in Lake Placid this week.

The players are auditioning for a spot on the U.S. National Junior Team that will take part in the 2013 International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Championship, Dec. 26, 2012-Jan. 5, 2013, in Ufa, Russia.

NHL.com predicts the lineup for the Washington Capitals as part of its 30 in 30 (days) series. Former Tiger Joey Crabb, pictured, is projected as the fourth-line right wing while Jack Hillen is the fourth pairing’s right defenseman.

In Dallas, former Tiger Toby Petersen is the extra (13th) forward while goalie Richard Bachman is the backup, though he may be challenged by top prospect Jack Campbell. Bill Sweatt is not projected to have a regular role in Vancouver.

Here are the remaining available free agents (all unrestricted) as of 2 a.m. Mountain on Tuesday: They are (name, 2011-12 team): Mark Cullen (Florida); Kris Fredheim (Wild); Trevor Frischmon, (Islanders); Richard Petiot (Tampa Bay);  and Colin Stuart (Sabres).

NBC play-by-play announcer Doc Emrick is doing his usual excellent job, this time covering water polo at the London Olympics. He talks about similarities between ice hockey and water polo and why fans should check this sport out. I agree as does Petersen. It is an entertaining sport to watch with lots in common with hockey.

Pine Creek grad assumes big leadership role at Penn State

Pine Creek High School graduate Taylor Gross received a huge honor and an equally large responsibility last week when she was named as the first captain of the new NCAA Division I women’s ice hockey program at Penn State.

“Even if I was not captain, I would still need to be a leader because of my Division I experience on a team with a lot of freshmen,” she said. “But, I think we will surprise some people. We will be better than most people will expect.”

Her coach is confident too as he builds a program that will take on the likes of Syracuse and women’s national power Mercyhurst in the College Hockey America conference this October.

“Taylor is absolutely the ideal person to lead this team. She has significant experience and success at the Division I level, and has demonstrated the commitment to Penn State’s academic and athletic values in her time here already,” said Nittany Lions head coach Josh Brandwene. “She will be a tremendous leader for our program and a great mentor to our many young student-athletes.”

The 2010 Eagles graduate played on PSU’s club team this past spring semester after playing a season and a half for Hockey East member Connecticut. She appeared in 46 games during her UConn career and totaled 25 points (13 goals, 12 assists). The Colorado Springs native was the team’s 2010-11 Rookie of the Year.

She will lead 18 freshmen on a 25-player roster that includes a couple holdovers from the previous club squad. Women’s club hockey is a step down from Division III programs, which are below D-I. There is no Division II.

Gross partnered up with two fellow juniors and UConn transfers to give the club team their top scoring line despite playing only half a season. The forward did her best to contribute on the ice without overstepping her role as a newcomer in the locker room.

“I tried to be a leader but without getting in the way of the older club players who had been here for years,” the biology major said. “I stayed positive.”

Excitement is building for hockey in Pennsylvania’s Happy Valley, she said. The women will share a state-of-the-art arena when it opens in 2013 with the men’s team, which is coached by former Colorado College standout Guy Gadowsky. Terry Pegula, owner of the NHL’s Buffalo Sabres, donated $88 million for the Pegula Ice Arena and to bank roll the two programs.

The creation of the men’s program started a conference shuffle in Division I hockey that prompted CC to become one of the charter members of the new National Collegiate Hockey Conference, which is headquartered near the Broadmoor Hotel.

Gross is one of three Colorado Springs women set to play Division I hockey this winter including Rampart graduate Molli Mott, a standout forward for St. Cloud State, and defenseman Kristen Jakubowski, a former Cheyenne Mountain High School student in the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute program. A fourth area player, former Minnesota captain and forward Emily West (Pine Creek), graduated in May after scoring the game-winner in the NCAA championship game.

Gross played with Mott on the Sabercats, a local Tier II high school team, and on the Tier I club Colorado Selects of Denver with Mott and West. Gross played against boys in the Colorado Springs Amateur Hockey Association until age 12, when her small frame – she is listed at 5-foot-1 as a college junior – led her to focus on girls’ leagues. Playing against the bigger boys certainly helped her development as a player in a physical sport, she said.

Her goal of obtaining a Division I scholarship was realized, but she soon grew tired of UConn, considered moving to St. Cloud State,  and then transferred to PSU over Christmas because of its strong academics and athletics. Because it was only a club, Gross could transfer to Penn State without having to sit out a season.

Now she is ready to lay the foundation of a new program with big-time resources and TV exposure. The men’s and women’s programs have the potential to become national powers.

“I am excited to be at Penn State,” she said. “We have a lot of good leaders among the returning club players and the (incoming) freshmen. Everyone will have to play a large role. My job is to make the freshmen feel welcome and build team unity. If we can do that, we will surprise some people who may be underestimating us.”

Thursday reading: Huntsville, WCHA update, NCHC postseason venue, MSU-Mankato, Penner, Duluth commit, offseason player moves

The WCHA will talk about adding Alabama-Huntsville as its 10th member for the 2013-14 season at next week’s meetings in Detroit.

UAH makes a strong case and could be brought in for the good of college hockey and its only Division I foothold in the southern United States.  Here is a look at the other important issues to be decided next week.

CHN has more, including Bruce McLeod‘s future and that the WCHA is waiting on the National Collegiate Hockey Conference to finalize its postseason venue arrangements before it makes its announcement.

Alaska-Fairbanks is looking for a new assistant coach.

Here  is the RPI fan blog’s Without a Peer’s write-up on future foe MSU-Mankato and a feature on the Kings’ Dustin Penner, a former college player.

Minnesota-Duluth adds a high-end Minnesota high school commit.

Lost track of who plays where in college hockey? Start with this list of offseason player moves.

North Dakota signs on Hakstol for 6 years

From University of North Dakota hockey, which will update its blog throughout the day and evening.

Hakstol inked a new, six-year deal that will take him through the 2017-18 season. His base salary will be $300,000.

Since he took over at UND in 2004, the Sioux have scored more goals and won more games than anyone in the WCHA. He has led the Sioux to two MacNaughton Cups, four Broadmoor Trophies and five Frozen Fours.

The Sioux also have been consistent, earning home ice, a Final Five trip and an NCAA tournament berth in each of the last eight seasons. Michigan is the only other team in the country that has made the NCAAs in each of the last eight years.

More will be coming later.

Most victories since 2004

219 — Michigan (Red Berenson)
216 — Boston College (Jerry York)
213 — North Dakota (Dave Hakstol)
200 — Denver (George Gwozdecky)
197 — Miami (Rico Blasi)

Monday reading: DU, Minnesota updates; Final 5 wrap; R. Schwartz; good eats

Injuries from Saturday’s 4-0 loss to North Dakota will test Denver’s depth in the NCAAs vs. Ferris State.

It’s going to be difficult for Minnesota not to look past Boston University to a possible West region final against North Dakota. If they do, it could be the second embarrassing loss in a row for a team that looked to have all the pieces for an NCAA title.

Here’s Puckato’s wrap-up of the WCHA Final Five.

Rylan Schwartz is rightfully garnering the attention of some NHL teams looking for college free agents according to the Toronto Sun’s Calgary reporter: “After vowing to put more resources and energy into trying to sign U.S. college free agents, word is the Flames are indeed in hot pursuit of a couple players right now. Problem is, so are 30 other teams. One of the more interesting players available out there is centre Rylan Schwartz, who left Colorado College last week with brother Jaden, who captained Canada at the world juniors. Jaden, who scored his first NHL goal Saturday with the St. Louis Blues, had 15 goals in 30 NCAA hockey outings this year, while his older brother had 23. Another name on the Flames radar is diminutive forward J.T. Brown from the University of Minnesota-Duluth.”

Five future National Collegiate Hockey Conference members made the 2012 NCAAs: Denver, Miami, Minnesota Duluth, North Dakota and Western Michigan. With the Broncos and Sioux playing, at least one will make a regional final. Judging from the pairings, attendance should be good at all four regions.

West region, St. Paul, March 24-25
No. 1. North Dakota vs. 4. Western Michigan
2. Minnesota vs. 3. Boston University

Midwest region, Green Bay, March 23-24
No. 1 Michigan vs. 4. Cornell
2. Ferris State vs. 3. Denver

East region, Bridgeport, Conn., March 23-24
No. 1. Union vs.   4. Michigan State
2. Miami vs. 3. UMass-Lowell

Northeast region,  Worcester, Mass., March 24-25
No. 1 Boston College vs. 4. Air Force
2. Minnesota Duluth vs. 3. Maine

And finally, an all-star team we can all feel strong about — the all-WCHA dining team.

UPDATED WCHA first-round playoff match-ups finalized

It took until Bemidji State’s 5-4 win at Alaska Anchorage late Saturday to decide things, but now, here are the first-round pairings for the Western Collegiate Hockey Association playoffs:

No. 12 seed Alaska-Anchorage at No. 1 Minnesota, 7:07 Friday, 7:07 Saturday and 7:07 Sunday (if necessary);

No. 11 Minnesota State at No. 2 Minnesota-Duluth, 7:07 Friday, 7:07 Saturday and 7:07 Sunday (if necessary);

No. 10 Wisconsin at No. 3 Denver, 7:37 Friday, 7:07 Saturday and 7:07 Sunday (if necessary);

No. 9 Bemidji State at No. 4 North Dakota, 7:37 Friday, 7:07 Saturday and 7:07 Sunday (if necessary);

No. 8 Michigan Tech at No. 5 Colorado College, 7:37 Friday, 7:07 Saturday and 7:07 Sunday (if necessary); Yes, tickets remain available at the World Arena Box Office (closed Sundays) or by calling 719-576-2626.

No. 7 Nebraska-Omaha at No. 6 St. Cloud State, 7:37 Friday, 7:07 Saturday and 7:07 Sunday (if necessary).

The series winners advance to the WCHA Final Five in St. Paul March 15-17 with reseeding after the first round. The bottom two seeds remaining play each other Thursday for a Friday semifinals berth against the top remaining seed..

 

Fejes excited to be coming to CC this fall

Image taken from Hunter Fejes' Facebook profile.

Hunter Fejes, listed at 6-foot-1, 190 pounds by his prep school, is excited to be headed to play hockey at Colorado College this fall.

“I see myself as a power forward that is responsible in all three zones of the ice,” he said via a Facebook message. “I am a gritty player that is willing to go to the net. I am also a good skater.”

In his fifth season playing for Shattuck St. Mary’s of Faribault, Minn., the high school senior has 69 points (36 assists) in 49 games. That makes him tied for first in goals on Shattuck, and second in points.

He’s looking forward to coming to Colorado Springs after a recent visit.

“I chose CC because it was a unique place,” he said. “The campus was very nice, and the atmosphere reminded me of Alaska. When I was there the teammates were great. They created a good environment for me to develop and grow as a player and a person.”

He is eligible for the 2012 NHL Draft, where he is projected to go in the third through fifth rounds since he is on the Central Scouting’s preliminary ‘B’ list. Here is some more info from his hometown newspaper.

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