Cornell shuts out CC 2-0 in physical contest

Cornell’s John Esposito banged in a rebound during a 5-on-3 power play with six seconds left in the second period for the eventual game-winning goal over visiting Colorado College (3-2) in a 2-0 nonconference victory for the Big Red (1-0).

“I thought we came out of the gate ready. Our guys did not back down with a very defensive, big, strong team,” CC assistant Joe Bonnett said during a radio interview. “We battled really hard we just could not convert on offense. It was a very physical, old school backyard-brawl kind of game.”

The Tigers trailed 1-0 headed into the third period in a hard-fought physical contest at No. 7 Cornell. Esposito added a second power play goal with 5:41 to play to put the Big Red (1-0) up by two goals.

No. 19-ranked Colorado College was unable to cash in a late power play immediately after Esposito’s second score.

Cornell came close to taking the lead earlier when Craig McCarron’s shot clanged off the cross bar with 8:15 left in the second and when CC goalie Josh Thorimbert stoned junior Joel Lowry a minute later with a huge save on a breakaway. Thorimbert finished with 26 saves.

Cornell junior Andy Iles, who recorded six shutouts last season, made 19 saves for his first goose egg of the season.

It was CC’s first road shutout in two years.

Game 2 is at 5 p.m. Mountain with the pregame show on 103.9 FM KRXP starting at 4:45.

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.

Sunday reading: WCHA, Behrend, Howe, BC, North Dakota, schedule

The WCHA, not just CC, needed William Rapuzzi‘s goal on Saturday night. The league went 3-4-2 on Saturday and 9-6-2 on the weekend, not counting the two exhibition games.

Former Tiger Ted Behrend did not make the opening night roster for the CHL Denver Cutthroats.

Joe Howe picked up his first win since the 4-3 OT home win on Dec. 2, 2011 against Denver (Alexander Krushelnyski penalty shot) with a scoreless third period. Here is hoping he and Josh Thorimbert can build off the opening weekend. Giving up eight goals (certainly not entirely the goalies’ fault; CC’s unforced turnovers set Clarkson up well) and getting two wins will not happen often, especially in WCHA play.

There was yet another opening weekend surprise: Three freshmen scored goals as Northeastern beat Boston College 3-1 in a Hockey East game. Ryan Belanger, Kevin Roy and Colorado Springs native Colton Saucerman scored goals for Northeastern, which had been 0-1-8 against the Eagles in the past nine games.

Here is how Saucerman’s goal developed according to Hockey East: Boston College attempted to clear the puck, but the disc bounced off of Darcy’s skate and Saucerman collected it in the neutral zone, just a few feet before the blue line. Milner was out of position and Saucerman knuckled a slap shot to the right side of the net to give Northeastern the two-goal cushion, 3-1.

The Eagles won their last 19 games last season. Their last loss was on Jan. 21 to Maine 7-4.

Here is North Dakota’s TV schedule and this weekend’s league schedule:

Thu
10/18/12
Minnesota Duluth
at Notre Dame
7:35 p.m. ET
Fri
10/19/12
Minnesota
at Michigan Tech
7:07 p.m. ET
Fri
10/19/12
Minnesota Duluth
at Notre Dame
7:35 p.m. ET
Fri
10/19/12
Lake Superior
at Bemidji State
7:37 p.m. CT
Fri
10/19/12
Rensselaer
at Minnesota State
7:37 p.m. CT
Fri
10/19/12
Alab-Huntsville
at St. Cloud State
7:37 p.m. CT
Fri
10/19/12
Northern Michigan
at Nebraska Omaha
7:37 p.m. CT
Fri
10/19/12
Colorado College
at Air Force
7:05 p.m. MT
Fri
10/19/12
North Dakota
vs Alaska Anchorage
5:05 p.m. AT
Fri
10/19/12
UMass Lowell
at Denver
7:37 p.m. MT
Sat
10/20/12
Minnesota
at Michigan Tech
7:07 p.m. ET
Sat
10/20/12
Merrimack
vs Alaska Anchorage
4:05 p.m. AT
Sat
10/20/12
Lake Superior
at Bemidji State
7:07 p.m. CT
Sat
10/20/12
Rensselaer
at Minnesota State
7:07 p.m. CT
Sat
10/20/12
Alab-Huntsville
at St. Cloud State
7:07 p.m. CT
Sat
10/20/12
Northern Michigan
at Nebraska Omaha
7:07 p.m. CT
Sat
10/20/12
UMass Lowell
at Colorado College
7:07 p.m. MT
Sat
10/20/12
Air Force
at Denver
7:07 p.m. MT
Sat
10/20/12
North Dakota
at Alaska
7:05 p.m. AT

CC penalty kill performs well in exhibition victory

Colorado College certainly got some needed extra work on its penalty kill during its 3-1 exhibition win over visiting British Columbia on Sunday night.

With only penalty-kill regular Alexander Krushelnyski back this season, the Tigers performed well, killing 5-of-6 penalties. Some of the ”new faces” on the units included junior Michael Morin, freshman Jared Hanson, and seniors Rylan Schwartz and William Rapuzzi, all forwards.

“Hats off to the penalty kill guys,” said junior wing Archie Skalbeck, who scored the eventual game-winner during the second period. “It looked good. They only gave up one goal and that was a 5-on-3.”

“It was good for us to kill penalties but not that good,” said coach Scott Owens. “We should have put the game away early in the third. Instead we let them hang around. We took some ill-advised penalties and were on our heels a bit.”

“It was a mixed bag. It is pretty unusual for us to draw more penalties than what we draw.”

Skalbeck banged in his own rebound with 8:41 left in the second period for an important even-strength insurance goal minutes after the Thunderbirds nearly tied the game.

Courtney Lockwood made a nice glove save with 12:52 left in the second on a hard shot by Cole Wilson to preserve the 1-0 lead. Later, Tigers defenseman Joe Marciano swatted a rebound out of the air in front of the CC net moments after a Thunderbird shot caromed off the post.

That bang-bang sequence drew a slashing penalty on Mike Boivin, but CC killed the subsequent power play, even generating a shorthanded chance that went off the post.

About two minutes later, Skalbeck’s eventual game-winning goal came after a rush into the UBC zone by Charlie Taft, whose crossing pass to the junior wing set up his initial shot. Goalie Steven Stanford could not handle the shot and it came out for Skalbeck’s second chance.

Scott Winkler ripped a hard shot high glove side past UBC backup Jordan White with 1:48 left in the second to make it 3-0. That prompted some hard feelings which led to retaliation penalties that put CC down 5-on-3 for 28 seconds. UBC’s Scott MacDonald took advantage of a rebound to make it 3-1 headed into the final period.

CC recorded an even-strength score, a shorthanded goal and a power-play marker which bodes well. Joe Howe recorded 10 saves in a scoreless third, Lockwood made four stops in the second and Josh Thorimbert six in the first.

“It was a good game for us,” Owens said. “No one looked poor. We played 24 guys and all three goalies, who played well. We saw some things we need to work on.”

Winkler looked sharp while freshman Cody Bradley, who scored the opening goal on the power play, generated a couple good scoring chances. All three sophomore defensemen – Aaron Harstad, Peter Stoykewych and Young – looked improved and accounted for two assists (Stoykewych, Young).

“Overall, we are happy with how we played,” Rapuzzi said. “The younger guys played well which is good because we will need them to play a good bit. They definitely stepped in and played a big role.”

Still there remains plenty of work ahead as the Tigers tweak lien combinations to see which threesome clicks on the ice.

“We really haven’t had time to develop any chemistry,” Skalbeck said. “We have all been on different lines. None of the lines are cemented.”

MSU Mankato 7, Lethbridge 1

MANKATO — Minnesota State’s Bryce Gervais scored twice and added an assist while Eriah Hayes recorded three assists in the 7-1 exhibition win over Lethbridge.

Bemidji State 3, Manitoba 3 OT

BEMIDJI — Jeff Paradis scored an unassisted goal with about 7 minutes left to force overtime. Manitoba led 2-1 until Bemidji State’s Cory Ward and Danny Mattson scored six minutes apart for a 3-2 lead midway through the third.

More Wednesday reading: Thorimbert, CCHA coaches, media polls

Colorado College goalie Josh Thorimbert (39) made a save in the second period as Denver wing Chris Knowlton looks for the rebound during a college hockey game in Denver, Friday night, Feb. 3, 2012. The Denver Post, Karl Gehring

CC goalie Josh Thorimbert is profiled by Inside College Hockey.

From the CCHA …

For the fifth time in seven years, the coaches and media disagree on who should own the No. 1 position in the Central Collegiate Hockey Association’s annual preseason polls. The conference’s 11 head coaches ranked Notre Dame first for the second consecutive season, while voting from 87 members of the media tabbed Michigan as the preseason favorite.

In the coaches poll, the Fighting Irish captured seven first-place votes and one second, while Michigan took two first-place votes as well as six seconds to come in just five points behind the favorite. Western Michigan, last season’s CCHA Tournament Champion, had the remaining first-place votes to finish third, just three points behind Michigan and eight behind the Irish. Miami finished fourth in the poll while the 2011-12 CCHA Regular-Season Champion and National Runner-Up Ferris State rounded out the top five.

The media voted in favor of Michigan, with Western Michigan coming in second and Notre Dame in third, agreeing with the coaches on which three teams should occupy top three.  The Wolverines picked up 50 of a possible 87 first-place votes, while the Broncos garnered 25 and the Irish received nine first-place votes.  The Bulldogs and RedHawks finished fourth and fifth, respectively, in the media poll as well.

The Wolverines, who finished in second place in the regular season, return 20 letterwinners that took them to their 22nd consecutive NCAA tournament. Included in that list is a pair of defensemen that were named to a Preseason All-Conference Team, with junior Jon Merrill being named to the first team and senior Lee Moffie earning a second-team selection. Michigan also returns seven of its top ten scorers, including last season’s Rookie of the Year, Alex Guptill, who tied for the team lead in scoring a season ago, notching 16 goals and 33 points.

Notre Dame also brings back 20 letterwinners from the 2011-12 season, which saw the Irish finish eighth in the conference. The Irish return their top two scorers in junior forwards T.J. Tynan, last season’s Scoring Co-Champion, and Anders Lee. Both are CCHA Preseason All-Conference First-Team selections and combined for 30 goals and 75 points last season.

The Broncos are the defending CCHA Mason Cup champion and return 15 letterwinners, including a trio of CCHA Preseason All-Conference First Team selections: junior Chase Balisy at forward, junior Dan DeKeyser on defense and sophomore Frank Slubowski in goal. Western Michigan returns their top offensive line of Balisy, junior Shane Berschbach and senior Dane Walters. The trio combined to score 39 goals and 98 points last season, making up almost one-third of the Broncos’ scoring.

Miami is coming off a fourth place finish and returns a young roster of 18 underclassmen, including three freshmen goaltenders. The RedHawks return their second-highest scorer from last season in sophomore forward Austin Czarnik, a Preseason All-Conference Second Team selection. Ferris State hopes to build off last season’s success, returning 18 letterwinners, including three of their top five scorers.  

A total of 87 media members ranked the 11 CCHA teams in projected order of finish for the regular season. Points were awarded on an 11-10-9-8, etc., basis. League coaches ranked the CCHA teams, excluding their own school, in the order they predicted the regular season will end.

     Coaches Poll

        1.       Notre Dame (7) 105

        2.       Michigan (2)   100

        3.       Western Michigan (2)   97

        4.       Miami  78   

        5.       Ferris State   67

        6.       Ohio State     66

        7.       Michigan State 56

        8.       Bowling Green  43

        8.       Northern Michigan      43

        10.      Alaska 31

     11.    Lake Superior    29

     Media Poll

        1.      Michigan (50)   903

      2.      Western Michigan (25)   825

        3.      Notre Dame (9)  765

        4.      Ferris State (3)        626

        5.      Miami   622

        6.      Michigan State  528

        7.      Ohio State      438

        8.      Northern Michigan       389

        9.      Bowling Green   264

     10.     Lake Superior   232

        11.     Alaska  150

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.

CC picked 7th, Thorimbert shares goalie honor in WCHA media poll

Compiled and written by Bruce Ciskie, KZIO Radio/Bulldog Radio Network …

A year after surprising many by winning the WCHA’s MacNaughton Cup Championship, the Minnesota Golden Gophers are a nearly-unanimous pick of WCHA media to win the league. The annual 94X WCHA Preseason Media Poll, released Wednesday, shows the Gophers easily outdistancing the rest of the league.

A panel of 25 members of the WCHA media voted on a predicted order of finish, along with a handful of individual honors.

Minnesota received a whopping 24 of 25 first-place votes. Defending WCHA playoff champion North Dakota had the other first-place vote and finished a distant second. Denver came in third, followed by Wisconsin and Minnesota Duluth. St. Cloud State claimed the final “home-ice” position in the preseason balloting.

Minnesota junior forward Nick Bjugstad, pictured, was a runaway choice for the Preseason Player of the Year. He also anchors the media’s second annual Preseason All-WCHA Team, where he is joined at forward by Wisconsin junior Mark Zengerle and St. Cloud State senior Ben Hanowski. The defensemen on the team are Denver’s Joey LaLeggia and Nick Jensen of St. Cloud State. Sam Brittain of Denver and Josh Thorimbert of Colorado College tied for the goaltending nod.

For the second straight year, the media chose North Dakota’s Rocco Grimaldi as Preseason Rookie of the Year. Grimaldi took a redshirt after an injury-ravaged season, and he is again eligible for rookie honors.

Teams were scored under a standard system of 12 points for a first-place vote, 11 for second, and so on. The number listed with each team is the number of points that team averaged per vote.

94X WCHA PRESEASON MEDIA POLL

PREDICTED ORDER OF FINISH

1. Minnesota (24 first place votes) … 11.92 poll average

2. North Dakota (1) … 10.76

3. Denver … 9.92

4. Wisconsin … 7.8

5. Minnesota Duluth … 6.88

6. St. Cloud State … 6.84

7. Colorado College … 6.08

8. Nebraska Omaha … 5.48

9. Michigan Tech … 5.2

10. Minnesota State … 3.6

11. Bemidji State … 2.48

12. Alaska Anchorage … 1.04

PRESEASON PLAYER OF THE YEAR

Nick Bjugstad, forward, Minnesota (16 votes)

Others receiving more than one vote: Erik Haula, forward, Minnesota (4); Mark Zengerle, forward, Wisconsin (3)

PRESEASON ROOKIE OF THE YEAR

Rocco Grimaldi, forward, North Dakota (8 1/2 votes)

Others receiving more than one vote: Nic Kerdiles, forward, Wisconsin (5); Jordan Schmaltz, defenseman, North Dakota (2 1/2); Brady Skjei, defenseman, Minnesota (2); Andy Welinski, defenseman, Minnesota Duluth (2)

PRESEASON ALL-WCHA TEAM

Forwards

Nick Bjugstad, Minnesota (20 votes); Mark Zengerle, Wisconsin (17); Ben Hanowski, St. Cloud State (8)

Others receiving more than one vote: Danny Kristo, North Dakota (7); Erik Haula, Minnesota (6); Rylan Schwartz, Colorado College (5); Corban Knight, North Dakota (3)

Defensemen

Joey LaLeggia, Denver (20 votes); Nick Jensen, St. Cloud State (9)

Others receiving more than one vote: Nate Schmidt, Minnesota (7); Wade Bergman, Minnesota Duluth (3)

Goalie

Sam Brittain, Denver and Josh Thorimbert, Colorado College (7 1/2 votes each)

Others receiving more than one vote: Juho Olkinuora, Denver (3), Joel Rumpel, Wisconsin (2)

The following media members took part in the 94X Preseason Media Poll:  David Ahlers, KKAR Radio/University of Nebraska-Omaha; Stephen Anderson, Daily Mining Gazette; Andy Baggot, Wisconsin State Journal; Tyler Buckentine, USCHO.com; Mike Chambers, Denver Post; Bruce Ciskie, KZIO Radio/Bulldog Radio Network; Chris Dilks, Western College Hockey; Shane Frederick, Mankato Free Press; John Gilbert, WCHA.com; Kurt Haider, KENI Radio; Mick Hatten, St. Cloud Times; Dirk Hembroff, WKMJ Radio; Jack Hittinger, Bemidji Pioneer; Ken Landau, 103.9 FM The Eagle Radio; Don Lyons, Leighton Broadcasting/St. Cloud; Todd Milewski, USCHO.com; Dan Myers, Minnesota Hockey Magazine; Jess Myers, 1500ESPN.com; Joe Paisley, Colorado Springs/Colorado College; Kevin Pates, Duluth News Tribune; Chris Peters, United States of Hockey; Brian Posick, WIBA Radio/Badger Radio Network; Chad Purcell, Omaha World Herald; Brad Schlossman, Grand Forks Herald; Jay Stickney, 102.3 ESPN Radio.

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