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.

CC remains No. 19 in USCHO poll

Colorado College’s loss to a solid UMass-Lowell team on Saturday did not cost it in this week’s USCHO poll with the Tigers remaining at No. 19 for the second straight week.

As expected, there was a change atop the rankings with Boston College retaking the No. 1 spot, followed by No. 2 Minnesota, No. 3 Miami and shorthanded North Dakota which fell to fourth from second after losing at Alaska-Fairbanks late Saturday.

Denver’s convincing wins over Air Force and Lowell pushed it from No. 7 up to No. 5. Minnesota Duluth dropped one spot to No. 14.

Michigan Tech’s win over Minnesota and close loss on Saturday garnered it some respect and an appearance in the receiving votes section along with St. Lawrence which pulled off a road sweep at Maine.

Minnesota State, Nebraska Omaha,  St. Cloud State and Wisconsin all picked up some votes while Air Force and Alaska-Anchorage received a couple.

 

In the pros: Dimmen, Holmstrom, J. Schwartz, Testwuide

Colorado Springs hockey fans have three good reasons to follow the AHL’s Adirondack Phantoms– natives Jeff Dimmen (Maine) and Ben Holmstrom (UMass-Lowell) and former CC captain Mike Testwuide are all on the Opening Night roster.

Dimmen signed an AHL contract after entering training camp with a tryout deal. Holmstrom enters his second season as the Phantoms’ captain.

Former Tiger Jaden Schwartz is on AHL Peoria’s second line as left wing with center Phil McRae and right wing Jay Barriball.

Ted Behrend is on CHL Denver’s roster while Arthur Bidwill made the ECHL Colorado Eagles..

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

CC garners votes in USA Hockey preseason poll

USA Hockey Magazine/USA Today released its preseason poll on Monday with Colorado College coming in at what would be tied for 19th if the rankings went that far. Air Force garnered a few votes as well. All the WCHA teams listed in the poll are bolded.

National Collegiate Hockey Conference fans will note that Miami (No. 9) and Western Michigan (11) also got some love.

 

Men’s Poll – Week 1: Sept. 24, 2012 

  Team

Points
(First Place Votes)

2011-12
Record

1 Boston College

476 (20)

33-10-1

2 Minnesota

476 (12)

28-14-1

3 Michigan

408 (2)

24-13-4

4 North Dakota

407

26-13-3

5 Union College

295

26-8-7

6 Cornell

233

19-9-7

7 UMass-Lowell

221

24-13-1

8 Denver

220

25-14-4

9 Miami

203

24-15-2

10 Notre Dame

186

19-18-3

11 Western Michigan

182

21-14-6

12 Minnesota Duluth

176

25-10-6

13 Boston University

158

23-15-1

14 Ferris State

123

26-12-5

15 Wisconsin

99

17-18-2

Others receiving votes: Harvard University, 58; University of Maine, 24; Quinnipiac University, 24; Michigan State University, 19; Colorado College, 19; University of New Hampshire, 17; Ohio State University, 17; St. Cloud (Minn.) State University, 15; Merrimack College, 7; Providence College, 6; Yale University, 6; United States Air Force Academy, 3; Northern Michigan University, 1; Michigan Tech University, 1.

 

NBC Sports Network schedule includes CC at Omaha Jan. 4

From Nebraska-Omaha sports information …

The NBC Sports Network announced today a schedule of 24 college hockey games including as many as six Nebraska-Omaha games, including a Jan. 4, 2013 contest against Colorado College.

It will mark the largest number of games the Mavericks have ever had on national television.

“We are very excited to begin our second season of college hockey by offering more coverage than last year,” said Jon Miller, President, Programming NBC Sports and NBC Sports Network. “NBC Sports Network will start the season two months earlier this year, providing sports fans with even more national primetime coverage of the nation’s best college hockey.”

The full schedule is below.

NBC Sports Network’s College Hockey Schedule (all times ET, subject to change):

DATE GAME TIME
Oct. 12, 2012 Notre Dame vs. Maine (Icebreaker) 7 p.m.
Army vs. Omaha (Icebreaker) 10 p.m.
Oct. 13, 2012 Icebreaker Championship Game 7:30 p.m.
Nov. 16, 2012 Harvard at Cornell 7:30 p.m.
Nov. 30, 2012 Boston College at Boston University 7:30 p.m.
Wisconsin at Denver 10 p.m.
Dec. 1, 2012 Boston University at Boston College 7:30 p.m.
Dec. 7, 2012 Michigan State at Notre Dame 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 4, 2013 Colorado College at Omaha 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 11, 2013 Union at Princeton 7:30 p.m.
Omaha at Denver 10 p.m.
Jan. 18, 2013 Harvard at Yale 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 25, 2013 Yale at Cornell 7:30 p.m.
Feb. 1, 2013 Dartmouth at Union 7:30 p.m.
Feb. 8, 2013 North Dakota at Omaha 7:30 p.m.
Feb. 15, 2013 Boston University at Maine 7:30 p.m.
Feb. 22, 2013 Yale at Quinnipiac 7:30 p.m.
North Dakota at Denver 10 p.m.
March 1, 2013 Wisconsin at Omaha 7:30 p.m.
March 8, 2013 Maine at New Hampshire 7:30 p.m.
Hockey East Tournament
March 15, 2013 Quarterfinals 7 p.m.
March 22, 2013 Semifinals 4/7 p.m.
March 23, 2013 Final 7 p.m.

Friday reading: NCAA Tournament schedule, previews

Air Force's Mitch Torrel and his teammates face a Boston College squad still smarting from last year's first round exit. The Eagles, playing in the Northeast region, should come out ready to play hard this time.

The format may be familiar but this blog post has new links to previews including news that all the injured Denver players took part in this morning’s pregame skate, according to Denver Athletics.

ALL TIMES MOUNTAIN

East Regional (Friday, March 23-Saturday, March 24) Webster Bank Arena at Harbor Yard, Bridgeport, Conn.
No. 1 Union (24-7-7) vs. No. 4 Michigan State (19-15-4), 1 p.m. Friday, ESPNU

No. 2 Miami (24-12-2) vs. No. 3 Massachusetts-Lowell (23-12-1), 4:30 p.m. Friday, ESPNU.

Here’s a preview of the regional and a scouting report on Michigan State and Michigan. The RiverHawks are hoeful they can continue their big turnaround.

• Semifinal winners, 4:30 p.m. Saturday, ESPNU.

Midwest Regional (Friday, March 23-Saturday, March 24)
Resch Center, Green Bay, Wis.

No. 2 Ferris State (23-11-5) vs. No. 3 Denver (25-13-4), 3:30 p.m. Friday, live on Altitude (tape delay ESPNU, 10:30 p.m. Friday). DU’s Dustin Jackson is profiled by his hometown newspaper. There are plenty of questions that the Pios need to answer to be successful today. FSU senior goalie Taylor Nelson could be the difference.

No. 1 Michigan (24-12-4) vs. No. 4 Cornell (18-8-7), 6 p.m. Friday, ESPNU. The Wolverines will look to avoid its past top seed troubles. Don’t be shocked is this is the upset of the first round (I do not count No. 3s over No. 2s as an upset).

• Semifinal winners, 7 p.m. Saturday, ESPNU

West Regional (Saturday, March 24-Sunday, March 25)
Xcel Energy Center, St. Paul, Minn.

No. 1 North Dakota (25-12-3) vs. No. 4 Western Michigan (21-13-6), 11:30 a.m. Saturday, FS North (tape delay ESPNU, 11:30 a.m. Sunday). Note that the UND beat writer contradicts the FS North availablity.  Here’s a preview of both games.

No. 2 Minnesota (26-13-1) vs. No. 3 Boston University (23-14-1), 3 p.m. Saturday, FS North plus, NESN (tape delay ESPNU, 2 p.m. Sunday). Here’s a Q&A with UM sophomore defenseman Nate Schmidt. The BU fan blog previews the game.

• Semifinal winners, 3:30 p.m.Sunday, ESPNU

Northeast Regional (Saturday, March 24-Sunday, March 25)
DCU Center, Worcester, Mass.

No. 1 Boston College (29-10-1) vs. No. 4 Air Force (21-10-7), 2 p.m. Saturday, ESPNU, 1300 AM in Colorado Springs.  There’s plenty of good stuff on BC and Air Force in this preview.

No. 2 Minnesota Duluth (24-9-6) vs. No. 3 Maine (23-13-3), 5:30 p.m. Saturday, ESPN3.com, FS North-plus (tape delay ESPNU, 9:30 p.m. Saturday). Here are some preview notes from the UMD radio guy.

• Semifinal winners, 6 p.m. Sunday, ESPNU

Thursday reading: NCAA TV schedule, previews

Here is the TV schedule with available preview links, etc for each game following each match-up.

As always, check your local listings. Schedule copied from Kevin Pates’ Rink and Run blog,  with times adjusted:

ALL TIMES MOUNTAIN

East Regional (Friday, March 23-Saturday, March 24) Webster Bank Arena at Harbor Yard, Bridgeport, Conn.
No. 1 Union (24-7-7) vs. No. 4 Michigan State (19-15-4), 1 p.m. Friday, ESPNU. ESPN analyst Barry Melrose, who lives in the area, gives hometown Union a lotta love.
No. 2 Miami (24-12-2) vs. No. 3 Massachusetts-Lowell (23-12-1), 4:30 p.m. Friday, ESPNU. Former CC assistant Norm Bazin, the Hockey East Coach of the Year, is also CHN’s national honoree. Here are multiple notes and links courtesy of the RiverHawks sports information staff.
• Semifinal winners, 4:30 p.m. Saturday, ESPNU.

Midwest Regional (Friday, March 23-Saturday, March 24)
Resch Center, Green Bay, Wis.

No. 2 Ferris State (23-11-5) vs. No. 3 Denver (25-13-4), 3:30 p.m. Friday, live on Altitude (tape delay ESPNU, 10:30 p.m. Friday).DU freshman Joey LaLeggia is CHN’s Rookie of the Year. Here is a pdf of DU’s NCAA media guide which includes an injury update.

No. 1 Michigan (24-12-4) vs. No. 4 Cornell (18-8-7), 6 p.m. Friday, ESPNU. Here’s the Wolverine fan blog’s take on the Big Red. The Cornell web site provides preview notes for both teams.

• Semifinal winners, 7 p.m. Saturday, ESPNU

West Regional (Saturday, March 24-Sunday, March 25)
Xcel Energy Center, St. Paul, Minn.

No. 1 North Dakota (25-12-3) vs. No. 4 Western Michigan (21-13-6), 11:30 a.m.  Saturday, FS North (tape delay ESPNU, 11:30 a.m. Sunday). Note that the UND beat writer contradicts the FS North availablity. The Broncos are enjoying another good season, this time under new coach Andy Murray. UND will unveil their new jerseys along with other team notes.

No. 2 Minnesota (26-13-1) vs. No. 3 Boston University (23-14-1), 3 p.m. Saturday, FS North plus, NESN (tape delay ESPNU, 2 p.m. Sunday). Here’s Don Lucia’s take on the Gophers and the NCAA field.
• Semifinal winners, 3:30 p.m.Sunday, ESPNU

Northeast Regional (Saturday, March 24-Sunday, March 25)
DCU Center, Worcester, Mass.

No. 1 Boston College (29-10-1) vs. No. 4 Air Force (21-10-7), 2 p.m. Saturday, ESPNU, 1300 AM in Colorado Springs.  The Falcons will have to contain BC 150-pounder Johnny Gaudreau.
No. 2 Minnesota Duluth (24-9-6) vs. No. 3 Maine (23-13-3), 5:30 p.m. Saturday, ESPN3.com, FS North-plus (tape delay ESPNU, 9:30 p.m. Saturday). Here are multiple previews.
• Semifinal winners, 6 p.m. Sunday, ESPNU

Saturday reading: J. Schwartz, Guentzel, Hall, playoff recaps, previews

Here’s a preview of tonight’s St. Louis at Tampa Bay game when former Tiger Jaden Schwartz will make his NHL debut. (TV: 5 p.m. Mountain FS Midwest, SUN Network).

Expect Gabe Guentzel, pictured at left, to make his pro debut Saturday night for AHL Syracuse against Adirondack and former CC teammate Mike Testwuide. Guentzel will wear No. 10 judging from the roster.

Tim Hall made his pro debut for ECHL Alaska in a 3-1 loss at Colorado. It reads like he played his defensive role well, drawing two penalties.

Here’s a lot of good information on CC and its available personnel next season by the Gazette’s Brian Gomez: CC wing Dakota Eveland will not play next season after offseason neck surgery this Tuesday. Look for one or two more 2012 commits or one of the 2013 players to be brought in a year early.

North Dakota could be a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament, judging from the latest Pairwise rankings, if it wins its third Broadmoor Trophy in a row against Denver tonight in the WCHA Final Five championship game. ( TV: 6 p.m. Mountain ROOT Sports Rocky Mountain). Here’s plenty of recap and preview notes.

Western Michigan cruised past Miami in the CCHA semifinals on Friday. Top remaining seed Michigan defeated last-place Bowling Green State 3-2 in double overtime to end the Falcons’s memorable run at an NCAA berth.

In Hockey East, Maine downed Boston U in one semifinal while Boston College ended No. 7 seed Providence’s Cinderella run. Maine plays BC at 6 p.m. Mountain (TV: NBC Sports Network).

In the ECAC, Harvard kept its NCAA hopes alive by advancing to tonight’s championship against top seed Union. Harvard is rated at No. 19 in the Pairwise and must win the automatic berth to move on.

In the Atlantic, Air Force will take on No. 3 seed and host RIT tonight (Radio: 1300 AM, 5 p.m. Mountain)

Sunday reading: Pairwise, Hamburg, Tigers record, AHA, CCHA, ECAC and Hockey East playoffs

Here’s the latest Pairwise rankings, which have CC in 19th and hoping some of the teams ahead of them stumble. Tiger fans should root against No. 15 Cornell, No. 16 Merrimack, No. 14 Northern Michigan, No. 18 Notre Dame, and No. 17 Western Michigan.

Bowling Green forced a Game 3 in their CCHA series with NMU tonight. Three ECAC first-round series, including one involving Merrimack, will be decided tonight.

CC’s Andrew Hamburg is playing better hockey of late, It looks like he is finally fully recovered from offseason surgery which is good news for the Tigers.

With Saturday’s win, Colorado College (18-14-2) is assured of its 12th winning season in a row. Congratulations, but that is not the goal for the team right now.

The Tigers could really use a sweep of Michigan Tech, which will be very, very tough to accomplish, and win  one, maybe two, Final Five games to get into the NCAA Tournament.

Here’s a quick look at the WCHA first-round match-ups by Roman Augustoviz, who was burning the midnight (actually 1:38 a.m. CT) oil. IMO, the Gophers fans don’t give Roman enough credit for all his hard work. Six hours later he posted more reaction to the MacNaughton Cup (really Trophy) by goalie Kent Patterson, who bounced back from his first mid-game pull in Friday’s 4-1 loss to Wisconsin with a 2-1 win on Saturday. The win was sparked by Erik Haula’s shorthanded goal.

Here are the Hockey East match-ups: No. 1 Boston College vs No. 8 Massachusetts; No. 2 Lowell vs No. 7 Providence; No. 3 Boston University vs No. 6 New Hampshire and No. 4 Maine vs No. 5 Merrimack.

Two Atlantic Hockey Association series conclude tonight, which will determine if top seed Air Force hosts No. 8 UConn, No. 10 AIC or No. 11 Sacred Heart this coming Friday in a best-of-three quarterfinals.

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