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.

Thursday reading: Harstad, Stoykewych, Guentzel, Bazin, MacInnes

The Winnipeg Jets renewed their affiliation agreement with the expansion St. John’s IceCaps of the AHL. Relevance to CC fans you ask? Seventh-round draft picks Aaron Harstad and Peter Stoykewych will likely start their pro careers in Newfoundland someday.

The Syracuse Crunch signed an arena lease agreement to keeps the AHL franchise, where former Tiger Gabe Guentzel is under contract, in that town through 2024.

According to Chris Heisenberg, Jake Guentzel, Gabe’s younger brother, has committed to Nebraska-Omaha for 2013 or 2014.

Duluth goalie Kenny Reiter has signed with AHL Bridgeport.

Former CC assistant Norm Bazin signed a four-year contract extension with UMass-Lowell.

Michigan Tech’s John MacInnes Student Ice Arena will open after considerable renovations later this month.

Monday reading: Bradley, Harstad, Stoykewych, Tech, Scherr, SCSU

Incoming Tigers forward Cody Bradley (2013), pictured, of Tampa was invited to the Lightning development camp starting July 3. Current Tigers defensemen Aaron Harstad and Peter Stoykewych will attend Winnipeg’s July 9-13 NHL development camp.

The Grand Forks Herald’s Brad Schlossman compiled a list of all the early WCHA departures so far. Michigan Tech will not have to worry, according to this article.

MTU looks to have brought in an impact freshman in C.J. Eick.

NCHC commissioner Jim Scherr and his brother Bill, both Olympic wrestlers, were profiled by the Rapid City Journal.

SCSU’s Drew LeBlanc is trying out his healing leg at the Wild development camp.

Lake Superior State announced its final CCHA schedule.

UConn’s move to Hockey East certainly puts pressure on its longtime coach to end a streak of 12 losing seasons in the Atlantic Hockey Association. Having 18 scholarships (as opposed to zero) may help. The UConn faithful are pumped by the move.

This Penn State fan blog thinks the Nittany Lions can become a top team very quickly and takes exception to BC and North Dakota fan bloggers who suggest otherwise. With the big-time resources and national name recognition in all sports, there is no reason not to expect a rapid rise.

Division III SUNYAC hired a new commissioner.

Sunday reading: Future Tigers, CC outreach, Schultz, NHL Draft

Incoming Tigers defenseman Russell Finch, pictured, submitted his bio information earlier this week and it ends up he is the first Wyoming native (Casper) recruited by CC as well as the first from Maryland (where family now lives). There were no Division I players from Wyoming last season and he will likely be the only one this coming season.

With Jaccob Slavin (2013-14 signee) and incoming wing Hunter Fejes‘ selection in the NHL Draft, the Tigers will have four drafted players on the 2012-13 roster (sophomores Aaron Harstad and Peter Stoykewych and senior Scott Winkler) and at least four on the 2013-14 roster (pending 2013 draft, early departures, of course). That is the most since the 2008-09 season — Richard Bachman, Kris Fredheim, Scott McCulloch, Chad Rau and Bill Sweatt. Of those five, only McCulloch, now retired, never made the NHL.

Here is a good feature on how last year’s Tigers took a long-term interest in a Woodland Park child battling cancer.

Tweet by TSN’s Bob McKenzie: “Justin Schultz becomes UFA at midnight Sun night. Will meet with agent(s) in Toronto on Tuesday. Will field offers Wed.”

On Friday, Jordan Schmaltz became the 10th UND player or signee in 10 years to be selected in the first round of the NHL Draft. The second day was not as busy for North Dakota. Here are some notes.

Future NCHC foes Minnesota-Duluth had a second-day selection as did St. Cloud State with Judd Peterson of Duluth Marshall going in the seventh round (204th overall). Three UNO Mavs also heard their names called. Here is a roundup of other college-connected draft picks and a complete list of collegians taken in rounds 2-7.

Robert Morris has benefited greatly from Sidney Crosby’s arrival in Pittsburgh. Penn State’s start-up cannot hurt either when it comes to college hockey getting more local media attention.

The Post’s Adrian Dater remembers the old Dartmouth arena. Give it a click. It’s a great read.

The top BC assistant and a successful USHL coach are likely leading candidates for the open UMass head coaching job.

CC’s defense shines in 2-1 win over No. 10 Union

A stellar team defensive performance proved to be the catalyst for No. 5-ranked Colorado College’s 2-1 nonconference win over No. 10 Union before an announced crowd of 5,882 fans at the World Arena on New Year’s Eve night.

“I thought both team’s defenses were good tonight,” Tigers coach Scott Owens said, “When you’re taking on the top-rated defensive team in the country you know it will be a tight, one-goal game.”

Union came into the game allowing only a Division I-best 1.94 goals, but it was CC’s defense that proved decisive.

A hard check along the boards led to Colorado College’s opening goal early in the second period.

Freshman defender Peter Stoykewych collided with a Union wing, forcing a turnover that was hauled in by sophomore wing Dakota Eveland. He passed across ice to junior defenseman Mike Boivin, who then sent a long pass forward to senior center David Civitarese just before he crossed the Union blue line.

He split the two Dutchmen defenders and charged toward the Union net. He beat sprawling sophomore goalie Troy Grosenick with a backhander with 14:35 left in the second for the 1-0 lead.

Boivin’s assist gave him a point in a team-high 14 games, one ahead of junior Rylan Schwartz (13) and two ahead of sophomore Jaden Schwartz (12).

A Dutchmen turnover led to a goal for senior captain Nick Dineen, who scored from the slot with 1:01 left in the second to make it 2-0 Tigers (12-6-0, 9-5-0 Western Collegiate Hockey Association).

It proved to be the game-winner after Union junior wing Wayne Simpson scored with 39.7 seconds left in the third with the Grosenick pulled for the extra attacker.

CC sophomore goalie Josh Thorimbert made 20 saves in a solid performance to improve to 7-2-0 on the season. Union fell to 9-5-5, 3-2-2 ECAC after losing to No. 15 Denver 3-1 on Friday.

“Josh was great tonight,” Boivin said.

The Tigers’ back checking and sound play from the blue-liners kept a good Union offensive team (17th in Division I) under control.

“The forwards, led by David Civitarese, did a good job getting back in support,” Owens  said. “We knew we had to play that way. Even then we were worried for the final 40 seconds because they can put six dangerous players out there.”

The win garners CC a split on the nonconference weekend after falling 2-1 to crosstown foe Air Force.

“It doesn’t take the sting completely away from Friday but this win will help us later this season in the Pairwise (rankings),” Owens said.

Colorado College hosts No. 13-ranked Cornell Jan. 6-7.

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