CC lands commit from U.S. National Team Development Program forward

mckown photoColorado College has picked up a commit from the U-17 team of the U.S. National Team Development Program. The news was confirmed by the Team USA website and the U.S. Hockey League list of college commitments.

William “Hunter” McKown is listed at 6-foot-1, 182-pound right-handed forward who has seven assists in 24 games entering this weekend. The San Jose, Calif. native is listed as the third-line right winger in tonight’s line chart vs. the Tri-City Storm.

Here is an April 2019 feature on McKown, who played with the St. Louis AAA Blues before joining the NTDP squad. He was also listed as 4th-6th round pick (C rating) in next June’s draft by NHL Central Scouting’s preliminary rankings in October.

Former CC standout Mason Bergh garners ECHL rookie of the month accolade

l4yj7OTVFormer Colorado College and current Fort Wayne Komets’ forward Mason Bergh was named as the October ECHL Rookie of the Month after recording four goals and four assists  in six games to open the season.

The 24-year-old tallied at least one point in each of his six outings in October, and posted a goal and an assist on Oct. 12 against Kalamazoo and Oct. 25 against Jacksonville, according to a media release.

Bergh is tied for third among ECHL rookies with six goals and is tied for fourth with 10 points.  He remains under contract with  the Ontario (Calif.) Reign of the American Hockey League.

Bergh posted 105 points (62 assists) in 149 career games at Colorado College and had 86 points (54 assists) in 114 junior games in the United States Hockey League with Chicago and Waterloo.

 

Tigers show some bite, but lose late lead in tie, shootout loss vs. WMU

CruickshankCCH_Miami111618_030_webThe Colorado College team fans and coach Mike Haviland wanted eventually showed up on Saturday.

But the margin between victory and defeat in the National Collegiate Hockey Conference remains thin for the Tigers, who lost their first and only lead of the game in the closing seconds of regulation to fall into a 4-4 tie to visiting Western Michigan.

“This is what you get in this conference,” Haviland said. “You have to understand you have to play right to the very end. You’re (23.9) seconds away from going 1-1 and getting your three points. It’s a learning curve.”

Shootout scores by Ethen Frank and Josh Passolt to one by Grant Cruikshank gave WMU the extra NCHC standings point and five out of a possible six road points.

It was a good weekend for the Broncos, but it was a much harder-earned two points on Saturday. CC battled back from down 2-0 and 3-1 to pull ahead on Bailey Conger’s second power-play goal of the night late in the second period.

It wasn’t quite enough against a solid WMU team. But that pushback by CC gave Haviland reason to be both pleased and disappointed after garnering a single standings point.

“Absolutely,” he said. “We were down 2-0 and getting very badly outplayed early on but we found a way to battle back and go ahead there. It was a wild hockey game but I am happy with how we came back after (Friday) night, for sure.”

WMU routed CC with four goals in the third period Friday to pull away for a 6-3 win that didn’t seem that close late.

But Saturday was different. The Tigers battled back again and again only to see Western Michigan force OT with an extra-attacker goal with 23.9 seconds left in regulation.

Ronnie Attard’s blast from the left faceoff circle blew past CC freshman goalie Matt Vernon (1-1-1, 43 saves), who had stood up well for almost the entire third period.

The Tigers dumped and chased the puck to set up a forecheck that made the Broncos turn and then work the puck forward the full 200 feet. It almost worked, but an icing call off a missed empty-net attempt put the puck in the CC zone to set up Attard’s chance.

“I wish we could have put it in and gone up 5-3.” Haviland said. “I don’t know how it didn’t.”

“Nightmares for sure,” Bailey Conger said, referring to that miss and a couple earlier.

CC fell short of a series split and three standings points — a two-point swing that could prove telling by season’s end. But in November, Haviland was pleased to see the Tigers respond.

”It shows the fight is there,” Haviland said. “We had a long meeting Saturday morning and they had a chat amongst themselves too. We weathered the storm and kept at it.”

The hosts went ahead of Western Michigan when Conger one-timed a pass from Alex Berardinelli for his second power-play goal of the night to pull CC ahead 4-3, reversing deficits of 2-0 in the first period and 3-2 during the second. Conger’s goal, his fourth this season, put CC ahead with 54 seconds left in the middle period.

But the Tigers could not get any cushion against Brandon Bussi (30 saves), setting up Attard’s late heroics. It spoiled a strong performance by Vernon, who made a combined 21 saves in the third period and overtime.

“Unfortunate for sure,” Conger said. “We are proud of our guts in the first period there but we are not proud about blowing another lead. We need to tighten that up. It will be a focus this week.”

Vernon’s play helped CC bounce back from a miserable start to the first period that saw WMU go ahead 2-0. It was that response that Haviland hopes gives the Tigers (2-3-1, 0-1-1 NCHC) something to build on heading into a bye weekend.

“You move forward and take the positives from it,” Haviland said. “You get a weekend off and then it’s off to St. Cloud (State).”

Tigers’ mistakes costly in NCHC-opening loss to Western Michigan

WilkieCCH_MNDuluth020219_017_webWestern Michigan took advantage of Colorado College’s mistakes and won the 50-50 puck battles in front to reel off five unanswered goals and pull away for a 6-3 comeback win Friday.

The Broncos tied the National Collegiate Hockey Conference opener for both teams when Dawson DiPietro knocked in his own rebound with 14:27 left in the game.

The goals kept coming for the Broncos (3-3-1, 1-0 NCHC), who dominated the final 25-30 minutes of the contest after falling behind 2-0 and later 3-1.

Paul Washe scored the eventual game-winner with 12:59 remaining by batting in a loose puck in front before Drew Worrad recorded his second power-play goal of the night for a 5-3 margin. Washe’s tally was the Broncos’ first lead of the night.

Josh Passolt accounted for the final margin against goalie Matt Vernon, who came on for starter Ryan Ruck (27 saves) with 4:48 left.

“We take a not-good penalty and them we miss an assignment on the PK (penalty kill) on the back door,” Tigers coach Mike Haviland said. “We just got outworked in front of the net on two of them. I can’t have that.”

The second period featured a myriad of momentum swings before WMU took control.

Colorado College scored twice in 34 seconds on its first two shots of the second period to take a 2-0 lead only to see Wester Michigan answer with a power-play goal by Drew Worrad 1:21 later.

Tigers senior Chris Wilkie then tipped away a WMU pass in the CC zone, collected himself and the puck in the neutral zone then raced in for a solo breakaway that he converted down low to make it 3-1.

But the Broncos would answer with a strong finish to the period with a pretty goal by Jason Polin, who was left undefended, giving him the space needed to lift the puck in over Ruck’s shoulder on a tough angle down low. His first NCAA goal made it 3-2 with 2:17 left.

The Tigers (2-3, 0-1) would push back, generating a couple late scoring chances only to see Luke Bafia make a big-time shot block on a Alex Berardinelli attempt toward a wide-open net with goalie Brandon Bussi still sprawled on the Broadmoor World Arena ice.

“The late goal in the second for them really gave them momentum,” Haviland said. “That’s a goal that should not have gone in. We were standing next to the guy (Polin). We could have went in (to the third) up 3-1. Instead, they got the momentum and we never got it back.”

Sophomore center Bailey Conger recorded his first assist as a Tiger on Nick Halloran’s first goal of the season. Zach Berzolla scored his first this season and second of his career to stake CC to a 2-0 lead early in the second, just 34 seconds after Halloran ‘s tally.

Ice chips

Freshmen Sam Renlund and Josiah Slavin and sophomore Jackson Ross all recorded their first NCAA points during the Michigan State series.  They were held of the scoresheet Friday (Ross inactive) … With no points on Friday, Bryan Yoon’s three-game points streak ended. … Friday’s loss was the Tigers’ first series-opening setback this season (2-1 Friday, 0-2 Saturdays).

‘Unacceptable’ effort drops Tigers into nonconference split with Michigan State

cc vs wmu2Colorado College co-captain Alex Berardinelli does not want to see a repeat of Saturday’s lackluster performance again.

Ever again.

“It’s just not acceptable,” the senior forward said after a 5-1 home loss to Michigan State Saturday night. “Something like that should never happen and will never happen again. That is not the structure we are built on. It’s not the culture we want to have here. It’s unacceptable and it will never happen again.”

But it did as Michigan State scored three early goals in little more than five minutes and never trailed in a contest that wasn’t as close as the score may indicate. The Spartans (2-2) easily shook off the lackluster Tigers for the nonconference series split.

“We have to learn that it is a series,” Tigers coach Mike Haviland said. “The team across the hall (that lost 3-1 Friday) is not happy. They came out and played like that. We came out and played like we wanted an easy game.”

“We lost the game in the first five minutes. You chase the game all night and you can’t play like that. We have to prepare better. That goes back on me. (The players) have to take some accountability on that too. We are all in this together.”

The three-goal surge ended the night for freshman goalie Matt Vernon (five saves, 6:48) who came one late power-play goal shy of a shutout in his Tigers debut Friday at the Broadmoor World Arena. On Saturday, Ryan Ruck made 20 saves in relief against the Spartans, who were picked to finish last in the seven-team Big Ten conference.

“We were standing around a lot,” Haviland said. “Give them credit. They were skating and moving and we were watching. That goes back to back to being ready to play, They were ready and we weren’t. We chased the game the whole night.”

The Tigers (2-2) were unable to capitalize on two breakaways in the first period before getting back into the game, at least temporarily, when Ben Copeland scored on the power play with 34 seconds left in the first period.

But CC’s inconsistent effort wasted that momentum and MSU put the Tigers away when Nico Muller scored midway through the second for a 4-1 lead.

The Spartans added another in the third for the final margin. Pat Khodorenko recorded three assists while Spartans goalie John Lethemon made 35 saves.

“I saw some push at times but not enough to where it should be,” Haviland said. “It doesn’t get any easier. We go into league play against the best teams in the country, I believe. We have to figure it out.”

Ice chips

CC’s all-time record is now 47-35-1 against the Spartans. This weekend’s series were the first games between the two programs since a 5-4 Tigers win at the Great Lakes Invitational in Detroit on Dec. 29, 2010. … Bailey Conger’s two goals Friday doubled his career total. … Chris Wilkie as kept of the CC scoresheet for the first time this season (six points, three goals). … CC opens National Collegiate Hockey Conference play against No. 18 Western Michigan Nov. 1-2 in Colorado Springs.

Penalties, uneven performance helps Gophers garner series split at CC

CruickshankCCH_Miami111618_030_webMinnesota took advantage of penalty-prone Colorado College to rally for a 4-3 road win.

The Saturday night victory, which saw the Tigers squander 2-0 and 3-1 leads, gave the Gophers a nonconference road series split.

“We have to figure out a way to win when we have them on the ropes,” CC coach Mike Haviland said. “We have to finish them off. We can’t wait until February to figure that out.”

UM’s Blake McLaughlin popped open with 10:07 left in the third period for the go-ahead goal against Tigers goalie Ryan Ruck (32 saves) and the visitors’ first lead of the contest. The score came 63 seconds after CC was unable to convert during a 5-minute power play.

That major for contact to the head on UM’s Sammy Walker gave the Tigers the chance they needed to regain the lead after Minnesota went 2 for 5 on the man advantage during the second period to tie the game at 3-3.

But CC never got on track during the long power play with the Gophers adjusting to the Tigers’ tendency to look for Chris Wilkie and his NHL-caliber shot.

In the second, three consecutive CC penalties, including one to end a Tigers power play early, gave the UM skilled players the room they needed to convert. Walker batted in a power-play rebound and then assisted a Matt Staudacher goal just 28 seconds later to tie the game at 3-3 with 2:27 left in the second period.

“It took us out of our rhythm,” Haviland said. “Whether they were good calls or not, they were called. You cannot take five or six penalties (a period) and expect to win a game. It’s just not going to happen.”

The Gophers out shot CC by a 8-0 margin over the final 3:04 of the second to set the tone.

“We didn’t have a pushback for a little bit and that was addressed after the game with them,” Haviland said.

The Tigers’ uneven performance throughout cost CC.

“We have to be more disciplined,” said graduate transfer Andrew Gaus, who opened the scoring 2:01 into the game at the Broadmoor World Arena. “Some of those calls were us being lazy and using our sticks too much. We had spurts here and there but overall we did not play a complete game and it costs us.”

Ice chips

CC is now 40-30-2 all-time in regular-season openers, including 41-14-1 at home. … Halloran’s three assists Friday tied a career high. He added two helpers on Saturday. …. The Tigers have a bye week before resuming nonconference play against Michigan State at home Oct. 25-26. … The CC fan trivia participants went 1-1 on the weekend.

Wilkie’s scoring outburst sparks Tigers during decisive third period versus Minnesota Gophers

WilkieCCH_MNDuluth020219_017_webColorado College coach Mike Haviland kept warning the media and fans not to forget about seniors Chris Wilkie and Nick Halloran.

Few are going to forget about them now, especially Minnesota.

Wilkie scored twice in 123 seconds and assisted the winning goal by center Ben Copeland to spark the Tigers to a 3-2 season-opening victory over the former league rival Gophers.

Wilkie was more concerned about Friday’s season-opening win than a hat trick, even if missing an empty-net chance stings.

“Obviously I would have liked to have the third one but we got the win so that’s all that matters,” Wilkie said. “I would have been kicking myself if they had gone down there and scored but it worked out.”

Tigers coach Mike Haviland cited the Tigers’ character as the hosts shrugged off a frustrating start and answered 10 seconds after Minnesota retook the lead on a goal by Scott Reedy midway through the third period. After being 1-0 for most of the game, the teams combined for three goals in 117 seconds to tie the game at 2-2.

Wilkie exemplified that, shaking off the frustration of seeing three of his shots clang harmlessly off the post, including two in the opening period.

“We were unfortunate early on with a couple pipes but we stuck with it,” Haviland said. “It is a great character win. That shows what we have in our room. (Wilkie) did not hang his head.”

“We were playing a good game right from the start,” Wilkie said. “It was just staying with it and keeping pucks going on net.”

Senior Nick Halloran recorded three assists as his speed – a welcome sign after hip surgery last season — helped create several scoring chances, which began to reach fruition during an entertaining final 10:50 of the nonconference game.

That line combination looks potent, especially with Wilkie and Halloran healthy. Halloran (13 points) and Wilkie (19 points) each played 20 games during injury-shortened campaigns. That led many prognosticators to overlook the offensive potential coming back that could offset those lost to graduation.

The line, including Copeland, recorded a combined eight points out of the nine for CC.

“We’re excited to be playing together,” Wilkie said. “Those guys bring so much speed and skill. I’m excited about what’s to come.”

Minnesota opened the scoring when defenseman Tyler Nanne ripped a shot from atop the circles to beat CC goalie Ryan Ruck (28 saves). He would bounce back with some strong saves to keep the game at 1-0 heading into the third.

The Gopher did a good job counterattacking off CC turnovers. Both teams suffered unforced turnovers as well – typical of a season-opener.

“They have a lot of skill – give them credit for that,” Wilkie said. “We have to be a little smarter with the puck and manage it better. Tomorrow is going to be an even tighter and better game.”