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.

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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.”

Two commits on NHL Draft watch list points to Colorado College’s reinvigorated recruiting efforts in Minnesota

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Having two Minnesota-born Colorado College commits named to the  NHL Central Scouting Service preseason players to watch list is a testament to the coaching staff’s renewed recruiting efforts in Minnesota, coach Mike Haviland said.

“You look back to the days when (CC was) very, very good and they had a lot of Minnesota guys,” he said during his Monday media conference. “I think our staff has done a good job going back into Minnesota and establishing that again. It is not easy to recruit in Minnesota. There are a lot of Division 1 schools and a lot that are in close proximity to Minnesota.”

Benilde-St. Margaret’s defenseman Nathan Schweitzer, listed at 5-foot-11 ½, 194 pounds, made the ‘C’ list, meaning he is projected as a 4th to 6th round selection in the 2020 NHL Draft June 26-27 in Montreal. The 2019-20 watch list was announced by the league on Monday.

The 17-year-old, pictured above, committed to CC in September 2018. He enters his second season as the B-SM captain after recording 42 points (27 assists) in 43 games as a junior.

He was joined on the ‘C’ list by Matthew Gleason, a 5-7 1/2, 165-pound center from Cretin-Derham HS. The 18-year-old committed to the Tigers in October 2018.

He recorded 52 points (34 goals) in 26 games and appeared in two North American Hockey League games for the Minnesota Magicians.

Gleason, pictured below, was named as the St. Paul Pioneer Press’ East Metro Boys’ Hockey Player of the Year.

Both are scheduled (subject to change) to join the National Collegiate Hockey Conference program for the start of the 2021-22 season. Here is a link to the NHL.com article which includes a list of all the players.

The two are among the nine Minnesota natives committed to CC according to by College Hockey Inc., which lists 21 future Tiger commits.

“CC offers an awful lot in the academics and in the league we play in,” Haviland said. “It appeals not only to student-athletes and to parents. We have done a good job getting in there and need to continue to do a good job. Minnesota is a big part of our recruiting and it always will be as long as I am here.”

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Four former Tigers on NHL Opening Night rosters

731d5940-91a4-4f25-8b3f-cb70da1daf8f-stanley-cup-16Four former Colorado College players were among the 34 hailing from the eight National Collegiate Hockey Conference programs that were on their NHL team’s opening night roster. The list provided by the NCHC follows:

Those that played in the NCHC are listed in bold italics:

North Dakota (16/8 played in NCHC)
Brock Boeser, F (Vancouver Canucks)
Drake Caggiula, F (Chicago Blackhawks)

Aaron Dell, G (San Jose Sharks)
Derek Forbort, D (LA Kings) – IR
Rocco Grimaldi, F (Nashville Predators)
Tyson Jost, F (Colorado Avalanche)

Brock Nelson, F (NY Islanders)
T.J. Oshie, F (Washington Capitals)
Zach Parise, F (Minnesota Wild)
Tucker Poolman, D (Winnipeg Jets)
Carter Rowney, F (Anaheim Ducks)
Nick Schmaltz, F (Arizona Coyotes)
Troy Stecher, D (Vancouver Canucks)

Jonathan Toews, F (Chicago Blackhawks)
Christian Wolanin, D (Ottawa Senators) – IR
Travis Zajac, F (New Jersey Devils)

Denver (11/6)
Henrik Borgstrom, F (Florida Panthers)
Tyler Bozak, F (St. Louis Blues)
Will Butcher, D (New Jersey Devils)
Dylan Gambrell, F (San Jose Sharks)
Danton Heinen, F (Boston Bruins)

Scott Mayfield, D (New York Islanders)
Trevor Moore, F (Toronto Maple Leafs)
Nick Shore, F (Toronto Maple Leafs)
Paul Stastny, F (Vegas Golden Knights)
Troy Terry, F (Anaheim Ducks)
Jason Zucker, F (Minnesota Wild)

Minnesota Duluth (8/5)
Justin Faulk, D (St. Louis Blues)
Alex Iafallo, F (LA Kings)
Karson Kuhlman, F (Boston Bruins)

Matt Niskanen, D (Philadelphia Flyers)
Neal Pionk, D (Winnipeg Jets)
Carson Soucy, D (Minnesota Wild)

Alex Stalock, G (Minnesota Wild)
Andy Welinski, D (Philadelphia Flyers) – IR

Miami (7/4)
Blake Coleman, F (New Jersey Devils)
Austin Czarnik, F (Calgary Flames)

Andy Greene, D (New Jersey Devils)
Sean Kuraly, F (Boston Bruins)
Alec Martinez, D (LA Kings)
Jack Roslovic, F (Winnipeg Jets)
Reilly Smith, F (Vegas Golden Knights)

St. Cloud State (7/6)
Jonny Brodzinski, F (San Jose Sharks)
Dennis Cholowski, D (Detroit Red Wings)
Nic Dowd, F (Washington Capitals)

Nick Jensen, D (Washington Capitals)
Kalle Kossila, F (Toronto Maple Leafs) – IR
Blake Lizotte, F (LA Kings)
Jimmy Schuldt, D (Vegas Golden Knights)

Colorado College (4/2)
Curtis McElhinney, G (Tampa Bay Lightning)
Gustav Olofsson, D (Montreal Canadiens) – IR
Jaden Schwartz, F (St. Louis Blues)
Jaccob Slavin, D (Carolina Hurricanes)

Western Michigan (4/1)
Danny DeKeyser, D (Detroit Red Wings)
Mark Letestu, F (Winnipeg Jets)
Jordan Oesterle, D (Arizona Coyotes)
Luke Witkowski, D (Tampa Bay Lightning)

Omaha (2/2)
Josh Archibald, F (Edmonton Oilers)
Jake Guentzel, F (Pittsburgh Penguins)

Carolina names Jaccob Slavin as alternate captain

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Former Colorado College standout Jaccob Slavin was selected to a similar role with the Carolina Hurricanes, the NHL franchise announced on Sunday.

“It’s awesome,” Slavin said in an interview with Carolina media relations. “We have a great group of guys in here. There are a lot of guys in here who could be wearing that as well. It’s nice to know that you got a coach that trusts in your leadership group in here. Like I said, I think everyone in here has the potential to be a leader and step up.”

Slavin, 25, recorded 31 points (23 assists) in 82 NHL games with Carolina last season. He posted a team-high 11 assists during the Hurricanes’ run to the Eastern Conference Final and set a franchise single-series playoff record with nine assists during the Eastern Conference first round against Washington.

The 6-foot-3, 213-pound defenseman has appeared in 303 consecutive regular season games entering the 2019-20 season, marking the third-longest ironman streak in franchise history. Slavin has registered 115 points (92 assists) in 309 career NHL games with Carolina, and his 300 career takeaways are the third-most by any NHL player since he entered the league in 2015-16. The Erie, Colo., native was drafted by the Hurricanes in the fourth round, 120th overall, of the 2012 NHL Draft.

Jordan Staal was named as captain while Jordan Martinook is the other alternate.

Tigers goalie commit to play for Team USA at Five Nations

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Colorado College commit Hobie Hedquist was one of 20 Americans chosen to play for Team USA at the U-17 Five Nations Tournament in Germany Aug. 13-17.

The Americans will play teams from the Czech Republic, Germany, Slovakia and Switzerland.

The roster was announced by USA Hockey on Saturday following the week-long Boys Select 16 Player Development Camp in Amherst, N.Y. Hedquist is one of two goalies selected.

The team will be led by Alaska-Anchorage coach Matt Curley. His assistants include Alabama-Huntsville and former Air Force assistant Mike Corbett.

Names for CC fans to watch for during this weekend’s NHL Draft

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Two names for Colorado College fans to watch during the 2019 NHL Draft on Saturday are players they will have to wait to see play in a Tigers uniform

Forward Jackson Jutting and defenseman Jack Millar are scheduled to join Colorado College at the start of the 2020-21 season and if they are drafted, they may hear their name called in the later rounds on Saturday. The draft is Friday and Saturday in Vancouver, B.C.

Millar, 6-2, 180 pounds, was ranked at No. 111 among North American skaters. The Westminster, Colo. native has 17 points (13 assists) in 67 games in his first full season with the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders in the U.S. Hockey League.

Jutting, the nephew of former Minnesota State coach and Omaha assistant Troy Jutting, was ranked No. 180 out of 248 North American skaters rated. He was listed at 165th in the midseason rankings.

The 18-year-old, listed at 5-foot-10, 185 pounds, was the captain and center for Prior Lake (Minn.) High School. He also played for the North American Hockey League’s Minnesota Magicians.

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He also competed in the USA Selects Festival and played for Team USA in the Hlinka Gretzky Cup last season.

There is a third name that could excite Tigers fans, but he fell just short of making the College Hockey Inc. NHL Draft watch materials.

Dominic Basse, 6-6, 185 pounds, was listed at No. 34 on the final North American goalie ratings after a strong season with South Kent School (Conn.). The Virginia native, 18, competed at the last two USA Select festivals and played in the Selects Hockey Academy League.

He is scheduled to join the National Collegiate Hockey Conference program in 2021. He signed with CC in November 2018.

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