Updated Thursday reading: Frozen 4, Guentzel, Penrose award, predictions,Owens, Hall, Mankato, Rud, Sterling, Connelly, C. Stuart

Former CC standout Gabe Guentzel of the Syracuse Crunch at bottom tangles up with Corey Cowick of the Binghamton Senators in a mid-ice collision in the second period at the Onondaga County War Memorial. Mike Greenlar / The Post-Standard.

Here is a link to all the stories by the Union beat writer in preparation of today’s 2:30 p.m. Mountain semifinal (ESPNU) vs. Ferris State. Here is a video made by ECAC fans hopeful the league will win its first NCAA title since 1989.

Western College Hockey Blog talks about why Ferris State has made it this far.

The Boston College-Minnesota semifinal (6 p.m. Mountain, ESPN2) is discussed here along with other preview notes. The fan blog BC Interruption weighs in on the second semifinal. The teams will face off often in the future.

Goon’s World breaks down the Frozen Four and picks the Dutchmen to win it all. My prediction? Boston College over Ferris State. Let the second-guessing begin.

FSU’s coach garnered the Spencer Penrose Award ahead of UMass-Lowell’s Norm Bazin.

Who says that college does not prepare you for the pros and NHL? For the second year in a row, four of the six all-AHL rookie team members played in college:

  • G: Eddie Pasquale, St. John’s (34 GP, 21-11-1, 2.36 GAA, .913 save pct., 4 SO) OHL
  • D: Matt Donovan, Bridgeport (69 GP, 10-32–42, +9) Denver (NHL debut on Tuesday)
  • D: Cade Fairchild, Peoria (63 GP, 7-25–32, +28, 3 GWG) Minnesota
  • F: Cory Conacher, Norfolk (70 GP, 34-39–73, +11, 7 GWG) Canisius (Favorite to win Rookie of the Year)
  • F: Tyler Johnson, Norfolk (70 GP, 29-35–64, +13, 5 GWG) WHL
  • F: Gustav Nyquist, Grand Rapids (56 GP, 22-36–58, +7, 7 PPG) Maine (NHL debut earlier this season)

CC coach Scott Owens has been under fire of late from fans that were dissatisfied by the early end to this past season. The Colorado Springs Independent’s Ralph Routon does his usual good job outlining the situation.

Not included, but I think worth mentioning is the class workload these players have to handle while facing the full-time demands of playing hockey. The block system is intense and I could see the fatigue in the players’ eyes before every block final. I think the off-ice workload definitely plays a role in the second-half struggles.

The Anchorage Daily News found out some good detail on former Tiger Tim Hall’s move from CC to the ECHL, including how CC assistant Eric Rud connected with Brian Swanson to put Hall on the Alaska Aces’ radar.

Rud is mentioned by the Mankato beat writer as a possible replacement for the ousted Troy Jutting. He and longtime CC assistant Joe Bonnett are both worthy of serious consideration.

Brett Sterling had a goal and an assist in a big win for Portland as the Pirates battle to make the AHL playoffs.

Brian Connelly recorded an assist and Colin Stuart, the captain of the Rochester Americans, was interviewed about Abbotsford’s 4-3 overtime win over the Americans.

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About paisleyhockey
I am a freelance writer specializing in sports with 20-plus years of experience.

10 Responses to Updated Thursday reading: Frozen 4, Guentzel, Penrose award, predictions,Owens, Hall, Mankato, Rud, Sterling, Connelly, C. Stuart

  1. Adam says:

    Can’t agree with Routon on this one. Owens pads his stats by playing cupcakes in October and November only to falter and fade in the second half of the season. Check out Brian Gomez article on CC’s second halls under Owens. Pretty glaring statistics. Ken Ralph needs to get on board and get rid of Owens. His time has come and gone.

    • Thanks for commenting.
      I cannot argue with those numbers in Gomez’ article so I did not. I do not agree with the cupcake view on the nonconference schedule. The grind of the WCHA certainly does not help CC during the second half. I still believe the class workload wears the team down. There is no fixing that.

  2. Adam says:

    Agree that the class load is difficult. DU is just as difficult a school as CC yet their hockey program is leaps and bounds above CC. When you play teams like Alabama Huntsville, Robert Morris, mercyhurst, etc to start your season you do a disservice to the team. No doubt the wcha schedule is a grind and wears the boys down but year free year of postseason collapse tells me all I need to know about Owens. He needs to go.

    • I believe the block system makes CC more difficult than DU and while the Tigers do play lower-tier teams, so does everyone else. Was anyone impressed when Minnesota pounded Sacred Heart? I do not think Owens gets enough credit for the winning seasons he has accomplished difficult circumstances.

  3. Adam says:

    Not saying that everyone else doesn’t play cupcakes. They do. The biggest difference I see between the top tier hockey programs and CC is their ability to finish. Owens teams have never been able to finish a season. Even when they had all the momentum in the world. 2003 lost to Michigan in regional final. 2005 got to the frozen four after an improbable comeback against michigan. How’d they respond? Got flat embarrassed by DU 6-3 and the Game wasn’t as close as the score. 2008 lost 3 games at home all season and completely crapped the bed against Michigan state at the world arena. Owens puts together good regular season teams. He’s just not a clutch coach and I don’t believe he prepares CC for postseason success. Coaches are like players. They have a ceiling to their talent level. I think we’ve seen Scott Owens has maxed out his ability as a coach. CC will continue just the way they are as long as he’s the bench boss. He’s taken this program as far as he ever will.

  4. Scott says:

    I think the killer for CC this year was the last series with Denver. They played all-out to get a win and a tie to reclaim the gold pan, but suffered several injuries that weekend. They never fully recovered from that series.

    • I agree with Scott (not Owens FYI; I can see the email address). CC did not recover from that emotional win and the injuries started to mount after that.
      Adam, I cannot speak to some of those seasons, but I know that injuries to key players (a depth issue exacerbated by injuries, class load?) derailed this past season and the one before.

      • Adam says:

        I can speak to them and plenty others where CC was supposed to be something and ended up nothing. Injuries can derail a season and I agree that was a major factor this year. Seems like an all to convienant excuse for Owens though. Owens is the only common denominator in all the postseason failures. It’s hard to ignore that fact

  5. Jeff says:

    Another factor to consider is that most recruits with professional aspirations would prefer a state school over CC for academic leniency. If you’re not in it for the education why go to a school where you have to work twice as hard? This leaves CC with far less depth than the “top tier” programs. Just compare the percentage of drafted players. I actually think CC has been overachieving at times!

    • Good point Jeff. I think the CC coaches recruit players with pro potential and the desire to receive a quality education for free or reduced cost (partial scholarships). They are out there, but that does limit the available talent pool.
      I have always been an advocate of players staying until they get their degree (or are very close, like this group of seniors). For most, their CC degree will be worth more a year than the $65,000 they may get in the AHL and certainly the lesser amount paid in the ECHL and CHL.
      Of course, a player the caliber of Jaden Schwartz is the exception. No one can blame him for moving on as planned, playing in the NHL right away and getting the big signing bonus.

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