In the pros: Lowery signs with South Carolina

Former CC captain Ryan Lowery signed a contract with ECHL South Carolina, joining former college teammate Tyler Johnson.

From the press release …

Lowery, 24, heads into his second professional campaign after splitting last season between the Stockton Thunder and the Oklahoma City Barons of the American Hockey League.

The Inverness, Ill. native appeared in 22 games with the Thunder picking up seven points (1g-6a) and 28 contests with the Barons adding seven points (1g-6a).

In 2011, he appeared with the Edmonton Oilers in the YoungStars Tournament.

Before going pro, Lowery completed a four-year collegiate career at Colorado College totaling seven goals and 39 assists for 46 points in 152 games and served as captain his senior season.

CBS Sports Network announces WCHA-free schedule

From CBS …

Starting on Nov. 15, CBS Sports Network will be kicking off its 10th season of college hockey coverage that will feature some of the top teams across the country from the Hockey East, CCHA, and Atlantic Hockey conferences.

No WCHA games are scheduled.

The slate features three games between top-15 teams, including the debut game between Notre Dame and Michigan.

Other key games include Western Michigan (No. 11) taking on Michigan on Dec. 14, as well as Ferris State (No. 14) taking on Notre Dame (No. 10) on Jan. 25.

The complete 18-game schedule of games as as follows:

Nov. 15: Notre Dame at Michigan (7:30 p.m. ET)

Nov. 30: Vermont at Maine (8 p.m. ET)

Dec. 8: Maine at Boston University (8 p.m. ET)

Dec. 14: Western Michigan at Michigan (7:30 p.m. ET)

Jan. 4: Robert Morris at Army (7:30 p.m. ET)

Jan. 5: Merrimack at Vermont (7:30 p.m. ET)

Jan. 12: Army at Air Force (6 p.m. ET)

Jan. 19: Alaska at Notre Dame (7 p.m. ET)

Jan. 25: Ferris State at Notre Dame (7:30 p.m. ET)

Feb. 8: Michigan at Notre Dame (7:30 p.m. ET)

Feb. 10: Providence at New Hampshire (4 p.m. ET)

Feb. 15: Notre Dame at Miami (7:30 p.m. ET)

Feb. 22: Notre Dame at Western Michigan (7:30 p.m. ET)

Feb. 23: New Hampshire at Vermont (4 p.m. ET)

Feb. 24: Boston College at Merrimack (4 p.m. ET)

Mar. 1: Ferris State at Michigan (7 p.m. ET)

Mar. 3: UMass-Lowell at Merrimack (4 p.m. ET)

Mar. 8: Boston University at Northeastern (7:30 p.m. ET)

Along with the 18-game TV schedule, CBSSports.com will also be releasing a College Hockey Power 10 ranking the top teams in the country and a Hobey Baker Award watch.

Air Force picked to win AHA championship

2012-13 Atlantic Hockey Preseason Coaches Poll

Air Force (8) – 112
Niagara (3) – 101
Mercyhurst – 89
Bentley – 87
RIT – 87
Holy Cross – 74
Connecticut – 65
Robert Morris (1) – 61
Canisius – 38

“I wish winning the league was as easy as winning the coaches’ poll,” AFA coach Frank Serratore said. “The bottom teams have gotten so much better. There are no ‘gimmes.’”

CBS Sports Network will broadcast two AHA games including Sat., Jan. 12, Army at Air Force.

Air Force and Army are no stranger to the national scene as they have faced each other for the past six seasons on CBS Sports Network. The game will mark the 14th time in the last seven years that Air Force hockey has appeared on national television.

“Our players are thrilled about being able to play on national television,” said Serratore.  “I am excited for the opportunity to showcase one of the greatest rivalries in college hockey, those fans who have never seen an Air Force-Army hockey game are in for a special treat”

“Once again we are looking forward to playing Air Force on national TV,” states Army coach Brian Riley. “It’s a game that is played with a passion and intensity that is hard to match in college hockey. This rivalry is one of the best in all of college sports. I expect that it will be a great game not only for the people who will be in the stands to watch but it will also be great for people around the country to view on national TV.”

Here are more details including this quote from AFA coach Frank Serratore:

Tuesday reading: Picks, Clarkson, Mankato, OHL, Hockey East

Here is the Mankato beat writer’s preseason picks which has CC in seventh and Josh Thorimbert, pictured, as the preseason first team goalie. Here is my take.

Here is Bruce Ciskie’s WCHA preseason picks. Thanks to him for compiling the poll. The Western College Hockey Blog also weighs in.

Clarkson junior forward Ben Sexton is the catalyst for the Knights’ offense. CC opens against Sexton and his teammates Oct. 12-13.

Mankato has a high-skill center coming in in Latvian native Teddy Blueger.

The OHL lowered the fine it levied against the Windsor Spitfires.

The NCAA women’s season will soon be underway.

Defending NCAA champion Boston College was chosen by the Hockey East media to repeat as regular season champion for 2012-13 in the third annual poll of the Hockey East Writers & Broadcasters Association.

The Eagles received 21 of a possible 25 first-place votes. Last year’s regular season runner-up, Massachusetts-Lowell, finished second in the balloting and received three first-place votes.

CC hosts UMass-Lowell on Oct. 20.

Boston University was picked third, followed by New Hampshire and Providence. Maine came in sixth, just behind the Friars, and received the remaining first-place vote.

CC hosts UNH on Nov. 23. Here is a capsule look at the Wildcats.

Merrimack, Northeastern, Massachusetts and Vermont rounded out the remaining four spots in the poll.

The media once again selected a preseason All-Hockey East Team. Because of a tie in the balloting at forward, four forwards were named this year. The four were Joey Diamond (Sr., Maine), 2012 NCAA Tournament MVP Johnny Gaudreau (So., Boston College), Matt Nieto (Jr., Boston University) and last year’s Hockey East Rookie of the Year, Scott Wilson (So., Massachusetts-Lowell).

Garrett Noonan (Jr., Boston University) and Chad Ruhwedel (Jr., Massachusetts-Lowell) were named on defense. Parker Milner (Sr., Boston College) was the choice of the media in goal.

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.

 

Monday reading: CC at Wisconsin, Minnesota, NHL, USHL

The CC at Wisconsin series during the 2013-14 season was confirmed along with some practice notes.

Boston College was picked to win Hockey East this season by league media.

This longtime Minnesota season ticket holder got the runaround due to a new program.

The New York Times put together a guide to the top European leagues to aid fans wondering where their favorite NHL player is headed during the lockout.

The USHL plans to amp up its focus on player safety, falling in line with recent college hockey rule tweaks and changes.

Pine Creek High School graduate Taylor Gross led the Penn State women’s first practice.

My WCHA preseason picks

Here are my preseason picks for the WCHA this 2012-13 season. Try not to laugh out loud. Remember prognostication mean nothing after Oct. 12.

Here goes:

The parity of the WCHA is best exemplified by the bottom three. All three will be quite tough at home when they can set up their best individual matchups against the visitors. Each will get at least one home win (two is likely) over a ranked opponent that will shake up the league standings.

12. Alaska-Anchorage – Three of the top four scorers are no longer with the Seawolves. That and the usual toll travel takes will wear down UAA, but not before knocking off a couple ranked visitors.

11. Bemidji State – Always a tough opponent, the Beavers will need more balanced scoring to complement returning leading scorer Jordan George and Ben Kinne; replacing graduated goalie Dan Bakala will be a tough task.

10. MSU-Mankato – New coach Mike Hastings will revitalize the program and could push the purple Mavs into home-ice contention for a while until depth becomes an issue. This program, like Bemidji State, will be a contender year in and year out in the new-look WCHA starting with the 2013-14 season.

Spots 4-9 should be pretty fluid throughout the season. I would not be shocked to see this portion of the list flipped depending on injuries and which teams see the most improvement from key players. Here is my best guess:

9. St. Cloud State – Seniors Ben Hanowski and Drew LeBlanc and junior Nic Dowd and Nick Jensen combine to lead a heralded group of underclassmen including Joe Benik. Opening at New Hampshire is a tough opener but home series against Alabama-Huntsville and Mankato should help the underclassmen get their feet under them. Depth may be an issue.

8. Minnesota-Duluth – The Bulldogs have some key contributors back from last season but replacing Hobey winner Jack Connolly, Travis Oleksuk, J.T. Brown and Brady Lamb’s 131 combined points will be a huge challenge. It feels wrong putting UMD so low, but a slow start with games against Ohio State (home), at Notre Dame, Wisconsin (home), at Nebraska Omaha and then at North Dakota is possible.

7. Nebraska Omaha – Too much offseason tumult with two top scorers leaving early for the pros and a heralded recruit heading to Canada instead.  If freshman goalie Anthony Stolarz is the real deal, then UNO could garner home ice. Goalie John Faulkner could ride to the rescue if Stolarz stumbles.

6. Michigan Tech – Mel Pearson turned the program around quickly. Now with good returning talent and more of his recruits in the mix, the Huskies should contend for home ice and flirt with the top 20 especially with a strong start against area rival Lake Superior State and a home series against Minnesota (keep an eye on this series).

5. Colorado College – The Tigers have some good freshmen forwards coming in; Cody Bradley and Hunter Fejes spring to mind. Jared Hanson looks strong. With solid goaltending and more offensive production from a larger defensive corps, this team should grind out a winning record and home ice.  How well the underclassmen and some key seniors perform will make a big difference in whether the Tigers finish in ninth or third place or somewhere in between.

4. Wisconsin – The Badgers have to replace Justin Schultz, but with 15 of 16 top scorers back including Mark Zengerle and some defensive improvement, UW could contend for the league title and an NCAA berth.

The top three have a slight edge over the teams designated 4-9 because of more returning talent and balance. The known positives carry a lot of weight in my mind.

3. Denver – This team has enough remaining offensive talent (Joey LaLeggia, Nick Shore, Shawn Ostrow, Ty Loney), physical defenders and impressive goalie depth (Sam Brittain, Adam Murray, Juro Olkinuora) to overcome having only three seniors (captain Chris Knowlton, Murray and practice goalie Zack Hope) on the roster. Freshman Quentin Shore should be a big help.

2. North Dakota – Remember Rocco Grimaldi? I do and with him back healthy, UND has the playmaker it needs to challenge for the league championship. Corban Knight, Danny Kristo and Carter Rowney can produce points early if Grimaldi is slow to get back into form. Freshman Zane Gothberg and Huntsville transfer Clarke Saunders give UND good goaltending behind a solid defenseman corps (Nick Mattson, Dillon Simpson). The nonconference opener against Alaska-Anchorage just got a whole lot tougher because of those one-game suspensions. An early home series against Boston University will be a good measuring stick

1. Minnesota – Is any team more loaded with offensive talent with Erik Haula, Kyle Rau, Zach Budish, and Nick Bjugstad back? The only possible hiccup is the unproven goaltending.  I think former CC short-term backup Michael Shibrowski can take the step up into a starting role. I predict a fair number of 5-2 wins.

My preseason honorees:

F – Erik Haula, Minnesota

F – Mark Zengerle, Wisconsin

F – Rylan Schwartz, CC

D – Joey LaLeggia, Denver

D – Nick Jensen, St. Cloud State

G – Josh Thorimbert, Colorado College

ROY – Rocco Grimaldi, North Dakota

POY – Erik Haula, Minnesota

COY – Don Lucia, Minnesota

Sunday reading: Air Force, CC, Michigan Tech, Minnesota, Stuart

You know the season must be getting near if there is enough material out there for a Sunday blog post. I know I am anxious.

Here are a few links.

The NAHL is a popular recruiting ground for Air Force. Coach Frank Serratore explains why in this nahl.com article.

I wrote a profile on CC icon Dr. Ray Werner, 90, who had a huge effect on Tiger athletics and the WCHA over the years.

Here is a season preview for Michigan Tech.

It looks like Minnesota may juggle its lines.

The NHL lockout has been a little extra trying for the Winnipeg Jets, including former Tiger Mark Stuart.

Saturday reading: Slavin, more North Dakota suspensions, UND-Omaha outdoor game, Michigan Tech rookie, ECHL tickets

Photo from Slavin’s Twitter account.

The Carolina Hurricanes blog profiles 2012 draft pick Jaccob Slavin, a 2013 CC commit.  Plenty of good news for Tigers fans.

The Grand Forks Herald praises North Dakota for handing out those one-game suspensions. Later, more punishment to more players was handed out.

North Dakota fans are not pleased by the NCHC’s choice of Don Adam as director of officials. Oh well. He is well qualified.

Tickets for the Nebraska-Omaha vs. North Dakota outdoor game go on sale at 9 a.m. Mountain on Monday.

Alex Petain will be an important rookie forward for Michigan Tech this coming season.

Here is a WCHA season preview.

Tickets for the ECHL Colorado Eagles, which include former Tiger Arthur Bidwill, go on sale at 10 a.m. Saturday at ComcastTix.com or by calling 1-877-544-TIXX (8499) or 970-686-SHOT (7468).

CC single-game tickets go on sale 10 a.m. Saturday

Single-game tickets for CC hockey go on sale at 10 a.m. Mountain time on Saturday with prices starting at $9. Tickets are available at the World Arena box office, at CCTigers.com or by calling TicketsWest at 719-576-2626.

There are some ticket deals to consider: If you buy a ticket for a Denver, Minnesota or North Dakota game at regular price, you may buy an equal number of tickets for the season-opening Clarkson and/or Bemidji State games (Nov. 9-10) for $5 each. Kids tickets for only $5 are available for the Nov. 9-10 dates against BSU and the Feb. 22-23 series versus St. Cloud State.