Tigers in the pros: Few former CC players still battling for minor-league championships

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With the last players with Colorado College ties out of the NHL playoffs, this is a good time to check in on how other former Tigers are doing in the AHL and ECHL postseason.

The Manitoba Moose battle the Grand Rapids Griffins in a decisive Game 5 at 5 p.m. Mountain on Monday with defenseman Peter Stoykewych having played in the previous four games (no points) and in 70 regular-season games (27 points, 18 assists) for the Winnipeg-based team and Jets affiliate.

Goalie Richard Bachman’s season came to an end on Sunday when the Toronto Marlies eliminated the Utica Comets with a 4-0 win in the decisive Game 5 of the best-of-five playoff series. Bachman appeared in 31 regular-season games, splitting time with former Boston College standout Thatcher Demko.

Forward Alex Krushelnyski’s Lehigh Valley Phantoms advanced to the second round. They start a best-of-seven series against the Charlotte Checkers on Friday. Krushelnyski split time between Lehigh (42 games, 10 points) and the ECHL’s Reading Royals (24 games, 27 points). He had one assist in four first-round AHL playoff games.

JustSports Photography

Former CC standout Brett Sterling recorded 25 points (15 goals) during 45 regular-season games for the Chicago Wolves, which were swept in three by Rockford earlier this month. Sterling played in two of the three playoff games (no points). He announced earlier that he will retire this offseason.

sterling wolvesIn the ECHL, Hunter Fejes is having a strong season with four points (three goals) in six playoff games after the Orlando Solar Bears swept the South Carolina Stingrays and fell behind 2-0 to the Florida Everblades in their best-of-seven second round series.

He recorded 27 points (16 goals) in 32 games with the Wheeling Nailers before a midseason trade sent him to Florida, where he had 32 points (18 assists) in 35 regular-season games.  He also played four games (no points) with the AHL’s Marlies.

Defenseman Aaron Harstad recorded an assist in a 4-2 road loss in Game 2 of a second-round series versus the Colorado Eagles on Sunday night.

He recorded 13 points (11 assists) in 48-regular-season games for the Idaho Steelheads and now five points (three assists) in nine playoff games entering Wednesday’s Game 3.

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Offseason linkorama: Soviets visit Colorado, NCHC moves & honors, Hockey East, Anchorage hire

letterThe above picture is a photo that made the rounds on Twitter on Thursday.

It is an old Maine Mariners press release from the desk of Doc Emrick on 12/10/1978 announcing the Soviet team was visiting the US to face a variety of American foes, including Colorado College and Denver. The USSR defeated the Tigers, 6-4, on Dec. 30, 1978.

Also, Omaha hockey coach Mike Gabinet announced Thursday that Brian Kaufman has joined the staff as the Director of Hockey Operations.

“We are very fortunate to be able to add somebody with Brian’s character and hockey background to our staff,” said Gabinet.  “He brings a wealth of experience that will be a big asset to our program as we move into the next season.”

Kaufman  spent five seasons with the Omaha Lancers of the USHL, first serving as an assistant for the 2012-13 season before taking over as head coach for the next four seasons.  He led the Lancers to a record of 121-91-28 and two playoff appearances.

The five athletes who signed national letters of intent for Denver includes a Red Wings draft pick at goalie.

Hockey East changed its playoff format for the upcoming season. Future Hall of Famer Joe Mullen’s son Mike is starting his career as an ECAC referee.

The NCHC honored the two athletic directors who led the push to create the league now that they are retiring.

Here is a review of a book about college hockey (mostly in the Northeast) if you’re already jonesing in late April.

Here is an article on the new Alaska-Anchorage coach. Both Wisconsin coaches had their contracts renewed through the 2022-23 season.

Six future Tigers sign on with CC hockey program

cruikshank actionSix college players recently signed a national letter of intent to play for Colorado College.

Two are scheduled to join the National Collegiate Hockey Conference program this fall —  forwards Erik Middendorf (U.S. Under-18) and Grant Cruikshank (Penticton, BCHL).

Along with Middendorf and Cruikshank, forward Ben Copeland (Waterloo, USHL) and defenseman Bryan Yoon (Tri-City, USHL) will join the program this fall after signing their NLI earlier.

Copeland is currently sixth in the United States Hockey League in scoring with 62 points with a league high 44 assists, while Yoon leads the Storm in scoring and is sixth in the USHL among defensemen with 35 points (32 assists).

Forwards Tyler Coffey (Jersey, USPHL), Patrick Cozzi (Prince George, BCHL) and Josiah Slavin (Lincoln, USHL), as well as defenseman Chase Foley (St. Thomas Academy, Minn.) signed recently and will join CC in the future.

“We are thrilled that these players have agreed to join our program,” coach Mike Haviland said in a media release. “After the improvement we saw this past season, this group of players should help us progress even further. Combining these players with our returners the next couple of years provides a bright future for the Colorado College hockey program.”

CC hockey bios below:

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Tyler Coffey (pictured above)

Forward, 5-10, 175, Hamilton, NJ, Jersey Hitmen NCDC (USPHL)

Before Colorado College: Tied for third in the USPHL’s NCDC playoff scoring race with eight points (3g,5a) in nine games … Helped the Hitmen to a 34-15-1 regular-season record and a spot in the finals of the Dineen Cup … Finished third on the team and 15th in the league with 46 points (27g,19a) in 45 regular-season games … His 27 goals tied for second in the USPHL … Notched four points (3g,1a) in five games for Team Kelly at the 2017-18 USA Select Festival … Amassed 83 points (50g,33a) in two seasons with the Hitmen U16 squad.

cozzi imagePatrick Cozzi (pictured above)

Forward, 5-9, 170, Greenlawn, NY, Prince George Spruce Kings (BCHL)

Before Colorado College: Scored 36 points (14g,22a) in 58 regular-season games in 2017-18 … Helped the Spruce Kings to a 33-17-4-4 regular-season record, good for fourth place in the BCHL … Tied for second on the team and tied for 10th in the league with 16 points (4g,12a) in the playoffs as the Spruce Kings are currently in the Fred Page Cup finals … Top rookie scorer in the BCHL playoffs … Collected 55 points (26g,29a) in 49 games last season with the North Jersey Avalanche.

Grant Cruikshank, Forward, 5-11, 185, Delafield, WI, Penticton Vees (BCHL)

Before Colorado College: Notched 74 points (53g,24a) in 82 games the past two seasons for Penticton, including 53 points (32g,21a) in 57 games in 2016-17 … Played in 25 games (21 points) this season before suffering a season-ending injury … Had 12 points (6g,6a) during the ’16-17 playoffs as the Vees advanced to the semifinals of the RBC Cup … Notched six points (2g,4a) in six games for Team Kelly at the 2014-15 USA Select Festival … Drafted by the Fargo Force in the sixth round of the 2017 USHL Futures Draft … Son of Olympic speedskaters Bonnie Blair and David Cruikshank.

Chase Foley, Defenseman, 5-9, 154, St. Paul, MN, St. Thomas Academy (USHS)

Before Colorado College: Finished third on the St. Thomas team with 38 points (17g,21a) in 23 games this season … Tied for the team lead with seven power-play goals and third with three game-winners … Helped team to a 22-2-1 overall record, a perfect 10-0 mark in league play and a quarterfinal berth in the Class AA Minnesota State Tournament … First-team All-Metro selection by the Star Tribune … Compiled 78 points (31g,47a) in three years at St. Thomas … Collected nine points in 20 games this season for Team Southeast of the Upper Midwest High School Elite League.

Erik Middendorf, Forward, 6-1, 190, Scottsdale, AZ, U.S. National U18 Team

Before Colorado College: Played 104 games for the U.S. National Development Program, including 43 this season for the National Under-18 Team … Collected 16 points (8g,8a) for the U18 team … Helped team win the Five Nations Tournament in February, defeating Finland, 4-0, in the final game …  Appeared in 55 games (23 points) for Team USA in the USHL … Collected five points in six games and helped Team USA to the Gold Medal at the 2016 Youth Olympic Games in Lillehammer, Norway … Played in five games for Team Black at the 2015-16 USA Select Festival.

Josiah Slavin (pictured above) , Forward, 6-2, 182, Erie, CO, Lincoln Stars (USHL)

Before Colorado College: Second on the team with 42 points (23g,19a) in 60 games this season … Leads the Stars and is third in the USHL with a +27 rating … Tied for 17th in the league with 23 goals … Collected 16 points (10g,6a) during a recent 10-game point streak … Notched 14 points (6g,8a) in 49 games for Tri-City of the USHL during the 2016-17 campaign … Prior to that, he skated for two years with the Colorado Thunderbirds program, registering 41 points (25g,16a) in 56 games … Younger brother of former Tiger and current Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Jaccob Slavin.

slavin lincoln

Three CC commits/signees make final NHL Central Scouting rankings

copeland_webThree Colorado College signees were ranked among the 217 top North American NHL Draft prospects, the league’s scouts announced.

The top-rated CC signee is Waterloo center Ben Copeland (126th), who has 62 points (44 assists) in 60 games – good for sixth in the U.S. Hockey League. His 44 assists lead that league. He may go in the middle rounds.

NHL Central Scouting released its final rankings list on Monday with lefthanded left wingers Erik Middendorf (U.S. National Team Development Program), and Ben Sanderson (Okotoks, Alberta league) coming it at Nos. 195 and 208 respectively. That projects both as late-round picks at the June 22-23 draft in Dallas.

Middendorf (17 points, 28 games), who signed earlier this month, was listed at 206th in the midseason rankings while Copeland and Sanderson, a commit, were unranked.

Copeland is scheduled to join the National Collegiate Hockey Conference program this fall along with Middendorf.

sandersonSanderson (26 points, 20 goals in 60 AJHL games) is scheduled for the following season.

For those keeping score on the recruiting front, Denver led the NCHC with six commits/signees ranked followed by four for North Dakota, three for Minnesota Duluth and two each for Miami and Western Michigan. Omaha and St. Cloud State each registered one.

Here is a link to the rankings, which can be organized by college teams.

middendorf

2018-19 CC hockey schedule starting to materialize

cc vs wmu2Here is my first draft of the Colorado College hockey 2018-19 schedule based on what has been reported at other outlets including a new scheduling mandate that has league rivals (CC vs Denver) playing during the final weekend of the regular season.

The National Collegiate Hockey Conference announced the league schedule on Wednesday. The Tigers are coming off a 15-17-5 season with a tie for fifth place in the league standings.

I put XXX where nonconference weekends, including Air Force, or byes are likely. I would expect one weekend in October to be a bye with nonleague games expected that month.

Home games in ALL CAPS.

Sept. 30 – Exhibition TBA

Oct. 5-6 – xxxxxxxx

Oct. 12-13 – xxxxxx

Oct. 19-20 – xxxxxxxx

Oct. 26-27 – xxxxxx

Nov. 2-3 – ST. CLOUD STATE

Nov. 9-10 – at Minnesota Duluth (2018 NCAA champion)

Nov. 16-17 – MIAMI

Nov. 23-24 — xxxxx

Nov. 30-Dec. 1 – at Omaha

Dec. 7-8 – xxxxxx

Dec. 14-15 – xxxx

HOLIDAY BREAK

Jan. 4-5, 2019 — xxxxxx

Jan. 11-12 — at North Dakota (2016 NCAA champs)

Jan. 18 – DENVER (2017 NCAA champs)

Jan. 19 – at Denver

Jan. 25-26 – at Miami

Feb. 1-2 – MINNESOTA DULUTH

Feb. 8-9 – at St. Cloud State

Feb, 15-16 – Bye week

Feb. 22-23 – WESTERN MICHIGAN

March 1-2 — NORTH DAKOTA

March 8 – at Denver

March 9 — DENVER (Senior Night)

March 15-17 — NCHC first-round series

March 22-23 — NCHC Frozen Faceoff (Xcel Energy Center, St. Paul)

March 29-31 — NCAA regionals (Fargo, Allentown, Pa., Manchester, N.H., Providence, R.I.)

April 11-13 — NCAA Frozen Four (Buffalo, N.Y.)

CC Rylan Schwartz action

NCAA alumni in NHL cracks 300 for fourth year

UND MacMillanCourtesy College Hockey Inc. …

A standout group of rookies and a record number of goaltenders highlighted the 310 NCAA alumni to appear in the NHL this season, the fourth year that more than 300 former college hockey players have played in the league.

College players made up 31.5 percent of all NHLers —  the eighth straight season of at least 30 percent. The former college players in the NHL include:

  • Six of the league’s top 12 rookie scorers, including the top two rookie goal scorers in Kyle Connor (31) and Brock Boeser (29)
  • A record 28 goaltenders, three more than any other NHL season
  • 16 players who played in both the NCAA and NHL this season, a record for one year and four times as many as just four years ago

Forty-nine of the 60 NCAA Division I schools had an alum playing in the NHL in 2017-18. Minnesota led all schools with 26, followed by Boston College and North Dakota (22 each),Michigan (21) and Boston University (18).

The NCAA alumni in the NHL in 2017-18 included 80 percent of all Americans in the league, including 50 percent of the undrafted players in the NHL.

More than 71 percent of the 310 former college players in the NHL played at least three seasons on campus. Men’s hockey enjoys a 90 percent graduation rate, among the best NCAA Division I men’s sports according to the NCAA.

Haviland signs multi-year contract extension with Colorado College

On the heels of the program’s best season in years, Colorado College coach Mike Haviland signed a multi-year contract extension to lead the Tigers, athletics director Ken Ralph announced on Wednesday.

“We are thrilled Mike has agreed to continue as coach of the Tigers,” Ralph said in a media release. “We felt it was important to send a strong message to recruits and other hockey personnel that he will be behind the bench for many years to come in Colorado Springs.” 

 “There is a lot of positive momentum surrounding our team right now and we are all excited to watch the program continue to grow under Mike’s leadership,” he added. 

Per department and college policy, terms of the contract will not be released.

haviland posed

Haviland, who was hired as the 14th head coach in program history on May 9, 2014, led the Tigers to a 15-17-5 mark this season, the most victories in one season since the 2012-13 campaign.

Colorado College finished in a tie for fifth place in the National Collegiate Hockey Conference, and one win out of fourth place and hosting a first-round NCHC playoff series for the first time. CC was eliminated by defending NCAA champion Denver in three games in March.

“My family and I are very excited to have the opportunity to continue coaching at Colorado College,” Haviland said. “I want to thank President Jill Tiefenthaler and Ken Ralph for their support during the past four seasons and throughout this process.”

Haviland has coached a pair of Tigers to first-team all-NCHC honors, including sophomore Nick Halloran, who led the conference in scoring for the majority of this season and finished the campaign with 45 points (26 assists). Seven players, including Halloran’s linemates, juniors Mason Bergh (40) and Trey Bradley (31), recorded career-high for points in ’17-18.

Colorado College was one of only two teams in the country (Boston College) without a senior on its roster this season.

Next year, the Tigers welcome transfer student Chris Wilkie, who won an NCAA championship with North Dakota in 2017, as well as incoming freshmen Ben Copeland, who is sixth in scoring in the U.S. Hockey League with 56 points and leads the league with 40 assists for Waterloo, and Bryan Yoon, who has 34 points as a defenseman for Tri-City of the USHL this season.