Two Tigers commits named to U.S. NTDP evaluation camp roster

carter batchelderTwo Colorado College commits were named to the 52-man roster for the U.S. National Team Development Program Evaluation Camp in Plymouth, Mich. The 52 are considered among the top American players born in 2003.

The camp, held from March 21-25 at USA Hockey Arena, determines the roster for the 2019-20 U.S. National U-17 team.

Goalie Hobie Hedquist of Heron Lake, Minn., who plays for the Sioux Falls Power U16 team of the North American Hockey Prospects League, and winger Carter Batchelder of Eden Prairie (Minn.) HS were among the invited, which included 27 forwards, 19 defensemen and six goalies.

Batchelder, who committed in Nov. 2018, recently helped Eden Prairie place second to Edina in the Class AA Minnesota state high school hockey tournament.

The speedy 5-foot-9, 154 pounder recorded 11 goals (six assists) in 25 regular-season games and added seven points in six postseason games (five goals). The high school sophomore is scheduled to arrive in Colorado Springs for the start of the 2021-22 season.

Hedquist, who committed in Feb. 2018, just finished his second season of NAPHL 16U competition, which includes the Colorado Springs Jr. Tigers.

The 6-foot 2, 157-pounder went 6-2-1 during the regular season with a 1.76 goals against average (fifth in the NAPHL) and a .908 saves percentage. That was an improvement over his rookie season (2017-18) when he went 7-3-1 with 2.15 goals against and a .889 save percentage.  He is scheduled for 2022-23.

The 52 players will be divided into three teams for on-ice practices and will play in at least six games. In addition, the players will attend two US. National U-18 games.

Of the 37 NCAA Division 1 commits, 15 colleges are represented, led by five for Miami and Notre Dame. Boston University, Northeastern and Penn State have three. In the NCHC, Denver has two commits invited followed by one for St. Cloud State.

Fifteen invitees are uncommitted.


CC defenseman, Colorado native Bryan Yoon makes all-NCHC rookie team

yoon imageColorado College defenseman Bryan Yoon was named to the National Collegiate Hockey Conference all-rookie team, the league announced on Tuesday.

Yoon gathered 18 of a possible 21 points, by far the most among league defensemen, in voting by the NCHC’s eight head coaches. Only Minnesota Duluth forward Noah Cates received more overall votes (19), while Omaha forward Taylor Ward also received 18. Coaches could not vote for their own student-athletes.

The 6-foot, 175-pounder from Parker, Colo. s tied for seventh nationally among freshmen with 19 assists, tied for fourth in the NCHC among first-year players with 21 points and tops the league’s freshmen with 59 blocked shots. In 24 conference games, the 21-year-old led all NCHC freshmen with 42 blocked shots and 14 assists.

Yoon is the first Tiger to earn a spot on the NCHC All-Rookie Team since current Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Jaccob Slavin in 2014.

“It is nice to see Bryan rewarded for his play this season,” CC coach Mike Haviland said in a media release. “He always plays the game the right way and has been a calming presence for us from the start.”

NCHC All-Rookie Team
F: Noah Cates, Minnesota Duluth – 19 (6)
F: Taylor Ward, Omaha – 18 (6)
F: Nolan Walker, St. Cloud State – 17 (5)
D: Bryan Yoon, Colorado College – 18 (6)
D: Nick Perbix, St. Cloud State – 14 (4)
G: Filip Larsson, Denver – 15 (4)
G: Adam Scheel, North Dakota – 15 (4)

Tigers land another defenseman commit

DEf8Es9V0AAJ3p4Colorado College picked up another defenseman commit on Monday when 16-year-old Tyler Bates of Calgary, Alberta, pictured at right in 2017, made his announcement via Twitter.

Bates, listed at 5-foot-10, 165 pounds, competes for Edge School Prep of the Canadian Sport School Hockey League (28 points, 26 assists in 35 games), which features teams from western Canadian hockey academies.

He was called up for four games by the Brooks Bandits of the Alberta league, recording three assists in that short stint.

He was drafted by the Medicine Hat Tigers of the WHL in May 2017 and played for Team Alberta North during the 80-player Team Alberta Cup that summer. The above picture was taken from Bates’ Twitter feed.

It is unclear if he was named to the playoff roster for the 57-3 (yes, that is correct) Bandits, the top seed in the AJHL South playoffs.

Frustrated no more: CC seniors hoist Gold Pan Trophy for first time after sweeping No. 6 Denver before joyful home fans


IMG_8922Years of frustration melted away for the Colorado College seniors when they hoisted the Gold Pan trophy for the first time by sweeping No. 6 Denver.

“Oh man, I just kept looking at the clock every time they had the puck waiting for it to count down,” said Tigers senior Trevor Gooch, who assisted the only goal in Saturday’s 1-0 Senior Night win. “The last 25 seconds seemed like it was 10 minutes long. But we found a way to get it done.”

“Once we went up 1-0, we weren’t going to give the lead up, not the way we have been playing.”

The 1-0 home victory denied the Pioneers a record fifth-straight year possessing the rivalry trophy in its 26 seasons’ existence. The win was sweet payoff for years of work for coach Mike Haviland’s first recruiting class, which struggled in their first two years.

The realization hit them with about three seconds left with the puck buried in the corner. The Tigers couldn’t contain themselves, jumping into the air, throwing their sticks and gloves high in the air to the roar of the Broadmoor World Arena.

It wasn’t a home playoff game  — that will have to wait — but the announced crowd of 4,968 surely left feeling like they had experienced one.

“The fight that it took to get this,” said senior co-captain Mason Bergh. “It’s been a long time coming especially for us seniors. We started our career against Denver 0-12 and we scratched and clawed for everything we have gotten so far. I couldn’t be more proud of our guys.”

The Tigers (15-17-4) will travel to third-seeded Western Michigan next weekend for a best-of-three first-round playoff series. Game times are 5:05 p.m. Mountain.

Claiming the rivalry trophy is a landmark victory for the program. It was also a testament to the seniors who stuck with it.

“It showed who they really are,” coach Mike Haviland said. “Those first two years were lean years and no one forgets. This is a big thing for our entire program, our players, coaches, our alums and the fans. It was unbelievable to see (the seniors raise the trophy). The whole team battled, scratched and clawed. They deserved it.”

For the second night in a row, Colorado College got off to another quick start when Gooch skated around the Denver net and shot the puck. It ended up sliding across the crease to the opposite side from where freshman Grant Cruikshank one-timed the puck behind Denver sophomore Devin Cooley’s back for a 1-0 just 105 seconds into the game.

“I was trying to wrap it around and take it five hole but I didn’t get all of it,” Gooch said. “Crook is a good hard player and he was right there to slam it home.”

Colorado Springs native Colin Staub almost scored for Denver with 14:07 left in the second period but the puck was knocked in by his left glove hand, negating the effort on his own rebound.

It was immediately waved off by the referee. It was the second night in a row a tying goal for Denver was disallowed. That set up a nail-biter of a third period.

A collective gasp went through the crowd, Tigers and Pioneers fans alike, when CC goalie Alex Leclerc (30 saves) misplayed the puck and it bounced around and then away harmlessly with 8:14 remaining. The CC defense, with forwards and defenseman alike throwing their bodies at shots and placing their stick blades into passing lanes, held firm for the shutout.

“Clarky was huge for us and defensively we got bodies and sticks in the lanes,” CC senior co-captain Tanner Ockey said. “It was a bend, don’t break mentality. We have been bowing to (Denver) for a very long time and there has been some controversial calls, but this all makes up for it.”

“This is a huge step for us and for our (senior) class,” Ockey added. “Putting these two games together going into the playoffs is really big. We’ll try to carry this momentum in.”

Ice chips

Nine of the 14 originally in the Class of 2019 stayed with the program, including Nate Kwiecinski, who retired due to injuries. The other seniors honored were Bergh, Trey Bradley, Andrew Farny, Gooch, Ben Israel, Cole McCaskill, Westin Michaud, and Ockey. Most of these players were the current CC staff’s first recruits. … No. 1 St. Cloud State swept third-ranked Minnesota-Duluth to finish an eye-popping 19 points ahead of the runner-up Bulldogs in the NCHC standings.

NCHC playoff pairings

Best-of-three series

First round, March 15-16 (17 if necessary)

No. 8 Miami at No. 1 St. Cloud State, 6:05 p.m. Mountain

No. 7 Omaha at No. 2 Minnesota-Duluth, 6:05 p.m. Mountain

No. 6 Colorado College at No. 3 Western Michigan, 5:05 p.m. Mountain

No. 5 North Dakota at No. 4 Denver, 7:05 p.m. Mountain

Second Benilde-St. Margaret’s defenseman commits to Colorado College

triastan actionBenilde-St. Margaret’s School (Minn.) defenseman Tristan Sarsland, 15, announced his commitment to Colorado College earlier this evening on Twitter.

The Wayzata, Minn. native, who turned 15 on Feb. 25, is listed at 6 foot, 165 pounds with a righthanded shot. The Red Knights freshman recorded seven points in 25 regular-season high school games but has stepped forward with four points (three assists) in three playoff games to finish plus-22 on the year.

Tenth-ranked BS-M (20-8) was eliminated in the Section 6AA final on Wednesday by Edina, 5-1.

Sarsland follows fellow BS-M defenseman Nate Schweitzer, 5-11, 180-pound junior, who committed to CC last September. He recorded 42 points (27 assists) this season.

Sarsland is pictured on the left with Schweitzer on the right. Sarsland action photo courtesy BS-M athletics.


Frenetic finish not enough to overcome slow start in home loss to No. 20 North Dakota

CruickshankCCH_Miami111618_030_webColorado College’s comeback bid came too late and then fell short by mere inches as No. 20 North Dakota held on for a 2-1 win on Saturday night at World Arena.

The sixth-place Tigers struggled to sustain much offense until Christiano Verisch scored with 2:09 left in the National Collegiate Hockey Conference game.

CC’s Westin Michaud won the faceoff in the UND zone and Versich collected the puck and skated behind the scrum for a quick wrister that beat partly screened UND goalie Peter Thome (24 saves) to cut the lead to 2-1.

CC pulled junior goalie Alex Leclerc (34 saves) with 1:28 left, leading to a near-miss for the tying goal by Grant Cruikshank with 18 seconds left.

The puck rolled across the crease over to the far post and the freshman leaned forward but pushed the puck just wide of the open net. CC (13-17-4, 7-12-3 NCHC) was unable to muster up another shot to conclude a frenetic finale to an otherwise lackluster game.

“You can’t wait until then to push,” Tigers coach Mike Haviland said. “You have it right on your stick at the end but what did we have three breakaways? We had (early) chances and then we took some undisciplined penalties and we really couldn’t get our momentum going and then we got it going in the third. Just, so close again.”

According to the NCHC, the Tigers are locked into the sixth playoff seed, trailing fifth-place North Dakota by seven points with two games left. CC owns the tiebreakers versus Miami and Omaha.

No. 6 Denver, CC’s home-and-home foe next weekend, is the most likely third seed but could overtake No. 3 Minnesota-Duluth, which plays No. 1 St. Cloud State to conclude the regular season, for second. CC was picked to finish sixth in the NCHC preseason poll last September.

On Saturday, North Dakota (16-15-2, 10-11-1) seized control during a critical 68-second span late in the first period.

Cole Smith opened the scoring with 2:19 remaining before a Kristian Blumenschein slashing penalty just 23 seconds later set up Matt Kiersted’s power-play goal with 1:11 left in the first period. That snapped an 0-for-8 start for the Fightin’ Hawks man advantage unit this weekend.

UND stymied a CC power play to start the second, dominated the remainder of the period while out shooting the Tigers by a 15-3 margin, and looked poised to cruise to an easy win.

CC mustered up that late challenge but those missed early chances, including a 2-on-1 breakaway off the opening faceoff, a poor second period, and a slow start to the third left the Tigers too little time to complete a comeback.

“In the second we just stood around,” Haviland said. “Give them credit. They skated. If we bore down it could have been a different game, I think.”

Tigers step forward in third to down No. 20 North Dakota

cc vs wmu2Colorado College broke through for three goals in the third period to down No. 20 North Dakota 3-1 on Friday, backstopped by a 34-save performance from junior goalie Alex Leclerc and sparked by continued clutch scoring from the freshmen.

“We’re not going too high or too low,” said Tigers coach Mike Haviland. “It was a great game and the guys played well. We have to come back again and do it (Saturday).”

Freshman Grant Cruikshank scored on a close-range shot from between the faceoff circles off a pass from behind the net from Troy Conzo to make it 1-0 with 17:47 left in the third period.

The game-winner was recorded by freshman defenseman Bryan Yoon, whose shot from the point found its way through traffic and past screened UND goalie Peter Thome (31 saves) with 6:47 left to give CC some breathing room.

The freshmen have accounted for 10 of the last 15 Tiger goals. After nearly a full season in the National Collegiate Hockey Conference, the freshmen aren’t really rookies anymore.

“When you go through the wars in this conference you grow up pretty quick,” Haviland said. “They feel a lot more comfortable now in their games and it shows.”

They would need that Yoon power-play goal after North Dakota (15-15-2, 9-11-1 NCHC) pulled Thome with 4:18 left for a 6-on-4 power play. The Tigers penalty kill, which went 7 for 7 on the night, was up to the task with Leclerc making a sprawling save sandwiched by two wide shots by the Fightin’ Hawks less than a minute later.

The Broadmoor World Arena crowd started celebrating after senior Trey Bradley scored an empty-net, power play goal with 2:01 for a 3-0 lead. North Dakota scored with the extra attacker with 1-03 left for the final margin.

Both goalies performed well to set up the third period with the score tied at 0-0. Leclerc was challenged more often over the course of the first 40 minutes while Thome had to make some big stops in the opening seconds and over the final 90 seconds of the second period.

“Leclerc was great and he was great the other night against Denver,” Haviland said. “He saw the puck and tracked it well. He did a great job. The guys did a good job in front of him boxing out and keeping them from the second and third chances until they had the extra attacker.”

If the season ended now, sixth-place CC (13-16-4, 7-11-3 NCHC) would play at Magness Arena versus No. 6 Denver March 15-17 in the first round of the NCHC playoffs.

Ice chips

No. 6 Denver defeated last-place Omaha for the 15th straight time in regulation or the first overtime on Friday, 4-1. The victory moved Denver to within one win of clinching home-ice in the first round of the NCHC playoffs as well as to within one win of its 18th-consecutive 20-win season. …No. 3 Minnesota-Duluth downed Miami to clinch home playoff ice. … Penrose champ and No. 1 St. Cloud State scored three goals in the final 10 minutes including the game-winner with 15.4 ticks left by Robby Jackson to upend No. 10 Western Michigan, 5-4. CC remains the only NCHC team to record a point in St. Cloud, Minn. this season. … Holy Cross downed Air Force 2-1 in overtime on a goal by Mitch Collett, the younger brother of former CC forward Jeff Collett, who wore No. 21 before Cruikshank.