‘Unacceptable’ effort drops Tigers into nonconference split with Michigan State

cc vs wmu2Colorado College co-captain Alex Berardinelli does not want to see a repeat of Saturday’s lackluster performance again.

Ever again.

“It’s just not acceptable,” the senior forward said after a 5-1 home loss to Michigan State Saturday night. “Something like that should never happen and will never happen again. That is not the structure we are built on. It’s not the culture we want to have here. It’s unacceptable and it will never happen again.”

But it did as Michigan State scored three early goals in little more than five minutes and never trailed in a contest that wasn’t as close as the score may indicate. The Spartans (2-2) easily shook off the lackluster Tigers for the nonconference series split.

“We have to learn that it is a series,” Tigers coach Mike Haviland said. “The team across the hall (that lost 3-1 Friday) is not happy. They came out and played like that. We came out and played like we wanted an easy game.”

“We lost the game in the first five minutes. You chase the game all night and you can’t play like that. We have to prepare better. That goes back on me. (The players) have to take some accountability on that too. We are all in this together.”

The three-goal surge ended the night for freshman goalie Matt Vernon (five saves, 6:48) who came one late power-play goal shy of a shutout in his Tigers debut Friday at the Broadmoor World Arena. On Saturday, Ryan Ruck made 20 saves in relief against the Spartans, who were picked to finish last in the seven-team Big Ten conference.

“We were standing around a lot,” Haviland said. “Give them credit. They were skating and moving and we were watching. That goes back to back to being ready to play, They were ready and we weren’t. We chased the game the whole night.”

The Tigers (2-2) were unable to capitalize on two breakaways in the first period before getting back into the game, at least temporarily, when Ben Copeland scored on the power play with 34 seconds left in the first period.

But CC’s inconsistent effort wasted that momentum and MSU put the Tigers away when Nico Muller scored midway through the second for a 4-1 lead.

The Spartans added another in the third for the final margin. Pat Khodorenko recorded three assists while Spartans goalie John Lethemon made 35 saves.

“I saw some push at times but not enough to where it should be,” Haviland said. “It doesn’t get any easier. We go into league play against the best teams in the country, I believe. We have to figure it out.”

Ice chips

CC’s all-time record is now 47-35-1 against the Spartans. This weekend’s series were the first games between the two programs since a 5-4 Tigers win at the Great Lakes Invitational in Detroit on Dec. 29, 2010. … Bailey Conger’s two goals Friday doubled his career total. … Chris Wilkie as kept of the CC scoresheet for the first time this season (six points, three goals). … CC opens National Collegiate Hockey Conference play against No. 18 Western Michigan Nov. 1-2 in Colorado Springs.

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.

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


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.”


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)