Tigers knock off No. 2 Denver, end 17-game winless streak against Pioneers

CC Hockey vs WisconsinColorado College bounced back from an embarrassing home loss to end a 17-game winless streak against No. 2 Denver behind a 40-save shutout by sophomore goalie Alex Leclerc at Magness Arena on Saturday.

“I’m feeling pretty good right now,” Leclerc said on 1240 AM. “We felt we let our fans and teammates down (in a 5-1 Friday loss) and we needed to bounce back. Guys were sacrificing their bodies to block shots (19) and make my life easier even though I am the one with the equipment.”

“We told ourselves that we needed to win against them,” he added. “We only had one thing on our minds and that was to come out of here with a win. We need to savor this moment of success and take that into practice and next weekend (against No. 13 Omaha).”

The win in Denver pushed CC (13-13-4, 7-10-3-2 National Collegiate Hockey Conference) into sixth place ahead of Omaha (15-14-1, 8-12-0) and only two points behind No. 15 and fifth-place Western Michigan (14-14-2, 9-10-1).

Tonight really helped us put ourselves in position to get home ice,” coach Mike Haviland said.

Colorado College played better as the game went on to put further pressure on the Pioneers as the early 1-0 lead held.

“It was a factor of us not being hard enough offensively,” Denver coach Jim Montgomery said in a media release. “Our effort was great. I thought we skated well, we protected pucks well…but I thought they played with more desperation.”

DU pulled goalie Tanner Jaillet with about 80 seconds left but shot blocks by Westin Michaud (:20 left) and Troy Conzo (:08 remaining) helped the Tigers hold for their first win over Denver since Feb. 22, 2014 – a span of 1,424 days —  and the Tigers’ first under Haviland. The victory ended a 17-game winless streak (0-15-2).

“Tonight was a big step for us,” CC junior co-captain Andrew Farny said. “We had guys selling out all game long.”

“These guys don’t like to lose and they take it personal,” Haviland said. “We didn’t play hard enough last night but we certainly did tonight. Going 1-1-2 against the defending national champs shows the progress this program has made.”

Denver kept the puck in the CC end for most of the opening period, but it was the Tigers that entered first intermission with their initial lead of the weekend. Few at the time guessed it would prove to be the game-winner.

Conference-leading scorer Nick Halloran (41 points) scored his 18th goal of the season on the power play with 29 seconds remaining for a 1-0 lead. The power-play tally ended on 0 for 14 skid over three games.

halloran road unisIn other NCHC action, No. 11 Minnesota-Duluth downed last-place Miami 3-0 for its second shutout of the weekend against the reeling RedHawks. It is the first time in program history that Miami has been shut out for three-straight games. The scoring drought is now at 212 minutes, 1 second dating back to the second period on Friday, Feb. 9 (5-2 loss to No. 3 St. Cloud State.

No. 9 North Dakota bounced back for a road split by downing No. 13 Omaha, 3-0, and end the Mavericks’ seven-game home win streak. Cam Johnson returned to action after two games off to make his 11th career shutout (26 saves); second all-time at UND behind 15 for Karl Goehring.

League-leading St. Cloud State, ranked third in the USCHO poll but tops in the Pairwise rankings, defeated No. 15 Western Michigan 4-2 for the road sweep. The Broncos fell into in fifth place.

SCSU, which clinched home playoff ice on Friday, now has 45 standings points to second-place Denver’s 40, setting up a huge weekend series in Minnesota that will determine ownership of the Penrose Cup regular-season championship. UMD and North Dakota are tied for third with 30 points.

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Halloran repeats as National Collegiate Hockey Conference player of the month

halloran road unisA breakthrough season for CC sophomore Nick Halloran has not gone unnoticed.

Halloran became only the second National Collegiate Hockey Conference athlete to be named as the league player of the month twice in a row after receiving the honor for Dec. 2017 and now Jan. 2018. The first to do so was Denver’s Joey LaLeggia (Jan.- Feb. 2015).

Halloran tied for the NCHC scoring lead and tied for fifth nationally in January with 12 points in six games, while his 2.00 points per game and 1.17 assists per game both led the conference, with the 2.00 points per game also ranking second nationally during the month.

He scored five goals in January, while also tying for the NCHC lead with seven assists in the month, including six on the power play. Halloran recorded points in five of six games in January, including four multi-point games, in which the Tigers went 2-1-1.

The Draper, Utah native logged four points against Minnesota Duluth Jan. 12-13. After going scoreless in CC’s series opener at Western Michigan Jan. 19, his only game without a point during the month, he recorded three points the next night in a 6-5 overtime win, handing out two assists before scoring the game-winning goal in overtime to give the Tigers their first ever win at WMU.

Halloran concluded his month with a five-point outing against Miami last weekend, which earned him NCHC co-offensive player of the week.

Entering this weekend, Halloran is tied for the NCAA lead with 39 points (23 assists) in 26 games, while his 16 goals are tied for the NCHC lead and his 23 assists lead the league. Halloran is now a candidate for Hockey Commissioners’ Association (HCA) National Player of the Month for January, which will be announced on Friday.

 

Thanks and a request

press hatHello everyone:

As some of you already know, I was recently rehired for my former college hockey reporter position at The Gazette. As a result, I have to end my personal college hockey blog because of time constraints and also to avoid competing for page views with the Gazette’s College Hockey Blog: http://blogs.gazette.com/collegehockey/

The new/old blog will be much the same as Paisley Hockey and Eye of the Tigers before it with more Air Force and CC coverage since I am covering the teams full-time and even getting paid to do it now. That is good news for me and hopefully for college hockey fans looking for more news and links.

The @Paisleyhockey Twitter account will continue with score updates and story links from around the WCHA and AHA and soon, the NCHC. I will also maintain my Paisley Hockey Facebook page as a convenient news feed to find blog updates, etc.  I would also encourage CC fans to join the Colorado College Hockey group on Facebook where my blog updates appear regularly.

Thank you all for following Paisley Hockey. Maintaining this blog kept me up to speed on college hockey even while I juggled freelance assignments. No doubt, that preparedness played a large part in me being rehired by The Gazette.

For that and you all, I am grateful.

Joe Paisley

Joe.paisley@gazette.com

This week’s WCHA schedule

rp_primary_2012-13_Rapuzzi_MN1Games for Thursday, February 21: USA Under-18 Team at Nebraska Omaha (EX), 7:37 pm CT.

Games for Friday, February 22: Minnesota Duluth at Minnesota (WCHA), 7:07 pm CT; St. Cloud State at Colorado College (WCHA), 7:37 pm MT; North Dakota at Denver (WCHA), 8:07 pm MT.

Games for Saturday, February 23: Minnesota Duluth at Minnesota (WCHA), 7:07 pm CT; North Dakota at Denver (WCHA), 7:07 pm MT; St. Cloud State at Colorado College (WCHA), 7:07 pm MT.
Games for Sunday, February 24: Penn State at Wisconsin (NC), 7:07 pm CT.
Games for Monday, February 25: Penn State at Wisconsin (NC), 7:37 pm CT.

Monday reading: Recaps and reactions, updated WCHA standings

action_ffsemi2_bc_cross_2Here are recaps of Sunday’s notable games. The rankings will change later today.

No. 18 Wisconsin 3, No. 2 Minnesota 2

CHICAGO — Sophomore goaltender Joel Rumpel made 36 saves while sophomore forward Brendan Woods had two assists to lead Wisconsin to a 3-2 victory against Minnesota on Sunday in the OfficeMax Hockey City Classic at Chicago’s Soldier Field.

“Joel was given the game puck by the team,” Wisconsin coach Mike Eaves said. “His performance in the first period allowed us to get or feet underneath us.”

No. 12 Notre Dame 2, No. 3 Miami 1

CHICAGO — Notre Dame clinched a first-round CCHA playoff bye with a 2-1 win over Miami at the Hockey City Classic at Soldier Field, its first win over the RedHawks since Dec. 3, 2010.

Notre Dame freshman forward Mario Lucia opened the scoring midway through the second period. Junior forward Jeff Costello increased the Irish’s lead, finding the back of the net at the 8:33 mark of the third period.

Miami freshman forward Kevin Morris cut Notre Dame’s lead in half, but that was the only goal the RedHawks would score as Notre Dame held on for the win. Junior goaltender Steven Summerhays made 22 saves for Notre Dame, while Miami freshman goaltender Ryan McKay turned aside 26 shots.

Also, it was a tough week to be a top team as the Gophers beat writer points out.

No. 9 Minnesota State, the only top 10 team to sweep an opponent, is in third place in the WCHA entering a bye week.

2012-2013 WCHA STANDINGS
WCHA Games
Overall
GP
W
L
T
Pts
GF
GA
W
L
T
GF
GA
1
St. Cloud State
22
15
6
1
31
74
47
18
11
1
99
72
2
Nebraska Omaha
24
14
8
2
30
83
70
18
12
2
112
88
3
Minnesota State
24
14
9
1
29
77
57
20
9
3
104
71
4
Minnesota
22
12
6
4
28
73
53
20
6
4
110
59
North Dakota
22
11
5
6
28
72
56
16
8
6
96
74
6
Wisconsin
24
10
7
7
27
54
53
13
10
7
68
62
7
Denver
22
10
7
5
25
70
64
15
9
5
98
77
8
Colorado College
22
8
10
4
20
72
77
11
14
5
100
105
Minnesota Duluth
24
8
12
4
20
59
72
10
16
4
73
89
10
Bemidji State
24
5
13
6
16
50
72
6
17
7
62
89
Michigan Tech
24
6
14
4
16
62
82
10
16
4
89
94
12
Alaska Anchorage
26
2
18
6
10
50
93
4
19
7
61
104

In the pros: Bachman gets first win, Schwartz first goal, of season

jaden draft imageDallas Stars backup goalie Richard Bachman eked out a win over Vancouver. The former Tiger may get more starts after an injury to Kari Lehtonen forced his entry into the game.

Jaden Schwartz scored his first of the year and assisted the next goal to stake St. Louis to a 2-0 lead in a 5-2 win at struggling Calgary.

Bye week comes at good time for CC

CC vs DenverA week off after having only five defensemen available in last Saturday’s 6-5 home win over No. 11 Denver was just what the Tigers needed.

“It isn’t too often that after a five-game unbeaten streak (2-0-3), you are happy to have a week off,” said Tigers coach Scott Owens, said adding that the wear and tear on the five active defensemen showed when Denver reeled off three goals in 3:18 to force overtime. “This week is good for us to recoup, refresh and regroup.”

The week should help some of last Saturday’s inactive players heal and potentially be available for Friday and Saturday’s home series against WCHA leader St. Cloud State.