Thursday reading: Michigan, Jablonski, NCHC, Civitarese, Guentzel

Former Tiger David Civitarese made quite an impression at the recent prospects camp. Thanks to CC statistician Victoria Thomas for providing this image.

Here is a list of Michigan college players who signed pro contracts so far this offseason including Michigan Tech’s Jordan Baker going to ECHL Colorado.

Injured high school hockey player Jack Jablonski is making considerable progress.

Here is an update on CC’s $27 million in renovations at its El Pomar athletic complex, which will include a new varsity weight room and synthetic ice shooting room for the hockey program.

The National Collegiate Hockey Conference added two to its league office staff.

And from the How Did I Miss This? story department, here are two older articles on former Tigers. David Civitarese was happy to miss the Calgary Stampede last month. Gabe Guentzel made a good first impression during his first partial pro season.

Anyone traveling to Omaha later this month may want to check out this hockey game fundraiser that features former Nebraska Omaha players and current NHLers.

Wednesday reading: Civitarese, CHL, Bachman, NHL playoffs

Former Tiger David Civitarese is featured in an article about the American Hockey League’s Hershey Bears.

Here are some details about the new CHL franchise beginning playing this fall at the Denver Coliseum.

Boston College celebrated its third title in five years.

The final Inside College Hockey power rankings.

This is a list of the latest early departures from Division I.

Here is an updated story on Richard Bachman, who is one of the 17 Americans on the U.S. preliminary roster for the world championships team next month.

Here are the NHL playoff match-ups. Play begins Wednesday night. Jaden Schwartz (Blues) and Jack Hillen (Predators) are the only former Tigers on a NHL playoff roster at the moment. Others may be called up from the AHL as their teams are eliminated or as NHL injuries mount. Playoffs start in that league April 15.

In the pros: Civitarese makes AHL debut

Former Tiger center David Civitarese made his pro debut Sunday for Hershey against the Charlotte Checkers.

UPDATED: Civitarese in AHL Hershey Bears’ fold

David Civitarese called me on Saturday, so here are some quotes and more details on his signing with the AHL Hershey, the 2009 and 2010 Calder Cup champions.

Here’s my original blog post with the changes included.

The Hershey Bears announced Friday morning that the club signed former Tigers forward David Civitarese to an amateur tryout agreement. Additionally, Civitarese has signed an American Hockey League contract effective for the 2012-13 season.

It was a relief for Civitarese, who had excelled at an amateur camp last summer held by the Washington Capitals, the Bears’ NHL affiliate and was wrapping up his schoolwork over spring break until Wednesday afternoon.

“(His advisor/agent) had heard from a couple ECHL teams but I was hoping to hear from the Capitals,” he said after Saturday’s pregame morning skate in Hershey. “Once we heard from them on Wednesday it all happened pretty quickly and I was flying out at 6 a.m. Thursday.”

He signed the AHL-only contract officially on Thursday and practiced with the team for the first time on Friday.

“It’s a great situation,” he said. “I’m happy to get the opportunity to play at a higher level.Being put into a leadership role as a senior for the first time helped contribute to my growth. It was a huge boost of confidence for me. They saw me play a couple times and evidently, they liked what they saw.”

Civitarese, 22, 6-foot-2, 204 pounds, recorded 30 points (14g, 16a) in 121 games in a four-year career at Colorado College.  He had 10 points (8g, 2a) his senior season.

The Bears host the Charlotte Checkers at 5 p.m. Mountain Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday, when Civitarese may make his debut. He said he will be a healthy scratch Saturday night and will use the chance to learn more about the Bears’ systems.

“I’m going to learn as much as I can,” the physics major said. “Everything I can do to get better will be crucial.”

The defensive forward is not too concerned about making his pro debut quickly, knowing that being ready is important and the Bears are gearing up for the playoffs. He also has the relative security of being under contract next season.

“It’s definitely a plus for me,” he said. “(The Bears) have a history of success here. For sure, the coaches, everything, is top notch.”

The idea of making it to the NHL would be the fulfillment of a dream, but the all-WCHA academic honoree is not to getting too far ahead of himself. He knows he needs to become a good AHL player first.

“I know I need to prove myself at each level in order to move up,” he said.  “I’ll be learning and watching how the older players do things.”

Civitarese is the fourth of the six Tiger seniors to move into the pro ranks. Defenseman Gabe Guentzel signed a similar deal with AHL Syracuse while wing Tim Hall signed an ATO with the ECHL’s Alaska Aces. Defenseman Arthur Bidwill will sign with the CHL’s Allen Americans this weekend.

Friday reading: WCHA previews; Prosser, Rau called up

CC will need big weekends from players like David Civitarese to offset No. 4 Minnesota's depth.

Here’s a capsule preview for the No. 11 CC at No. 4 Minnesota series. The game will be televised  live on ROOT at 6:07 Mountain tonight and FSN North at 4:07 Saturday (tape delay 6:07 p.m. ROOT). Gophers assistant Mike Guentzel has his game face on for this weekend’s series against his son, CC senior defenseman Gabe Guentzel and his assessment that his son may be trying to do too much is accurate.

Preseason WCHA Rookie of the Year Rocco Grimaldi will sit out the rest of the season at injury-riddled North Dakota, which plays at St. Cloud State this weekend.

SCSU’s Jordy Christian, who broke the Tigers hearts last Saturday, has significant hockey history flowing in his veins. Here’s a preview capsule on a series that could determine home ice for both teams.

Nebraska Omaha travels to MSU-Mankato. Both schools have dreams of better facilities including this one for the red Mavericks, which would include an on-campus hockey practice facility.

The purple Mavs need more out of their seniors.

No. 1 Minnesota-Duluth, led by star J.T. Brown,  plays Alabama-Huntsville for the first time. Here is a preview capsule. The Chargers’ boosters will need to come up with more than 50 percent of the team budget next season. Yikes.

Two Wisconsin freshmen have made the jump from high school to the WCHA. The Badgers host Alaska-Anchorage this weekend. Michigan tech is idle this weekend.

Former Tiger Bill Sweatt is the subject of this profile. Chad Rau and Nate Prosser were both called up by the Wild Friday.

Here’s NHL.com’s preview of the NBC Sports Network game; Michigan at Notre Dame at 5 p.m. Mountain.

NHL.com also gives some love to longtime Mercyhurst coach Rich Gotkin, who is known for some good quotes over the years including this one included in the article:

Before the start of 2001 NCAA regional game against Michigan, Gotkin looked across the rink and thought: “Wow, that’s Red Berenson, coach of Michigan. I wonder if he’s looking over here and saying, ‘Wow, that’s Rick Gotkin, coach of Mercyhurst.'”

CC’s defense shines in 2-1 win over No. 10 Union

A stellar team defensive performance proved to be the catalyst for No. 5-ranked Colorado College’s 2-1 nonconference win over No. 10 Union before an announced crowd of 5,882 fans at the World Arena on New Year’s Eve night.

“I thought both team’s defenses were good tonight,” Tigers coach Scott Owens said, “When you’re taking on the top-rated defensive team in the country you know it will be a tight, one-goal game.”

Union came into the game allowing only a Division I-best 1.94 goals, but it was CC’s defense that proved decisive.

A hard check along the boards led to Colorado College’s opening goal early in the second period.

Freshman defender Peter Stoykewych collided with a Union wing, forcing a turnover that was hauled in by sophomore wing Dakota Eveland. He passed across ice to junior defenseman Mike Boivin, who then sent a long pass forward to senior center David Civitarese just before he crossed the Union blue line.

He split the two Dutchmen defenders and charged toward the Union net. He beat sprawling sophomore goalie Troy Grosenick with a backhander with 14:35 left in the second for the 1-0 lead.

Boivin’s assist gave him a point in a team-high 14 games, one ahead of junior Rylan Schwartz (13) and two ahead of sophomore Jaden Schwartz (12).

A Dutchmen turnover led to a goal for senior captain Nick Dineen, who scored from the slot with 1:01 left in the second to make it 2-0 Tigers (12-6-0, 9-5-0 Western Collegiate Hockey Association).

It proved to be the game-winner after Union junior wing Wayne Simpson scored with 39.7 seconds left in the third with the Grosenick pulled for the extra attacker.

CC sophomore goalie Josh Thorimbert made 20 saves in a solid performance to improve to 7-2-0 on the season. Union fell to 9-5-5, 3-2-2 ECAC after losing to No. 15 Denver 3-1 on Friday.

“Josh was great tonight,” Boivin said.

The Tigers’ back checking and sound play from the blue-liners kept a good Union offensive team (17th in Division I) under control.

“The forwards, led by David Civitarese, did a good job getting back in support,” Owens  said. “We knew we had to play that way. Even then we were worried for the final 40 seconds because they can put six dangerous players out there.”

The win garners CC a split on the nonconference weekend after falling 2-1 to crosstown foe Air Force.

“It doesn’t take the sting completely away from Friday but this win will help us later this season in the Pairwise (rankings),” Owens said.

Colorado College hosts No. 13-ranked Cornell Jan. 6-7.

Saturday reading: Tigers eyeing third place before break

CC senior David Civitarese scored 88 seconds into overtime to give the Tigers a 2-1 road win Friday night.

The Tigers (10-5, 8-5 WCHA) have a chance to move into third place in the league  tonight if they can pull off a road sweep at MSU-Mankato. Easier said than done in this league.

CC goalie Josh Thorimbert shined in Friday’s win but don’t be surprised if Joe Howe gets the start.

Here’s write-ups on CC’s 2-1 OT win at MSU-Mankato Friday night from the WCHA, the Gazette and the Mankato Free Press.

The Tigers defense looked better on Friday.

Some thoughts to ponder from the Mankato Free Press and a link to a live game chat for tonight by the Freep.

Former Tiger Richard Bachman suffered his first loss in the NHL, 6-3 at New Jersey Friday.

Here’s the writeup from the St. Cloud Times on Denver’s 3-2 overtime win at the Huskies, who took a tough call at the end of regulation to set up the winning power-play goal by Drew Shore.

Preview notes for North Dakota’s Saturday home exhibition against the Russian Red Stars.

From the WCHA …

Bemidji State 3, Alabama-Huntsville 0

BEMIDJI — Backed by a 20-save effort by freshman goaltender Andrew Walsh. the Bemidji State University men’s ice hockey team served the University of Alabama-Huntsville a 3-0 loss Friday night at Sanford Center.

In a game decided by sharp goaltending, solid defense and a good penalty-kill effort, BSU got goals from three different players, en route to its 16th win in the last 20 meetings versus UAH (16-2-2).

Both BSU and UAH struggled out of the gates to find enough ice to generate any offensive pressure and finished the first period of play tied 0-0.

The Beavers broke the scoreless tie 3:17 into the second period on an delayed penalty goal. Jake Areshenko netted his second goal of the season on a slap shot from the point.

The series concludes tonight.

Northern Michigan 4, Michigan Tech 1

MARQUETTE, Mich. – Northern Michigan jumped out to a 2-0 first period lead en route to a 4-1 non-conference hockey victory over Michigan Tech tonight at the Berry Events Center. The Huskies (9-9-1) pulled within 2-1 in the second period on a goal by Aaron Pietila before the Wildcats (9-7-3) scored twice in the third period including an empty netter with 1:10 remaining.

“The first period was the hockey game,” said Tech coach Mel Pearson. “They jumped us pretty good, won the battles and scored on their opportunities. We battled back and made it close but couldn’t get all the way back. Tonight really showed the importance of a good start.”

Both teams are off for the Christmas break.

Current WCHA Standings

WCHA Games
Overall
GP
W
L
T
Pts
GF
GA
W
L
T
GF
GA
Minnesota
14
11
3
0
22
51
28
14
5
1
83
41
Minnesota Duluth
14
10
2
2
22
59
32
12
3
3
73
44
Nebraska Omaha
14
7
4
3
17
46
43
9
8
3
62
60
Colorado College
13
8
5
0
16
53
46
10
5
0
61
48
Denver
13
6
4
3
15
46
40
8
6
3
58
50
North Dakota
14
7
7
0
14
39
37
9
8
1
51
50
Michigan Tech
14
6
7
1
13
41
43
9
9
1
54
55
Bemidji State
14
5
7
2
12
36
46
8
9
2
50
56
St. Cloud State
13
4
6
3
11
38
40
6
9
4
59
61
Wisconsin
14
4
8
2
10
40
50
7
9
2
57
59
Alaska Anchorage
14
3
10
1
7
29
54
6
10
2
46
63
Minnesota State
13
2
10
1
5
35
54
5
13
1
53
69