In the pros: O’Connell starts career off 2-0

DSCF0396Anchorage-based goalie Drew O’Connell, a former Tiger, picked up a win against his hometown ECHL Aces when the Ontario Reign needed an emergency fill-in netminder. He stopped a penalty shot  in a 3-1 win.

That so impressed the Reign, who took O’Connell on the plane back for a home game against Las Vegas (19 saves including one penalty shot) and a 4-1 victory.

The wins were first reported by the Anchorage Daily News who first reported on their hometown goalie and noted he had filled in as a backup for the Aces a few times last season. As of Wednesday night, O’Connell’s pro stats are 2-0-0, 1.00 goals-against average, .944 save percentage and 44 saves, including two penalty shots, in 65 minutes (5:00 scoreless relief on Jan. 11).

Here is a good game story featuring O’Connell’s exploits against the Aces and how former Air Force player Jacques Lamoureux passed on word through his brother (and North Dakota alumnus) Mario about O’Connell being available. That is reason No. 2,349 why I love college hockey.

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In the pros: Crabb, Sterling, Sweatt

Former Tiger Joey Crabb broke a three-game pointless streak with the game-winning shorthanded goal in a 1-0 road win at ECHL Las Vegas Wednesday night.

Both Brett Sterling and Bill Sweatt scored for AHL Chicago in a recent win over Rockford.

Friday reading: WCHA features and previews, military appreciation

No. 19 Colorado College takes on a strong No. 7 Cornell team in its first road trip of the season (No, Air Force does not count).

Minnesota State readies for its final campaign in the old WCHA. They travel to St. Cloud State.

Here is a look at the Wisconsin at No. 14 Minnesota Duluth series from a Bulldogs perspective. Wisconsin senior Derek Lee, UW’s power play quarterback, is out this weekend after a scooter-car collision.

Nebraska Omaha goalie John Faulkner is playing well so far. UNO hosts Bemidji State.

Hockey brought in big money to the Denver economy last weekend. Look for goalie Sam Brittain to start Friday against visiting Michigan Tech with Juho Olkinuora. Here is a preview focusing on Michigan Tech.

Here is all you need to know about Alaska Anchorage at No. 4 North Dakota.

Minnesota plays the USA U-18 team tonight and Canisius, which tied Air Force 1-1 on Thursday,  on Sunday. The Gophers will rest a few dinged up players.

In pro hockey, the ECHL Colorado Eagles are asking fans to nominate their family members or friends who they feel qualify as “Hometown Heroes” as part of Military Appreciation Night.

If you know of someone who deserves to be honored and recognized for their incredible efforts of military service, please fill out the attached form and return it for consideration to the Colorado Eagles by the end of business on Thursday, Nov. 1.

Three nominees will be chosen from the forms received, and honored (one per period) during our annual Military Appreciation Night on Wednesday, Nov. 7 at the Budweiser Events Center.  The honorees will receive free tickets to that night’s game, along with admittance for select family/friends.

In the pros: Dimmen, Holmstrom, J. Schwartz, Testwuide

Colorado Springs hockey fans have three good reasons to follow the AHL’s Adirondack Phantoms– natives Jeff Dimmen (Maine) and Ben Holmstrom (UMass-Lowell) and former CC captain Mike Testwuide are all on the Opening Night roster.

Dimmen signed an AHL contract after entering training camp with a tryout deal. Holmstrom enters his second season as the Phantoms’ captain.

Former Tiger Jaden Schwartz is on AHL Peoria’s second line as left wing with center Phil McRae and right wing Jay Barriball.

Ted Behrend is on CHL Denver’s roster while Arthur Bidwill made the ECHL Colorado Eagles..

In the pros: Bidwill notches exhibition hat trick

From the Colorado Eagles …

In their first ever meeting against the expansion San Francisco Bulls, the ECHL Colorado Eagles built a 5-0 lead, only to see the Bulls score six unanswered in an exhibition home game Friday that Colorado eventually won in a shootout, 7-6.

The Eagles out-scored the Bulls 4-0 in the opening period.  Rookie defenseman Arthur Bidwill notched both of Colorado’s power-play goals after not scoring a single goal in four seasons at Colorado College (51 games).

Bidwill got the scoring started at 2:02 with a one-timer from the right dot off a feed from Gabe Gauthier (a rival University of Denver alumnus) behind the net on the Eagles’ first power play of the period.

Bidwill picked up his second power-play tally of the first period with a bomb from the right point to make it 4-0. San Francisco picked up their play after that, aided by receiving both of their first period power plays in the final three and a half minutes of the frame.

Colorado scored on a fluky goal in the second period to go ahead 5-0 before San Francisco reeled off six goals to go ahead 6-5 in the third. But just 21 seconds later, Bidwill capped off his strong night with his third goal of the game, knotting the score back up at 6.

In the shootout, three of the five Eagles shooters beat Chris Venti, while Eagles goalie Aaron Dell stopped three of the four San Francisco shooters.  Daavettila was credited with the game-winner.

The Eagles open the season Oct. 12-13 with a pair of home games against the Alaska Aces.

In the pros: Bidwill, Connelly, Crabb, Fredheim, Hall, Lamoureux, Rau, Schultz

Former Tiger Kris Fredheim is in AHL Houston’s training camp, along with Brian Connelly and Chad Rau, pictured.

The ECHL Alaska Aces just got a whole lot better with the addition of three NHL regulars — Anchorage residents Joey Crabb, Scott Gomez and Nate Thompson. Aces fans should send thank you cards to Gary Bettman.

Tim Hall and former Air Force Falcon Jacques Lamoureux are also on the Aces’ training camp roster.

Stephen Schultz is on the Trenton Titans roster while Arthur Bidwill is on the Colorado Eagles camp. Most ECHL camps started Friday.

Saturday reading: Minnesota, SCSU, predictions, rules video

The first USA Hockey preseason poll will be released on Sept. 24 with new ones to follow most Mondays.

The 2012-13 Minnesota schedule was finalized  as is the SCSU Huskies.

Sioux7 announced his preseason picks for the WCHA with Denver ahead of North Dakota. Here is Goon’s World’s prediction.

Here is the 25-minute NCAA video with some examples about the rules emphasis and tweaks for the 2012-13 season, including that indirect contact to the head (player hits body and then slides up to head) could lead to a two-minute minor using existing penalties (elbowing, high sticking, roughing, charging) at the discretion of referee. Penalties (including awarding a goal) for dislodging the net is also discussed along with an effort to clarify goals off a players’ skate.

Bob Caldwell is the new assistant coach at Western Michigan.  High expectations are now the norm for Air Force.

The ECHL Colorado Eagles landed a big-time free agent by league standards: The Colorado Eagles of the ECHL announced Thursday the signing of forward Trent Daavettila (dah-VUH-till-uh) who has spent the first four years of his professional career as a standout with the Kalamazoo Wings.  Since the 2009-10 season, no player has produced more points in the ECHL than Daavettila’s 249 (including playoff games).  In that time, his 168 assists also rank as the most, while his plus-52 plus/minus ranking is tied for the 2nd-best.  In 191 regular season ECHL games, the 6-foot, 190-pound forward accumulated 203 points (69-134-203), highlighted by a stellar 2010-11 season (in which he led the league with a plus-28 plus/minus) that helped the Wings reach the league finals.  He led Kalamazoo in points each of the past two seasons (154 in 140 games) & led the 2011 playoff field in points (28) & assists (22) as well.