Colorado College Tigers cannot match Minnesota-Duluth’s play in decisive second, fall in series-clinching rout

cc vs wmu2Fifth-ranked Minnesota-Duluth showed why it’s the two-time defending NCAA champions with a 6-1 rout of last-place Colorado College Saturday night.

The Bulldogs dominated the second period, potting four goals, including the game-winner just 59 seconds into the middle frame.

This weekend’s series sweep mirrored the one in Duluth in November — a close game won by the Bulldogs on Friday (4-3) followed by a rout on Saturday (5-0).

“We talked about that (Saturday) morning,” Tigers coach Mike Haviland said, referring to the team’s morning meetings. “This team across the hall elevates their game. You need to elevate our game and I think we did for the first 20 (minutes). But the game is 60.”

It’s a familiar pattern for the Tigers against the National Collegiate Hockey Conference powerhouse.

“In the last couple years against these guys we are really good against them on Fridays and on Saturdays they go to another level,” Haviland said. “We need to find that level. That’s the reason they’re two-time defending champs. They know how to go to that level and keep pushing you.”

The stats show it. With the win, Minnesota-Duluth improved to 91-2-3 (18-1 this season) since March 13, 2015 when taking a lead into the third period.

One of the few Colorado College highlights was when the Tigers spoiled UMD goalie Hunter Shepard’s shutout bid. A hard shot by Grant Cruikshank forced its way under the senior’s right arm and landed behind him. CC senior Nick Halloran tapped in his 11th of the season to make it 5-1 midway through the third. That excited the home crowd, but UMD scored about a minute later for the final margin.

Vernon stood tall against several quality scoring chances for the Bulldogs, making 11 of his 15 saves and allowing just the opening goal late in the closely-contested first period.

But the second was all Bulldogs (20-10-2, 15-5-2-0 NCHC).

An inauspicious start put UMD ahead 2-0 when Nick Swaney lifted in a wraparound attempt over Vernon’s left leg pad after seemingly surprising the freshman netminder. The tally came just 59 seconds into the middle frame.

That goal deflated the Tigers, who could not match UMD’s intensity and skill the rest of the second.

“The second goal is the one that really took the wind out of our sails,” Haviland said. “Verny (Vernon) needs to make that save. From there, they get all the confidence and we were on our heels. I didn’t see us with much bite there in the second. There were a couple easy goals our guys could have prevented, not meaning our goalie.”

A prime example came less than five minutes later when Luke Lohei split two flat-footed CC defenders and lifted the puck over Vernon’s shoulder by the near post. That ended Vernon’s night as Haviland tried to jump start the Tigers (11-19-2, 4-16-2-1) by putting in Ryan Ruck (23 saves).

But Ruck was rusty, having not played since Jan. 10 and not practiced much either.

UMD added two goals about four minutes apart. Noah Cates scored off a breakaway set up by a long pass by Scott Perunovich (31 assists) with 6:35 left. Quinn Olson and Cates then played back-and-forth with Olson burying the chance with 2:39 left for a 5-0 advantage.

CC almost got the break the Broadmoor World Arena crowd (3,043 announced) desired. When his penalty expired, Jack Gates jumped out of the box, but he over skated the pass and was unable to get off a quality shot during the final seconds of the period.  That summed up the second for CC.

Looking ahead to next weekend, postseason

Miami’s sweep of Omaha (3-0, 4-0) relegated CC to last place in the eight-team NCHC and set up an all-but-assured trip to top-ranked North Dakota for the first round of the playoffs on March 13-15.

CC plays No. 6 Denver in a home-and-home series next weekend with the Tigers needing a sweep to retain the Gold Pan Trophy. DU downed St. Cloud State 5-2 on Saturday to garner a road series split and keep its sights on garnering home playoff ice.

Ruck performed well at times, prompting Haviland to keep the door open on the transfer starting on Friday.

“We’ll reevaluate on Monday, but I certainly will think about it,” Haviland said.

First Leap Day loss

The Tigers are now 3-1-1 on Feb. 29th starting with a 5-5 tie against Michigan State in 1964. CC later won at Denver, 4-2, in 1980, at UMD, 5-1, in 1992 and downed visiting Minnesota State, 5-2, in 2008.

 

Nick Halloran, Mike Haviland and Alex Leclerc up for annual league awards

halloran_action-628x379

Nick Halloran scored twice in the opening period for his 12th and 13th goals this season.

Colorado College sophomore Nick Halloran is one of three finalists for the National Collegiate Hockey Conference Forward of the Year award and one of three for the league Three Stars Award, while coach Mike Haviland received his first nomination as bench boss.

Tigers sophomore goalie Alex Leclerc is also up for the Three Stars award.

The finalists and nominees for 11 league awards were announced on Thursday.

The winners will be announced and honores on March 15 at the annual NCHC Awards Celebration at the Science Museum of Minnesota in Saint Paul on the eve of the fifth annual NCHC Frozen Faceoff, and first at Xcel Energy Center.

For most of the awards, finalists were determined based on voting by the conference’s eight head coaches with the top three vote-getters for each award (plus ties) being finalists. The Senior Scholar-Athlete Award nominees were submitted by and then voted upon by the conference’s Faculty Athletics Representatives (FARs). Athletic Directors at each NCHC institution had a vote on Herb Brooks Coach of the Year, as well, along with the coaches.

Full list of finalists and nominees follows:

CC Hockey vs Wisconsin

Colorado College vs Wisconsin, Broadmoor World Arena, Nov. 25, 2016

Player of the Year Finalists Henrik Borgström, So., F, Denver; David Pope, Sr., F, Omaha; Jimmy Schuldt, Jr., D, SCSU

Herb Brooks Coach of the Year Finalists — Mike Haviland, CC; Bob Motzko, SCSU; Scott Sandelin, UMD

Senior Scholar-Athlete Award Nominees — Scott Moldenhauer, D, WMU; Johnny Simonson, F, UND; Tyler Vesel, F, Omaha

Rookie of the Year Finalists — Dávid Hrenák, G, SCSU; Ian Mitchell, D, Denver; Scott Perunovich, D, UMD

Goaltender of the Year Finalists — Dávid Hrenák, Fr., SCSU; Tanner Jaillet, Sr., Denver; Hunter Shepard, So., UMD

Forward of the Year Finalists —Henrik Borgström, So., Denver; Nick Halloran, So., CC; David Pope, Sr., Omaha

Defensive Defenseman of the Year Finalists — Will Borgen, Jr., SCSU; Joel Messner, Sr., Omaha; Colton Poolman, So., UND; Nick Wolff, So., UMD

Offensive Defenseman of the Year Finalists —Scott Perunovich, Fr., UMD; Jimmy Schuldt, Jr., SCSU; Christian Wolanin, Jr., UND

Defensive Forward of the Year Finalists — Rhett Gardner, Jr., UND; Karson Kuhlman, Sr., UMD; Tyler Vesel, Sr., Omaha

NCHC Three Stars Award Finalists — Dylan Gambrell, Jr., F, Denver; Nick Halloran, So., F, CC; Alex Leclerc, So., G, CC; David Pope, Sr., F, Omaha

Sportsmanship Award Nominees — Karson Kuhlman, Sr., F, UMD; Judd Peterson, Sr., F, SCSU; Austin Poganski, Sr., F, UND; Tyler Vesel, Sr., F, Omaha

Rookie of the Year Finalists — Dávid Hrenák, G, SCSU; Ian Mitchell, D, Denver; Scott Perunovich, D, UMD

Goaltender of the Year Finalists — Dávid Hrenák, Fr., SCSU; Tanner Jaillet, Sr., Denver; Hunter Shepard, So., UMD

Forward of the Year Finalists —Henrik Borgström, So., Denver; Nick Halloran, So., CC; David Pope, Sr., Omaha

Defensive Defenseman of the Year Finalists — Will Borgen, Jr., SCSU; Joel Messner, Sr., Omaha; Colton Poolman, So., UND; Nick Wolff, So., UMD

Offensive Defenseman of the Year Finalists —Scott Perunovich, Fr., UMD; Jimmy Schuldt, Jr., SCSU; Christian Wolanin, Jr., UND

Defensive Forward of the Year Finalists — Rhett Gardner, Jr., UND; Karson Kuhlman, Sr., UMD; Tyler Vesel, Sr., Omaha

NCHC Three Stars Award Finalists — Dylan Gambrell, Jr., F, Denver; Nick Halloran, So., F, CC; Alex Leclerc, So., G, CC; David Pope, Sr., F, Omaha

Sportsmanship Award Nominees — Karson Kuhlman, Sr., F, UMD; Judd Peterson, Sr., F, SCSU; Austin Poganski, Sr., F, UND; Tyler Vesel, Sr., F, Omaha

haviland

 

More Friday reading: Colorado College at Wisconsin TV/video stream options, McElhinney, Denver, Air Force, North Dakota, predictions

Photo: Kyle Daudelin

A tape-delayed free streaming option for any CC fans who don’t have access to Altitude2 (6 p.m. Mountain) is available for the Tigers at Wisconsin game Friday night. Wisconsin Public Television will broadcast the game at 9 p.m. Mountain on The Wisconsin Channel  at http://wpt.org/wisconsinchannel/ .

Colorado College is sixth in the WCHA in scoring at 3.17 goals per game but has struggled on the power play. The Tigers have not converted on their last 12 power-play chances and are ninth in the league at 13 percent (4 of 30).  Senior forwards Andrew Hamburg (four goals, one assist), William Rapuzzi (two goals, three assists) and Scott Winkler (three goals, two assists) are tied for the team lead in points at five.

Former Tiger goalie Curtis McElhinney, pictured, of the Springfield Falcons is the AHL Goaltender of the Month for October. In six appearances during the month, McElhinney went 5-1-0 with a 1.51 goals-against average, a .949 save percentage and two shutouts, helping the Falcons to the best record in the Eastern Conference. Here are the rest of the details.  Former Wisconsin standout Justin Schultz was named as player of the month suggesting that all the summer hype was not too overblown.

Here is the Denver Post’s preview for all three Front Range schools.

No. 12 Boston University is playing at No. 5 North Dakota for the first time since December 1996. Expect more such nonconference match-ups with the new league alignments forcing more nonconference games. Expect more such trips for the Terriers and Boston College, including to the state of Colorado. Fun fact: The last time UND and BU played in Grand Forks, both teams played in the national championship game (UND won 6-4 in spring 1997).

Here is Western College Hockey blog’s weekend preview and the USCHO predictions.

Wednesday reading: Clarkson, ECAC, Cornell, Miami, CCHA

Allan McPherson scored 11 goals as a junior for Clarkson (photo: Shelley M. Szwast).

Clarkson is looking to decide its goalie situation early in the season. Here is an excerpt from USCHO:

“First and foremost, the cavity left by St. Louis Blues prospect and Clarkson’s all-time saves leader Paul Karpowich is crying out for attention. Senior (and Islanders draft pick) Cody Rosen is the lone returning netminder for Clarkson, and he will have a battle on his hands if he hopes to hold down the No. 1 spot this year.

“Our philosophy is that the best goalie will play; there is no entitlement in the position,” Jones said. “We have two newcomers with Cody that will battle for playing time, but with that experience we’re a vastly different team than last year. Last year we were vastly inexperienced on the blue line and we had a better goaltender in net. It kind of flips around this year. We’ll be a little more veteran in front of the nets.”

The rookie backstops are Surrey, British Columbia,-bred Andrew Hunt and Mars, Pa., product Greg Lewis. All three goalies play similar styles, according to Jones, filling a lot of vertical space but complementing their height with butterfly-method technique.”

Here is the ECAC season preview and a look at Cornell, CC’s road foe later this month.

Mankato’s Mike Hastings received a warm welcome from the other WCHA coaches during the annual media conference call on Tuesday. Notre Dame’s Mario Lucia may be back earlier than expected from his broken leg.

The Miami athletic director has accepted a similar position at Boston College.

Here is the USCHO’s CCHA season preview with links to future National Collegiate Hockey Conference members Miami and Western Michigan. The other school previews are available as links besides the main preview.

Here’s more on North Dakota’s exhibition opener.

Monday reading: Fejes’ NHL draft ranking, West, Duluth anniversary, DU honoree, All-Americans, club news and tryout info

The NHL released its final draft rankings and CC 2012 commit Samuel “Hunter” Fejes was rated at No. 91 among North American skaters. The draft is June 22-23.

Pine Creek High School graduate Emily West, pictured at right, is bringing the NCAA women’s championship trophy to her old Denver area club team to inspire the next generation of women’s college players.

One year ago today, on April 9, 2011, Minnesota Duluth won the NCAA title (video).

Denver’s Joey LaLeggia, who led Division I rookie defensemen with 38 points, was named the Hockey Commissioners Association National Rookie of the Year, it was announced over the weekend in Tampa.

LaLeggia was also the WCHA’s Rookie of the Year. The assistant coaches of the college hockey teams vote, with each league’s rookie honoree nominated. Cornell’s Brian Ferlin, Michigan’s Alex Guptill, Bentley’s Alex Grieve and Massachusetts-Lowell’s Scott Wilson, scheduled to play at World Arena this October, were runners-up. CC travels to Cornell in mid-October over block break while Air Force may host Bentley.

Here is a full list of the All-America teams announced over the weekend, which included West first team forward and former Tiger Jaden Schwartz and second-team East defenseman Tim Kirby of Air Force. Kirby is an East honoree because the Atlantic Hockey Association is based in the Northeast.

In club news, three Pikes Peak Miners were named to their age division’s all-North American Prospects Hockey League teams. Alec Butcher leads the U18 division in goals and points and is headed to the Kenai, Alaska franchise in the NAHL. Looks like he may be one for college scouts to keep an eye on.

The Colorado Hockey Club’s (Rampage) tryouts are April 20-22 (all goalie spots full) and July 27-29. Click here for more info.

The Colorado Springs Amateur Hockey Association (Miners) are also holding their first tryout session April 20-22. Click here for more details.

Tigers announce tough 2012-13 hockey schedule

Colorado College announced its 2012-13 hockey schedule this morning and it features the usual challenging nonconference and Western Collegiate Hockey Association opponents that have made the 12 straight winning seasons under 14-year head coach Scott Owens (299-185-43, .608) so impressive.

The schedule includes 16 games against seven different teams – including four Western Collegiate Hockey Association rivals – that reached the NCAA playoffs with nine of the games at the Colorado Springs World Arena, where Owens is 196-85-12 (.688).

CC travels to Air Force on Oct. 19 and does home-and-away dates against rival Denver Nov. 16-17 and Feb. 8-9. Under Owens, CC is 30-20-7 against DU including 15-8-3 at Magness Arena to claim the Gold Pan Trophy eight times in 13 seasons.

The 14 home league games also include two against NCAA Tournament entrants Minnesota, Minnesota Duluth and North Dakota. CC also travels to Grand Forks to conclude a challenging road stretch lasting from Dec. 8 through Jan. 18, not including winter break.

Notable nonconference home dates include a single game against Hockey East’s UMass-Lowell, which is coached by former CC assistant Norm Bazin, on Oct. 20 along with contests against Hockey East’s New Hampshire and ECAC member Yale on Thanksgiving weekend. The Tigers open play against ECAC’s Clarkson Oct. 12-13.

The Tigers look ready to play now, judging from this tweet from goalie Joe Howe:

@CCTigers: 2012-13 hockey schedule announced http://fb.me/1SnqOikO7” how many days until October? #itchingtogetbackatitalready

Season-ticket prices start at $149 and include all 20 regular-season home games plus any home playoff dates. Fans ordering prior to May 14 can receive a special discount of up to $20 on each season ticket. Season-ticket holders receive many special benefits, including a choice of the best seat locations. Interest-free payment options – including a five-month plan – are available. Renewal notices will be mailed in April.

Tiger hockey’s average home attendance of 6,754 in 2011-12 was its highest in five years.

Thursday reading: Pros updates, weekend preview notes

Mark Stuart has been a leader at every level of hockey he's played.

Former Tiger Mark Stuart, pictured at left playing for Team USA last summer, is profiled by the Winnipeg Jets while listing all his considerable accomplishments.

Getting replaced by Joey Crabb on your line is a good motivational tool for Leafs’ coaches. Crabb has made the most of his chance this season.

From the “Hockey is a Small World” department, here’s a story by the Post’s Mike Chambers linking two Avalanche teammates to their peewee days when they lost to two former Denver standouts and a former CC goalie named Richard Bachman.

Here’s Goon’s World’s weekly predictions and an injury update for Colorado College, which looks to have lost sophomore Michael Morin for the season with surgery on a broken right ankle.

Here’s the Gazette’s capsule preview for the home-and-home series between CC and Denver.

The Minnesota AD announced he will retire soon.

Former Mankato standout and Blues captain David Backes used his free time over the NHL All-Star Break to save three shelter dogs by flying them from Houston  to a no-kill shelter in St. Louis.

The City of Mankato is looking to invest some serious money into improving the Verizon Wireless Center. Great job by Shane Frederick finding that Backers story.

After some talk of the Blues trading the rights to current CC sophomore standout Jaden Schwartz, that rumor has been dispelled.

Michigan Tech is no longer anyone’s doormat.  The Huskies take on MSU-Mankato this weekend.

Here’s Denver’s weekly press conference video  featuring coach George Gwozdecky.

Bemidji State coach Tom Serratore discusses his team’s road series at Nebraska-Omaha in this video.

Alaska Anchorage has the unenviable task of hosting No. 1/2 Minnesota Duluth.

Wisconsin coach Mike Eaves talks about his team’s home series against St. Cloud State.

North Dakota’s Corban Knight is the subject of the “Through These Doors” weekly video feature. UND is idle this week as are the No. 1/2 Gophers.

This Week in the WCHA …

Games for Friday, February 3: St. Cloud State at Wisconsin (WCHA), 7:07 pm CT; Bemidji State at Nebraska Omaha (WCHA), 7:37 pm CT; Michigan Tech at Minnesota State (WCHA), 7:37 pm CT; Colorado College at Denver (WCHA), 7:37 pm MT; Minnesota Duluth at Alaska Anchorage (WCHA), 7:07 pm AT.

Games for Saturday, February 4: Bemidji State at Nebraska Omaha (WCHA), 7:07 pm CT; Michigan Tech at Minnesota State (WCHA), 7:07 pm CT; Denver at Colorado College (WCHA), 7:07 pm MT; St. Cloud State at Wisconsin (WCHA), 8:07 pm CT; Minnesota Duluth at Alaska Anchorage (WCHA), 7:07 pm AT.

Thursday reading

It’s Thursday so the previews and features are coming in. Here’s a sampling from around the WCHA.

Here’s a look at St. Cloud State’s injury situation and their line shuffling because of injuries and departures.

Gabe Guentzel has proven to be the latest Tigers Ironman. He heads into this week’s home series against SSCSU having played in 116 consecutive games. He’s missed two, both during his freshman year, out of a possible 142. That nugget was included in this USCHO notebook on the WCHA. Here’s CC’s preview notes.

The hype for the Minnesota at North Dakota (7-1-1 of late) series is building. Here’s some preview notes, how Minnesota expects to handle the Ralph’s atmosphere, which Kyle Rau expects to enjoy.  Maybe if the Gophers get out of Grand Forks with two points or more. North Dakota has been playing winning hockey with a makeshift lineup.

Wisconsin needs to use this weekend’s series at Minnesota State in Mankato to get  on a roll in league play.

No. 1 Minnesota-Duluth hopes to keep up its excellent 5-on-5 scoring when it travels to Nebraska-Omaha.

The second guessing about holding out Jason Zucker from Denver’s home series split (hence the second guessing) against Alabama-Huntsville continues. The Pioneers host a solid Bemidji State team that has one Northglenn kid seeing a little Tim Tebow in the Beavers.

Michigan Tech hosts Alaska-Anchorage this weekend. Here are the Huskies’ preview notes and the Seawolves.

Here’s the WCHA players of the week. Commish Bruce McLeod is keeping an eye on the start-up efforts at MSU-Moorhead.

The likely arrival of Jaden Schwartz in the Blues organization next season has the St. Louis faithful hopeful for a strong run. He returned to CC practice on Wednesday as expected.

Contrasting styles at play this weekend

Two ranked teams with contrasting styles will square off this weekend at World Arena when No. 13-ranked and ECAC-leading Cornell (8-4-1, 6-1-1 ECAC) takes on host No. 6 Colorado College this Friday and Saturday.

The Big Red live up to their name with a physical style well suited for the NHL sheet the Ithaca, N.Y. school usually skates on.

“We’ll try to take advantage of the width of the sheet because we know they’re not that accustomed to it,” Tigers coach Scott Owens said.

No doubt that was a reason the Big Red arrived in Colorado Springs a day earlier than usual, Wednesday, to acclimate to the altitude and the Olympic ice sheet at World Arena.

Dictating the style of play by making the nonconference series up-and-down games may favor the Tigers (12-6, 9-5 WCHA).

“We’ll try to keep the puck off the boards, make it an open-ice game and make them skate with us,” senior captain Nick Dineen said.

That said, Cornell looks plenty capable of winning a wide-open contest with the skill players it has, especially with the nation’s sixth rated power play (23.9 percent). CC must skate well and move its feet on defense to avoid penalties.

Defenseman Nick D’Agostino has 15 points including six power-play goals, leading the nation’s Division I defensemen, with five game-winners, tying for the national lead. Right wing Brian Ferlin and center Greg Miller are right behind with 15 and 14 points respectively.

For their part, the Tigers look ready to play well after rebounding from a home loss to Air Force with a determined defensive effort in a 2-1 win over Union.

“We’ve had a good week of practice, probably the best three days we’ve had,” Dineen said. “It will be interesting to see this weekend how that translates.”

It is the first series between the schools. Cornell leads all-time with a 3-2 mark including a 4-2 Tigers win at the Florida College Classic in 2009.

Updated Thursday reading: Another injury at North Dakota, NCHC reaction, preview notes

North Dakota announced that sophomore forward Derek Rodwell is out for the season with a shoulder injury. North Dakota already is playing without Rocco Grimaldi, Corban Knight, Mario Lamoureux and Derek Forbort.

New National Collegiate Hockey Conference commissioner Jim Scherr is a veteran sports administrator but does not have a ton of hockey experience as the St. Cloud Times points out. That’s a fair question, but a good hire for director of hockey operations should assuage any misplaced fears.

The Grand Forks Herald reports Scherr’s salary is $150,000 a year.

Brian Gomez continues to do a sound job on the the CC beat. His NCHC commissioner announcement sidebar has good info on future CC foes and the likely 24-game league slate. Here’s his main announcement story.

There’s hope for CC fans that sophomore Jaden Schwartz will play in Friday’s home game against Cornell. I’m guessing he will.

The WCHA announced its players of the week. CC’s Mike Boivin was nominated.

Here’s an update on Minnesota State, which continues to have injury troubles.

Legendary Notre Dame icon Lefty Smith passed away.

Game preview notes for this weekend:

No. 13 Cornell at  No. 6/8 Colorado College;

Alabama-Huntsville at No. 10/11 Denver

No. 1 Minnesota-Duluth at No. 8/9 Western Michigan;

Notre Dame at No.3 /5 Minnesota;

Minnesota State at St. Lawrence; RIT at Wisconsin; and Clarkson at North Dakota (single game in Winnipeg on Saturday).