Thursday reading: Tigers in the pros, WMU, WCHA schedule

NHL.com interviewed former Tiger Jaden Schwartz for its regular 10 Questions feature. He has four points (two goals) in seven games with AHL Peoria.

Defenseman Brian Connelly has eight points (six assists) in six games for AHL Houston while teammate Chad Rau has three (two assists) in seven games. Kris Fredheim has appeared in two games for the Aeros.

For AHL Chicago, Brett Sterling has five points (four assists) in six games while Bill Sweatt has three (two goals) in seven games.

Mike Testwuide has one goal in two games so far this season for AHL Adirondack. Gabe Guentzel has appeared in two games for AHL Norfolk.

Here is a column focusing on Western Michigan.

This weekend’s schedule in the WCHA …

Games for Friday, November 2: Nebraska Omaha at Michigan Tech (WCHA), 7:07 pm ET; Colorado College at Wisconsin (WCHA), 7:07 pm CT; Minnesota State at Minnesota (WCHA), 7:07 pm CT; Boston University at North Dakota (NC), 7:37 pm CT; St. Cloud State at Denver (WCHA), 7:37 pm CT.

Games for Saturday, November 3: Nebraska Omaha at Michigan Tech (WCHA), 7:07 pm ET; Boston University at North Dakota (NC), 7:07 pm CT; Colorado College at Wisconsin (WCHA), 7:07 pm CT; Minnesota at Minnesota State (WCHA), 7:07 pm CT; St. Cloud State at Denver (WCHA), 7:07 pm CT.

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.

In the pros: Guentzel debut set for Wednesday

Former Tiger Gabe Guentzel texted me earlier today to let me know all the paperwork is signed.

The Syracuse Crunch coaches told him he will make his AHL and pro debut on Wednesday at the Rochester (N.Y.) Americans at 5:50 p.m. Mountain. Former Tiger Colin Stuart is on the Americans’ roster.

There are live video and audio options at this link.

Saturday reading: J. Schwartz, Guentzel, Hall, playoff recaps, previews

Here’s a preview of tonight’s St. Louis at Tampa Bay game when former Tiger Jaden Schwartz will make his NHL debut. (TV: 5 p.m. Mountain FS Midwest, SUN Network).

Expect Gabe Guentzel, pictured at left, to make his pro debut Saturday night for AHL Syracuse against Adirondack and former CC teammate Mike Testwuide. Guentzel will wear No. 10 judging from the roster.

Tim Hall made his pro debut for ECHL Alaska in a 3-1 loss at Colorado. It reads like he played his defensive role well, drawing two penalties.

Here’s a lot of good information on CC and its available personnel next season by the Gazette’s Brian Gomez: CC wing Dakota Eveland will not play next season after offseason neck surgery this Tuesday. Look for one or two more 2012 commits or one of the 2013 players to be brought in a year early.

North Dakota could be a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament, judging from the latest Pairwise rankings, if it wins its third Broadmoor Trophy in a row against Denver tonight in the WCHA Final Five championship game. ( TV: 6 p.m. Mountain ROOT Sports Rocky Mountain). Here’s plenty of recap and preview notes.

Western Michigan cruised past Miami in the CCHA semifinals on Friday. Top remaining seed Michigan defeated last-place Bowling Green State 3-2 in double overtime to end the Falcons’s memorable run at an NCAA berth.

In Hockey East, Maine downed Boston U in one semifinal while Boston College ended No. 7 seed Providence’s Cinderella run. Maine plays BC at 6 p.m. Mountain (TV: NBC Sports Network).

In the ECAC, Harvard kept its NCAA hopes alive by advancing to tonight’s championship against top seed Union. Harvard is rated at No. 19 in the Pairwise and must win the automatic berth to move on.

In the Atlantic, Air Force will take on No. 3 seed and host RIT tonight (Radio: 1300 AM, 5 p.m. Mountain)

Update: Watch Hall make ECHL debut Friday night against Colorado Eagles

Former Tiger forward Tim Hall signed an amateur tryout agreement on Thursday for an unspecified amount of time with the ECHL defending champion Alaska Aces and will join the team in Loveland for Friday and Saturday’s games at the Colorado Eagles.

Hall will make his pro debut Friday night in a road game against the Colorado Eagles. The Aces contacted him Wednesday and he jumped at the chance to show where he could fit into a team that features former Tiger and NHLer Brian Swanson as captain and all-time ECHL career goals scorer Wes Goldie.

“I’m going to be a third or fourth line guy,” he said. “They have a lot of skill on this team so they have their offense taken care of. I’ll come in, provide some energy and hopefully chip in a few points.”

The Aces are affiliated with the NHL’s St. Louis Blues organization and Peoria of the AHL.

The Aces can clinch the Mountain Division title with a win this weekend.

Hall finished his Tigers career with 40 points (16g, 24a) in 135 games including five goals and three assists in 34 games this past season.  However long his time with the Aces last, Hall is hopeful he’ll be able to take advantage of his chance.

“It’s a great place to start,” he said. “The Aces are a great organization. I hope I do well this weekend and make the most of this opportunity.”

That makes him the first of the six seniors to sign a pro contract. Gabe Guentzel will sign a deal with AHL Syracuse on Friday.

CC battles back to win Gold Pan

The Gold Pan Trophy is back where it belongs after Colorado College deliverable a memorable, gut-check performance against its hated rival.

The 11th-ranked Tigers overcame the biggest adversity they had faced this season, rallying from down 2-0 to forge a 2-2 tie and garner the annual traveling trophy from No. 13 Denver Saturday night at World Arena.

Denver jumped out to a 2-0 lead before injuries started to take a toll on the Tigers (15-9-2, 12-71 WCHA). Senior captain Nick Dineen left the game in the first period with an apparent upper body injury.

But the Tigers dug deep and found a way to win behind the heroics of Jaden Schwartz who sparked a two-goal spurt to tie the game and junior goalie Joe Howe, who later stepped in for sophomore goalie Josh Thorimbert after he was knocked out of the game in the second period after a collision from Denver’s Chris Knowlton of Colorado Springs. Thorimbert also suffered an upper body injury.

“Down 2-0, losing your captain, one of your best players and emotional leader,  tying and later losing your goalie, Josh, who was one of the hottest in the country is a lot to overcome,” Tigers coach Scott Owens said. ““We definitely earned that point and that trophy.”

Schwartz jumpstarted the Tigers and the announced crowd of 7,733 with a highlight-reel goal, weaving around two Denver defenders and beating DU goalie Juho Olkinuora high stick side with a hard-angle wrist shot to make it 2-1.

“I had speed and I caught them flat-footed, I guess,” Jaden said. “We definitely battled through adversity tonight especially after losing our captain and Thorny.”

Jaden didn’t remember when he last scored such a goal.

“You don’t really remember when you have a goal like that. But I’ll remember that for awhile,” Schwartz said.

So will the Pioneers and their fans.

“I’ll be having nightmares about the Jaden Schwartz goal,” Denver coach George Gwozdecky said. “They had absolutely nothing going for them but that’s what great players do.”

CC rode the momentum from that four-on-four goal, tying the game with a Jeff Collett power-play goal a couple minutes later. Collett camped out in front and tipped in a Rylan Schwartz crossing pass.

The score came after senior defenseman Gabe Guentzel, who averaged 32 minutes this weekend, kept the puck in the zone. The goal stood after a short video review.

Howe made sure the two goals stood, making big save after save, including a leg pad stack in overtime to rob Daniel Doremus with 2:46 left.

“He lives for this stuff,” Guentzel said.  “We didn’t have any doubts that Howie could get the job done.”

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.'”

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.

Friday reading: Previews and recaps

North Dakota faces an unfamiliar foe, Harvard, with plenty of familiar players from Minnesota. As beat writer Brad Schlossman points out, this is an important series for UND, which needs to pick up some Pairwise ranking points.

That said, CC, No. 15 in the latest rankings, needs them too. Playing a tough, physical opponent like Air Force followed by No. 10 Union is business as usual for Nos. 5/6 Colorado College.

“It’s just like a weekend in the WCHA,” senior defenseman Gabe Guentzel said earlier this week. “You empty the tank on Friday and come back for more on Saturday.”

Last year  a 6-4 win over Air Force was followed by a rout at the hands of No. 1 Yale, which according to Pairwise analysts secured a top seed based on that 5-1 win. Fortunately for CC fans, Union plays Denver the night before.

Here’s the Gazette’s previews focusing on CC and Air Force, which hosts Denver on Saturday.

The NCHC commissioner search looks to be lasting until January.

Former CC goalie Michael Shibrowski is still waiting for his chance to play. Kent Patterson will start against Niagara tonight at the Mariucci Classic with a game against either Princeton or Northeastern on Saturday for No. 2 Minnesota. Here’s notes from the Minnesota beat writer, including a setback for UND nickname supporters.

Nebraska-Omaha has a chance to boost its nonconference record (2-4) with a weekend series against Quinnipiac.

A hot Bemidji State (5-1-1 of late) team takes on future WCHA foe Bowling Green, winless in its last eight, for the first time.

MSU-Mankato takes on the USA U-18 squad in an exhibition tonight.

Thursday’s recaps from WCHA.com …

St. Cloud State 4, No. 8 Western Michigan 2

ST. CLOUD —  The St. Cloud State University men’s hockey team (8-9-4, 5-6-3 WCHA) rallied to win a big 4-2 decision over #8 Western Michigan University (9-5-5, 7-4-3 CCHA) on Thursday, Dec. 29 at the National Hockey Center in St. Cloud, Minn.

The series concludes tonight in St. Cloud.

The Huskies relied on a pair of goals by senior forward Jared Festler to capture the victory, which included Festler’s game winner at 16:55 of the third period with power play assists from freshman defender Andrew Prochno and sophomore defender Nick Jensen.

No. 14 Michigan State 3, Michigan Tech 1

DETROIT – Michigan Tech held a 46-26 advantage in shots on goal but fell 3-1 to Michigan State in the first semifinal of the 47th annual Great Lakes Invitational Hockey Tournament at Joe Louis Arena. Down 2-0 after two periods, the Huskies (9-10-1) pulled within one with 12 minutes to play before the Spartans (11-6-2) added an empty net goal.

“I’m proud of our team,” said Tech’s head coach Mel Pearson. “We played a pretty good game today and just didn’t get the bounces. I’m disappointed for the guys because I feel like we deserved a better result.”

The Huskies play No. 3 Boston College which lost 4-2 to No. 20 Michigan later Thursday for third at 2 p.m. Friday.

Notes: Junior forward Chad Pietila played his first game in a Tech uniform after sitting out a year because of NCAA Division I transfer rules …Junior defenseman Tommy Brown saw his first action since the opening weekend against American International. He had sat out with a medical condition.

Friday reading

Captain Nick Dineen and senior Tim Hall (pictured) may not be honored by the midseason awards, but both are big reasons the Tigers are in third and four points out of first place in the WCHA halfway through the season.

It’s time to look at the first half of the WCHA season. Here’s Bucky’s Fifth Quarter’s take which honors Rylan and Jaden Schwartz, Mike Boivin and Gabe Guentzel.

Here’s more on the Canada captaincy of CC sophomore Jaden Schwartz, including a feature touching on the influence of his sister Mandi.

Former Tiger Mike Testwuide looks due for a breakout later this season.

Minnesota’s Nick Bjugstad remains day to day for Team USA at the world juniors. Here’s an update on the Americans.

Nebraska-Omaha picks up a goalie commit.

Here’s a Gazette feature on AFA’s Kyle De Laurell, a product of the Colorado Rampage club in northern Colorado Springs.

CURRENT WCHA STANDINGS
WCHA Games
Overall
GP
W
L
T
Pts
GF
GA
W
L
T
GF
GA
1
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
3
Colorado College
14
9
5
0
18
59
48
11
5
0
67
50
4
Nebraska Omaha
14
7
4
3
17
46
43
9
8
3
62
60
5
Denver
14
6
5
3
15
47
45
8
7
3
59
55
6
North Dakota
14
7
7
0
14
39
37
9
8
1
51
50
7
Michigan Tech
14
6
7
1
13
41
43
9
9
1
54
55
St. Cloud State
14
5
6
3
13
43
41
7
9
4
64
62
9
Bemidji State
14
5
7
2
12
36
46
9
9
2
55
56
10
Wisconsin
14
4
8
2
10
40
50
7
9
2
57
59
11
Alaska Anchorage
14
3
10
1
7
29
54
6
10
2
46
63
12
Minnesota State
14
2
11
1
5
37
60
5
14
1
55
75