CC back in USCHO poll at No. 19

Colorado College, which debuted at No. 20 in the preseason poll and fell out after its exhibition game, is back in the weekly USCHO poll at No. 19 following a home sweep (5-4, 5-4) of ECAC Member Clarkson.

Air Force, CC’s Friday road foe, received votes.  UMass-Lowell, which plays at No. 7 Denver Friday before coming to Colorado Springs World Arena on Saturday, fell from No. 6 to No. 10 after tying Vermont in its only game last weekend.

Not surprisingly, new No. 1 Minnesota received 46 out of the possible 50 first-place votes.

From USCHO …

Four teams received first-place votes in this week’s USCHO.com Division I Men’s Poll, but with 46 of 50 No. 1 votes, Minnesota is the new top team in the weekly poll.

Minnesota jumps from No. 2 to the top spot, while last week’s No. 1 team, Boston College, falls to No. 3, but did receive two first-place votes.

North Dakota, up two places to No. 2, had a first-place vote, while No. 8 Union garnered the other first-place vote on the voter’s ballots.

Michigan drops to No. 5 this week, followed by Cornell at No. 6, Denver staying in seventh, Union, Notre Dame up five to No. 9 and Massachusetts-Lowell falling four to sit tenth this week.

At No. 11, Boston University rises one notch, Western Michigan falls three spots to No. 12, Minnesota-Duluth remains 13th, Northeastern enters the poll at No. 14, as does New Hampshire in the 15th slot.

Ferris State drops five to No. 16, while Harvard and Northern Michigan sit tied for 17th. NMU enters the rankings after being unranked last week.

Quinnipiac falls from No. 18 to No. 20 this week.

The USCHO.com Division I Men’s Poll consists of 50 voters, including 28 coaches from the Division I conferences and 22 beat writers and sports professionals from across the country.

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.

Wednesday reading: Dineen honor, Final Five previews

CC captain Nick Dineen, pictured at left, garnered a well-deserved spot on USCHO’s ALL-WCHA Unsung Team.

Here’s Minnesota’s Final Five preview notes and a feature on North Dakota walk-on freshman Dan Senkbeil, which includes a classic hockey story on how he got his nickname and created a new verb in use in the Sioux locker room. Really good stuff.

Michigan Tech has good reason for high hopes headed into the Final Five.

Wisconsin’s inability to perform “in the clutch” is why the Badgers were the No. 10 seed and are entering this offseason this week. Here’s a look at next season for UW.

Colorado Springs native Ben Holmstrom is expected to return from an unspecified injury tonight for AHL Adirondack.

UMass-Lowell head coach Norm Bazin, a former CC assistant, is the likely Hockey East Coach of the Year after taking the last-place RiverHawks to second in the league in his debut season.

More Wednesday reading: UNO live chat, CC and SCSU renovations, Lowell update

Join USCHO’s Matthew Semisch for a live chat on Nebraska Omaha hockey.

The $3.5 million donor for the new fitness center at Colorado College, part of the $27 million renovations and new construction project at CC’s El Pomar Sports Complex was announced. The renovations will include a new varsity weight and cardio room and an “ice” shooting practice room.

A $14.7 million renovation and new construction project for the 23-year-old National Hockey Center is schedueld to be completed in time for St. Cloud State’s National Collegiate Hockey Conference debut in 2013.

Here’s a preview of the UMass-Lowell-Providence series. Lowell is coached by former CC assistants Norm Bazin, pictured above, and Jason Lammers, who led the RiverHawks from last to second in Hockey East  in less than 12 months. Here’s more from the Lowell Sun.

Saturday reading: WCHA scenarios, standings, other playoff news

Junior Rylan Schwartz and his CC teammates could still finish sixth if both Nebraska Omaha and St. Cloud State Both win Saturday night and the Tigers lose.

Junior Rylan Schwartz and his CC teammates could still finish sixth if both Nebraska Omaha and St. Cloud State Both win Saturday night and the Tigers lose.

No. 2 Minnesota Duluth blew its chance at garnering the WCHA regular-season title outright. They could share the title but Minnesota would be the top seed headed into next week’s playoffs. That said, two playoff series are determined with more to be decided tonight.

The Golden Gophers, whose power play struggled in a Friday loss to Wisconsin, hosts Alaska Anchorage while Minnesota State Mankato will head north to Minnesota Duluth.

Then it gets a little murkier. No. 3 seed Denver or No. 4 North Dakota will host either Bemidji State or Wisconsin.

No. 5 or 6 seed Colorado College will host either Michigan Tech, Nebraska Omaha or St. Cloud State. All three could place sixth and host the seventh-place team in a playoff series.

Here’s the full list of scenarios and tiebreakers involving the places 5-8 teams courtesy of the WCHA. Yikes.

Colorado College (29 points, vs Michigan Tech) –
Seeded 5th with a win or a tie.
Seeded 5th with a loss and a Nebraska Omaha loss or tie.
Seeded 5th with a loss and a St. Cloud State loss or tie.
Seeded 6th with a loss, a Nebraska Omaha win, and a St. Cloud State win.

Nebraska Omaha (27 points, vs Denver) –
Seeded 5th with a win, a Colorado College loss, and a St. Cloud State win.
Seeded 6th with a win and a Colorado College win or tie.
Seeded 6th with a win and a St. Cloud State loss or tie.
Seeded 6th with a tie and a St. Cloud State loss or tie.
Seeded 6th with a loss, a St. Cloud State loss, and a Michigan Tech loss or tie.
Seeded 7th with a tie and a St. Cloud State win.
Seeded 7th with a loss, a St. Cloud State win or tie, and a Michigan Tech loss or tie.
Seeded 7th with a loss, a St. Cloud State loss, and a Michigan Tech win.
Seeded 8th with a loss, a St. Cloud State win or tie, and a Michigan Tech win.

St. Cloud State (27 points, vs Minnesota Duluth) –
Seeded 6th with a win and a Nebraska Omaha loss or tie.
Seeded 6th with a tie, a Nebraska Omaha loss, and a Michigan Tech loss or tie.
Seeded 6th with a tie, a Nebraska Omaha loss, and a Michigan Tech win by 11 or fewer goals.
Seeded 6th/7th with a tie, a Nebraska Omaha loss, and a Michigan Tech win by exactly 12 goals.
Seeded 7th with a win and a Nebraska Omaha win.
Seeded 7th with a tie, a Nebraska Omaha win or tie, and a Michigan Tech loss or tie.
Seeded 7th with a tie, a Nebraska Omaha loss, and a Michigan Tech win by 13 or more goals.
Seeded 7th with a tie, a Nebraska Omaha win or tie, and a Michigan Tech win by 11 or fewer goals.
Seeded 7th with a loss and a Michigan Tech loss or tie.
Seeded 7th/8th with a tie, a Nebraska Omaha win or tie, and a Michigan Tech win by exactly 12 goals.
Seeded 8th with a tie, a Nebraska Omaha win or tie, and a Michigan Tech win by 13 or more goals.
Seeded 8th with a loss and a Michigan Tech win.

Michigan Tech (26 points, at Colorado College) –
Seeded 6th with a win, a Nebraska Omaha loss, and a St. Cloud State loss.
Seeded 6th with a win by 13 or more goals, a Nebraska Omaha loss, and a St. Cloud State tie.
Seeded 6th/7th with a win by exactly 12 goals, a Nebraska Omaha loss, and a St. Cloud State tie.
Seeded 7th with a win, a Nebraska Omaha win or tie, and a St. Cloud State loss.
Seeded 7th with a win, a Nebraska Omaha loss, and a St. Cloud State win.
Seeded 7th with a win by 11 or fewer goals, a Nebraska Omaha loss, and a St. Cloud State tie.
Seeded 7th with a win by 13 or more goals, a Nebraska Omaha win or tie, and a St. Cloud State tie.
Seeded 7th/8th with a win by exactly 12 goals, a Nebraska Omaha win or tie, and a St. Cloud State tie.
Seeded 8th with a win, a Nebraska Omaha win or tie, and a St. Cloud State win.
Seeded 8th with a win by 11 or fewer goals, a Nebraska Omaha win or tie, and a St. Cloud State tie.
Seeded 8th with a loss or a tie.

Wisconsin (24 points, at Minnesota) –
Seeded 9th with a win or a tie.
Seeded 9th with a loss and a Bemidji State loss or tie.
Seeded 10th with a loss and a Bemidji State win.

Bemidji State (23 points, at Alaska Anchorage) –
Seeded 9th with a win and a Wisconsin loss.
Seeded 10th with a win and a Wisconsin win or tie.
Seeded 10th with a loss or a tie.

Two-Way Tiebreakers:
Colorado College over Nebraska Omaha (2-2-0 head-to-head, Colorado College more WCHA wins)
Colorado College over St. Cloud State (1-1-0 head-to-head, Colorado College more WCHA wins)
Nebraska Omaha over St. Cloud State (1-0-1 head-to-head)
Nebraska Omaha over Michigan Tech (1-0-1 head-to-head)
St. Cloud State vs Michigan Tech at 28 points to be determined (WCHA goal differential)
St. Cloud State over Michigan Tech at 27 points (1-1-0 head-to-head, St. Cloud State more WCHA wins)
Michigan Tech over Wisconsin (2-0-0 head-to-head)
Wisconsin over Bemidji State (2-0-0 head-to-head)

Three-Way Tiebreakers:
Nebraska Omaha over Colorado College over St. Cloud State (Nebraska Omaha head-to-head, then revert to two-way tie)
Nebraska Omaha over St. Cloud State over Michigan Tech at 27 points (Nebraska Omaha head-to-head, then revert to two-way tie)
Nebraska Omaha over St. Cloud State / Michigan Tech at 28 points (Nebraska Omaha head-to-head, then revert to two-way tie which is to be determined)

CURRENT WCHA MEN’S STANDINGS

WCHA Games
Overall
GP
W
L
T
Pts
GF
GA
W
L
T
GF
GA
Minnesota
27
19
8
0
38
86
56
23
12
1
128
77
Minnesota Duluth
27
16
7
4
36
100
70
22
8
5
129
89
Denver
27
15
8
4
34
93
77
20
11
4
122
94
North Dakota
27
15
11
1
31
79
73
19
12
3
105
94
Colorado College
27
14
12
1
29
93
86
17
14
2
108
97
Nebraska Omaha
27
11
11
5
27
81
82
14
15
6
103
102
St. Cloud State
27
12
12
3
27
83
71
15
16
4
109
96
Michigan Tech
27
11
12
4
26
85
85
14
17
4
102
107
Wisconsin
27
11
14
2
24
75
81
16
15
2
100
94
Bemidji State
27
10
14
3
23
67
85
16
16
3
92
97
Minnesota State
27
8
17
2
18
73
99
12
21
2
97
119
Alaska Anchorage
27
5
21
1
11
56
106
9
22
2
77
120

And of interest to Tiger fans, UMass-Lowell, coached by former CC assistants Norm Bazin and Jason Lammers, clinched home ice in the Hockey East playoffs and could finish in second in the regular season standings. So, who would like to see a home-and-home nonconference setup with Lowell in the next couple years? Count me in.

Here’s an update on the first round of the CCHA playoffs. Check out the Pairwise rankings, which CC in 20th, behind Notre Dame and Ohio State, which are playing in an elimination game tonight..

In women’s playoff action, Minnesota whipped North Dakota 6-0 Friday behind four points (two goals) from Pine Creek High School graduate Emily West.

Monday reading: Douglas, Prosser, polls, Pairwise, postseason

Minnesota Wild defenseman Nate Prosser (39) and Dallas Stars center Steve Ott (29) tangle during the first period of an NHL hockey game in Dallas, Saturday, Feb. 4, 2012. (AP Photo/LM Otero)

Former Tiger Nate Prosser, pictured at left, received a two-year contract extension  according to a Monday announcement. The new paperwork changed his two-way deal, meaning he was often sent down to the AHL whenever the Wild needed roster room, to a one-way NHL deal, meaning he cannot be demoted without first going on waivers.

The Gazette looks back on what was a big weekend for Air Force and CC, which moved up to No. 10 from 11 in the Inside College Hockey rankings, the U.S. College Hockey online weekly poll and the USA Today/USA Hockey poll.

CC sits in 16th in the Pairwise rankings, which would mean the Tigers would not be in the NCAA Tournament today with the 16th spot going to the Atlantic Hockey Association playoff champion.

In the USCHO poll, Boston University is the new No. 1, just ahead of Minnesota and Minnesota-Duluth, which split at Alaska-Anchorage and is 1-2-1 in its last four league games after a home tie and loss to Michigan Tech. The USA Hockey rankings have Minnesota at No. 1 followed by BU and Duluth.

Here’s an update on the new-look WCHA looking for a 10th member and a side note that the WCHA will not be back at the Xcel Energy Center in 2014. That suggests strongly that the National Collegiate Hockey Conference will hold its postseason tournament there.

Here’s an NHL.com feature on Ed Belfour.

Former CC assistants Norm Bazin and Jason Lammers continue to lead a surging UMass-Lowell team that was won 13 more games than last year.

Joey Crabb talks about the Leafs’ struggling penalty kill.

Last, but certainly not least, I want to acknowledge the passing of News 5 sports director Lee Douglas, who succumbed to kidney problems Sunday morning. I cannot say I knew him well. I wish I had.

He was always positive, pleasant and professional in my interactions with him at the Air Force press conferences and the annual hockey banquet. He was a good example for all us on how to do things right. He is missed already. RIP.

WJC previews, In the pros, Crabb video

Here’s a short preview on Team Canada headed into its 1:30 p.m. Mountain game opening the World Junior Championships. Here’s  team-by-team capsule preview on each team.
They’ll have plenty of fan support. CC sophomore Jaden Schwartz, the Canada captain, leads an potent line.
 
North Dakota defenseman Derek Forbort will try to slow them down when the USA faces Canada on Dec. 31.
 
Former Tiger Mark Stuart made a Christmas Day appearance for a Winnipeg charity.
 
Former Gopher standout Bill Klatt died over the weekend.
 
Mike Testwuide is starting to get on track for AHL Adirondack.
 
Joey Crabb, who scored the game-winning shorty on Friday, is one of the reasons the Leafs look strong headed into the holiday break.  Here’s video of Crabb’s goal: