Tigers knock off No. 2 Denver, end 17-game winless streak against Pioneers

CC Hockey vs WisconsinColorado College bounced back from an embarrassing home loss to end a 17-game winless streak against No. 2 Denver behind a 40-save shutout by sophomore goalie Alex Leclerc at Magness Arena on Saturday.

“I’m feeling pretty good right now,” Leclerc said on 1240 AM. “We felt we let our fans and teammates down (in a 5-1 Friday loss) and we needed to bounce back. Guys were sacrificing their bodies to block shots (19) and make my life easier even though I am the one with the equipment.”

“We told ourselves that we needed to win against them,” he added. “We only had one thing on our minds and that was to come out of here with a win. We need to savor this moment of success and take that into practice and next weekend (against No. 13 Omaha).”

The win in Denver pushed CC (13-13-4, 7-10-3-2 National Collegiate Hockey Conference) into sixth place ahead of Omaha (15-14-1, 8-12-0) and only two points behind No. 15 and fifth-place Western Michigan (14-14-2, 9-10-1).

Tonight really helped us put ourselves in position to get home ice,” coach Mike Haviland said.

Colorado College played better as the game went on to put further pressure on the Pioneers as the early 1-0 lead held.

“It was a factor of us not being hard enough offensively,” Denver coach Jim Montgomery said in a media release. “Our effort was great. I thought we skated well, we protected pucks well…but I thought they played with more desperation.”

DU pulled goalie Tanner Jaillet with about 80 seconds left but shot blocks by Westin Michaud (:20 left) and Troy Conzo (:08 remaining) helped the Tigers hold for their first win over Denver since Feb. 22, 2014 – a span of 1,424 days —  and the Tigers’ first under Haviland. The victory ended a 17-game winless streak (0-15-2).

“Tonight was a big step for us,” CC junior co-captain Andrew Farny said. “We had guys selling out all game long.”

“These guys don’t like to lose and they take it personal,” Haviland said. “We didn’t play hard enough last night but we certainly did tonight. Going 1-1-2 against the defending national champs shows the progress this program has made.”

Denver kept the puck in the CC end for most of the opening period, but it was the Tigers that entered first intermission with their initial lead of the weekend. Few at the time guessed it would prove to be the game-winner.

Conference-leading scorer Nick Halloran (41 points) scored his 18th goal of the season on the power play with 29 seconds remaining for a 1-0 lead. The power-play tally ended on 0 for 14 skid over three games.

halloran road unisIn other NCHC action, No. 11 Minnesota-Duluth downed last-place Miami 3-0 for its second shutout of the weekend against the reeling RedHawks. It is the first time in program history that Miami has been shut out for three-straight games. The scoring drought is now at 212 minutes, 1 second dating back to the second period on Friday, Feb. 9 (5-2 loss to No. 3 St. Cloud State.

No. 9 North Dakota bounced back for a road split by downing No. 13 Omaha, 3-0, and end the Mavericks’ seven-game home win streak. Cam Johnson returned to action after two games off to make his 11th career shutout (26 saves); second all-time at UND behind 15 for Karl Goehring.

League-leading St. Cloud State, ranked third in the USCHO poll but tops in the Pairwise rankings, defeated No. 15 Western Michigan 4-2 for the road sweep. The Broncos fell into in fifth place.

SCSU, which clinched home playoff ice on Friday, now has 45 standings points to second-place Denver’s 40, setting up a huge weekend series in Minnesota that will determine ownership of the Penrose Cup regular-season championship. UMD and North Dakota are tied for third with 30 points.

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Quinnipiac new No.1 in both national polls

USA Today hockey pollWith 41 of 50 first-place votes this week, Quinnipiac assumes the top ranking in the USCHO.com Division I Men’s Poll for the first time in poll history.

Last weekend, QU beat Cornell and Colgate on the road and has a nation-best 21-game unbeaten streak.

Former No. 1 Minnesota drops to No. 2 this week after splitting at St. Cloud State, but also garnered the other nine first-place votes. For the rest of the USCHO article, click here.

Tuesday reading: Notre Dame arrest, Minnesota, web media poll

UND MacMillanThere was some alleged ugliness in South Bend involving an Irish player attacking a female bar manager.

A recent DU player from Colorado Springs passed away.

The No. 1 Minnesota at No. 8/10 SCSU series promises to be a barn-burner.

Here is this week’s WCHA web media poll …

Pts Previous Record High Low
1) Minnesota (7) 139 1 18-4-4 1 2
2) St. Cloud State (5) 137 2 15-10-1 1 2
3) North Dakota 116 3 13-8-5 3 5
4) Denver 104 5 13-8-4 3 5
5) Nebraska Omaha 102 4 15-9-2 3 6
6) Wisconsin 80 6 11-8-5 5 7
7) Minnesota State 78 7 16-9-3 5 7
8) Minnesota Duluth 54 8 10-11-3 8 10
9) Colorado College 46 9 10-14-2 8 10
10) Michigan Tech 43 10 7-12-4 8 11
11) Bemidji State 25 11 5-14-5 10 11
12) Alaska Anchorage 12 12 3-16-5 12 12

Monday reading: Badgers, MacNaughton race, Bachman, AHA, polls

bachman maskThe 19th-ranked Badgers play North Dakota for the last time this weekend in WCHA action, but their nonconference play will resume during the 2014-15 season.

Wisconsin’s Derek Lee suffered a concussion in Saturday’s win over Anchorage. His status for this weekend’s road series at No. 7/8 North Dakota road series is unclear judging from this quote from coach Mike Eaves:

‘Well, talked to Mr. Hrodey this morning, and he passed his cognitive test. That’s step one. He still has some residual headaches, so those have to dissipate before he can get on the bike.

At this point, we’re hopeful. The fact that he passed the cognitive was a good step. He won’t go on the ice today, and tomorrow we’ll come back and see where he’s at.”

The Gophers beat writer says SCSU, Minnesota and Omaha have the best chance at the MacNaughton Cup regular-season title.

Former Tiger Richard Bachman’s “The Shining” mask, pictured, continues to draw rave reviews.

Here is a brief look at the Atlantic Hockey Association race with an eye on the Niagara at Air Force regular-season finale.

The latest USCHO.com poll is in as is the WCHA web media poll.

More Monday reading: Stolarz quits school, polls, UConn coach

UNO celebration 2Apparently Nebraska Omaha freshman goalie Anthony Stolarz, who did not start Saturday as usual, was already headed out the door to the OHL.

From UNO sports information …

OMAHA, Neb. – University of Nebraska Omaha head hockey coach Dean Blais announced today that freshman goaltender Anthony Stolarz has chosen to leave the program and is expected to sign with the London (Ontario) Knights of the Ontario Hockey League.

“I’m obviously disappointed by Anthony’s decision,” said Blais.  “He has been making a very challenging transition from the North American Hockey League to the WCHA, and we, as coaches, saw good progress from him in the first half of the season.  But ultimately, it’s his decision where he wants to play, and we wish him the best in the next chapter of his career.”

Stolarz, a 6-6, 220-pound native of Jackson, N.J., appeared in eight games for UNO, starting seven.  He had a record of 2-5-0 with a 2.56 goals-against average and a .898 save percentage.  He earned his first career win with 20 saves in an 8-0 shutout of Alabama-Huntsville on Nov. 24, UNO’s only shutout so far this season.  He also made 27 saves while backstopping the Mavericks to a 5-1 win over Minnesota State on Dec. 15.

In other news …

Six WCHA teams were ranked or received votes in this week’s USCHO.com and USA Today/ USA Hockey Magazine Division I men’s ice hockey polls. Minnesota remained atop both rankings.

Western Collegiate Hockey Association member North Dakota, tied for third in the league with Denver, remains at No. 7 in both while the Pioneers moved up two spots to No. 9.

Minnesota State moved up three spots to No. 11 in both polls.

WCHA leader Nebraska Omaha moved up two spots No. 13 in both polls.  Second-place St. Cloud State dropped to No. 18 on the USCHO list and received votes in the USA Hockey rankings.

The all-time winningest coach in UConn history, who has been on medical leave since November, has resigned his position immediately.

CC falls out of national polls

rp_primary_2012-13_Rapuzzi_MN1Colorado College received votes in this week’s USCHO.com and USA Hockey/USA Today Division I men’s ice hockey polls but is no longer ranked.

Minnesota is No. 4 in both rankings.

North Dakota moved up one spot to No. 8 in both polls.

Western Collegiate Hockey Association-leading Denver dropped five spots from No. 6 to No. 11 in the USCHO poll and four sports to 10th according to USA Hockey.

Nebraska Omaha moved up one spot to No. 13 in USCHO and 14th in USA Hockey while St. Cloud State remained at No. 17 on the USCHO list and received some points from USA Hockey’s 34 voters.

Minnesota State, winners of six straight league games, made its debut at No. 20 in the USCHO poll.

CC falls to No. 19 in USCHO poll; stays sixth in blog rankings

HamburgA weekend home split to North Dakota hurt both Colorado College and UND with CC dropping from 17th to 19th in the weekly USCHO.com poll while UND went from No. 7 to No. 9. CC received some votes in the USA Hockey rankings.

Western Collegiate Hockey Association-leading Denver dropped one spot to sixth in both polls.

North Dakota dropped to No. 9 in both rankings released on Monday.

Nebraska-Omaha is 14th in both ratings. St. Cloud State fell to No. 17 and Colorado College dropped one spot to No. 19 according to the 50 USCHO voters. Both received some points from USA Hockey’s 34 voters.

Here is this week’s WCHA media blog poll:

Team Pts Previous Record High Low
1) Denver (9) 139 1 9-4-1 1 3
2) Minnesota (2) 131 2 10-3-2 1 3
3) North Dakota 113 3 7-5-2 2 6
4) Nebraska Omaha (1) 111 5 9-4-1 1 5
5) St. Cloud State 102 4 8-6-0 3 6
6) Colorado College 87 6 8-7-1 5 7
7) Minnesota State 65 8 7-5-2 6 11
8) Minnesota Duluth 51 10 4-7-3 8 10
9) Michigan Tech 48 7 4-7-1 7 10
10) Wisconsin 46 11 2-7-3 7 11
11) Bemidji State 25 9 3-7-2 8 12
12) Alaska Anchorage 18 12 3-5-4 10 12