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.

Tuesday reading: CCHA, WCHA lookahead, web media poll

Here are notes of interest from the CCHA’s weekly Need to Know press release …

Miami- Miami split its CCHA opening-weekend series at Michigan, falling 4-2 Friday before rebounding for a 4-3 win Saturday. The RedHawks’ win was just their sixth victory in 53 tries at Yost Ice Arena. Miami is 6-46-1 all-time at Michigan.  On Saturday, U-M held a 2-1 lead entering the third period only to surrender three straight goals in a 4-3 loss to the RedHawks.

Notre Dame- Notre Dame’s 5-1-0 start this season equals the best start for the Irish since going 5-1-0 to start the 2010-11 season.  The last time that Notre Dame had a better start than that was in 2006-07 when the Irish started that year 6-1-0 on the way to a 9-1-1 start and a 32-7-3 final record.

Western Michigan- After a weekend off, the Broncos travel to Compton Family Ice Arena to take on Notre Dame. Sophomore goalie Frank Slubowski made all four starts against the Fighting Irish last season, posting a 2-1-1 record with a 1.96 goals-against average and a .918 save percentage.

From the WCHA …

The month of November launches later this week with four, two-game Western Collegiate Hockey Association series on the docket for Friday the 2nd and Saturday the 3rd as Michigan Tech hosts Nebraska Omaha, Colorado College travels to Wisconsin, Minnesota State visits Minnesota and Denver hosts St. Cloud State.

There will also be one non-conference set contested over the weekend as North Dakota entertains Hockey East Association-member Boston University.

At John MacInnes Student Ice Arena in Houghton, Michigan Tech (2-4-0, 1-3-0 WCHA) will take on Nebraska Omaha (2-3-1, 0-1-1 WCHA) in a pair of 7:07 pm ET face-offs on Friday and Saturday. The two teams will then conclude their four-game series on Feb. 1-2 in Omaha.

At the Kohl Center in Madison, Wisconsin will play its first regular season home games of 2012-13 as the Badgers (1-2-1, 1-0-1 WCHA) go up against visiting Colorado College (3-3-0, 0-0-0 WCHA) in back-to-back 7:07 pm CT puck drops. These will be the only two regular season meetings of the two clubs and will also be the Tigers’ first two league games this season.

Defending conference champion and pre-season favorite Minnesota (4-1-0, 1-1-0 WCHA) will play a home-and-home WCHA set against Minnesota State (2-2-2, 0-2-0 WCHA), with Friday’s contest at 7:07 pm CT at Mariucci Arena in Minneapolis and Saturday’s match up at Verizon Wireless Center in Mankato at 7:07 pm CT. The No. 2-ranked Golden Gophers and Mavericks will then meet again on Jan. 25 in Minneapolis and Jan. 26 in Mankato.

And in the west, unbeaten and No. 3-ranked Denver (4-0-0, 2-0-0 WCHA) will entertain No. 18-ranked St. Cloud State (4-2-0, 2-0-0 WCHA) for a pair of league contests at Magness Arena, with game times at 7:37 pm MT on Friday evening and 7:07 pm MT on Saturday night. The Pioneers and Huskies will then meet again in St. Cloud on Jan. 18-19.

Outside the WCHA this coming weekend, No. 5-ranked North Dakota (2-1-1) will play host to No. 12-ranked Boston University (3-1-0) of the Hockey East Association. Face-offs at Ralph Engelstad Arena in Grand Forks are 7:37 pm CT on Nov. 2 and 7:07 pm CT on Nov. 3.  Through 37 non-conference games so far this season, WCHA member teams stand 20-14-3 (.583) against other Div. 1 teams. Against each of the other leagues, the WCHA is 5-0-1 vs Atlantic Hockey, 7-9-0 vs the CCHA, 3-2-1 vs ECAC Hockey, 2-3-0 vs Hockey East, and 3-0-1 vs independents.

Three teams – Alaska Anchorage (2-2-2, 0-1-1 WCHA), Bemidji State (2-1-1, 1-0-1 WCHA) and No. 17-ranked Minnesota Duluth (2-3-1, 0-1-1 WCHA) – are idle this week.

Looking ahead to the conference schedule for the weekend of Nov. 9-11, North Dakota will play at St. Cloud State (Friday/Saturday), Denver heads to Minnesota State (Friday/Saturday), Alaska Anchorage hosts Minnesota (Friday/Saturday), Colorado College entertains Bemidji State (Friday/Saturday), and Minnesota Duluth visits Nebraska Omaha (Saturday/Sunday). Both Michigan Tech and Wisconsin will be idle.

Here are more details from the Tech Hockey Guide WCHA Web Media Poll for Week 3:

Team Pts Previous Record High Low
1) Denver (7) 138 2 4-0-0 1 3
2) Minnesota (5) 136 1 4-1-0 1 3
3) North Dakota 120 3 2-1-1 2 4
4) St. Cloud State 109 7 4-2-0 2 5
5) Colorado College 74 6 3-3-0 4 10
6) Wisconsin 72 10 1-2-1 5 11
7) Michigan Tech 69 5 2-4-0 6 10
8) Minnesota Duluth 64 4 2-3-1 5 11
9) Bemidji State 55 11 2-1-1 5 11
10) Nebraska Omaha 52 8 2-3-1 6 10
11) Alaska Anchorage 29 12 2-2-2 6 12
12) Minnesota State 18 9 2-2-2 10 12

Monday reading: Polls, Pairwise update, standings

Colorado College dropped to No. 15 in the USCHO.com weekly poll and to No. 14 in the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine poll:

School                                                    Last Week   2011-12 Record     Weeks in Top 15
1 Ferris State University, 476 (20)    5                     20-8-4                       14
2 Boston University, 446 (4)              2                     17-9-1                       16
3 Minnesota Duluth, 443 (3)              3                    19-7-4                        19
4 Boston College, 418 (6)                 4                    18-10-1                      19
5 University of Michigan, 366 (1)      6                    18-10-4                      15
6 UMass Lowell, 335                         7                     19-8-0                          7
7 University of Minnesota, 310         1                    19-11-1                      18
8 Union College, 251                       11                    17-6-7                        17
9 Merrimack College, 223                 8                     15-7-6                       18
10 University of Denver, 209          14                     17-9-4                        18
11 University of Maine, 166            12                     17-9-3                          4
12 Cornell, 156                                 13                     13-6-6                          9
13 Notre Dame, 80                            9                    16-13-3                      19
14 Colorado College, 59               10                     15-11-2                      19
15 North Dakota, 48                       15                     16-11-2                         7

More importantly, the Tigers are No. 22 in the Pairwise rankings, well short of the 15th spot needed to make the NCAA Tournament if it started today.

Notice who was in first? That’s right, Ferris State is No. 1 for the first time in school history.

The outdoor game between Nebraska Omaha and North Dakota will officially be announced on Tuesday.

MSU-Mankato won 2-1 Saturday night for a sweep at Alaska Anchorage. Here’s the latest standings:

WCHA Games
Overall
GP
W
L
T
Pts
GF
GA
W
L
T
GF
GA
Minnesota
22
15
7
0
30
72
47
19
11
1
114
68
Minnesota Duluth
22
13
6
3
29
82
57
19
7
4
111
76
Denver
22
12
6
4
28
77
65
17
9
4
106
82
Colorado College
22
12
9
1
25
76
67
15
11
2
91
78
Nebraska Omaha
22
10
7
5
25
69
66
13
11
6
91
86
North Dakota
22
12
10
0
24
63
60
16
11
2
89
81
Michigan Tech
22
10
9
3
23
75
68
13
14
3
92
90
Bemidji State
22
9
10
3
21
60
69
15
12
3
85
81
St. Cloud State
22
9
10
3
21
64
59
12
14
4
90
84
Minnesota State
24
8
15
1
17
65
87
12
19
1
89
107
Wisconsin
22
7
13
2
16
58
71
12
14
2
83
84
Alaska Anchorage
24
4
19
1
9
49
94
7
19
2
66
103

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

Around the WCHA: Tigers charge into third with road sweep

CC junior Rylan Schwartz scored twice to spark the Tigers for their fourth win in five games. Courtesy CC Athletics

No. 7 Colorado College ended the first half of its season with an exclamation point.

The Tigers (11-5, 9-5 Western Collegiate Hockey Association) scored twice early in the third period to seal a convincing 6-2 win at last-place Minnesota State-Mankato (5-14-1, 2-11-1). The road sweep moved CC into sole possession of third place, past idle Nebraska-Omaha (9-8-3, 7-4-3).

CC junior center Rylan Schwartz scored twice, with his team-leading 16th of the year proving to be the game winner when he put the Tigers ahead 3-1 with 15:27 left in the second period.

Defensemen Eamonn McDermott and Joe Marciano scored in the first 4:19 of the third to open up a 5-1 command. Mike Boivin scored the opening goal to give CC three goals by its blue-liners.

Mankato’s Michael Dorr scored a shorthanded goal to make it 5-2 midway through the final period. It was the sixth shorty allowed by the Tigers this season. It was the only negative for a power play that clicked at a 3-for-6 pace.

William Rapuzzi scored an empty-netter for the final margin. Rylan Schwartz got the assist.

CC goalie Josh Thorimbert recorded 24 saves, 13 in the third, to win his second in a row. The Tigers out shot Mankato 44-26, leading in that stat by a 43-18 margin midway through the third.

No. 2 Minnesota (14-5-1, 11-3) and No. 1 Minnesota-Duluth (12-3-3, 10-2-2) are tied for first with 22 points, four ahead of the Tigers.

No. 13 Denver (8-7-3, 6-5-3) lost 5-1 at St. Cloud State in the only other league series this weekend to remain in fifth.

Bemidji State beat Alabama-Huntsville 5-0 for the home sweep while North Dakota downed the Russian Red Stars 5-1 in exhibition play.

The league is idle until after Christmas. CC hosts Air Force on Dec. 30 and No. 12 Union on New Year’s Eve.

Union downed No. 5 Merrimack 3-1 on Saturday night.

CURRENT WCHA STANDINGS

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

Saturday reading: Tigers eyeing third place before break

CC senior David Civitarese scored 88 seconds into overtime to give the Tigers a 2-1 road win Friday night.

The Tigers (10-5, 8-5 WCHA) have a chance to move into third place in the league  tonight if they can pull off a road sweep at MSU-Mankato. Easier said than done in this league.

CC goalie Josh Thorimbert shined in Friday’s win but don’t be surprised if Joe Howe gets the start.

Here’s write-ups on CC’s 2-1 OT win at MSU-Mankato Friday night from the WCHA, the Gazette and the Mankato Free Press.

The Tigers defense looked better on Friday.

Some thoughts to ponder from the Mankato Free Press and a link to a live game chat for tonight by the Freep.

Former Tiger Richard Bachman suffered his first loss in the NHL, 6-3 at New Jersey Friday.

Here’s the writeup from the St. Cloud Times on Denver’s 3-2 overtime win at the Huskies, who took a tough call at the end of regulation to set up the winning power-play goal by Drew Shore.

Preview notes for North Dakota’s Saturday home exhibition against the Russian Red Stars.

From the WCHA …

Bemidji State 3, Alabama-Huntsville 0

BEMIDJI — Backed by a 20-save effort by freshman goaltender Andrew Walsh. the Bemidji State University men’s ice hockey team served the University of Alabama-Huntsville a 3-0 loss Friday night at Sanford Center.

In a game decided by sharp goaltending, solid defense and a good penalty-kill effort, BSU got goals from three different players, en route to its 16th win in the last 20 meetings versus UAH (16-2-2).

Both BSU and UAH struggled out of the gates to find enough ice to generate any offensive pressure and finished the first period of play tied 0-0.

The Beavers broke the scoreless tie 3:17 into the second period on an delayed penalty goal. Jake Areshenko netted his second goal of the season on a slap shot from the point.

The series concludes tonight.

Northern Michigan 4, Michigan Tech 1

MARQUETTE, Mich. – Northern Michigan jumped out to a 2-0 first period lead en route to a 4-1 non-conference hockey victory over Michigan Tech tonight at the Berry Events Center. The Huskies (9-9-1) pulled within 2-1 in the second period on a goal by Aaron Pietila before the Wildcats (9-7-3) scored twice in the third period including an empty netter with 1:10 remaining.

“The first period was the hockey game,” said Tech coach Mel Pearson. “They jumped us pretty good, won the battles and scored on their opportunities. We battled back and made it close but couldn’t get all the way back. Tonight really showed the importance of a good start.”

Both teams are off for the Christmas break.

Current WCHA Standings

WCHA Games
Overall
GP
W
L
T
Pts
GF
GA
W
L
T
GF
GA
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
Nebraska Omaha
14
7
4
3
17
46
43
9
8
3
62
60
Colorado College
13
8
5
0
16
53
46
10
5
0
61
48
Denver
13
6
4
3
15
46
40
8
6
3
58
50
North Dakota
14
7
7
0
14
39
37
9
8
1
51
50
Michigan Tech
14
6
7
1
13
41
43
9
9
1
54
55
Bemidji State
14
5
7
2
12
36
46
8
9
2
50
56
St. Cloud State
13
4
6
3
11
38
40
6
9
4
59
61
Wisconsin
14
4
8
2
10
40
50
7
9
2
57
59
Alaska Anchorage
14
3
10
1
7
29
54
6
10
2
46
63
Minnesota State
13
2
10
1
5
35
54
5
13
1
53
69