Notebook: Air Force upperclassmen lead second-half surge

Ledford_3065-1Senior Tyler Ledford (above) scored the OT goal that lifted Air Force to the Atlantic Hockey semifinals, and he is one of five juniors and seniors leading the team offensively.

The Falcons won the tournament last year and six of the past 11 years. Their veteran presence will certainly help entering Friday’s semifinal vs. Canisius, as it has in the second half – Air Force is 12-4-2 since it started the season 8-10-3. They face Dylan McLaughlin, who is the league’s Hobey Baker Top 10 finalist.

The Atlantic Hockey scoring champion and First Team all-conference playmaker has vaulted to sixth in the national scoring charts. He got off to a fast start, collecting points in 15 of his first 16 games. His 31 assists in 36 games ranks him sixth in the nation. He has 17 goals, 31 assists for 48 points in 36 games – only five minor penalties all season.

Robert Morris (17-19-3) is the only team under .500 in action this weekend, but the Colonials are 4-1-1 in their last six … Regular-season champion Mercyhurst is seeking its first NCAA Tournament berth since 2005.

Largest Senior Classes
11 – Mercyhurst
9 – Connecticut, Robert Morris
8 – Air Force, Canisius, five other teams
Note that the four AHC semifinalists are listed.
Fewest Even-Strength Goals Against per Game
0.81 – Cornell
1.19 – Clarkson
1.38 – Minnesota State
1.39 – Minnesota Duluth
1.47 – Northeastern
1.49 – Air Force
The NCAA Tournament Selection Show is slated for 10 a.m. MT on Sunday, March 18 (ESPNU, TSNGO)
This marks the third straight season that the top four seeds advanced to the NCHC’s Frozen Faceoff … No team has swept the NCHC regular-season and playoff titles in the same year entering this, the fifth year of the conference.

Altitude TV to broadcast Saturday CC game

TV imageAltitude Sports & Entertainment, which produced and televised Colorado College’s game against archrival University of Denver from the World Arena on Nov. 16, has another holiday treat on tap for hockey fans in Colorado and nine other western states this week.
The Denver-based network announced today that it will air this Saturday’s (Dec. 15) local telecast of CC’s game at St. Cloud State University, starting at 6 p.m. MT.
It’s the second contest of a two-game Western Collegiate Hockey Association series between the teams. The Tigers, currently 8-8-2 overall and 5-4-1 in league play, trail SCSU by three points in the WCHA standings and are only five behind first-place Denver.
Seen in more than 3.1 million homes in its 10-state territory, Altitude is the television home of the Colorado Avalanche, Denver Nuggets, Colorado Rapids, Colorado Mammoth, Colorado Eagles, Denver Outlaws, the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference, ESPN Syndication (including Big 12 Conference and Western Athletic Conference events,) as well as other local and regional sports, entertainment and public service programming.
Its programming is available to Comcast subscribers on cable channels 54 in Colorado Springs, 63 in Pueblo and 25 in Metro Denver, as well as nationally via DirecTV (681) and DISH Network (410).
For cable coverage in other areas, please check your local listings or go to:

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.

Friday reading: CC on TV, Duluth, AFA, CC and Denver previews

From CC sports information …

Altitude Sports & Entertainment, which announced last month that it would televise Colorado College’s game against the University of Denver live from the World Arena on Friday, Nov. 16, has further expanded its coverage of Tiger Hockey this season.

The Denver-based network announced this week that it will air live telecasts of CC’s games at the University of Wisconsin on Friday, Nov. 2, as well as at the University of North Dakota on Friday, Jan. 11, on Altitude 2, the network’s secondary channel.

The telecasts start at 6 and 6:30 p.m. MT, respectively, and will be available on Comcast Entertainment Television (CET/channel 105 throughout the state of Colorado), DirecTV (channel 682) and Dish Network (channel TBD).

Here is the rest of the article.

No. 13 Minnesota-Duluth 3, No. 9 Notre Dame 1

SOUTH BEND — After Notre Dame gave up a power-play goal late in the opening period and two goals in the middle period, junior forward Bryan Rust scored the Irish’s lone goal on the power play in the second period in a 3-1 loss to Minnesota Duluth.  Junior defenseman Stephen Johns and junior forward T.J. Tynan earned assists on the goal.  Notre Dame junior goaltender Steven Summerhays made 17 saves in the loss.

Freshman forward Cal Decowski had a goal and an assist and freshman netminder Matt McNeely stopped 29 shots to lead Minnesota Duluth

Here is the Denver Post’s take on the “Colorado state championship” and the Gazette’s preview.

Altitude set to televise Denver at CC game Nov. 16

From CC sports information …

It’s official. Altitude Sports has a special treat on tap for hockey fans in Colorado and nine other western states this fall.

The Denver-based network announced this week that it will televise Colorado College’s game against the University of Denver from the World Arena on Friday, Nov. 16.
The scheduled telecast starts at 7:30 p.m. MT and features the initial meeting of the season between the archrivals, who battle four times annually for the coveted Gold Pan.
“Given the storied hockey history of Colorado College and DU,” said Doug Ballmer, senior director of programming for Altitude, “We are thrilled to be able to bring our viewers the season’s first match-up between these two longtime rivals.”
Seen in more than 3.1 million homes in its 10-state territory, Altitude is the television home of the Colorado Avalanche, Denver Nuggets, Colorado Rapids, Colorado Mammoth, Colorado Eagles, Denver Outlaws, the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference, ESPN Syndication (including Big 12 Conference and Western Athletic Conference events,) as well as other local and regional sports, entertainment and public service programming. Its programming also is available nationally to DirecTV and DISH sports package subscribers.
The Tigers, who went 2-1-1 against Denver last season, claimed possession of the Gold Pan for the 11th time in 19 years since inception of the trophy in 1993-94. The teams have played each other 283 times since the rivalry began more than 60 years ago. Colorado College owns a 19-8-4 edge, including a 4-3 overtime victory and 2-2 tie in 2011-12, in 31 all-time meetings at the World Arena.
“We are thrilled to partner with Altitude for one of our biggest games of the season,” said Scott Lowenberg, associate athletics director at CC. “The production with top announcers and a network available throughout the United States is huge for Tiger Hockey. Having the opportunity to televise this game from our home arena is a reflection of what head coach Scott Owens and his team have accomplished on the ice.”
The 2012-13 season opener is just 10 days away, as the Tigers play host to the University of British Columbia in a single exhibition game at 6:07 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 7.
A full list of Altitude programming and other information can be found at www.altitude.tv.

CBS Sports Network announces WCHA-free schedule

From CBS …

Starting on Nov. 15, CBS Sports Network will be kicking off its 10th season of college hockey coverage that will feature some of the top teams across the country from the Hockey East, CCHA, and Atlantic Hockey conferences.

No WCHA games are scheduled.

The slate features three games between top-15 teams, including the debut game between Notre Dame and Michigan.

Other key games include Western Michigan (No. 11) taking on Michigan on Dec. 14, as well as Ferris State (No. 14) taking on Notre Dame (No. 10) on Jan. 25.

The complete 18-game schedule of games as as follows:

Nov. 15: Notre Dame at Michigan (7:30 p.m. ET)

Nov. 30: Vermont at Maine (8 p.m. ET)

Dec. 8: Maine at Boston University (8 p.m. ET)

Dec. 14: Western Michigan at Michigan (7:30 p.m. ET)

Jan. 4: Robert Morris at Army (7:30 p.m. ET)

Jan. 5: Merrimack at Vermont (7:30 p.m. ET)

Jan. 12: Army at Air Force (6 p.m. ET)

Jan. 19: Alaska at Notre Dame (7 p.m. ET)

Jan. 25: Ferris State at Notre Dame (7:30 p.m. ET)

Feb. 8: Michigan at Notre Dame (7:30 p.m. ET)

Feb. 10: Providence at New Hampshire (4 p.m. ET)

Feb. 15: Notre Dame at Miami (7:30 p.m. ET)

Feb. 22: Notre Dame at Western Michigan (7:30 p.m. ET)

Feb. 23: New Hampshire at Vermont (4 p.m. ET)

Feb. 24: Boston College at Merrimack (4 p.m. ET)

Mar. 1: Ferris State at Michigan (7 p.m. ET)

Mar. 3: UMass-Lowell at Merrimack (4 p.m. ET)

Mar. 8: Boston University at Northeastern (7:30 p.m. ET)

Along with the 18-game TV schedule, CBSSports.com will also be releasing a College Hockey Power 10 ranking the top teams in the country and a Hobey Baker Award watch.

Tigers on TV schedule update

The TV schedules continue to trickle in as October approaches. Here is the latest I have gleaned from what I have read concerning Colorado College games on TV.

Both Minnesota at Colorado College games Dec. 7-8 will be broadcast on FSN Plus according to the Gophers beat writer. The Golden Gophers will have 34 of 36 regular-season games on the tube as usual.

Both CC at Denver games will be broadcast by ROOT Sports on Nov. 17 and Feb. 8.

CC at Nebraska Omaha on Jan. 4, 2013 will be broadcast by NBC Sports Network.

The CBS Sports Network and Big Ten Network schedules should be announced soon.

I know the pickings look slim, but based on past seasons I predict a couple more TV dates to be announced soon (I have heard nothing remotely official, so take this guesswork with a huge grain of salt): at least one of the Denver at CC nights (CBS SN), one or both of the CC at Wisconsin games (FSN Wisconsin, CBS SN or Big Ten) and the CC at Alaska-Anchorage games Feb. 1-2 by a local station (Alaska cable feed). Duluth and St. Cloud State at CC are outside possibilities but not likely since CC would have to pony up money. We will see.