Colorado College blows past Air Force to win program’s first Pikes Peak Trophy

IMG_8514Colorado College senior Trey Bradley was tired of seeing the Air Force Falcons hoist the Pikes Peak Trophy.

He and the rest of the Tigers made sure that didn’t happen in 2018. Bradley scored twice in the opening two periods, including a did-you-just-see-that? tally midway through the second period for the eventual game-winner during a 6-1 rout on Saturday night at the Broadmoor World Arena.

“He’s been snake-bitten to start the year but he’s gotten a lot of chances,” Haviland said about Bradley. “He got the monkey off his back. I am proud of those seniors. They were on a mission tonight starting with Trey. It hasn’t been the greatest three years against them and to do that in their final season is something special (for the seniors).”

Bradley’s go-ahead goal sparked an eventual flurry of scoring for the Tigers. Junior Alex Berardinelli scored two shorthanded goals in 57 seconds (during the same power play) midway through the third for the final margin and his team-high fourth goal.

But it started with Bradley. He forced an Air Force turnover in the neutral zone, collected the puck and raced toward the Falcon net.

The 158-pound senior, the lightest player on the ice, then bulled his way to the front of the Falcons net, lifting the puck with a near-side backhanded shot past Air Force goalie Billy Christopoulos’s glove attempt before colliding with the netminder.

Bradley drew a goalie interference penalty for the contact after the puck crossed the goal line so the tally stood for a 2-1 lead. Air Force was unable to convert the subsequent man advantage and CC began to draw penalty after penalty for the remainder of the period.

“I’ll take it,” said Bradley, who also scored the opening goal for his first tally this season. ”They had our number for the past couple years. It feels great but it is just a step in the right direction for us.”

A speed advantage throughout the CC lineup proved telling. Air Force players were caught out of position often, which led to holding, interference and hooking calls that turned the game against the visitors.

CC cashed in its second power-play goal of the night when Westin Michaud batted in a rebound off a hard shot by Nick Halloran to make it 3-1, Tigers with 3:14 remaining in the second. Moments after a power play to start the third expired, Tigers freshman Ben Copeland knocked in a rebound off a Christiano Versich shot for a 4-1 edge.

Then things got even uglier for the Falcon faithful.

The speedy Berardinelli  converted a shorthanded chance to end Christopoulos’ night (18 saves). The junior then scored on a similar rising shot inside the far post against Falcons backup Zack LaRocque 57 seconds later for a 6-1 lead midway through the third period.

Program archives were unclear if that was a school record but it was the first consecutive shorthanded scores on the same penalty kill for CC since Jeff Collett and Rylan Schwartz did it against Clarkson on Oct. 12, 2012.

CC cruised to its first win of the rivalry trophy since its creation in 2013. The 3-1 start for the National Collegiate Hockey Conference program is its best since the 2012-13 season.

The loss stings but what concerned AFA coach Frank Serratore was how the 0-2 Falcons went down quietly with little intensity displayed over the final 10 minutes of the rout.

“I like our talent but I don’t like our testosterone level,” Serratore said. “We went out with a whimper and that is not us. We fight until the end. When someone is kicking sand in your face you better respond and I don’t think we responded well. We have a long ways to go.”


CC overcomes red-hot Chargers goalie to grind out 1-0 home-opening victory

Colorado College fans were treated to excellent performances by both goalies in the Tigers’ home-opener.

And fortunately for the Tigers (2-1), they eked out a 1-0 nonconference win despite a Herculean effort by Alabama-Huntsville sophomore goalie Mark Sinclair, who recorded 46 saves, including 23 in the first period. His performance Friday stymied an otherwise dominate performance by CC.

“We probably had 25 (Grade-) A chances,” Tigers coach Mike Haviland said. “Their goalie was outstanding. I would like to see us bear down more but that is what you get sometimes. You get a hot goalie. If you score a couple, it’s a different game.”

“He gave us a chance to win the game and that’s all you can ask for,” Chargers coach Mike Corbett said.

Friday’s result was decided during a 74-second sequence in the second period at The Broadmoor World Arena. CC junior goalie Alex Leclerc (18 saves) made a big-time save on a solo breakaway for UAH’s Christian Rajic, who collected the puck in the Tigers zone off an unforced turnover.

Leclerc made the short-range stop and 1:14 later, CC sophomore Christiano Versich score the only goal with 12:34 left. Versich collected a pass from senior defenseman Ben Israel and then skated right between the faceoff circles into the slot from where he lifted a wrist shot past Sinclair, who had made 25 saves, seven more than Leclerc needed for his eighth career shutout, by that point.

“The guys did a great job clearing the puck away and not allowing them to get to any rebounds, which made my job super easy,” Leclerc said. “My job is to stop the puck no matter how much time there is between shots. (Sinclair) came here to perform tonight and he did a tremendous job for them.”

The CC home-opener looked very much like an mid-October game with the Tigers having only one full week of practice. That was evident on the power play which seemed a tad deliberate at times, especially during the 5-on-3. CC is now 3 for 19 (15.8 percent) with the man advantage.

“Simplifying the power play is where we at and that means getting more shots,” Haviland said. “We also need more of a net-front presence. We didn’t have enough of that tonight.”

Tigers fans are also looking for the top line of Mason Bergh, Nick Halloran and Trey Bradley to replicate last season’s production. The threesome has a combined three points (one Halloran goal) in three games. They were held off Friday’s scoresheet.

“That top line for us had a ton of chances,” Haviland said. “Last year, some of those go in. They are not going in right now so they need to dig down and find a way to continue to get chances then really finish them off.”

Next up is another goalie, Air Force’s Billy Christopoulos, who can take over a game. He recorded 22 stops against No. 10 Denver in a 4-1 home loss heading into Saturday’s 7 p.m. Mountain Pikes Peak Trophy game. It is a piece of college hockey hardware the Tigers seniors have never won.

“You are going to see a lot more intensity,” Leclerc said. “We know how much is at stake.”

CC Hockey vs Wisconsin

Colorado College vs Wisconsin, Broadmoor World Arena, Nov. 25, 2016

Alaska-Anchorage rallies in third to secure series split against CC

uaa cc finalAlaska-Anchorage scored twice in about three minutes midway through the third period to forge a nonconference series split against Colorado College with a 4-3 win on Sunday night at Sullivan Arena The Tigers won the series opener by a 10-2 margin.

UAA’s Nils Rygaard scored on a blast past CC sophomore goalie Alec Calvaruso to tie the game at 3-3 with 12:22 left in the third period. About three minutes later, Tomi Hiekkavirta scored the game-winner.

CC took advantage of a string of UAA penalties, including a 5-minute checking from behind call, to retake the lead at 3-2 late in the second period.

Junior Chris Wilkie made his presence felt on the subsequent power play when Nick Halloran redirected his shot in to tie the game at 2-2 only 15 seconds into the extended man advantage.

Later, Wilkie scored while on the power play for the 3-2 margin heading into the third period. The Tigers almost made it 4-2 but freshman Bryan Yoon’s shot clanged off the post.

Alex Berardinelli scored his second of the year for a 1-0 lead in the first period. He scored CC’s opening goal on Saturday.

The last CC road sweep was at Wisconsin in November 2012.

National roundup

No. 13 Minnesota 7, No. 1 Minnesota-Duluth 4

MINNEAPOLIS — Mat Robson made 42 saves and the host Gophers chased UMD goalie Hunter Shepard en route to the win – coach Bob Motzko’s first leading UM.

The result ended a nine-game winless skid for the Gophers vs. Duluth that dated back to October 2014. The teams split on the weekend.

Miami 4, Alabama-Huntsville 0

OXFORD, Ohio – Miami swept the Chargers despite 41 saves by UAH goalie Jake Theut in Sunday’s loss. Miami out shot UAH by a 45-11 margin and 83-29 for the series. MU won 5-1 on Saturday night.

CC opens home play on Friday against the Chargers.

Lake Superior State 1, Merrimack 0

NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. – Max Humitz scored 35 seconds into the second period for the only goal as the WCHA’s Lakers swept Merrimack, which was picked to place last in 11-team Hockey East.  CC plays at Merrimack on Dec. 31.

Arizona State 5, Alaska 0

TEMPE – The Sun Devils recorded their second shutout in a row to give the independent its first 2-0 start in program history. Joey Daccord made 13 saves in the shutout. CC travels to ASU for a Dec. 14-15 nonconference series.

Exhibition scores: Air Force 2, Alberta 2 OT; USA U-18 4, No. 2 Notre Dame 1; Omaha 6, Manitoba 1; No. 6 St. Cloud State 6, Mount Royal 2.

Colorado College hockey scores most goals in almost 23 years in 10-2 season-opening win at Alaska-Anchorage

UAA-CC warmupsColorado College hockey is off to a flying start judging from an eye-popping 10-2 win at Alaska-Anchorage late Saturday night.

The Tigers reeled off 10 goals – four in the first and second periods, two in the third – to record the most goals by the National Collegiate Hockey Conference program since the WCHA days. The host Seawolves had led 1-0 midway in the first period.

The last time CC scored 10 goals was a 10-2 home win over Mercyhurst on Nov. 30, 2002. The 10 goals are the most on the road since a 10-1 win at Northern Michigan. on Oct. 28, 1995. Later that season, CC downed Cornell 11-0 on neutral ice on Dec. 27, 1995 during the Denver Cup.

Seniors Trevor Gooch and Westin Michaud both scored twice.

“It’s a great way to start our senior year.” Michaud told 1240 AM. “(UAA) is a very angry team. It will be a hard-fought game tomorrow night.”

Four scored their first goal in a Tigers uniform — junior Chris Wilkie and freshmen Ben Copeland, Erik Middendorf and Grant Cruikshank. Junior Alex Berardinelli and senior Ben Israel also scored.

“I like the way we finished,” CC coach Mike Haviland said.

It was the first time CC scored four goals in a period since a 7-4 win at UMass on Oct. 8, 2016. They did it twice on Saturday night.

CC’s top line recorded a single assist in the night — senior Mason Bergh.

“It shows how deep this team is,” Middendorf said. “We know they’re going to get it going. We see how hard they work in practice.”

Game 2 starts at 7 p.m. Mountain with live coverage on 1240 AM/105.5 FM KRDO in the Colorado Springs area.

In other games of interest to CC fans:

Regular season

No. 1 Minnesota-Duluth 1, No. 13 Minnesota 1

DULUTH — Peter Krieger scored a power-play goal for Duluth early in the third period. Hunter Shepard made 27 saves. The Gophers were paced by Mat Robson’s 31 stops.

Miami 5, Alabama-Huntsville 1

OXFORD — Derek Dascke and Gordie Green each recorded a goal and an assist to pace the RedHawks. Chargers goalie Mark Sinclair stopped 31 of 36 Miami shots. UAH plays at CC next weekend.

Vermont 5, No. 4 Michigan 2

ANN ARBOR — Catamounts goalie Stefanos Lekkas made 48 saves, include 23 in the third period, to stifle the Wolverines.

Alex Esposito and Max Kaufman each scored twice. CC hosts Vermont Dec. 7-8.

Arizona State 2, Alaska 0

TEMPE — The host Sun Devils scored twice in 30 seconds midway through the first period. CC plays at ASU Dec. 14-15.

Lake Superior State 5, Merrimack 4

NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. — The WCHA’s Lakers scored the only goal in the third period to break a 4-4 tie and pull off a road win at Hockey East’s Merrimack College. CC plays at Merrimack on Dec. 31.

Bowling Green 8, Mercyhurst 2

ERIE, Pa. — Stephen Baylis scored a natural hat trick to propel the WCHA Falcons past the Lakers, who are expected to contend in Atlantic Hockey this season. Baylis scored his first two goals only 97 seconds apart in the second period to make it 5-0 BGSU. He added his third goal five minutes into the third for a 6-0 edge.

NCHC exhibition scores: North Dakota 3, Manitoba 2 OT; Denver 6, Alberta 4; Western Michigan 4, Lethbridge 1

Colorado College hockey garners another TV game

cc vs wmu2The Saturday, Feb. 9 road game for Colorado College at No. 6 St. Cloud State will be available on Fox Sports North.

The Friday road game will be broadcast as part of a CBS Sports Network doubleheader.

Saturday’s game will be broadcast in high definition and will be streamed live via the FOX Sports app. The FOX Sports app, available to iOS and Android devices, provides live streaming video of FOX Sports content along with highlights and instant alerts for scores and key plays.

Fans can download the mobile app for free from the Apple App Store and Google Play. Streaming on the FOX Sports app is also available on connected devices, including on AppleTV, Android TV, FireTV, Roku and Xbox One.

Broadcasts originating from St. Cloud State will be produced by the award-winning, student-run Husky Productions. Jim Rich of FOX 9 will handle play-by-play alongside Pat Micheletti.

The full Husky Production hockey schedule, including the women’s team coached by former CC standout Eric Rud, is available here.


Colorado College junior Nick Halloran named to all-NCHC preseason team

preseason team nchcColorado College junior forward Nick Halloran and Minnesota Duluth sophomore defenseman Scott Perunovich led the way with 24 votes apiece out of a possible 26 to make the National Collegiate Hockey Conference preseason all-league team.

Duluth and St. Cloud State each placed two players on the six-man squad, which was selected by beat and national media. The honorees were announced Tuesday in a media release as a precursor to the media day events at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minn.

Western Michigan junior Wade Allison and SCSU senior Robby Jackson were the other forwards while Perunovich was joined along the blue line by SCSU senior Jimmy Schuldt.  UMD junior goaltender Hunter Shepard was also named.

Last season, Halloran (Draper, Utah) ranked third in the NCHC with 45 points (26 assists) in 37 league games on his way to first-team All-NCHC and second-team All-America honors. In conference play, Halloran finished second in scoring with 31 points (18 assists) and is the top returning scorer in the NCHC.

Allison (Myrtle, Manitoba) garnered honorable mention All-NCHC honors a season ago, despite missing half the season due to injury. The Flyers draft pick recorded 30 points in only 22 games, while still leading the Broncos with 15 goals.

Jackson (Alameda, Calif.) was also an honorable mention in 2017-18 after finishing fifth in the conference in scoring with 42 points (27 assists) in 40 games.

Perunovich (Hibbing, Minn.) was the NCHC Rookie of the Year and Offensive Defenseman of the Year last season, while also picking up the AHCA’s Tim Taylor Award as the National Rookie of the Year, first-team All-NCHC and first-team All-America accolades. The Blues draft pick helped lead UMD to the national title last year, tallying 36 points (25 assists) in 42 games to rank second among NCHC defensemen in scoring. Perunovich led all NCHC blue liners in conference scoring with 24 points (16 assists).

Schuldt (Minnetonka, Minn.) was the top-scoring defenseman in the NCHC last year with 38 points (28 assists) in 40 games on his way to All-NCHC and All-America first-team honors. The 2018 Hobey Baker Award finalist chipped in 23 points (20 assists) in conference play last season, tying for second among blue liners.

In goal, Shepard (Cohasset, Minn.) was a second-team All-NCHC honoree last season after posting a 25-14-1 record overall, while ranking second in the NCHC with both a .925 save percentage and a 1.91 goals-against average. He also set the NCHC and UMD single-season shutouts record with eight, which tied for second nationally.

Media members voted for three forwards, two defensemen and one goaltender on their ballot with each vote worth one point. The top three vote-getters at forward, top two defensemen and highest vote-getting goaltender made up the preseason all-conference team.

2018-19 NCHC Preseason All-Conference Team
F: Nick Halloran, Jr., Colorado College – 24 votes
F: Wade Allison, Jr., Western Michigan – 22
F: Robby Jackson, Sr., St. Cloud State – 13
D: Scott Perunovich, So., Minnesota Duluth – 24
D: *Jimmy Schuldt, Sr., St. Cloud State – 20
G: Hunter Shepard, Jr., Minnesota Duluth – 21

* 2017-18 Preseason All-Conference Team selection 

Colorado College hockey picked sixth in NCHC preseason poll

cc nchc preseason pollThe NCHC preseason poll was announced earlier today. I combined the Twitter announcements with some basic info provided by the league, adding a bit more to CC and Denver, for the entry below.

No. 1 Minnesota Duluth (209, 20 first-place votes)

The defending NCAA champions garnered 20 out of a possible 27 first-place votes. The Bulldogs (25-16-3, 13-11 NCHC) bring back 18 players from last year’s NCHC third-place team that barely qualified for the NCAAs before making a memorable run.

No. 2 St. Cloud State (182, six)

The Huskies captured their second Penrose Cup last season as league regular-season champions (16-4-4-1, 25-9-6 overall. New coach Brett Larson welcomes back 21 lettermen.

No. 3 North Dakota (150)

The Fightin’ Hawks (17-13-10, 8-10-6-3) will look to improve on last year’s fourth-place finish behind 19 returning lettermen and eight NHL draft picks dotting the roster.

No. 4 Western Michigan (121)

The Broncos return 17 lettermen from a team that tied for fifth (10-13-1 NCHC) with CC and Omaha.

No. 5 Denver (115, 1)

It’s been an offseason of change with numerous players and coaches moving on. Several NHL Draft picks in the freshmen class and some continuity with the promotion of former assistant David Carle give the Pioneers (23-10-8, 12-6-6-4, second in NCHC) hopes of reloading instead of rebuilding behind 15 returning lettermen.

No. 6 Colorado College (98)

The Tigers tied for fifth last season with a 8-12-4-3 league record (15-17-5 overall). It was the program’s best finish in NCHC play. The team, which fielded no seniors last season, return 24 lettermen, including the top 6 forwards (points) defensemen (minutes) and goalie (percentage played).

No. 7 Omaha (61)

The Mavericks tied for fifth place last year with a 10-13 league mark (17-17-2 overall). Eighteen lettermen return. The program added a new assistant in Paul Jerrard.

No. 8 Miami (36)

The RedHawks (12-20-5) finished in last place last season with a 6-14-4-2 record and return 13 lettermen from that team. Miami added two new assistant coaches this offseason.