Former CC goalie Curtis McElhinney picks up shutout at IIHF world championships

curtis-mcelhinneyColorado Avalanche forward Tyson Jost scored twice, and former Colorado College goalie Curtis McElhinney turned away all 25 shots as Canada whipped South Korea during a 10-0 shutout win in Game 2 of preliminary play at the 2018 IIHF World Championships in Herning, Denmark.

“He was good, he was solid,” Canadian coach Bill Peters told the Canadian Press. “It was good that we were able to get him in and he got some work, especially as the game wore on. I thought he got settled in and he handled pucks well. Something to build on for Mac, for sure.”

Canada plays host Denmark (1-0-0-1) on Monday and it will likely be a goaltending matchup between McElhinney and his Toronto Maple Leafs teammate, Frederik Andersen, who is a superstar in his hometown of Herning.

“He’s a big-time goaltender, so we’re going to have to make sure we’re in his eyes,”  Peters said. “We’re going to have to make sure we score on seconds and thirds and it should be a real good atmosphere. We’re excited for the opportunity to play here in front of their fanbase.”

Canada out shot the South Koreans, 8-1 losers to Finland earlier this week, by a 50-25 margin. McElhinney was sharp against some point blank chances.

Canada struck midway through the first; scoring the only goal it would need at 8:41 in the opening frame. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins found his own rebound and tucked it past Korean goaltender Matt Dalton off a pass from former Tigers forward Jaden Schwartz.

Former CC captain and South Korean Olympian Mike Testwuide is missing the tournament due to injury.

 

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Tigers commit Sam Renlund makes NAHL all-rookie first team

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Colorado College commit Sam Renlund, an Omaha Lancers alum, was named to the North American Hockey League’s all-rookie first team on Tuesday, the Tier 2 junior league announced.

Renlund, 18, leads the NAHL in playoff points with 11 (seven goals) in six games for the Janesville Jets.

Renlund recorded four goals and three assists last weekend, including two unassisted goals in 2 minutes, 19 seconds during the third period to force overtime in an eventual  3-2 OT win in Game 3 at Fairbanks on Sunday.

He recorded one goal and three assists in a  6-4 series-opening win last Friday and added a goal in a 3-2 Game 2 loss on Saturday to the Ice Dogs.

The Jets lead the best-of-five series 2-1 heading into Game 4 on Friday in Wisconsin.

The Verona, Wisc. native was fourth on the Jets with 38 points (26 assists) in 44 regular-season games.

Tigers in the pros: Few former CC players still battling for minor-league championships

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With the last players with Colorado College ties out of the NHL playoffs, this is a good time to check in on how other former Tigers are doing in the AHL and ECHL postseason.

The Manitoba Moose battle the Grand Rapids Griffins in a decisive Game 5 at 5 p.m. Mountain on Monday with defenseman Peter Stoykewych having played in the previous four games (no points) and in 70 regular-season games (27 points, 18 assists) for the Winnipeg-based team and Jets affiliate.

Goalie Richard Bachman’s season came to an end on Sunday when the Toronto Marlies eliminated the Utica Comets with a 4-0 win in the decisive Game 5 of the best-of-five playoff series. Bachman appeared in 31 regular-season games, splitting time with former Boston College standout Thatcher Demko.

Forward Alex Krushelnyski’s Lehigh Valley Phantoms advanced to the second round. They start a best-of-seven series against the Charlotte Checkers on Friday. Krushelnyski split time between Lehigh (42 games, 10 points) and the ECHL’s Reading Royals (24 games, 27 points). He had one assist in four first-round AHL playoff games.

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Former CC standout Brett Sterling recorded 25 points (15 goals) during 45 regular-season games for the Chicago Wolves, which were swept in three by Rockford earlier this month. Sterling played in two of the three playoff games (no points). He announced earlier that he will retire this offseason.

sterling wolvesIn the ECHL, Hunter Fejes is having a strong season with four points (three goals) in six playoff games after the Orlando Solar Bears swept the South Carolina Stingrays and fell behind 2-0 to the Florida Everblades in their best-of-seven second round series.

He recorded 27 points (16 goals) in 32 games with the Wheeling Nailers before a midseason trade sent him to Florida, where he had 32 points (18 assists) in 35 regular-season games.  He also played four games (no points) with the AHL’s Marlies.

Defenseman Aaron Harstad recorded an assist in a 4-2 road loss in Game 2 of a second-round series versus the Colorado Eagles on Sunday night.

He recorded 13 points (11 assists) in 48-regular-season games for the Idaho Steelheads and now five points (three assists) in nine playoff games entering Wednesday’s Game 3.

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Offseason linkorama: Soviets visit Colorado, NCHC moves & honors, Hockey East, Anchorage hire

letterThe above picture is a photo that made the rounds on Twitter on Thursday.

It is an old Maine Mariners press release from the desk of Doc Emrick on 12/10/1978 announcing the Soviet team was visiting the US to face a variety of American foes, including Colorado College and Denver. The USSR defeated the Tigers, 6-4, on Dec. 30, 1978.

Also, Omaha hockey coach Mike Gabinet announced Thursday that Brian Kaufman has joined the staff as the Director of Hockey Operations.

“We are very fortunate to be able to add somebody with Brian’s character and hockey background to our staff,” said Gabinet.  “He brings a wealth of experience that will be a big asset to our program as we move into the next season.”

Kaufman  spent five seasons with the Omaha Lancers of the USHL, first serving as an assistant for the 2012-13 season before taking over as head coach for the next four seasons.  He led the Lancers to a record of 121-91-28 and two playoff appearances.

The five athletes who signed national letters of intent for Denver includes a Red Wings draft pick at goalie.

Hockey East changed its playoff format for the upcoming season. Future Hall of Famer Joe Mullen’s son Mike is starting his career as an ECAC referee.

The NCHC honored the two athletic directors who led the push to create the league now that they are retiring.

Here is a review of a book about college hockey (mostly in the Northeast) if you’re already jonesing in late April.

Here is an article on the new Alaska-Anchorage coach. Both Wisconsin coaches had their contracts renewed through the 2022-23 season.

Six future Tigers sign on with CC hockey program

cruikshank actionSix college players recently signed a national letter of intent to play for Colorado College.

Two are scheduled to join the National Collegiate Hockey Conference program this fall —  forwards Erik Middendorf (U.S. Under-18) and Grant Cruikshank (Penticton, BCHL).

Along with Middendorf and Cruikshank, forward Ben Copeland (Waterloo, USHL) and defenseman Bryan Yoon (Tri-City, USHL) will join the program this fall after signing their NLI earlier.

Copeland is currently sixth in the United States Hockey League in scoring with 62 points with a league high 44 assists, while Yoon leads the Storm in scoring and is sixth in the USHL among defensemen with 35 points (32 assists).

Forwards Tyler Coffey (Jersey, USPHL), Patrick Cozzi (Prince George, BCHL) and Josiah Slavin (Lincoln, USHL), as well as defenseman Chase Foley (St. Thomas Academy, Minn.) signed recently and will join CC in the future.

“We are thrilled that these players have agreed to join our program,” coach Mike Haviland said in a media release. “After the improvement we saw this past season, this group of players should help us progress even further. Combining these players with our returners the next couple of years provides a bright future for the Colorado College hockey program.”

CC hockey bios below:

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Tyler Coffey (pictured above)

Forward, 5-10, 175, Hamilton, NJ, Jersey Hitmen NCDC (USPHL)

Before Colorado College: Tied for third in the USPHL’s NCDC playoff scoring race with eight points (3g,5a) in nine games … Helped the Hitmen to a 34-15-1 regular-season record and a spot in the finals of the Dineen Cup … Finished third on the team and 15th in the league with 46 points (27g,19a) in 45 regular-season games … His 27 goals tied for second in the USPHL … Notched four points (3g,1a) in five games for Team Kelly at the 2017-18 USA Select Festival … Amassed 83 points (50g,33a) in two seasons with the Hitmen U16 squad.

cozzi imagePatrick Cozzi (pictured above)

Forward, 5-9, 170, Greenlawn, NY, Prince George Spruce Kings (BCHL)

Before Colorado College: Scored 36 points (14g,22a) in 58 regular-season games in 2017-18 … Helped the Spruce Kings to a 33-17-4-4 regular-season record, good for fourth place in the BCHL … Tied for second on the team and tied for 10th in the league with 16 points (4g,12a) in the playoffs as the Spruce Kings are currently in the Fred Page Cup finals … Top rookie scorer in the BCHL playoffs … Collected 55 points (26g,29a) in 49 games last season with the North Jersey Avalanche.

Grant Cruikshank, Forward, 5-11, 185, Delafield, WI, Penticton Vees (BCHL)

Before Colorado College: Notched 74 points (53g,24a) in 82 games the past two seasons for Penticton, including 53 points (32g,21a) in 57 games in 2016-17 … Played in 25 games (21 points) this season before suffering a season-ending injury … Had 12 points (6g,6a) during the ’16-17 playoffs as the Vees advanced to the semifinals of the RBC Cup … Notched six points (2g,4a) in six games for Team Kelly at the 2014-15 USA Select Festival … Drafted by the Fargo Force in the sixth round of the 2017 USHL Futures Draft … Son of Olympic speedskaters Bonnie Blair and David Cruikshank.

Chase Foley, Defenseman, 5-9, 154, St. Paul, MN, St. Thomas Academy (USHS)

Before Colorado College: Finished third on the St. Thomas team with 38 points (17g,21a) in 23 games this season … Tied for the team lead with seven power-play goals and third with three game-winners … Helped team to a 22-2-1 overall record, a perfect 10-0 mark in league play and a quarterfinal berth in the Class AA Minnesota State Tournament … First-team All-Metro selection by the Star Tribune … Compiled 78 points (31g,47a) in three years at St. Thomas … Collected nine points in 20 games this season for Team Southeast of the Upper Midwest High School Elite League.

Erik Middendorf, Forward, 6-1, 190, Scottsdale, AZ, U.S. National U18 Team

Before Colorado College: Played 104 games for the U.S. National Development Program, including 43 this season for the National Under-18 Team … Collected 16 points (8g,8a) for the U18 team … Helped team win the Five Nations Tournament in February, defeating Finland, 4-0, in the final game …  Appeared in 55 games (23 points) for Team USA in the USHL … Collected five points in six games and helped Team USA to the Gold Medal at the 2016 Youth Olympic Games in Lillehammer, Norway … Played in five games for Team Black at the 2015-16 USA Select Festival.

Josiah Slavin (pictured above) , Forward, 6-2, 182, Erie, CO, Lincoln Stars (USHL)

Before Colorado College: Second on the team with 42 points (23g,19a) in 60 games this season … Leads the Stars and is third in the USHL with a +27 rating … Tied for 17th in the league with 23 goals … Collected 16 points (10g,6a) during a recent 10-game point streak … Notched 14 points (6g,8a) in 49 games for Tri-City of the USHL during the 2016-17 campaign … Prior to that, he skated for two years with the Colorado Thunderbirds program, registering 41 points (25g,16a) in 56 games … Younger brother of former Tiger and current Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Jaccob Slavin.

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Three CC commits/signees make final NHL Central Scouting rankings

copeland_webThree Colorado College signees were ranked among the 217 top North American NHL Draft prospects, the league’s scouts announced.

The top-rated CC signee is Waterloo center Ben Copeland (126th), who has 62 points (44 assists) in 60 games – good for sixth in the U.S. Hockey League. His 44 assists lead that league. He may go in the middle rounds.

NHL Central Scouting released its final rankings list on Monday with lefthanded left wingers Erik Middendorf (U.S. National Team Development Program), and Ben Sanderson (Okotoks, Alberta league) coming it at Nos. 195 and 208 respectively. That projects both as late-round picks at the June 22-23 draft in Dallas.

Middendorf (17 points, 28 games), who signed earlier this month, was listed at 206th in the midseason rankings while Copeland and Sanderson, a commit, were unranked.

Copeland is scheduled to join the National Collegiate Hockey Conference program this fall along with Middendorf.

sandersonSanderson (26 points, 20 goals in 60 AJHL games) is scheduled for the following season.

For those keeping score on the recruiting front, Denver led the NCHC with six commits/signees ranked followed by four for North Dakota, three for Minnesota Duluth and two each for Miami and Western Michigan. Omaha and St. Cloud State each registered one.

Here is a link to the rankings, which can be organized by college teams.

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2018-19 CC hockey schedule starting to materialize

cc vs wmu2Here is my first draft of the Colorado College hockey 2018-19 schedule based on what has been reported at other outlets including a new scheduling mandate that has league rivals (CC vs Denver) playing during the final weekend of the regular season.

The National Collegiate Hockey Conference announced the league schedule on Wednesday. The Tigers are coming off a 15-17-5 season with a tie for fifth place in the league standings.

I put XXX where nonconference weekends, including Air Force, or byes are likely. I would expect one weekend in October to be a bye with nonleague games expected that month.

Home games in ALL CAPS.

Sept. 30 – Exhibition TBA

Oct. 5-6 – xxxxxxxx

Oct. 12-13 – xxxxxx

Oct. 19-20 – xxxxxxxx

Oct. 26-27 – xxxxxx

Nov. 2-3 – ST. CLOUD STATE

Nov. 9-10 – at Minnesota Duluth (2018 NCAA champion)

Nov. 16-17 – MIAMI

Nov. 23-24 — xxxxx

Nov. 30-Dec. 1 – at Omaha

Dec. 7-8 – xxxxxx

Dec. 14-15 – xxxx

HOLIDAY BREAK

Jan. 4-5, 2019 — xxxxxx

Jan. 11-12 — at North Dakota (2016 NCAA champs)

Jan. 18 – DENVER (2017 NCAA champs)

Jan. 19 – at Denver

Jan. 25-26 – at Miami

Feb. 1-2 – MINNESOTA DULUTH

Feb. 8-9 – at St. Cloud State

Feb, 15-16 – Bye week

Feb. 22-23 – WESTERN MICHIGAN

March 1-2 — NORTH DAKOTA

March 8 – at Denver

March 9 — DENVER (Senior Night)

March 15-17 — NCHC first-round series

March 22-23 — NCHC Frozen Faceoff (Xcel Energy Center, St. Paul)

March 29-31 — NCAA regionals (Fargo, Allentown, Pa., Manchester, N.H., Providence, R.I.)

April 11-13 — NCAA Frozen Four (Buffalo, N.Y.)

CC Rylan Schwartz action