Friday reading: Harstad homecoming, WCHA previews, videos

Tigers sophomore defenseman Aaron Harstad will get a chance to play before family and friends when the Stevens Point, Wis, resident plays in the Kohl Center for the first time when CC travels to Wisconsin to open WCHA play this weekend.

“It’s exciting to get to play in place like the Kohl Center,” said Harstad, who played a state tournament game in the smaller UW women’s arena during his high school days. “A lot of my family will be there.”

CC practiced Thursday night at UW’s new practice rink because of a basketball game at the Kohl Center that night.

Also, Wisconsin’s Derek Lee is reportedly ready to play this weekend after missing last weekend due to injuries from a car-scooter accident.

Here are the preview notes for Colorado College at Wisconsin; No. 12 Boston University at No. 5 North Dakota; No. 18 St. Cloud State at No. 3 Denver; unranked Minnesota State vs. No. 2 Minnesota; and Nebraska-Omaha at Michigan Tech.

Alaska-Anchorage, Bemidji State and No. 17 Minnesota-Duluth are idle.

Here is a look at SCSU’s Nic Dowd. North Dakota received a commit from the son of its longtime athletic trainer.

Videos are becoming more commonplace for sports information departments. Here is North Dakota’s latest Through These Doors episode:

Michigan Tech’s latest In The Crease episode concerns the recent home split against Minnesota:

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River Hawks defense too sound for CC to crack

No. 19 Colorado College ran into a good defensive team in No. 10 UMass Lowell an was unable to break through in a 3-1 home loss to the Hockey East’s River Hawks.

UML junior center Joseph Pendenza scored on a rebound off a hard shot by Josh Holmstrom to put UMass Lowell up 2-1 with 12:49 left in the third period. Holmstrom’s shot from the left faceoff circle bounced off CC goalie Josh Thorimbert’s leg pads to the right circle, where Pendenza was alone for the uncontested shot. Stephen Buco added an empty-netter with 29.8 seconds left for the final margin.

It was a big homecoming of Colorado Springs native Holmstrom before an announced crowd of 7,301 at Colorado Springs World Arena.

Colorado College (3-1) had its chances with a power play late in the third period but only two shots ended up on net against a good River Hawks defense.

“Going 0-3 on the power play killed us,” Tigers coach Scott Owens said. “We felt pretty good at 1-1 going into the third. It was just a matter of which team blinked first.”

UML blocked 18 shots, including one on CC’s final rush up ice, and kept their stickblades in the CC passing lanes, slowing down the Tigers in transition.

“That was a focus for sure,” said UML associate head coach Jason Lammers who along with head coach Norm Bazin both worked as CC assistants. “We know all too well how good they are coming up the ice. We did not do that well (Friday) night.  We wanted them to earn their ice.”

“They did that very well,” CC senior Andrew Hamburg said.

CC sophomore defenseman Aaron Harstad’s shot from between the circles through traffic clanged in off the left post to tie the game at 1-1 with 6:35 left in the second period to set up an exciting third period.

“It’s a relief to finally get it out of the way,” Harstad said of his first goal as a Tiger. “They were very good at defending the back side with their forwards. It is definitely a learning experience.”

The goal was set up by William Rapuzzi and Alexander Krushelnyski who passed around the UML zone  out to the blue line where Harstad took the shot.  It was one of the few shots to get through the River Hawks defense. CC trails in shots on goal 25-18, after UML out shot the hosts 11-6 in the first period.

CC goalie Josh Thorimbert put in a strong second period recording 13 saves, five in the first four minutes, while making a glove save with 3:06 left that kept the game tied.

He finished with 36 saves but was outplayed by junior netminder Doug Carr, who recorded 27 stops and made a number of big saves off rebounds to frustrate the Tigers. The Hockey East member River Hawks (1-1-1) were also quick to collapse on their net, denying openings for shots.

“Josh played pretty well,” Owens said. “Carr is the best goalie in the East and probably the country. They showed why they are a No. 7-10 team with Carr backstopping them.”
Lowell freshman Ryan McGrath beat three Tigers to the puck at center ice and pulled away from the two CC defensemen to generate a breakaway that he cashed in from short range against Thorimbert for a 1-0 lead for the visiting River Hawks.

UML dominated play for much of the first period and showed plenty of speed to handle the Olympic-sized sheet.  Despite that, CC came close to scoring, but Carr made a huge glove save on a rebound attempt by Rylan Schwartz with 8:23 left to preserve the 1-0 lead.

“We were a little dull,” Owens said. “It was a bit of a hangover from (Friday) night (a 6-2 road win over rival Air Force).  Initially they had great jump. They are a good team and a hungry team who were trying to salvage the weekend after losing (5-1 at No. 7 Denver) on Friday.”

Notes

Colorado Springs native Josh Holmstrom, a Doherty High School graduate, is an assistant captain for the River Hawks. His older brother Ben Holmstrom was a captain ay UML and is in his second year as captain of the AHL Adirondack Phantoms where he is teammates with former CC captain Mike Testwuide and former Maine defenseman Jeff Dimmen, also of Colorado Springs. … UML was picked to place second in Hockey Eatst behind defending champion Boston College by league media and coaches… UML head coach Norm Bazin and associate head coach Jason Lammers, both former CC assistants, were joined this season by UML alumnus and volunteer goalie coach Dwayne Roloson, a 16-NHl veteran who reached the 2006 Stanley Cup Final. … With the loss, CC is now 7-4 all-time against UML.  …. Thorimbert recorded college win No. 20 on Friday.

No. 10 UMass Lowell 3, No. 19 Colorado College 1

UMass Lowell    1              0              2              — 3

Colorado College              0              1              0              — 1

First period – 1. UML, McGrath (Amlong) 10:27. Penalties – none.

Second period — 2. CC, Harstad (Rapuzzi, Krushelnyski) 13:25. Penalties – UML, Amlong, tripping, 4:23; CC, Marciano, roughing, 7:43; CC, Collett, roughing, 7:43; UML, Wetmore, roughing, 7:43; UML, McGrath, roughing, 7:43; UML, Ruhwedel, slashing, 14:04.

Third period –3. UML, Pendenza (Holmstrom, White) 7:16;  4. UML, Buco (unassisted) 19:30 (EN).  enalties – UML, Pendeza, holding, 16:10.

Power play – UML 0-0, CC 0-3. Shots on goal – UML 11-14-14 – 39; CC 6-12-10 – 28. Saves-minutes – UML, Carr 6-11-10 – 60:00; CC, Thorimbert 10-14-12 – 58:49. Referees – Dreger, Mousseaux. Linesmen – Keltie, Swiader.  Attendance – 7,301.

CC penalty kill performs well in exhibition victory

Colorado College certainly got some needed extra work on its penalty kill during its 3-1 exhibition win over visiting British Columbia on Sunday night.

With only penalty-kill regular Alexander Krushelnyski back this season, the Tigers performed well, killing 5-of-6 penalties. Some of the ”new faces” on the units included junior Michael Morin, freshman Jared Hanson, and seniors Rylan Schwartz and William Rapuzzi, all forwards.

“Hats off to the penalty kill guys,” said junior wing Archie Skalbeck, who scored the eventual game-winner during the second period. “It looked good. They only gave up one goal and that was a 5-on-3.”

“It was good for us to kill penalties but not that good,” said coach Scott Owens. “We should have put the game away early in the third. Instead we let them hang around. We took some ill-advised penalties and were on our heels a bit.”

“It was a mixed bag. It is pretty unusual for us to draw more penalties than what we draw.”

Skalbeck banged in his own rebound with 8:41 left in the second period for an important even-strength insurance goal minutes after the Thunderbirds nearly tied the game.

Courtney Lockwood made a nice glove save with 12:52 left in the second on a hard shot by Cole Wilson to preserve the 1-0 lead. Later, Tigers defenseman Joe Marciano swatted a rebound out of the air in front of the CC net moments after a Thunderbird shot caromed off the post.

That bang-bang sequence drew a slashing penalty on Mike Boivin, but CC killed the subsequent power play, even generating a shorthanded chance that went off the post.

About two minutes later, Skalbeck’s eventual game-winning goal came after a rush into the UBC zone by Charlie Taft, whose crossing pass to the junior wing set up his initial shot. Goalie Steven Stanford could not handle the shot and it came out for Skalbeck’s second chance.

Scott Winkler ripped a hard shot high glove side past UBC backup Jordan White with 1:48 left in the second to make it 3-0. That prompted some hard feelings which led to retaliation penalties that put CC down 5-on-3 for 28 seconds. UBC’s Scott MacDonald took advantage of a rebound to make it 3-1 headed into the final period.

CC recorded an even-strength score, a shorthanded goal and a power-play marker which bodes well. Joe Howe recorded 10 saves in a scoreless third, Lockwood made four stops in the second and Josh Thorimbert six in the first.

“It was a good game for us,” Owens said. “No one looked poor. We played 24 guys and all three goalies, who played well. We saw some things we need to work on.”

Winkler looked sharp while freshman Cody Bradley, who scored the opening goal on the power play, generated a couple good scoring chances. All three sophomore defensemen – Aaron Harstad, Peter Stoykewych and Young – looked improved and accounted for two assists (Stoykewych, Young).

“Overall, we are happy with how we played,” Rapuzzi said. “The younger guys played well which is good because we will need them to play a good bit. They definitely stepped in and played a big role.”

Still there remains plenty of work ahead as the Tigers tweak lien combinations to see which threesome clicks on the ice.

“We really haven’t had time to develop any chemistry,” Skalbeck said. “We have all been on different lines. None of the lines are cemented.”

MSU Mankato 7, Lethbridge 1

MANKATO — Minnesota State’s Bryce Gervais scored twice and added an assist while Eriah Hayes recorded three assists in the 7-1 exhibition win over Lethbridge.

Bemidji State 3, Manitoba 3 OT

BEMIDJI — Jeff Paradis scored an unassisted goal with about 7 minutes left to force overtime. Manitoba led 2-1 until Bemidji State’s Cory Ward and Danny Mattson scored six minutes apart for a 3-2 lead midway through the third.

Thursday reading: Harstad, Stoykewych, Guentzel, Bazin, MacInnes

The Winnipeg Jets renewed their affiliation agreement with the expansion St. John’s IceCaps of the AHL. Relevance to CC fans you ask? Seventh-round draft picks Aaron Harstad and Peter Stoykewych will likely start their pro careers in Newfoundland someday.

The Syracuse Crunch signed an arena lease agreement to keeps the AHL franchise, where former Tiger Gabe Guentzel is under contract, in that town through 2024.

According to Chris Heisenberg, Jake Guentzel, Gabe’s younger brother, has committed to Nebraska-Omaha for 2013 or 2014.

Duluth goalie Kenny Reiter has signed with AHL Bridgeport.

Former CC assistant Norm Bazin signed a four-year contract extension with UMass-Lowell.

Michigan Tech’s John MacInnes Student Ice Arena will open after considerable renovations later this month.

Monday reading: Bradley, Harstad, Stoykewych, Tech, Scherr, SCSU

Incoming Tigers forward Cody Bradley (2013), pictured, of Tampa was invited to the Lightning development camp starting July 3. Current Tigers defensemen Aaron Harstad and Peter Stoykewych will attend Winnipeg’s July 9-13 NHL development camp.

The Grand Forks Herald’s Brad Schlossman compiled a list of all the early WCHA departures so far. Michigan Tech will not have to worry, according to this article.

MTU looks to have brought in an impact freshman in C.J. Eick.

NCHC commissioner Jim Scherr and his brother Bill, both Olympic wrestlers, were profiled by the Rapid City Journal.

SCSU’s Drew LeBlanc is trying out his healing leg at the Wild development camp.

Lake Superior State announced its final CCHA schedule.

UConn’s move to Hockey East certainly puts pressure on its longtime coach to end a streak of 12 losing seasons in the Atlantic Hockey Association. Having 18 scholarships (as opposed to zero) may help. The UConn faithful are pumped by the move.

This Penn State fan blog thinks the Nittany Lions can become a top team very quickly and takes exception to BC and North Dakota fan bloggers who suggest otherwise. With the big-time resources and national name recognition in all sports, there is no reason not to expect a rapid rise.

Division III SUNYAC hired a new commissioner.

Sunday reading: Future Tigers, CC outreach, Schultz, NHL Draft

Incoming Tigers defenseman Russell Finch, pictured, submitted his bio information earlier this week and it ends up he is the first Wyoming native (Casper) recruited by CC as well as the first from Maryland (where family now lives). There were no Division I players from Wyoming last season and he will likely be the only one this coming season.

With Jaccob Slavin (2013-14 signee) and incoming wing Hunter Fejes‘ selection in the NHL Draft, the Tigers will have four drafted players on the 2012-13 roster (sophomores Aaron Harstad and Peter Stoykewych and senior Scott Winkler) and at least four on the 2013-14 roster (pending 2013 draft, early departures, of course). That is the most since the 2008-09 season — Richard Bachman, Kris Fredheim, Scott McCulloch, Chad Rau and Bill Sweatt. Of those five, only McCulloch, now retired, never made the NHL.

Here is a good feature on how last year’s Tigers took a long-term interest in a Woodland Park child battling cancer.

Tweet by TSN’s Bob McKenzie: “Justin Schultz becomes UFA at midnight Sun night. Will meet with agent(s) in Toronto on Tuesday. Will field offers Wed.”

On Friday, Jordan Schmaltz became the 10th UND player or signee in 10 years to be selected in the first round of the NHL Draft. The second day was not as busy for North Dakota. Here are some notes.

Future NCHC foes Minnesota-Duluth had a second-day selection as did St. Cloud State with Judd Peterson of Duluth Marshall going in the seventh round (204th overall). Three UNO Mavs also heard their names called. Here is a roundup of other college-connected draft picks and a complete list of collegians taken in rounds 2-7.

Robert Morris has benefited greatly from Sidney Crosby’s arrival in Pittsburgh. Penn State’s start-up cannot hurt either when it comes to college hockey getting more local media attention.

The Post’s Adrian Dater remembers the old Dartmouth arena. Give it a click. It’s a great read.

The top BC assistant and a successful USHL coach are likely leading candidates for the open UMass head coaching job.