Sunday reading: NCAA bracket, J. Schwartz (first NHL goal video), Hall, M. Stuart, Guentzel

Minnesota Wild's Nate Prosser, left, and Carolina Hurricanes' Brandon Sutter exchange punches during a fight in the first period of an NHL hockey game, Saturday, March 17, 2012, in St. Paul, Minn. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)

Here’s the NCAA bracket in pdf format so you may print it out.

Former Tiger Jaden Schwartz scored his first NHL goal on his first shot in his NHL (also pro) debut for St. Louis. Here’s video of the eventual game-winning goal. Wow. Congratulations to him. The win clinches a playoff berth for the Blues.

Tim Hall recorded two assists in Alaska’a 3-1 road win over Colorado to clinch the ECHL Mountain Division title.

NEW YORK (AP)Winnipeg Jets defenseman Mark Stuart was fined $2,500 by the NHL on Saturday for his hit on Washington forward Marcus Johansson on Friday night. No penalty was called on the play in the second period of the Jets’ 3-2 victory over the Capitals.

Gabe Guentzel did not make his pro debut Saturday as hoped. His next chance is Wednesday at home against Rochester, which includies Colin Stuart.

Saturday reading: J. Schwartz, Guentzel, Hall, playoff recaps, previews

Here’s a preview of tonight’s St. Louis at Tampa Bay game when former Tiger Jaden Schwartz will make his NHL debut. (TV: 5 p.m. Mountain FS Midwest, SUN Network).

Expect Gabe Guentzel, pictured at left, to make his pro debut Saturday night for AHL Syracuse against Adirondack and former CC teammate Mike Testwuide. Guentzel will wear No. 10 judging from the roster.

Tim Hall made his pro debut for ECHL Alaska in a 3-1 loss at Colorado. It reads like he played his defensive role well, drawing two penalties.

Here’s a lot of good information on CC and its available personnel next season by the Gazette’s Brian Gomez: CC wing Dakota Eveland will not play next season after offseason neck surgery this Tuesday. Look for one or two more 2012 commits or one of the 2013 players to be brought in a year early.

North Dakota could be a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament, judging from the latest Pairwise rankings, if it wins its third Broadmoor Trophy in a row against Denver tonight in the WCHA Final Five championship game. ( TV: 6 p.m. Mountain ROOT Sports Rocky Mountain). Here’s plenty of recap and preview notes.

Western Michigan cruised past Miami in the CCHA semifinals on Friday. Top remaining seed Michigan defeated last-place Bowling Green State 3-2 in double overtime to end the Falcons’s memorable run at an NCAA berth.

In Hockey East, Maine downed Boston U in one semifinal while Boston College ended No. 7 seed Providence’s Cinderella run. Maine plays BC at 6 p.m. Mountain (TV: NBC Sports Network).

In the ECAC, Harvard kept its NCAA hopes alive by advancing to tonight’s championship against top seed Union. Harvard is rated at No. 19 in the Pairwise and must win the automatic berth to move on.

In the Atlantic, Air Force will take on No. 3 seed and host RIT tonight (Radio: 1300 AM, 5 p.m. Mountain)

Update: Watch Hall make ECHL debut Friday night against Colorado Eagles

Former Tiger forward Tim Hall signed an amateur tryout agreement on Thursday for an unspecified amount of time with the ECHL defending champion Alaska Aces and will join the team in Loveland for Friday and Saturday’s games at the Colorado Eagles.

Hall will make his pro debut Friday night in a road game against the Colorado Eagles. The Aces contacted him Wednesday and he jumped at the chance to show where he could fit into a team that features former Tiger and NHLer Brian Swanson as captain and all-time ECHL career goals scorer Wes Goldie.

“I’m going to be a third or fourth line guy,” he said. “They have a lot of skill on this team so they have their offense taken care of. I’ll come in, provide some energy and hopefully chip in a few points.”

The Aces are affiliated with the NHL’s St. Louis Blues organization and Peoria of the AHL.

The Aces can clinch the Mountain Division title with a win this weekend.

Hall finished his Tigers career with 40 points (16g, 24a) in 135 games including five goals and three assists in 34 games this past season.  However long his time with the Aces last, Hall is hopeful he’ll be able to take advantage of his chance.

“It’s a great place to start,” he said. “The Aces are a great organization. I hope I do well this weekend and make the most of this opportunity.”

That makes him the first of the six seniors to sign a pro contract. Gabe Guentzel will sign a deal with AHL Syracuse on Friday.

Sunday reading: In the pros, Hall, tonight’s playoff games

Toronto Maple Leafs' Joey Crabb, right, fights with Philadelphia Flyers' Wayne Simmonds during the second period of an NHL hockey game in Toronto on Saturday, March 10, 2012.

Former Tiger Aaron Slattengren scored Colorado’s only goal on a record-tying night for ECHL star Wes Goldie, Alaska teammate of former CC star Brian Swanson, who talks about the all-time goals record.

Trevor Frischmon recorded an assist for AHL Bridgeport Saturday night.

Tigers senior Tim Hall, one of the hardest working CC players up to the very end on Saturday, is featured here.

It’s a busy Sunday night in college hockey with eight best-of-three series going the distance.

CCHA regular-season champ Ferris State won 7-4 Saturday to force a decisive Game 3 Sunday against last-place Bowling Green.

Atlantic Hockey Association regular-season champ Air Force lost 3-1 Saturday to No. 8 UConn, forcing a Game 3 at 7 Mountain Sunday.

In the WCHA playoffs, No. 3 seed Denver forced Game 3 against Wisconsin at 7 Mountain at Magness Arena.

Quinnipiac at Colgate and Harvard at Yale’s ECAC playoff series will be decided tonight.

In Hockey East, UMass-Lowell will try to stave off No. 7 seed Providence, Merrimack tries for the road win at Maine and Boston University hosts New Hampshire.

 

Saturday reading: WCHA roundup, features

Michigan Tech's Jordan Baker recorded a goal and an assist to spark the visiting Huskies to a four-goal third period in a 4-4 tie at No. 1 Minnesota Duluth.

Here’s an update on the progress NCHC commissioner Jim Scherr has made in the first three weeks of his tenure. He’s really hit the ground running.

CC’s Chad Rau was one of four former Tigers playing in an NHL last Saturday. Here’s a feature on him, Nate Prosser and a list of how former CC players are doing in the AHL and NHL.

Air Force standout Jacques Lamoureux is the 13th former Falcon to play part-time pro hockey. He’s teammates with former Tigers Drew O’Connell and Brian Swanson for the ECHL’s Alaska Aces.

Brian Connelly was traded to Calgary on Friday. Hopefully he’ll get a better shot at making his NHL debut with the Flames organization.

Compiled from WCHA.com and school web sites …

Michigan Tech 4, No. 1 Minnesota Duluth 4

DULUTH — It took 10 shots and a 10-minute span for the University of Minnesota Duluth to build what appeared to be a comfortable 4-0 first-period lead Friday in its Western Collegiate Hockey Association series opener with Michigan Tech University.

Maybe a bit too comfortable of lead.

After freshman left winger Caleb Herbert potted his second goal of the night to put UMD up by four with 4:47 to go before the first intermission, the top-ranked Bulldogs (17-4-4 overall and 11-3-3 WCHA) looked like they were well on their way to a ninth straight home win and an eighth consecutive victory over their long-time rivals. But that’s when the UMD scoring burst stopped and the Michigan Tech rally began.

The Huskies (11-12-2 ; 8-7-2) struck for four unanswered goals, including three in the third period – a period UMD has more or less owned this season – to gain a 4-4 overtime tie with the defending NCAA champions before a near-capacity crowd of 6,670 at AMSOIL Arena.

“It’s tough to come out of tonight with just a tie,” said Herbert, who also picked up one assist. “We have to come together tomorrow night and outwork them because they are going to be hungry for a win.”

Herbert’s two scores and goals by senior right winger David Grun (just under six minutes after the opening faceoff) and defenseman Brady Lamb (at 10:58 of the first) came on the first 10 shots the Bulldogs put on Michigan Tech goaltender Josh Robinson. He stopped the last 27 shots he faced to finish with 33 saves while helping hold the Bulldogs scoreless on all four of their power play chances. He and the Huskies also did something no team has been able to do in 23 games – keep two-time All-American center and the nation’s number one point getter Jack Connolly off the scoresheet.

No. 15 Denver 4, Alaska Anchorage 2

ANCHORAGE — Playing their first home game in almost two months, the Alaska Anchorage Seawolves could not overcome an early deficit as they fell 4-2 to the 15th-ranked Denver Pioneers in a Western Collegiate Hockey Association game at Sullivan Arena.

The Seawolves (6-15-2, 3-15-1 WCHA) got goals from first- and second-line centers Matt Bailey and Eric Scheid, while winger Daniel Naslund tied for the team lead with his seventh assist of the season.

The Pioneers (14-8-3, 9-5-3) received goals from four different players as they improved their season-best winning streak to four games.

DU struck first when freshman winger Ty Loney scored even-strength at 8:13 of the first period. Sophomore center Nick Shore gave the visitors a 2-0 advantage at the 16:16 mark, slamming home a power-play tally.

Bailey quickly cut the deficit in half, however, as the sophomore from Winnipeg scored his fourth goal of the season just 96 seconds later, corralling a centering pass from Naslund and beating DU goalie Adam Murray (30 saves).

Pioneers leading scorer Drew Shore would pick up his 16th goal only 89 seconds into the second period for the eventual game-winner and to extend the visitors’ lead to 3-1, and the junior added his 37th point on linemate Luke Salazar’s goal with seven minutes left in the second.

The Seawolves outshot the Pioneers 32-26 overall, including 10-6 in the third period, breaking through for the game’s finally score on Scheid’s goal with 3:47 on the clock on a goal by Scheid.

No. 3 Minnesota 2, St. Cloud State 1

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. – For the first time since Dec. 30, the third-ranked Minnesota men’s hockey team won on a Friday night, topping in-state rival St. Cloud State 2-1 in the first game of a home-and-home series at Mariucci Arena. The Gophers received goals from senior Jake Hansen and sophomore Nick Bjugstad and held the Huskies to a season-low 13 shots on goal on the night, proving that the Gophers’ defense is as tough as CC coach Scott Owens said it was last weekend. It was the third 2-1 game in a row for the Gophers.

No. 18 North Dakota 5, Wisconsin 3

GRAND FORKS, N.D. — Freshman Stephane Pattyn picked a fine time to score the first goal of his college career at the University of North Dakota.

His tally with just under two minutes left in the third period not only proved to be the game-winner in an important WCHA contest with Wisconsin, but it also came on his 21st birthday.

“It’s probably my best present, for sure,” a smiling Pattyn said. “It’s definitely a good feeling to get that one out of the way. Hopefully they keep coming.”

UND’s 5-3 victory before 11,769 fans at Ralph Engelstad Arena improved the team to 14-10-2 overall and 10-9-0 in league play. The Badgers fell to 12-11-2 overall and 7-10-2 in the WCHA, four points behind UND in the battle for home ice during the playoffs.

Sophomore defenseman Dillon Simpson, who notched his first goal since last February, also felt a sense of relief.

“Hopefully the floodgates open a little bit here for me scoring-wise,” he said. “It was great to get that goal and just get the confidence to shoot the puck.”

UND coach Dave Hakstol noted the importance of the team getting scoring contributions across the lineup.

“We need contributions at different times from different people,” he explained. “For Steph Pattyn to step up tonight with his linemates and come up with game-winning goal, that was the separation in a real close hockey game tonight. It’s very important for us.”

Bemidji State 2, Minnesota State Mankato 1

BEMIDJI  — On a night when Bemidji State was out shot 40-26, senior goaltender Dan Bakala stood tall turning aside 39  Mankato shots to open the Western Collegiate Hockey Association series with a 2-1 victory Friday at Sanford Center.

Tied 1-1 midway through the third period, Jordan George potted his team-leading 13th goal of the season to provide BSU with the offense it needed to break the stalemate, gain two points in the league standings and improve to 12-11-2 overall and 6-9-2 in WCHA play.

Minnesota State took the first lead of the game at 8:58 of the opening period when Max Gaede buried his own rebound. Bemidji State clawed its way back into the game before a back-and-fourth second period came to an end.

With 4:40 to play in the period, Jake Areshenko found Danny Mattson  at center ice with an outlet pass. Mattson skated into the zone and capped the play a wrist shot placed just over the glove hand of the MSU goaltender Phil Cook from the right face off circle. The goal was the second of the season for Mattson and stretched his current scoring streak to a career-best five games.

No. 10/12 Colorado College and Nebraska Omaha were idle.