Saturday reading: AFA, upsets, WCHA recaps, CCHA, M. Schwartz

SCSU_KossilaThe Falcons’ special teams came up big as Air Force moved from fourth to a tie for second place in the AHA with a 2-0 home win Friday over Robert Morris. Goalie Jason Torf (30 saves) is why Falcons fans can again hope for an NCAA Tournament bid.

Around college hockey, it was a tough night to be a top 5 team. Only idle No. 2 Quinnipiac did not lose. Here are recaps from the WCHA and about those upsets.

No. 15/16 St. Cloud State 3, No. 5 North Dakota 1

GRAND FORKS —  No. 15/16 St. Cloud State University men’s hockey team (15-10-0, 12-5-0 WCHA) took advantage of a dominant defensive performance to score a 3-1 victory at No. 5 North Dakota (13-8-4, 8-5-4 WHCA) on Jan. 25 in Grand Forks, N.D.

The victory helped the Huskies move into sole possession of first place in the WCHA with 24 league points thanks to a 2-1 victory by No. 14 Minnesota State at No. 1 Minnesota on Jan. 25.  The Gophers fell into second place tie along with Nebraska Omaha at 22 points.

SCSU outshot UND 33-16 in the contest and also held it scoreless until a third period power play goal broke the shutout for the Huskies.  In the first period, SCSU set the tempo by giving up only three shots on goal and followed with five shots allowed in the second period.

SCSU freshman Jonny Brodzinski opened the offense with a goal at 4:15 of the first period while senior captain Ben Hanowski added the game winner with his ninth goal of the season at 16:36 of the first period. Freshman Kalle Kossilla assisted for his 11th of the season.

No. 14 Minnesota State 2, No. 1 Minnesota 1

MINNEAPOLIS – Minnesota’s 10-game unbeaten streak came to an abrupt end on Friday night after No. 14 Minnesota State’s Brett Knowles tallied the 2-1 game winner with 44 seconds left in regulation.

For the first time in Minnesota’s last 10 games, the Gophers failed to reach the four-goal plateau although freshman goalie Adam Wilcox did his best to try and pick up the win regardless of the offensive production. The rookie netminder (16-3-4) made 31 saves – one off his career high – for his first loss of 2013. MSU goalie Stephon Williams recorded 37 saves to move to 13-6-2 this season.

Despite Minnesota State’s third period goal, the Gophers held a 38-33 shot advantage and rallied from what would have been only the third time this season an opponent outshot the squad with 20 shots in the third period (the Mavericks had nine in the final stanza).

Minnesota returns to action on Saturday in Mankato for the series finale against Minnesota State. Game time is set for 7 p.m. CT on FOX Sports North PLUS.

No. 13/14 Nebraska Omaha 5, Bemidji State 3

BEMIDJI —  Nebraska-Omaha got two goals and an assist from Matt White while Johnnie Searfoss and Jaycob Megna each pitched in a goal and helped on another to help the Mavericks hold off a late charge by Bemidji State and earn a 5-3 WCHA victory at Sanford Center Friday.

No. 20 Wisconsin 5, Alaska-Anchorage 2

MADISON — Junior forward Michael Mersch posts two goals and an assist while Mark Zengerle and Nic Kerdiles scored a goal and an assist each to lead Wisconsin to a 5-2 victory against Alaska Anchorage on Friday night at Kohl Center.

Maine 4, No. 3 Boston College 1

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. — On paper, it was a mismatch – Hockey East’s top team against the league’s cellar-dweller.

Maine flipped that mismatch on its head, however, in defeating third-ranked Boston College 4-1.

In pulling off the upset, Maine spoiled the return of BC coach Jerry York to the bench after missing four games while recuperating from surgery for a detached retina.

Martin Ouellette stopped 34 of 35 shots including all 20 in the second period when BC threatened on three power plays. He also benefited from a goaltender’s best friend, the pipes behind him, as the Eagles twice clanged iron.

The Black Bears, who hadn’t scored more than two goals in 20 of 23 games this year, took a 2-0 first-period lead, expanded it to 3-0 in the second, and after BC closed the gap to 3-1 in the third, added an empty-netter for the final margin.

“Frankly, we got some puck luck, which we perhaps haven’t had a lot of,” Maine coach Tim Whitehead said. “It could have been very different if we hadn’t had some of those bounces.

“Marty [Ouellette] was fabulous. A lot of guys made some key blocks. Any time we didn’t make the block, Marty was able to bail us out.”

Here is the rest of the article.

Merrimack 3, No. 4 New Hampshire 2

NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. — After taking a brief 2-1 lead in the second, UNH allowed two unanswered Merrimack goals. The game-winner came from freshman Brian Christie, who started the third period by winning the opening faceoff, driving the middle and netting a marker through a defender’s legs just seven seconds into the final frame from captain Jordan Heywood and junior Mike Collins.

Collins and Christie both finished with three points on the night and Merrimack held the Wildcats scoreless for the remaining 19:53, winning 3-2.

“I didn’t even see it go in,” Christie said. “Fortunately, it did.”

Here is the rest of that article.

Of note from the CCHA: No. 9 Western Michigan defeated Michigan to take sole possession of first place and Miami beat Bowling Green to give RedHawks’ head coach Enrico Blasi his 300th career win. The RedHawks are now in second place while Notre Dame, losers in its last five, fell to third.

Also, this columnist tells us why Mandi Schwartz still matters to her teammates, loved ones and Yale.

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Thursday reading: CC, TV, WCHA, UAA, CCHA, Hockey East, Army

TV imageCC fans: Please remember to bring a new or gently used stuffed animal for Saturday’s Teddy Bear Toss during first intermission of the Minnesota game.

Here are the preview notes for CC, including news that ROOT Sports will broadcast Friday’s game as will FS North and FS Southwest.

UM freshman goalie Adam Wilcox is the national Rookie of the Month for November. UNO’s Ryan Walters (15 points) was the player honoree, beating out a strong candidacy for CC senior Scott Winkler (14 points).

Minnesota closes out the first half of the season in Colorado Springs. Here are the preview notes.

Here is this week’s USCHO column on the WCHA, including a short feature on UND captain Andrew MacWilliam.

Bowling Green’s struggles are the subject of this week’s CCHA column.

Alaska-Anchorage lost a little-used walk-on player to Canada or the Division III ranks, where he can play more often.

The Hockey East coaches’ letters to Santa were intercepted once again by the USCHO columnist.

The Army captain is a Rhodes finalist.

Air Force rallies for OT home win

BC vs AFAFrom Air Force sports information …

Stephen Carew scored 61 seconds into overtime as Air Force beat RIT, 3-2, in an Atlantic Hockey Association game Sunday, Dec. 2, at the Academy’s Cadet Ice Arena. With the win, Air Force ended its four-game losing streak and improved to 4-7-3 overall and 3-4-1 in the AHA. RIT is winless in its last six games and fell to 2-8-3 overall and 1-5-2 in the league.

In overtime, Dan Weissenhofer controlled the puck in the Air Force end and sent a pass up to Mike Walsh in the neutral zone. Walsh touched it to Carew on the left side and the senior team captain skated around the net. After a collision near the far post with an RIT defenseman, Carew fired a wrister through the five-hole for his second career game-winner.

RIT opened the scoring at the 14:21 mark when Brad Shumway skated down the center of the ice and around several Falcons. Shumway dropped the puck to Andrew Miller who ripped a wrister over the pad of Jason Torf for a 1-0 lead.

Twelve seconds into the second period, Air Force went on the power play, but it was RIT that scored. Brad Reid scored short-handed from Matt Garbowsky for a 2-0 lead. Following the goal, RIT’s Alexander Kuqali was called for a five-minute major for checking from behind and the Falcons had 48 seconds of 5-on-3 followed by the major. Near the end of the major, a slashing call on Nolan Descoteaux gave the Falcons two minutes of 5-on-3, but the Falcons were unable to score. Air Force got on the board with an even-strength goal by Scott Holm at 14:47 of the second period. Holm forced a turnover on the forecheck and then got the puck back from linemates Jason Fabian and Ben Persian. The sophomore winger then stuffed the puck under the pads of Josh Watson to make the score 2-1. A minute later, RIT’s Adam Hartley was called for a major for checking from behind and the Falcons were back on the power play. Ben Carey and Cole Gunner cycled the puck behind the net and gave it to Tony Thomas. Thomas walked out and his first shot was saved, but he poked the puck loose from Watson’s pads and it trickled over the goal line at 16:44.The goal was his fourth of the season and second on the power play.

Neither team scored in the third period, setting up Carew’s game-winner in overtime. It was Air Force’s first overtime win of the year and first since beating Niagara at home early last season.

Air Force outshot RIT, 27-24, in the game. The Falcons had a 22-13 advantage in the final two periods and overtime. AFA was 1-for-9 on the power play while RIT was 0-for-2. Watson made 24 saves for the Tigers while Jason Torf made 22 for AFA.

“We found a way to win an ugly game tonight,” head coach Frank Serratore said. “This one was painful to watch. We still have some things to repair in our game. I want to see the enthusiasm of our team return. We needed to end this losing and now we can exhale a little bit. But just a little bit.”

Air Force travels to Waltham, Mass., for a two-game Atlantic Hockey series against the Bentley Falcons, Friday-Saturday, Dec. 7-8, at 7:05 p.m. ET at the John A. Ryan Center.

Air Force wins ugly at Penn State

From AFA sports information …

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.  –  Five different Falcons scored and Jason Torf made 34 saves as Air Force beat Penn State, 5-1, in a non-conference college hockey game at the Greenberg Ice Pavilion in University Park, Pa. Air Force improved to 3-3-3 overall this season while Penn State fell to 5-3-0.

Air Force opened the scoring at the 7:57 mark of the first period as Casey Kleisinger scored from freshman defenseman Max Hartner. Hartner collected his first collegiate point as Kleisinger’s wrister beat P.J. Musico.

Kyle De Laurell’s second goal of the season gave the Falcons a 2-0 lead at 7:50 of the second period. Hartner started the play in his own end as Cole Gunner and Ben Carey picked up assists on the play. The Falcons took a 3-0 lead when Tony Thomas created a turnover in the Nittany Lions’ end. His shot was wide of the net, but Chad Demers collected the rebound and scored his fourth of the season at 14:57 of the second. John Kruse added an assist on the play.

“I can never remember playing so badly and winning a game 5-1,” Falcons head coach Frank Serratore said. “We were awful. We won tonight because we got luck and because Jason Torf was outstanding. We had too many turnovers, missed clears and bad changes. Torf masked all of our mistakes.  He was an All-American tonight. We got an early Christmas present tonight. If we play like that tomorrow, we will get pounded.”

In the middle of a penalty-filled third period, Penn State got on the board with a short-handed goal. Justin Kirchhevel intercepted a pass, skated in uncontested and scored at the 8:25 mark of the third period to cut the AFA lead to 3-1. Fifty-eight seconds later, the Falcons answered and re-gained the three-goal advantage. Carey fed Stephen Carew for his fourth of the season on the power play at the 9:23 mark for a 4-1 Falcon lead. With just over five minutes remaining, the Nittany Lions pulled their goalie in favor of the extra attacker. The Falcons took advantage as Tony Thomas scored an empty-netter from Demers and Alex Halloran at 16:32.

Penn State outshot Air Force, 35-24, in the game. Jason Torf made 34 saves in the game for the Falcons while Musico made 19 for the Nittany Lions.  AFA was 1-for-4 on the power play and the Falcons killed all six PSU power plays.

Air Force and Penn State conclude the two-game series on Saturday, Nov. 10, at 7:30 p.m. ET in University Park, Pa.

More Monday reading: AFA honoree, WCHA schedule, web media poll

Air Force freshman center Ben Carey was named the Travel Team USA Atlantic Hockey Association Rookie of the Week for Nov. 5.

An Aurora, Colo., native, Carey scored his first career goal against Holy Cross on Nov. 2 in the 3-2 loss. His goal came 37 seconds into the game and gave the Falcons a 1-0 lead. The next night, he scored his second career goal and his first career short-handed goal in the 7-0 win over the Crusaders. In the two-game series, Carey was a +2.

Air Force, 2-3-3 overall and 2-1-1 in the AHA, is on the road this weekend for a two-game non-conference series at Penn State, Friday-Saturday, Nov. 9-10, in University Park, Pa. Faceoff is at 7:30 p.m. ET each night.

This weekend’s schedule in the WCHA …
Games for Friday, November 9:
 Denver at Minnesota State (WCHA), 7:37 pm CT; North Dakota at St. Cloud State (WCHA), 7:37 pm CT; Bemidji State at Colorado College (WCHA), 7:37 pm MT; Minnesota at Alaska Anchorage (WCHA), 7:07 pm AT.

Games for Saturday, November 10: Denver at Minnesota State (WCHA), 7:07 pm CT; Minnesota Duluth at Nebraska Omaha (WCHA), 7:07 pm CT; North Dakota at St. Cloud State (WCHA), 7:07 pm CT; Bemidji State at Colorado College (WCHA), 7:07 pm MT; Minnesota at Alaska Anchorage (WCHA), 7:07 pm AT.

Games for Sunday, November 11: Minnesota Duluth at Nebraska Omaha (WCHA), 2:07 pm CT.

Michigan Tech and Wisconsin, idle

Minnesota’s problems are pushing the Gophers, pictured, down in the web media’s estimation with Denver still  rated as the top team this week. St. Cloud State certainly turned some heads while folks do not seem to know where to put CC, either in first place or on the road for the league playoffs according to the Tech Hockey Guide WCHA Web Media Poll.

Team Pts Previous Record High Low
1) Denver (6) 134 1 5-1-0 1 5
2) St. Cloud State (3) 124 4 5-3-0 1 5
3) North Dakota (2) 122 3 3-2-1 1 5
4) Minnesota 118 2 5-2-0 2 4
5) Colorado College (1) 96 5 5-3-0 1 7
6) Nebraska Omaha 80 10 4-3-1 5 8
7) Minnesota Duluth 66 8 2-3-1 5 10
8) Bemidji State 47 9 2-1-1 6 11
9) Minnesota State 46 12 3-3-2 6 11
10) Michigan Tech 45 7 2-6-0 7 12
11) Wisconsin 41 6 1-4-1 6 12
12) Alaska Anchorage 17 11 2-2-2 9 12

 

http://www.techhockeyguide.com/2012/11/wcha-web-media-poll-week-4/

 

Sunday reading: UMD, CC, Zengerle injury, Denver, Air Force, USHL

Minnesota-Duluth coach Scott Sandelin hopes his Bulldogs will use their off week to develop more consistency (video).

The Wisconsin State Journal does a postmortem about Saturday’s 3-0 home loss to Colorado College and an injury to leading scorer Mark Zengerle.

Here is the Post’s story on Denver’s 6-1 win over St. Cloud State, including a hat trick for Colorado Springs’ Chris Knowlton.

From Air Force sports information …

Air Force 7, Holy Cross 0

Jason Torf recorded his first shutout of the season and eighth of his career as he made 23 saves in a 7-0 win over Holy Cross in an Atlantic Hockey Association game, Saturday, Nov. 3, at Academy’s Cadet Ice Arena. The two teams split the weekend series as the Falcons improved to 2-3-3 overall and 2-1-1 in the league. Holy Cross fell to 4-2 overall and 3-2 in the AHA.

Seven different Falcons scored goals as AFA scored two in the first, two in the second and three in the third. Air Force scored a power-play goal, a short-handed goal, a penalty shot goal and three even-strength goals.

Torf made 23 saves in the game, including 21 in the final two periods, and stopped 63 of the 66 shots he faced in the series. The shutout was his first since a 4-0 win over RIT in last season’s AHA championship game. Kump made 25 saves for the Crusaders. AFA was 2-for-6 on the power play while Holy Cross was 0-for-3. AFA outshot Holy Cross, 32-23, in the game.

Air Force is on the road next weekend for a two-game non-conference series at Penn State, Friday-Saturday, Nov. 9-10, in University Park, Pa. Faceoff is at 7:30 p.m. ET each night.

Also, the schedule for the Air Force-UConn hockey series, Nov. 23-24, in Connecticut has changed. The first game of the series will be Friday, Nov. 23, at 4 p.m. ET at the Mark Edward Freitas Ice Forum on the UConn campus in Storrs, Conn. The game was previously scheduled for 7:05 p.m.

The teams will conclude the two-game Atlantic Hockey series on Saturday, Nov. 24, at the XL Center in Hartford, Conn, at 3:30 p.m. ET. The game will be the first of a doubleheader at the XL Center as the Connecticut Whale (American Hockey League) hosts the Norfolk Admirals at 7 p.m. The Nov. 24th game was originally scheduled for 7:05 p.m. in Storrs, Conn.  The 15,635-seat XL Center is the home of the AHL’s Connecticut Whale and the part-time home of the UConn men’s and women’s basketball teams.

From the USHL …

The United States Hockey League announced that the 2013 USHL/NHL Top Prospects Game, presented by League equipment partner CCM, will take place on Jan. 23, 2013, returning to Muskegon, Mich. for the second consecutive year.

The game features the top NHL Draft-eligible players from the USHL competing in front of a full battery of NHL scouts and front office personnel at the L.C. Walker Arena, home of the Muskegon Lumberjacks.  Forty players will be chosen for the event based on a selection process that includes input of the 16 USHL General Managers, NHL Central Scouting, and NHL team scouts and decision makers.

“We’re excited to have the Prospects Game return to Muskegon, one of the proudest and longest-standing hockey markets in the United States,” said USHL President and Commissioner Skip Prince.  “These are America’s best, gathered together for a special night with the Muskegon Lumberjacks as host and all of hockey as spectators.”

The 2013 USHL/NHL Top Prospects Game takes place just after NHL Central Scouting releases its midterm rankings of players eligible for the 2013 NHL Draft.  Prior to the season, a total of 39 players skating in the USHL were designated as “Players to Watch” by NHL Central Scouting.  Five of those players were ranked as “A” skaters, meaning they are first-round pick consideration, including defensemen Ian McCoshen (Waterloo Black Hawks) and Michael Downing (Dubuque Fighting Saints), and forwards Luke Johnson (Lincoln Stars), J.T. Compher (Team USA), and Hudson Fasching (Team USA).

“We are proud that our organization and city can host this event and showcase this community to NHL personnel,” said Josh Mervis, Owner and CEO of the Muskegon Lumberjacks.  “It will be the highlight event of ‘Hockey Week in Muskegon’ and fans will be treated to an event featuring young talent that will be playing professional hockey in the very near future.”

Last June, a total of 28 players who spent the 2011-12 season in the USHL were selected in the 2012 NHL Draft, including a record six players chosen in the first round.  Additionally, 11 USHL alumni were drafted by NHL teams.

The inaugural USHL/NHL Top Prospects Game in January 2012 saw Team East earn a 5-3 win over Team West.   Forward Robbie Baillargeon (Indiana Ice) scored a pair of goals for Team East to capture his team’s MVP of the game and then went on to be selected by the Ottawa Senators in the fifth round of the 2012 NHL Draft.  More than 100 NHL scouts and personnel attended the inaugural event for the USHL.

Updated Saturday reading: Minnesota, Great Lakes Invitational, Air Force, North Dakota commit, Union injury, New Hampshire, CCHA

Janet Hostetter/The Associated Press

Here are more details from No. 2 Minnesota’s home win over Minnesota State.

Holy Cross 3, Air Force 2

AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. — Holy Cross scored three goals in a little more than 10 minutes during the second period to rally past the struggling host Falcons (1-3-3, 1-1-1 AHA). Holy Cross moved into first place in the AHA with 3-1 record (4-1 overall).

Holy Cross outshot Air Force, 43-28, in the game. The Crusaders outshot the Falcons, 43-19, in the final 47 minutes.

“We are not very disciplined right now and we are playing a soft game,” Falcons head coach Frank Serratore said. “We had a two-goal lead and had a chance to come out and punch them in the mouth in the second period. Instead, they imposed their will on us. They took it to us in the second period. I have no beef with the way we played in the third period, but why can’t we play like that in the first two periods.”

With the NHL Winter Classic scrapped, the Great Lakes Invitational is moving back indoors.

Here is a feature on Minnesota forward Tom Serratore.

North Dakota is likely to lose a commit to Canadian major juniors.

No. 10 Union beat RPI but may have lost its captain for a good while. No. 9 New Hampshire, CC’s foe on Nov. 23,  lost at UMass.

A Canisius player is suspended for seven additional games for a hit that injured an Air Force player last Thursday.

Here are CCHA results from Friday of note:

Ferris State 3, No. 4 Miami 0

BIG RAPIDS – Sophomore goaltender C.J. Motte blocked all 25 shots he faced as Ferris State shut out Miami, 3-0. Freshman defensemen Brandon Anselmini and Connor Schmidt each potted a power-play goal, while sophomore forward Justin Buzzeo added an even-strength marker for the Bulldogs. For the Redhawks, freshman goaltender Jay Williams made 28 saves in the loss.

No. 11 Western Michigan 3, No. 7 Notre Dame 2

SOUTH BEND – Senior forward Dane Walters’ two-goal performance led Western Michigan past Notre Dame, 3-2. Broncos’ junior forward Chase Balisy added a power-play goal and an assist in the contest. Notre Dame sophomore forward Anders Lee finished with a goal and an assist, while sophomore defenseman Robbie Russo added a power-play goal. Junior forward Jeff Costello tallied a pair of helpers for the Irish. Broncos’ sophomore goaltender Frank Slubowski stopped 35 shots in the win, while Notre Dame junior goaltender Steven Summerhays made 22 saves in the loss.

No. 8 Michigan 4, No. 20 Northern Michigan 4 (Michigan wins in shootout)

MARQUETTE – Senior forward A.J. Treais scored with one second left in regulation, and had the lone goal in the shootout, to give Michigan a 4-4 tie/shootout win against Northern Michigan. Sophomore defenseman Mike Chiasson and senior defenseman Mac Bennett each tallied a goal and an assist. Junior forward Kevin Lynch added the other goal and freshman goaltender Steve Racine stopped 24 shots for the Wolverines. For the Wildcats, freshman forward Cohen Adair finished with a 1-1-2 scoring line. Junior defenseman Wade Epp, junior forward Erik Higby and sophomore forward Ryan Daugherty each had single goals, while junior goaltender Jared Coreau turned aside 31 shots.