Wednesday reading: UND goalie masks, Dineen update, top freshmen

Here are the new goalie masks for North Dakota freshman Zane Gothberg, left, and transfer Clarke Saunders, formerly of Alabama-Huntsville.

Click on Goon’s World for more images of the masks from different angles.

Here is some more information on former Tiger Nick Dineen that the KooKoo press officer Facebooked to me late Tuesday night.

Dineen signed the one-year deal in June and moved to Finland in late July to join KooKoo of the Mestis, the second-best Finnish hockey league. Former Tiger Lee Sweatt, who played in the top Finnish league before signing with the Vancouver NHL organization, helped arrange the contract for Dineen. The Kouvola-based team placed third in the league last season. Dineen is one of two import players including Matt Nickerson, a former AHL player who is coming back to the rink after two seasons away from the game.

This blogger rates the top 10 freshman classes for 2012-13 and looks ahead to 2013-14. The Western College Hockey Blog looks at Notre Dame’s strengths this coming season.

Tuesday reading: Dineen playing in Finland, Lucia, Duluth, Merrimack

Nick Dineen is pictured playing for ECHL Elmira last season.

Former Tigers captain Nick Dineen signed a one-year contract with KooKoo of the 12-team Mestis league in Finland in late July, according to a Facebook message from his father (Thank you). Kouvolan Edustuskiekko (full club name) plays in a 6,000-seat arena in Kouvola, Finland. The club was established in 1965.

Judging from a Facebook post by the club on August 8, Dineen will be centering the third line:

Antti Roppo – Jan-Mikael Juutilainen – Aatu Hämäläinen
Mikko Alikoski – Ville-Matti Koponen – Timo-Pekka Heikkinen
Tomi Tuomisto – Nick Dineen – Olli Julkunen
Niklas Appelgren – Mikko Virtanen – Jere Espo

Miihkali Teppo – Marko Kiprusoff
Jarno Lippojoki – Julius Nyqvist
Markus Västilä – Matt Nickerson

Jaakko Lehtonen   Miro Hämynen (Ville Husso)
Since I cannot read Finnish, this could be a lineup for a preseason scrimmage (season starts on Sept. 14, guessing from web site headline). I hope to get more information in English from the club later via a Facebook message. Regardless, congrats to Nick on the move overseas.

In other news, Notre Dame freshman Mario Lucia suffered a broken leg and left ankle ligament damage during an offseason practice drill. He may miss up to three months.

The Merrimack athletic director who was put under paid administrative leave for a personnel matter has resigned.

AIC’s Steve Mele will be relied on to deliver a big season for the Atlantic Hockey Association school. Three other hockey subjects are profiled by Inside College Hockey as well.

Alaska-Fairbanks hired Gary Gray from Montana State-Billings as its new athletic director.

Thursday reading: Lampl, North Dakota, AIC, WCHA mobile

Former Tiger Cody Lampl, pictured playing for Idaho earlier in his pro career, signed with ECHL Toledo. The Utah Grizzlies assistant captain was traded to Toledo in the offseason. He was traded from Idaho to Utah in 2011.

“Cody is a solid defenseman in his own zone and he has a very high competition level,” Walleye coach Nick Vitucci told the Toledo Blade. “He is a proven defenseman at this level and will be a great asset in front of our net.”

The North Dakota athletic director received a contract extension.

Here are the four incoming freshmen for American International College (AIC).

The Western Collegiate Hockey Association announced its new mobile web site.

Air Force announces 2012-13 schedule

From AFA sports information …

USAFA, Colo. – The Air Force hockey team opens the 2012-13 season with an exhibition game against the University of British Columbia on Monday, Oct. 8, at 6:05 p.m. at the Cadet Ice Arena. The Falcons then travel to Anchorage, Alaska for the Kendall Hockey Classic, Oct. 12-13, when the Falcons face Alaska and Alaska-Anchorage. Air Force opens the regular-season home schedule against cross-town rival Colorado College, Friday, Oct. 19, at 7:05 p.m. AFA then travels to the University of Denver, Saturday, Oct. 20, at 7:05 p.m. AFA opens Atlantic Hockey Association play on Thursday, Oct. 25, at 7:05 p.m. at Canisius.

Air Force is coming off of its fifth AHA championship in the last six years. The Falcons won the 2012 AHA Tournament with a 4-0 win over RIT in the championship game. The Falcons’ season ended with a 2-0 loss to top-seeded, and eventual national champion, Boston College in the NCAA Northeast Regional.

The top two scorers from last season (seniors Kyle DeLaurell and John Kruse) both return. DeLaurell led the team with 23 assists and 38 points. Kruse led the team with 16 goals and had 30 points.

Four of the top five scorers return as sophomores Cole Gunner and Chad Demers are back after stellar freshman seasons. Gunner finished the season with 28 points while Demers had 24. Junior defenseman Adam McKenzie is the top returning blueliner with 18 points (2-6-18).

Junior goaltender Jason Torf returns after earning AHA Tournament MVP honors last season. After returning from an injury, Torf started the final 15 games and finished among the top 10 in the nation in goal-against average and saves percentage. Torf was fourth in the nation in GAA with a 1.73 goals-against average and was ninth in saves percentage with a .929.

Air Force Hockey – 2012-13 Schedule

All times at site
Day Date    Time   Opponent                                                       Site
Mon. Oct. 8 6:05 UNIV. OF BRITISH COLUMBIA (EXH) USAFA, CO
Fri. Oct. 12 5:07 vs. Alaska-Fairbanks# Anchorage, AK
Sat. Oct. 13 7:07 at Alaska-Anchorage# Anchorage, AK
Fri. Oct. 19 7:05 COLORADO COLLEGE USAFA, CO
Sat. Oct. 20 7:05 at Denver Denver, CO
Thur. Oct. 25 7:05 at Canisius* Buffalo, NY
Sat. Oct. 27 7:05 at Robert Morris* Pittsburgh, PA
Fri. Nov. 2 7:05 HOLY CROSS* USAFA, CO
Sat. Nov. 3 7:05 HOLY CROSS* USAFA, CO
Fri. Nov. 9 7:30 at Penn State University Park, PA
Sat. Nov. 10 7:30 at Penn State University Park, PA
Fri. Nov. 23 7:05 at UConn* Storrs, CT
Sat. Nov. 24 7:05 at UConn* Storrs, CT
Fri. Nov. 30 7:05 MERCYHURST* USAFA, CO
Sun. Dec. 2 6:05 RIT* USAFA, CO
Fri. Dec. 7 7:05 at Bentley* Waltham, MA
Sat. Dec. 8 7:05 at Bentley* Waltham, MA
Sat.-Sun Dec. 29-30 TBA at Mariucci Classic Minneapolis, MN
(Minnesota, Alabama-Huntsville, Boston College and Air Force)
Sat. Jan. 5 7:05 at Niagara* Niagara Falls, NY
Fri. Jan. 11 7:05 ARMY* USAFA, CO
Sat. Jan. 12 7:05 ARMY* USAFA, CO
Sat. Jan. 19 4:05 at Sacred Heart* Bridgeport, CT
Sun. Jan. 20 12:05 at Sacred Heart* Bridgeport, CT
Fri. Jan. 25 7:05 ROBERT MORRIS* USAFA, CO
Sat. Jan. 26 7:05 ROBERT MORRIS* USAFA, CO
Fri. Feb. 1 7:05 AIC* USAFA, CO
Sat. Feb. 2 7:05 AIC* USAFA, CO
Fri. Feb. 8 7:05 at Mercyhurst* Erie, PA
Sat. Feb. 9 7:05 at Mercyhurst* Erie, PA
Fri. Feb. 15 7:05 CANISIUS* USAFA, CO
Sat. Feb. 16 7:05 CANISIUS* USAFA, CO
Fri. Feb. 22 7:05 at RIT* Rochester, NY
Sat. Feb. 23 7:05 at RIT* Rochester, NY
Fri. Mar. 1 7:05 NIAGARA* USAFA, CO
Sat. Mar. 2 7:05 NIAGARA* USAFA, CO
Fri.-Sun. Mar. 8-10 TBA AHA First Round (Best of Three) TBA
Fri.-Sun. Mar. 15-17 TBA AHA Quarterfinals (Best of Three) TBA
Fri.-Sat. Mar. 22-23 TBA AHA Final Four Rochester, NY
Fri.-Sun. Mar. 29-31 TBA NCAA Regionals TBA
(Grand Rapids, MI; Manchester, NH; Providence, RI; Toledo, OH)

Sunday reading: Pairwise, Hamburg, Tigers record, AHA, CCHA, ECAC and Hockey East playoffs

Here’s the latest Pairwise rankings, which have CC in 19th and hoping some of the teams ahead of them stumble. Tiger fans should root against No. 15 Cornell, No. 16 Merrimack, No. 14 Northern Michigan, No. 18 Notre Dame, and No. 17 Western Michigan.

Bowling Green forced a Game 3 in their CCHA series with NMU tonight. Three ECAC first-round series, including one involving Merrimack, will be decided tonight.

CC’s Andrew Hamburg is playing better hockey of late, It looks like he is finally fully recovered from offseason surgery which is good news for the Tigers.

With Saturday’s win, Colorado College (18-14-2) is assured of its 12th winning season in a row. Congratulations, but that is not the goal for the team right now.

The Tigers could really use a sweep of Michigan Tech, which will be very, very tough to accomplish, and win  one, maybe two, Final Five games to get into the NCAA Tournament.

Here’s a quick look at the WCHA first-round match-ups by Roman Augustoviz, who was burning the midnight (actually 1:38 a.m. CT) oil. IMO, the Gophers fans don’t give Roman enough credit for all his hard work. Six hours later he posted more reaction to the MacNaughton Cup (really Trophy) by goalie Kent Patterson, who bounced back from his first mid-game pull in Friday’s 4-1 loss to Wisconsin with a 2-1 win on Saturday. The win was sparked by Erik Haula’s shorthanded goal.

Here are the Hockey East match-ups: No. 1 Boston College vs No. 8 Massachusetts; No. 2 Lowell vs No. 7 Providence; No. 3 Boston University vs No. 6 New Hampshire and No. 4 Maine vs No. 5 Merrimack.

Two Atlantic Hockey Association series conclude tonight, which will determine if top seed Air Force hosts No. 8 UConn, No. 10 AIC or No. 11 Sacred Heart this coming Friday in a best-of-three quarterfinals.