In the pros: O’Connell starts career off 2-0

DSCF0396Anchorage-based goalie Drew O’Connell, a former Tiger, picked up a win against his hometown ECHL Aces when the Ontario Reign needed an emergency fill-in netminder. He stopped a penalty shot  in a 3-1 win.

That so impressed the Reign, who took O’Connell on the plane back for a home game against Las Vegas (19 saves including one penalty shot) and a 4-1 victory.

The wins were first reported by the Anchorage Daily News who first reported on their hometown goalie and noted he had filled in as a backup for the Aces a few times last season. As of Wednesday night, O’Connell’s pro stats are 2-0-0, 1.00 goals-against average, .944 save percentage and 44 saves, including two penalty shots, in 65 minutes (5:00 scoreless relief on Jan. 11).

Here is a good game story featuring O’Connell’s exploits against the Aces and how former Air Force player Jacques Lamoureux passed on word through his brother (and North Dakota alumnus) Mario about O’Connell being available. That is reason No. 2,349 why I love college hockey.

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In the pros: Lampl, Crabb

Lampl with SteelheadsHeavily tattooed former Tiger Cody Lampl, pictured while he was playing for Idaho,  will have some new ink to add; the name of he and his wife Ellie’s first child who is expected to be born sometime this week.

My favorite quote of the article:  “It has refocused me. I’m playing for diapers now.”

Joey Crabb continues to spark the Alaska Aces.

Tuesday reading: Crabb, UND injury, Mankato, Tech, Hockey East

Former Tiger Joey Crabb will be in Colorado to take on the ECHL Eagles this weekend. Tim Hall should be making the trip as well. The Eagles include Arthur Bidwill.

No update available yet on Michael Parks‘ injury on North Dakota’s exhibition game on Saturday.

A new line centered by freshman Bryce Gervais has Mankato coach Mike Hastings talking about considerable depth. Here are more details.

This might be a good idea from Michigan Tech for CC to consider at Honnen Ice Arena: a short intrasquad scrimmage that serves as a fundraiser for a charity.

Here is more on the Nic Kerdliessuspension.

Here are capsule previews on Hockey East which includes future CC foes UMass-Lowell and New Hampshire.

From the CCHA …

Miami- Sophomore forward Austin Czarnik scored twice and four other RedHawks added single goals in a 6-2 exhibition win over Western Ontario on Sunday. Miami opens the regular season on Friday against Colgate at Steve Cady Arena.

Western Michigan- The Broncos fired 46 shots on goal and freshman forward Nolan LaPorte and senior forward Dane Walters scored in a 2-2 exhibition tie against Western Ontario on Saturday. Western Michigan opens the regular season by hosting St. Lawrence in non-conference action this weekend.

This Week in the WCHA …

Games for Thursday, October 11: Michigan Tech at Lake Superior (NC), 7:35 pm ET.

Games for Friday, October 12: Michigan State at Minnesota (NC), 6:07 pm CT; St. Cloud State at New Hampshire (NC), 7:30 pm ET; Minnesota State at Alabama-Huntsville (NC), 7:00 pm CT; * Wisconsin vs Northern Michigan (NC), 7:05 pm CT; Ohio State at Minnesota Duluth (NC), 7:07 pm CT; USA Under-18 Team at North Dakota (EX), 7:37 pm CT; Clarkson at Colorado College (NC), 7:37 pm MT; # Army vs Nebraska Omaha (NC), 9:00 pm CT; & Canisius at Alaska Anchorage (NC), 8:07 pm AT.
* Resch Center (Green Bay, WI); # IceBreaker (Kansas City, MO); & Kendall Hockey Classic (Anchorage, AK)

Games for Saturday, October 13: * Notre Dame/Maine vs Nebraska Omaha (NC), 3:30/6:30 pm CT; St. Cloud State at New Hampshire (NC), 7:00 pm ET; # Lake Superior at Michigan Tech (NC), 7:07 pm ET; Minnesota State at Alabama-Huntsville (NC), 7:00 pm CT; & Wisconsin vs Northern Michigan (NC), 7:05 pm CT; Ohio State at Minnesota Duluth (NC), 7:07 pm CT; USA Under-18 Team at Bemidji State (EX), 7:07 pm CT; Clarkson at Colorado College (NC), 7:07 pm MT; Michigan State at Minnesota (NC), 8:07 pm CT; % Air Force at Alaska Anchorage (NC), 7:07 pm AT.
*IceBreaker (Kansas City, MO); # Hall of Fame Day; & – Resch Center (Green Bay, WI); % Kendall Hockey Classic

Here is a college hockey teaser for NBC Sports Network that may get your blood pumping.

Sunday reading: Civitarese, Bowling Green, AAPG, Anchorage, UND

Former Tiger David Civitarese, pictured, is profiled by the newspaper that covers his junior team. Not a lot of new info but good background on his days in Okotoks.

The USCHO preseason poll will be released sometime on Monday.

Bowling Green coach Chris Bergeron said recruiting will not be affected by the school’s move from the Central Collegiate Hockey Association to the Western Collegiate Hockey Association next season.

Here is a story on the All-American Prospects Game held Saturday in Buffalo, N.Y.

Here is an excellent feature on former Coyotes coach Bob Francis and his battle for a decent quality of life.

Sullivan Arena, home of the ECHL Alaska Aces and UAA Seawolves, is unable to make ice, at least for the short term. Here are some of UAA’s options including upgrading its practice facility.

The Hockey News weighs in on the North Dakota party that led to suspensions.

American International College added a new assistant coach.

In the pros: Bidwill, Connelly, Crabb, Fredheim, Hall, Lamoureux, Rau, Schultz

Former Tiger Kris Fredheim is in AHL Houston’s training camp, along with Brian Connelly and Chad Rau, pictured.

The ECHL Alaska Aces just got a whole lot better with the addition of three NHL regulars — Anchorage residents Joey Crabb, Scott Gomez and Nate Thompson. Aces fans should send thank you cards to Gary Bettman.

Tim Hall and former Air Force Falcon Jacques Lamoureux are also on the Aces’ training camp roster.

Stephen Schultz is on the Trenton Titans roster while Arthur Bidwill is on the Colorado Eagles camp. Most ECHL camps started Friday.

In the pros: Bidwill signs with Colorado Eagles

Arthur Bidwill saw a chance to move up a level in pro hockey and return to Colorado. He gladly took it.

The former Colorado College defenseman said he signed a one-year contract recently with the ECHL’s Colorado Eagles.

“After last season (in the Central Hockey League) ended I was looking for the best fit,” he said Friday. “It is great that I get to stay in Colorado. I really enjoyed my four years at CC. I know the Eagles have a really good fan base. It will be fun.”

Bidwill played four postseason games with the CHL’s Allen (Texas) Americans, with former teammate Brian McMillin, who recently re-signed with the franchise. Bidwill’s season ended early with a knee injury in the playoffs. He he fully recovered by the team awards brunch in May.

Bidwill did well in his short time in the CHL, finishing plus-7 thanks in part to the slower, more controlled pace on the NHL-sized sheets of the CHL, especially when compared to the Western Collegiate Hockey Association. He knows the ECHL (which used to be an acronym for East Coast Hockey League) will be a step up in speed and skill.

“I do not know really what to expect,” he said. “I hope I can contribute. I know I will go in, work hard and then we will see what happens.”

The preseason starts Oct. 5 with the Eagles hosting the expansion franchise San Francisco Bulls with the regular-season opener at home against Alaska, which has Tim Hall on its protected list, on Oct. 12 at the Budweiser Events Center in Loveland.

Monday reading: UMass-Lowell lookahead, North Dakota news, NCHC recruits, Alaska youth hockey upgrade, CC graduation rate, Civitarese

Coach Norm Bazin, center, runs through drills with the UMass Lowell hockey team at the Tsongas Center last season. Bazin, hired last spring, wasted no time turning the program around. SUN / TORY GERMANN

Here’s a good look at the 2011-12 season in Hockey East with some good 2012-13 info on UMass-Lowell, coached by former Tiger assistants Norm Bazin and Jason Lammers, which returns its top three scorers and starting goalie for the game in Colorado Springs in October.

That looks to be a very challenging game to play a night after playing at Air Force. That promises to be a big weekend for Pairwise, even though it will only be the third weekend.

Brad Berry is the lead contender for the open North Dakota assistant’s job.

North Dakota forward Rocco Grimaldi skated for the first time on Friday as he recovers from his season-ending knee surgery

A SCSU recruit scored the game-winner to claim the RBC Cup (junior A national championship) in Canada.

A good offensive defenseman and Duluth recruit was named as the USHL Defenseman of the Year. Former Tiger Tom Preissing garnered the same award for the 1998-99 season.

UMD sent out a corrected 2012-13 hockey schedule that works around the BYU-Notre Dame football game, among other scheduling demands.

The formation of the Alaska Jr. Aces should help youth hockey development in Anchorage. Why should a Tiger fan care? Consider that CC has four Alaskans — Hunter Fejes, Jared Hanson, William Rapuzzi, and Scott Wamsganz — on its roster for 2012-13 and have had a few great Alaskan players (Brian Swanson, Joey Crabb spring to mind) over the years.

Regardless of who is on the roster, the Tigers take care of academics when you consider this story about the entire department’s student-athletes. Former Tiger David Civitarese is a great example of that.

The USHL championships series will go to a decisive Game 5 on Wednesday. There are no current CC commits playing at Waterloo or Green Bay.

Alaska-Fairbanks announced its 2012-13 schedule which includes it season opener against Air Force in the Anchorage tournament.

The AHL conference final series resume on Monday. Norfolk, which includes Colorado Springs’ Jeff Dimmen (one assist, two games) has a 2-0 lead over St. John’s while Oklahoma City and Toronto are tied at 1-1 in the West finals.