Three Tigers among top western college free agents

CC Rylan Schwartz actionThe Western College Hockey Blog announced its top 15 college free agents from the CCHA and WCHA and that list included three Tigers. Here are the list’s write ups on each with my take on the other seniors at the bottom.

8. Alex Krushelnyski, Junior, Forward, Colorado College

Krushelnyski was a player barely on the radar heading into this season, but has had an incredible year. Krushelnyski has 32 points through 30 games this year, including 28 points at even strength. He’s the nation’s third best scorer at even strength behind Walters and Boston College’s Johnny Gaudreau. There’s nothing flashy about his game, but he’s the type of player that wins battles and rarely makes a mistake. He has the type of tools to be an effective bottom line player in the NHL.

11. Rylan Schwartz, Senior, Forward, Colorado College

While never quite as dynamic as younger brother Jaden, Schwartz has always been a dangerous offensive player in his own right. He’s having a very strong final campaign, with 35 points through 30 games this year, and his playmaking abilities could be valuable for some NHL club.

15. Mike Boivin, Senior, Defense, Colorado College

Boivin is an offensive defenseman that has been a rock on the power play for the Tigers this year. Colorado College has a long history of getting offensive defensemen into the NHL including players like Mark Stuart, Jack Hillen, Nate Prosser and Tom Preissing.

The other three senior free agents (Scott Winkler is a Dallas draft pick) are Andrew Hamburg, Joe Marciano and William Rapuzzi. I expect all three to garner some attention as well, especially Rapuzzi (33 points, 19 assists).

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More Friday reading: Colorado College at Wisconsin TV/video stream options, McElhinney, Denver, Air Force, North Dakota, predictions

Photo: Kyle Daudelin

A tape-delayed free streaming option for any CC fans who don’t have access to Altitude2 (6 p.m. Mountain) is available for the Tigers at Wisconsin game Friday night. Wisconsin Public Television will broadcast the game at 9 p.m. Mountain on The Wisconsin Channel  at http://wpt.org/wisconsinchannel/ .

Colorado College is sixth in the WCHA in scoring at 3.17 goals per game but has struggled on the power play. The Tigers have not converted on their last 12 power-play chances and are ninth in the league at 13 percent (4 of 30).  Senior forwards Andrew Hamburg (four goals, one assist), William Rapuzzi (two goals, three assists) and Scott Winkler (three goals, two assists) are tied for the team lead in points at five.

Former Tiger goalie Curtis McElhinney, pictured, of the Springfield Falcons is the AHL Goaltender of the Month for October. In six appearances during the month, McElhinney went 5-1-0 with a 1.51 goals-against average, a .949 save percentage and two shutouts, helping the Falcons to the best record in the Eastern Conference. Here are the rest of the details.  Former Wisconsin standout Justin Schultz was named as player of the month suggesting that all the summer hype was not too overblown.

Here is the Denver Post’s preview for all three Front Range schools.

No. 12 Boston University is playing at No. 5 North Dakota for the first time since December 1996. Expect more such nonconference match-ups with the new league alignments forcing more nonconference games. Expect more such trips for the Terriers and Boston College, including to the state of Colorado. Fun fact: The last time UND and BU played in Grand Forks, both teams played in the national championship game (UND won 6-4 in spring 1997).

Here is Western College Hockey blog’s weekend preview and the USCHO predictions.

Tuesday reading: Engelstad, CC seniors, Kerdiles, commits, web poll

As part of its NCAA deal, the Ralph Engelstad Arena removed some Sioux references (though certainly not all). Courtesy GOON’S WORLD.

The seven CC seniors have stepped forward into the leadership roles nicely through the first two weeks of the season.

Badgers freshman Nic Kerdiles will serve his suspension and stay at Wisconsin, easing fears he would bolt for the WHL.

Bemidji State adds a commit while Minnesota added two. Here is the weekly WCHA web media poll:

Team Pts Previous Record High Low
1) Minnesota (9) 141 1 3-1-0 1 2
2) Denver (3) 131 3 2-0-0 1 3
3) North Dakota 123 2 1-1-0 2 4
4) Minnesota Duluth 96 4 2-2-0 4 8
5) Michigan Tech 87 8 2-2-0 3 9
6) Colorado College 80 5 3-1-0 4 10
7) St. Cloud State 72 7 2-2-0 4 9
8) Nebraska Omaha 67 6 2-2-0 4 10
9) Minnesota State 52 10 2-0-2 5 11
10) Wisconsin 46 9 0-2-0 6 12
11) Bemidji State 24 11 1-1-0 9 12
12) Alaska Anchorage 17 12 2-1-1 10 12
Representing Name Publication Twitter
Alaska-Anchorage, Taylor Hall College Hockey News @thall907
Bemidji State, Troy Mills The Beaver Pond
Colorado College, Joe Paisley, Paisley Hockey @Paisleyhockey
Denver, Mike Chambers, Denver Post @MChambersDP
Michigan Tech, Tim Braun, Tech Hockey Guide @TBraunTHG
Minnesota, Dan Myers, Minnesota Hockey Magazine @1DanMyers
Minnesota Duluth, Bruce Ciskie, The Ciskie Blog @BruceCiskie
Minnesota State, Chris Dilks, Western College Hockey @ChrisDilks
Nebraska-Omaha, Matt Semisch, Radio Free Omaha @matthewsemisch
North Dakota, Eric Burton The Hockey Writers Combine and Goon’s World @goon48
St. Cloud State, Jeremy Larson, Husky Hockey Time @jclarson02
Wisconsin, Andy Johnson, Bucky’s 5th Quarter @andyjohnsonB5Q

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.

Tigers stay sharp in practice as Jaden Schwartz looks on

CC captain William Rapuzzi is happy with the sustained intensity shown by the Tigers during their informal captain’s practices this September.

“I am really pleased with the tempo of the practices,” Rapuzzi said. “Sometimes things drop off toward the end. But this year, there has been no dip. The guys are focused.”

The six freshmen continue to impress and some of the returning players – especially sophomore wing  Charlie Taft, who skated with aggression, confidence and showed off an accurate shot – look stronger and sharper as well. Taft converted a beautiful one-timer by the left post on a pass from behind the net from Rylan Schwartz during one drill. Scott Winkler snapped off a memorable tough-angle shot to score high glove side and Andrew Hamburg skated well and created opportunities for his linemates during drills.

Former Tiger Jaden Schwartz is visiting his former teammates and his brother Rylan this week due to the NHL lockout and the resulting gap in his schedule until AHL training camp starts Sept. 28. He watched Thursday’s practice.

“Once the season started I knew it would be hard to find the time to visit,” Schwartz said. “It’s great to see the guys on the team.”

Schwartz is looking forward to playing for the Peoria Rivermen where he can continue to play and improve his game against top professionals.

“A lot of superstars played in the AHL,” Schwartz said. “You can get a lot better playing in that league.”

Weekend reading: CC roster, INCH Hobey Watch, Sioux, USHL

Captain William Rapuzzi will lead the 2012-13 Tigers this winter.

The 2012-13 roster for Colorado College was announced on Thursday and recent commit Peter Maric will be in the fold this fall as expected.

The Tigers will take on three potential Hobey Baker award candidates this upcoming season according to Inside College Hockey.

The retirement of Niklas Lidstrom suggests that Detroit may be looking to add a free agent defenseman  like Justin Schultz after July 1.

The Spirit Lake Sioux nickname supporters plan an appeal.

RIT announces its incoming freshmen, which includes CC wing Andrew Hamburg‘s brother Anthony, the program’s first NHL draft pick.

Nice to see all but one of the USHL first team honorees are headed to college and almost all are headed to future National Collegiate Hockey Conference teams.

Miami promotes from within its athletic department.

Here is the new national 2013 recruiting list which now reflects the conference realignments.

MTU leads 2-1 after one

Michigan Tech jumped out to a 2-0 lead early before Colorado College battled back to make it 2-1 going into the first intermission.

Saturday’s Game 2 started out as a run-and-gun affair and maintained that pace the whole first period.

Michigan tech drew first blood and the refereesdrew the ire of the World Arena crowd quickly.

MTU’s David Johnstone pounced on a turnover in between the faceoff circles when CC defenseman Joe Marciano fell down after what most of the fans on hand considered a trip by a Huskies forward.

No penalty was called and the Huskies took a 1-0 lead 68 seconds into the game.

The non-call certainly got the pro-Tigers crowd worked up and set up an exciting first period with CC coming close to scoring 13 seconds apart and CC goalie Josh Thorimbert made a huge save on MTU’s Jordan Baker on a one-on-none breakaway with 14:50 left to keep the game at 1-0, Huskies.

MTU kept on coming.  Brett Olson ripped a wrister high glove side past Thorimbert with 13:14 left for a 2-0 Huskies lead.

But like last year with Wisconsin up 2-0 early and up a game in the playoff series, CC responded with a goal from a role player.

Andrew Hamburg scored his third of the year on a give-and-go with Archie Skalbeck on a 2-on-1 breakaway with 11:37 left to cut the MTU lead to 2-1.

Thorimbert made another huge save on a one-on-none breakaway for Olson with 10:05 left