Saturday reading: Friday followups; CC No. 9 Pairwise; In the pros

Former Tiger Joey Crabb is quietly having a career NHL season.

Wisconsin’s Mike Eaves is intrigued by outdoor game idea at Soldier Field. Here’s the game story of UW’s 4-0 road win at Minnesota State in Mankato. Here’s the Free Press’ take on the loss before a rare large home crowd.

UMD radio man and blogger Bruce Ciskie ruminates on Duluth’s blistering play of late (school record 14-0-3) and North Dakota’s Danny Kristo checking from behind penalty with video. Here’s footage of the three goals.

Here’s plenty on North Dakota’s 2-1 home win over No. 5 Minnesota here and Denver’s 6-3 home win over Bemidji State.

Academic issues kept Alaska Anchorage’s top goalie and leading remaining goal scorer back in Alaska and not in Houghton during Friday’s 6-2 road loss.

CC junior William Rapuzzi is trying to jump start his season. The Tigers’ 3-1 home win over SCSU pushed CC up to ninth in the Pairwise rankings.

Former Tiger Joey Crabb has matched his career NHL goal totals already this season. Bill Sweatt scored for the red-hot AHL Wolves.

Saturday reading: Gross, Holmstrom and Testwuide on TV today, Pairwise rankings, recaps, preview notes

New Nittany Lion Taylor Gross, a Pine Creek HS graduate.

It’s a real mixed bag this morning,with the usual pro updates and even some women’s college hockey. Ladies first.

Colorado Springs’ Taylor Gross, UConn’s leading scorer as a freshman, has transferred to Penn State women’s hockey at midseason. I wrote a feature on her and the other area women playing Division I back in September.

Colorado Springs’ Ben Holmstrom scored with 20.8 seconds left to force overtime in Adirondack’s 4-3 win over Hershey in the AHL outdoor game which set a league record for attendance. Linemate and former Tiger Mike Testwuide continued his hot streak, scoring Adirondack’s opening goal to record his fifth goal in seven games after a cold start.

Here’s a feature on him I did for CC sports information, where I now work part time, previewing the game, which will be rebroadcast at 2 p.m. Mountain Saturday on the NHL Network.

Here’s more reaction from CC’s home loss to Cornell from the Gazette and Brian Gomez’s game story and notes on shorthanded goals.

And while there is no doubt some concern about CC’s home loss Friday (Tigers are 5-5 in series openers this season, 7-2 on Saturdays), Denver’s home loss to Alabama-Huntsville (2-21-2) could really hurt the Pioneers in the Pairwise rankings. It’s a little early for anyone to push the panic button just yet.

CC is tied for 12th with Cornell in the current Pairwise rankings.

Minnesota-Duluth won its school record 15th straight with a dominant third period at No. 8/9 Western Michigan.

Too many penalties hurt Minnesota State in a 4-3 loss at St. Lawrence.

Here’s extensive notes and links for tonight’s North-Dakota-Clarkson game in Winnipeg.

Updated Thursday reading: Another injury at North Dakota, NCHC reaction, preview notes

North Dakota announced that sophomore forward Derek Rodwell is out for the season with a shoulder injury. North Dakota already is playing without Rocco Grimaldi, Corban Knight, Mario Lamoureux and Derek Forbort.

New National Collegiate Hockey Conference commissioner Jim Scherr is a veteran sports administrator but does not have a ton of hockey experience as the St. Cloud Times points out. That’s a fair question, but a good hire for director of hockey operations should assuage any misplaced fears.

The Grand Forks Herald reports Scherr’s salary is $150,000 a year.

Brian Gomez continues to do a sound job on the the CC beat. His NCHC commissioner announcement sidebar has good info on future CC foes and the likely 24-game league slate. Here’s his main announcement story.

There’s hope for CC fans that sophomore Jaden Schwartz will play in Friday’s home game against Cornell. I’m guessing he will.

The WCHA announced its players of the week. CC’s Mike Boivin was nominated.

Here’s an update on Minnesota State, which continues to have injury troubles.

Legendary Notre Dame icon Lefty Smith passed away.

Game preview notes for this weekend:

No. 13 Cornell at  No. 6/8 Colorado College;

Alabama-Huntsville at No. 10/11 Denver

No. 1 Minnesota-Duluth at No. 8/9 Western Michigan;

Notre Dame at No.3 /5 Minnesota;

Minnesota State at St. Lawrence; RIT at Wisconsin; and Clarkson at North Dakota (single game in Winnipeg on Saturday).

Friday reading: Previews and recaps

North Dakota faces an unfamiliar foe, Harvard, with plenty of familiar players from Minnesota. As beat writer Brad Schlossman points out, this is an important series for UND, which needs to pick up some Pairwise ranking points.

That said, CC, No. 15 in the latest rankings, needs them too. Playing a tough, physical opponent like Air Force followed by No. 10 Union is business as usual for Nos. 5/6 Colorado College.

“It’s just like a weekend in the WCHA,” senior defenseman Gabe Guentzel said earlier this week. “You empty the tank on Friday and come back for more on Saturday.”

Last year  a 6-4 win over Air Force was followed by a rout at the hands of No. 1 Yale, which according to Pairwise analysts secured a top seed based on that 5-1 win. Fortunately for CC fans, Union plays Denver the night before.

Here’s the Gazette’s previews focusing on CC and Air Force, which hosts Denver on Saturday.

The NCHC commissioner search looks to be lasting until January.

Former CC goalie Michael Shibrowski is still waiting for his chance to play. Kent Patterson will start against Niagara tonight at the Mariucci Classic with a game against either Princeton or Northeastern on Saturday for No. 2 Minnesota. Here’s notes from the Minnesota beat writer, including a setback for UND nickname supporters.

Nebraska-Omaha has a chance to boost its nonconference record (2-4) with a weekend series against Quinnipiac.

A hot Bemidji State (5-1-1 of late) team takes on future WCHA foe Bowling Green, winless in its last eight, for the first time.

MSU-Mankato takes on the USA U-18 squad in an exhibition tonight.

Thursday’s recaps from WCHA.com …

St. Cloud State 4, No. 8 Western Michigan 2

ST. CLOUD —  The St. Cloud State University men’s hockey team (8-9-4, 5-6-3 WCHA) rallied to win a big 4-2 decision over #8 Western Michigan University (9-5-5, 7-4-3 CCHA) on Thursday, Dec. 29 at the National Hockey Center in St. Cloud, Minn.

The series concludes tonight in St. Cloud.

The Huskies relied on a pair of goals by senior forward Jared Festler to capture the victory, which included Festler’s game winner at 16:55 of the third period with power play assists from freshman defender Andrew Prochno and sophomore defender Nick Jensen.

No. 14 Michigan State 3, Michigan Tech 1

DETROIT – Michigan Tech held a 46-26 advantage in shots on goal but fell 3-1 to Michigan State in the first semifinal of the 47th annual Great Lakes Invitational Hockey Tournament at Joe Louis Arena. Down 2-0 after two periods, the Huskies (9-10-1) pulled within one with 12 minutes to play before the Spartans (11-6-2) added an empty net goal.

“I’m proud of our team,” said Tech’s head coach Mel Pearson. “We played a pretty good game today and just didn’t get the bounces. I’m disappointed for the guys because I feel like we deserved a better result.”

The Huskies play No. 3 Boston College which lost 4-2 to No. 20 Michigan later Thursday for third at 2 p.m. Friday.

Notes: Junior forward Chad Pietila played his first game in a Tech uniform after sitting out a year because of NCAA Division I transfer rules …Junior defenseman Tommy Brown saw his first action since the opening weekend against American International. He had sat out with a medical condition.

Tuesday reading: WJC, J. Schwartz, McElhinney called up

Denver’s Jason Zucker recorded a goal and two assists and BU’s Charlie Coyle recorded a hat trick in an 11-3 win over Denmark Monday.

CC’s Jaden Schwartz recorded two assists in Canada’s 8-1 win over Finland with video. Schwartz and Zucker are both captains for their respective countries. The Canadians lost a top-tier forward to injury.

Russia shut out the Swiss 3-0. Sweden pulled away from Latvia, 9-4. Here’s a preview on the Czech Republic.

Former Tiger goalie Richard Bachman struggled against St. Louis and was pulled for the third period after a couple iffy goals.

Curtis McElhinney was called up to Phoenix. Trevor Frischmon picks up a big assist. Chad Rau scores the tying goal in a 2-1 win for Houston.

Rylan Schwartz is getting attention as a college free agent. Colorado Springs native Ben Holmstrom gets some praise.

Minnesota gets another blue-chip recruit.

NHL Network-U.S. Broadcast Schedule; Dec. 26 – Jan. 5
Date Game Time (EST)
Mon, Dec. 26 Canada 8, Finland 1
USA 11, Denmark 3
Tues., Dec. 27 Denmark vs. Czech Republic 8 p.m.
Wed., Dec. 28 Finland vs. USA 3:30 p.m.
Czech Republic vs. Canada 8 p.m.
Thurs., Dec. 29 Canada vs. Denmark 8 p.m.
Fri., Dec. 30 Czech Republic vs. USA 3:30 p.m.
Finland vs. Denmark 8 p.m.
Sat., Dec. 31 USA vs. Canada 8 p.m. EST
Mon., Jan. 2 Quarterfinal #1 5:00 p.m.
Quarterfinal #2 9:00 p.m.
Tue., Jan. 3 Semifinal #1 5:00 p.m.
Semifinal #2* 9:00 p.m.
Thur., Jan. 5 Bronze-Medal Game 3:30 p.m.
Gold-Medal Game 8:00 p.m.

WJC previews, In the pros, Crabb video

Here’s a short preview on Team Canada headed into its 1:30 p.m. Mountain game opening the World Junior Championships. Here’s  team-by-team capsule preview on each team.
They’ll have plenty of fan support. CC sophomore Jaden Schwartz, the Canada captain, leads an potent line.
 
North Dakota defenseman Derek Forbort will try to slow them down when the USA faces Canada on Dec. 31.
 
Former Tiger Mark Stuart made a Christmas Day appearance for a Winnipeg charity.
 
Former Gopher standout Bill Klatt died over the weekend.
 
Mike Testwuide is starting to get on track for AHL Adirondack.
 
Joey Crabb, who scored the game-winning shorty on Friday, is one of the reasons the Leafs look strong headed into the holiday break.  Here’s video of Crabb’s goal:
 

Friday reading

Captain Nick Dineen and senior Tim Hall (pictured) may not be honored by the midseason awards, but both are big reasons the Tigers are in third and four points out of first place in the WCHA halfway through the season.

It’s time to look at the first half of the WCHA season. Here’s Bucky’s Fifth Quarter’s take which honors Rylan and Jaden Schwartz, Mike Boivin and Gabe Guentzel.

Here’s more on the Canada captaincy of CC sophomore Jaden Schwartz, including a feature touching on the influence of his sister Mandi.

Former Tiger Mike Testwuide looks due for a breakout later this season.

Minnesota’s Nick Bjugstad remains day to day for Team USA at the world juniors. Here’s an update on the Americans.

Nebraska-Omaha picks up a goalie commit.

Here’s a Gazette feature on AFA’s Kyle De Laurell, a product of the Colorado Rampage club in northern Colorado Springs.

CURRENT WCHA STANDINGS
WCHA Games
Overall
GP
W
L
T
Pts
GF
GA
W
L
T
GF
GA
1
Minnesota
14
11
3
0
22
51
28
14
5
1
83
41
Minnesota Duluth
14
10
2
2
22
59
32
12
3
3
73
44
3
Colorado College
14
9
5
0
18
59
48
11
5
0
67
50
4
Nebraska Omaha
14
7
4
3
17
46
43
9
8
3
62
60
5
Denver
14
6
5
3
15
47
45
8
7
3
59
55
6
North Dakota
14
7
7
0
14
39
37
9
8
1
51
50
7
Michigan Tech
14
6
7
1
13
41
43
9
9
1
54
55
St. Cloud State
14
5
6
3
13
43
41
7
9
4
64
62
9
Bemidji State
14
5
7
2
12
36
46
9
9
2
55
56
10
Wisconsin
14
4
8
2
10
40
50
7
9
2
57
59
11
Alaska Anchorage
14
3
10
1
7
29
54
6
10
2
46
63
12
Minnesota State
14
2
11
1
5
37
60
5
14
1
55
75