More weekend reading: Lasch, UND, Duluth, BU, Wayne State

Former St. Cloud State standout wing Ryan Lasch, fresh off the Finnish Elite League scoring title (62 points including 24 goals), has signed a two-way deal with Anaheim.

He is the first Orange County native to sign with the Ducks. Lasch (pictured playing for the Lahti Pelicans) is interviewed in this Q&A.

The North Dakota Alumni Association explains why it wants the Sioux nickname retired.

In happier news, incoming freshman Jordan Schmaltz has said he is 100 percent committed to playing at UND.

Nebraska-Omaha reportedly will hire St. Cloud State assistant Steve Johnson as its new assistant coach. replacing MSU Mankato head coach Mike Hastings. An announcement is expected soon. It is expected to take another week to 12 days before North Dakota announces its assistant hire: Brad Berry.

Cody Danberg, 25, received a medical hardship year from the NCAA and was named as captain by Minnesota-Duluth for 2012-13.

Boston University lost a sophomore to the Blackhawks organization. Rape charges against a former Terriers defenseman were dropped.

Wayne State, which recently eliminated its varsity program, has added a club team. Here’s hoping this is the first step toward another varsity program in Michigan.

An unheralded coaching icon at Providence College is retiring.

Here is some interesting info about the big money Canadian major junior franchises haul in while paying their players only $200 per month, which makes them ineligible for a college hockey scholarship, full or partial. Think the kids in the CHL are getting their real worth?

NCAA update: WCHA bounces back in West

Three of Saturday’s games are in the books. Here are some details.

West Region

No. 2. Minnesota 7,

No. 3 Boston University 3

ST. PAUL — Minnesota completed a WCHA sweep by the top two West Region entries by beating Boston University 7-3 in a contentious semifinal that ended with a pair of empty-net goals.

That puts the Golden Gophers (27-13-1) into Sunday’s final against North Dakota at Xcel Energy Center, in a rematch of their stunning WCHA Final Five reversal in which North Dakota fell behind 3-0 but rallied to beat Minnesota 6-3. This time, the winner gets to advance to the NCAA Frozen Four in Tampa, Fla., in two weeks.

Minnesota freshman Kyle Rau recorded a goal and three assists.

No. 1 North Dakota 3, No. 4 Western Michigan 1

ST. PAUL — Sophomore forward Brock Nelson registers a goal and an assist to lead North Dakota to a 3-1 victory against Western Michigan in the first game of the NCAA West Regional on Saturday afternoon at Xcel Energy Center.

Northeast Region

No. 1 Boston College 2, No. 4 Air Force 0

WORCESTER, Mass. — Chris Kreider scored two goals and Parker Milner stopped all 20 shots he faced as Boston College, the No. 1 overall seed in the tournament, beat Air Force, 2-0, in the NCAA Northeast Regional at the DCU Center in Worcester, Mass. Boston College improved to 30-10-1 overall this season and will play in Saturday’s regional final against the winner of the Maine/Minnesota-Duluth game. Air Force’s season comes to an end with a 21-11-7 overall mark.

Midway through the first period, BC opened the scoring on Chris Kreider’s 21st of the season. Kevin Hayes came out from the behind the net and found Kreider on the weak side for a 1-0 lead.

In the final four minutes of the third period, Air Force had two quality chances bu could not score. Kreider scored a late power play goal to clinch it.

“Boston College is a heck of a hockey team, but in my opinion we have a heck of a hockey team too,” head coach Frank Serratore said. “We got the game into the third period and put ourselves in a good position, but we didn’t find a way to score a goal. We couldn’t get a bounce. I am really proud of our guys. They executed the game plan to perfection.”

BC outshot AFA, 34-20, in the game. Torf made 32 saves for the Falcons.

Friday reading: NCAA Tournament schedule, previews

Air Force's Mitch Torrel and his teammates face a Boston College squad still smarting from last year's first round exit. The Eagles, playing in the Northeast region, should come out ready to play hard this time.

The format may be familiar but this blog post has new links to previews including news that all the injured Denver players took part in this morning’s pregame skate, according to Denver Athletics.

ALL TIMES MOUNTAIN

East Regional (Friday, March 23-Saturday, March 24) Webster Bank Arena at Harbor Yard, Bridgeport, Conn.
No. 1 Union (24-7-7) vs. No. 4 Michigan State (19-15-4), 1 p.m. Friday, ESPNU

No. 2 Miami (24-12-2) vs. No. 3 Massachusetts-Lowell (23-12-1), 4:30 p.m. Friday, ESPNU.

Here’s a preview of the regional and a scouting report on Michigan State and Michigan. The RiverHawks are hoeful they can continue their big turnaround.

• Semifinal winners, 4:30 p.m. Saturday, ESPNU.

Midwest Regional (Friday, March 23-Saturday, March 24)
Resch Center, Green Bay, Wis.

No. 2 Ferris State (23-11-5) vs. No. 3 Denver (25-13-4), 3:30 p.m. Friday, live on Altitude (tape delay ESPNU, 10:30 p.m. Friday). DU’s Dustin Jackson is profiled by his hometown newspaper. There are plenty of questions that the Pios need to answer to be successful today. FSU senior goalie Taylor Nelson could be the difference.

No. 1 Michigan (24-12-4) vs. No. 4 Cornell (18-8-7), 6 p.m. Friday, ESPNU. The Wolverines will look to avoid its past top seed troubles. Don’t be shocked is this is the upset of the first round (I do not count No. 3s over No. 2s as an upset).

• Semifinal winners, 7 p.m. Saturday, ESPNU

West Regional (Saturday, March 24-Sunday, March 25)
Xcel Energy Center, St. Paul, Minn.

No. 1 North Dakota (25-12-3) vs. No. 4 Western Michigan (21-13-6), 11:30 a.m. Saturday, FS North (tape delay ESPNU, 11:30 a.m. Sunday). Note that the UND beat writer contradicts the FS North availablity.  Here’s a preview of both games.

No. 2 Minnesota (26-13-1) vs. No. 3 Boston University (23-14-1), 3 p.m. Saturday, FS North plus, NESN (tape delay ESPNU, 2 p.m. Sunday). Here’s a Q&A with UM sophomore defenseman Nate Schmidt. The BU fan blog previews the game.

• Semifinal winners, 3:30 p.m.Sunday, ESPNU

Northeast Regional (Saturday, March 24-Sunday, March 25)
DCU Center, Worcester, Mass.

No. 1 Boston College (29-10-1) vs. No. 4 Air Force (21-10-7), 2 p.m. Saturday, ESPNU, 1300 AM in Colorado Springs.  There’s plenty of good stuff on BC and Air Force in this preview.

No. 2 Minnesota Duluth (24-9-6) vs. No. 3 Maine (23-13-3), 5:30 p.m. Saturday, ESPN3.com, FS North-plus (tape delay ESPNU, 9:30 p.m. Saturday). Here are some preview notes from the UMD radio guy.

• Semifinal winners, 6 p.m. Sunday, ESPNU

Thursday reading: NCAA TV schedule, previews

Here is the TV schedule with available preview links, etc for each game following each match-up.

As always, check your local listings. Schedule copied from Kevin Pates’ Rink and Run blog,  with times adjusted:

ALL TIMES MOUNTAIN

East Regional (Friday, March 23-Saturday, March 24) Webster Bank Arena at Harbor Yard, Bridgeport, Conn.
No. 1 Union (24-7-7) vs. No. 4 Michigan State (19-15-4), 1 p.m. Friday, ESPNU. ESPN analyst Barry Melrose, who lives in the area, gives hometown Union a lotta love.
No. 2 Miami (24-12-2) vs. No. 3 Massachusetts-Lowell (23-12-1), 4:30 p.m. Friday, ESPNU. Former CC assistant Norm Bazin, the Hockey East Coach of the Year, is also CHN’s national honoree. Here are multiple notes and links courtesy of the RiverHawks sports information staff.
• Semifinal winners, 4:30 p.m. Saturday, ESPNU.

Midwest Regional (Friday, March 23-Saturday, March 24)
Resch Center, Green Bay, Wis.

No. 2 Ferris State (23-11-5) vs. No. 3 Denver (25-13-4), 3:30 p.m. Friday, live on Altitude (tape delay ESPNU, 10:30 p.m. Friday).DU freshman Joey LaLeggia is CHN’s Rookie of the Year. Here is a pdf of DU’s NCAA media guide which includes an injury update.

No. 1 Michigan (24-12-4) vs. No. 4 Cornell (18-8-7), 6 p.m. Friday, ESPNU. Here’s the Wolverine fan blog’s take on the Big Red. The Cornell web site provides preview notes for both teams.

• Semifinal winners, 7 p.m. Saturday, ESPNU

West Regional (Saturday, March 24-Sunday, March 25)
Xcel Energy Center, St. Paul, Minn.

No. 1 North Dakota (25-12-3) vs. No. 4 Western Michigan (21-13-6), 11:30 a.m.  Saturday, FS North (tape delay ESPNU, 11:30 a.m. Sunday). Note that the UND beat writer contradicts the FS North availablity. The Broncos are enjoying another good season, this time under new coach Andy Murray. UND will unveil their new jerseys along with other team notes.

No. 2 Minnesota (26-13-1) vs. No. 3 Boston University (23-14-1), 3 p.m. Saturday, FS North plus, NESN (tape delay ESPNU, 2 p.m. Sunday). Here’s Don Lucia’s take on the Gophers and the NCAA field.
• Semifinal winners, 3:30 p.m.Sunday, ESPNU

Northeast Regional (Saturday, March 24-Sunday, March 25)
DCU Center, Worcester, Mass.

No. 1 Boston College (29-10-1) vs. No. 4 Air Force (21-10-7), 2 p.m. Saturday, ESPNU, 1300 AM in Colorado Springs.  The Falcons will have to contain BC 150-pounder Johnny Gaudreau.
No. 2 Minnesota Duluth (24-9-6) vs. No. 3 Maine (23-13-3), 5:30 p.m. Saturday, ESPN3.com, FS North-plus (tape delay ESPNU, 9:30 p.m. Saturday). Here are multiple previews.
• Semifinal winners, 6 p.m. Sunday, ESPNU

Saturday reading: J. Schwartz, Guentzel, Hall, playoff recaps, previews

Here’s a preview of tonight’s St. Louis at Tampa Bay game when former Tiger Jaden Schwartz will make his NHL debut. (TV: 5 p.m. Mountain FS Midwest, SUN Network).

Expect Gabe Guentzel, pictured at left, to make his pro debut Saturday night for AHL Syracuse against Adirondack and former CC teammate Mike Testwuide. Guentzel will wear No. 10 judging from the roster.

Tim Hall made his pro debut for ECHL Alaska in a 3-1 loss at Colorado. It reads like he played his defensive role well, drawing two penalties.

Here’s a lot of good information on CC and its available personnel next season by the Gazette’s Brian Gomez: CC wing Dakota Eveland will not play next season after offseason neck surgery this Tuesday. Look for one or two more 2012 commits or one of the 2013 players to be brought in a year early.

North Dakota could be a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament, judging from the latest Pairwise rankings, if it wins its third Broadmoor Trophy in a row against Denver tonight in the WCHA Final Five championship game. ( TV: 6 p.m. Mountain ROOT Sports Rocky Mountain). Here’s plenty of recap and preview notes.

Western Michigan cruised past Miami in the CCHA semifinals on Friday. Top remaining seed Michigan defeated last-place Bowling Green State 3-2 in double overtime to end the Falcons’s memorable run at an NCAA berth.

In Hockey East, Maine downed Boston U in one semifinal while Boston College ended No. 7 seed Providence’s Cinderella run. Maine plays BC at 6 p.m. Mountain (TV: NBC Sports Network).

In the ECAC, Harvard kept its NCAA hopes alive by advancing to tonight’s championship against top seed Union. Harvard is rated at No. 19 in the Pairwise and must win the automatic berth to move on.

In the Atlantic, Air Force will take on No. 3 seed and host RIT tonight (Radio: 1300 AM, 5 p.m. Mountain)

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.

More Saturday reading: More Friday upsets, Sioux nickname, Lowery

The CEO of the North Dakota alumni association speaks out against the drive to resume the Sioux nickname.

Let’s hear it for parity in college hockey. No. 1/2 Boston University lost 3-2 to UMass, which picked up its first road win this season Friday as a result. The top four teams in each poll all lost Friday with Michigan State besting No. 4 Michigan 3-2.

No. 1/2 Minnesota lost at Denver and No. 3 Duluth lost 3-1 at home to North Dakota.

Former Tiger Ryan Lowery recorded an assist in his ECHL debut Friday night in Loveland.

Former CC assistants Norm Bazin and Jason Lammers are leading the Hockey East leaders, going from worst to first in less than 12 months.

Pine Creek graduate Emily West left a 5-0 win at Ohio State with an apparent injury.

Tuesday reading: The Bad and the Good

Boston University’s leading goal scorer was arrested on three counts of indecent assault and battery after he allegedly entered the room of a female student and attempted to kiss and grope her.

Corey Trivino, the leading scorer in Hockey East, was also charged with two counts of breaking and entering in the nighttime and one count of assault with attempt to rape from an incident on Sunday night. He was dismissed from the program on Monday.

In far happier news, a Union fan won a new Chevy during a contest — shooting the puck from center ice through a hole barely bigger than a puck — held during the second intermission of the Union-RPI game at the Festivus Faceoff in Lake Placid this past weekend. Here’s a video interview with the winner and video of the shot.

The odds of him hitting this shot are beyond my comprehension, but then what would you expect to happen at the place where the Miracle on Ice happened?