CC moves up to No. 14, Denver now No. 2 in USCHO poll

Colorado College enjoyed the biggest improvement of any WCHA team in the weekly USCHO.com Division I Men’s Poll, jumping five spots from No. 19 to No. 14 this week.

Denver improved from No. 3 to No. 2, passing Minnesota. North Dakota remained at No. 6.

St. Cloud State remained at No. 15 while Nebraska Omaha re-entered the rankings at No. 18. Minnesota Duluth fell out of the poll.

Thanks to an eight-game win streak, Boston College received all 50 first-place votes and retained the No. 1 ranking. Previously unranked Dartmouth (5-0-1) of the ECAC made its poll debut at No. 12.

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Friday morning reading: Previews, videos and features

Here are the weekly USCHO predictions.

No. 2 Minnesota (5-2, 2-2 WCHA) at Alaska-Anchorage (2-2-2, 0-1-1)

The Gophers hope the long plane trip will help them focus on better play. UAA’s Scott Allen and his offensive contributions are featured.

No. 3 Denver (5-1, 3-1) at Minnesota State (3-3-2, 1-3)

Denver junior forward Nick Shore is enjoying a good start and is featured here. There are a couple MSU stories available through links at Puckato, the MSU beat writer’s blog.

No. 6 North Dakota (3-2-1, 1-0-1) at No. 15 St. Cloud State (5-3, 3-1)

Here is video of the weekly UND press conference with head coach Dave Hakstol and players Corban Knight, Dillon Simpson and Andrew MacWilliam.

SCSU’s Garrett Milan is featured by his hometown newspaper. Nic Dowd is benefiting from hard work this summer. You can see he has grown out his hair for the Locks of Love charity in the picture with the St. Cloud Times article. Here is a radio interview of coach Bob Motzko about the upcoming series.

Bemidji State (2-1-1, 1-0-1) at No. 19 Colorado College (5-3, 2-0)

Here is CCTigers.com’s weekly preview. The BSU players hope to rengain momentum after a bye week following a four-point weekend at Nebraska-Omaha in late October. This link goes to Thursday reading, which has a video interview with BSU coach Tom Serratore, a CC preview and a feature on Eamonn McDermott.

No.  20 Minnesota-Duluth (2-3-1, 0-1-1) at Nebraska-Omaha (4-3-1, 2-1-1), Saturday-Sunday

Here is the Duluth News-Tribune’s preview and the UMD preview notes. Here is College Hockey News’ praise for Nebraska-Omaha. The Omaha World Herald examines the strong UNO penalty kill. The Mavs’ Matt White, who sat out last week due to academic issues, will be available this weekend.

Michigan Tech and Wisconsin are idle

Tigers back in USCHO poll at No. 19

A road sweep at Wisconsin, which included a Saturday shutout by senior goalie Joe Howe, pictured,  moved Colorado College back into the USCHO.com Division I Men’s Poll at No. 19, matching its preseason ranking.

The Tigers (5-3, 2-0 WCHA) host Bemidji State this weekend.

With 36 teams receiving votes, the parity in college hockey has never been greater in the poll voters’ estimation.

From USCHO …     

The top three teams remain the same as last week, including top-ranked Boston College as the Eagles received 48 of 50 first-place votes and further solidified its hold on No. 1 with two wins while many other top teams split their weekend series..

Minnesota is still No. 2 and Denver stays No. 3. The Pioneers received a first-place vote this week as well.  Cornell jumps two spots to No. 4 and Miami drops one to sit fifth.

North Dakota is also down one place to No. 6, while Notre Dame remains seventh, Union moves from 10th to eighth and tallied the other first-place vote, New Hampshire is again ninth and Western Michigan moves from No. 11 to No. 10.

Boston University climbs one to go to No. 11, Michigan falls four spots to No. 12, St. Lawrence jumps three places to No. 13, Harvard drops one spot to sit 14th and St. Cloud State gets into the top 15 with a three-spot jump from No. 18 last week.

At No. 16, Northern Michigan rises four, Massachusetts-Lowell falls three places to No. 17, Ferris State climbs one to No. 18, Colorado College gets back into the rankings at No. 19 and idle Minnesota-Duluth drops three places to No. 20 this week.

Additionally, 16 other teams received votes.  The USCHO.com Poll consists of 50 voters, including 28 coaches from the Division I conferences and 22 beat writers and sports professionals from across the country. The poll, published weekly by the Associated Press, is a production of USCHO.com, which provides in-depth coverage of college hockey.

Sunday reading: UMD, CC, Zengerle injury, Denver, Air Force, USHL

Minnesota-Duluth coach Scott Sandelin hopes his Bulldogs will use their off week to develop more consistency (video).

The Wisconsin State Journal does a postmortem about Saturday’s 3-0 home loss to Colorado College and an injury to leading scorer Mark Zengerle.

Here is the Post’s story on Denver’s 6-1 win over St. Cloud State, including a hat trick for Colorado Springs’ Chris Knowlton.

From Air Force sports information …

Air Force 7, Holy Cross 0

Jason Torf recorded his first shutout of the season and eighth of his career as he made 23 saves in a 7-0 win over Holy Cross in an Atlantic Hockey Association game, Saturday, Nov. 3, at Academy’s Cadet Ice Arena. The two teams split the weekend series as the Falcons improved to 2-3-3 overall and 2-1-1 in the league. Holy Cross fell to 4-2 overall and 3-2 in the AHA.

Seven different Falcons scored goals as AFA scored two in the first, two in the second and three in the third. Air Force scored a power-play goal, a short-handed goal, a penalty shot goal and three even-strength goals.

Torf made 23 saves in the game, including 21 in the final two periods, and stopped 63 of the 66 shots he faced in the series. The shutout was his first since a 4-0 win over RIT in last season’s AHA championship game. Kump made 25 saves for the Crusaders. AFA was 2-for-6 on the power play while Holy Cross was 0-for-3. AFA outshot Holy Cross, 32-23, in the game.

Air Force is on the road next weekend for a two-game non-conference series at Penn State, Friday-Saturday, Nov. 9-10, in University Park, Pa. Faceoff is at 7:30 p.m. ET each night.

Also, the schedule for the Air Force-UConn hockey series, Nov. 23-24, in Connecticut has changed. The first game of the series will be Friday, Nov. 23, at 4 p.m. ET at the Mark Edward Freitas Ice Forum on the UConn campus in Storrs, Conn. The game was previously scheduled for 7:05 p.m.

The teams will conclude the two-game Atlantic Hockey series on Saturday, Nov. 24, at the XL Center in Hartford, Conn, at 3:30 p.m. ET. The game will be the first of a doubleheader at the XL Center as the Connecticut Whale (American Hockey League) hosts the Norfolk Admirals at 7 p.m. The Nov. 24th game was originally scheduled for 7:05 p.m. in Storrs, Conn.  The 15,635-seat XL Center is the home of the AHL’s Connecticut Whale and the part-time home of the UConn men’s and women’s basketball teams.

From the USHL …

The United States Hockey League announced that the 2013 USHL/NHL Top Prospects Game, presented by League equipment partner CCM, will take place on Jan. 23, 2013, returning to Muskegon, Mich. for the second consecutive year.

The game features the top NHL Draft-eligible players from the USHL competing in front of a full battery of NHL scouts and front office personnel at the L.C. Walker Arena, home of the Muskegon Lumberjacks.  Forty players will be chosen for the event based on a selection process that includes input of the 16 USHL General Managers, NHL Central Scouting, and NHL team scouts and decision makers.

“We’re excited to have the Prospects Game return to Muskegon, one of the proudest and longest-standing hockey markets in the United States,” said USHL President and Commissioner Skip Prince.  “These are America’s best, gathered together for a special night with the Muskegon Lumberjacks as host and all of hockey as spectators.”

The 2013 USHL/NHL Top Prospects Game takes place just after NHL Central Scouting releases its midterm rankings of players eligible for the 2013 NHL Draft.  Prior to the season, a total of 39 players skating in the USHL were designated as “Players to Watch” by NHL Central Scouting.  Five of those players were ranked as “A” skaters, meaning they are first-round pick consideration, including defensemen Ian McCoshen (Waterloo Black Hawks) and Michael Downing (Dubuque Fighting Saints), and forwards Luke Johnson (Lincoln Stars), J.T. Compher (Team USA), and Hudson Fasching (Team USA).

“We are proud that our organization and city can host this event and showcase this community to NHL personnel,” said Josh Mervis, Owner and CEO of the Muskegon Lumberjacks.  “It will be the highlight event of ‘Hockey Week in Muskegon’ and fans will be treated to an event featuring young talent that will be playing professional hockey in the very near future.”

Last June, a total of 28 players who spent the 2011-12 season in the USHL were selected in the 2012 NHL Draft, including a record six players chosen in the first round.  Additionally, 11 USHL alumni were drafted by NHL teams.

The inaugural USHL/NHL Top Prospects Game in January 2012 saw Team East earn a 5-3 win over Team West.   Forward Robbie Baillargeon (Indiana Ice) scored a pair of goals for Team East to capture his team’s MVP of the game and then went on to be selected by the Ottawa Senators in the fifth round of the 2012 NHL Draft.  More than 100 NHL scouts and personnel attended the inaugural event for the USHL.

Updated Saturday reading: Minnesota, Great Lakes Invitational, Air Force, North Dakota commit, Union injury, New Hampshire, CCHA

Janet Hostetter/The Associated Press

Here are more details from No. 2 Minnesota’s home win over Minnesota State.

Holy Cross 3, Air Force 2

AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. — Holy Cross scored three goals in a little more than 10 minutes during the second period to rally past the struggling host Falcons (1-3-3, 1-1-1 AHA). Holy Cross moved into first place in the AHA with 3-1 record (4-1 overall).

Holy Cross outshot Air Force, 43-28, in the game. The Crusaders outshot the Falcons, 43-19, in the final 47 minutes.

“We are not very disciplined right now and we are playing a soft game,” Falcons head coach Frank Serratore said. “We had a two-goal lead and had a chance to come out and punch them in the mouth in the second period. Instead, they imposed their will on us. They took it to us in the second period. I have no beef with the way we played in the third period, but why can’t we play like that in the first two periods.”

With the NHL Winter Classic scrapped, the Great Lakes Invitational is moving back indoors.

Here is a feature on Minnesota forward Tom Serratore.

North Dakota is likely to lose a commit to Canadian major juniors.

No. 10 Union beat RPI but may have lost its captain for a good while. No. 9 New Hampshire, CC’s foe on Nov. 23,  lost at UMass.

A Canisius player is suspended for seven additional games for a hit that injured an Air Force player last Thursday.

Here are CCHA results from Friday of note:

Ferris State 3, No. 4 Miami 0

BIG RAPIDS – Sophomore goaltender C.J. Motte blocked all 25 shots he faced as Ferris State shut out Miami, 3-0. Freshman defensemen Brandon Anselmini and Connor Schmidt each potted a power-play goal, while sophomore forward Justin Buzzeo added an even-strength marker for the Bulldogs. For the Redhawks, freshman goaltender Jay Williams made 28 saves in the loss.

No. 11 Western Michigan 3, No. 7 Notre Dame 2

SOUTH BEND – Senior forward Dane Walters’ two-goal performance led Western Michigan past Notre Dame, 3-2. Broncos’ junior forward Chase Balisy added a power-play goal and an assist in the contest. Notre Dame sophomore forward Anders Lee finished with a goal and an assist, while sophomore defenseman Robbie Russo added a power-play goal. Junior forward Jeff Costello tallied a pair of helpers for the Irish. Broncos’ sophomore goaltender Frank Slubowski stopped 35 shots in the win, while Notre Dame junior goaltender Steven Summerhays made 22 saves in the loss.

No. 8 Michigan 4, No. 20 Northern Michigan 4 (Michigan wins in shootout)

MARQUETTE – Senior forward A.J. Treais scored with one second left in regulation, and had the lone goal in the shootout, to give Michigan a 4-4 tie/shootout win against Northern Michigan. Sophomore defenseman Mike Chiasson and senior defenseman Mac Bennett each tallied a goal and an assist. Junior forward Kevin Lynch added the other goal and freshman goaltender Steve Racine stopped 24 shots for the Wolverines. For the Wildcats, freshman forward Cohen Adair finished with a 1-1-2 scoring line. Junior defenseman Wade Epp, junior forward Erik Higby and sophomore forward Ryan Daugherty each had single goals, while junior goaltender Jared Coreau turned aside 31 shots.

Saturday reading: WCHA roundup, Miami, NHL lockout

From the WCHA …

No. 4 North Dakota 4, Alaska Anchorage 1

GRAND FORKS — Senior forward Danny Kristo registered an assist on three of North Dakota’s four goals to help lift his team to a 4-1 victory against Alaska Anchorage at Engelstad Arena on Friday night.

No. 5 Denver 5, Michigan Tech 1

DENVER — Junior defenseman David Makowski and junior forward Nick Shore each had a goal and an assist to lead Denver to a 5-1 victory against Michigan Tech at Magness Arena on Friday night.

Wisconsin 2, No. 14 Minnesota Duluth 0

DULUTH — Sophomore goaltender Joel Rumpel made 29 saves and junior forward Mark Zengerle had a goal and an assist to lead the Badgers to a 2-0 shutout against the Bulldogs on Friday night at AMSOIL Arena.

Bemidji State 3, Nebraska Omaha 3 OT

OMAHA — Senior forward Aaron McLeod scored a goal and an assist while sophomore netminder Andrew Walsh made 39 saves to help lift Bemidji State to a 3-3 tie against Nebraska Omaha on Friday night at CenturyLink Center.

St. Cloud State 5, Minnesota State 1

ST. CLOUD — Ben Hanowski scored a pair of goals and Drew LeBlanc added a goal and three assists to lead St. Cloud State to a 5-1 win against Minnesota State on Friday night at National Hockey Center.

No. 2 Minnesota 2, USA U-18 2 OT (exhibition)

MINNEAPOLIS — Junior forwards Tom Serratore and Nick Bjugstad each scored a goal to help Minnesota skate to a 2-2 tie against the USA Under-18 Team on Friday night at Mariucci Arena.

From the CCHA …

No. 6 Michigan 4, No. 3 Miami 2

ANN ARBOR — Michigan senior forward A.J. Treais tallied two goals to power the Wolverines to a 4-2 win over Miami. Sophomore defenseman Mike Chiasson and sophomore forward Alex Guptill both recorded 1-1-2 scoring lines while freshman defenseman Jacob Trouba had two helpers.

For the RedHawks, sophomore forward Cody Murphy scored a goal on the power play and sophomore forward Austin Czarnik netted a short-handed tally. Michigan freshman goaltender Steve Racine stopped 30 shots, while Miami’s tandem of freshman goaltenders Jay Williams and Ryan McKay combined for 31 saves.

In the pros, frustration continues to mount as more NHL players are giving up on the season to find work overseas, as former Tiger Mark Stuart points out.

Friday reading: WCHA features and previews, military appreciation

No. 19 Colorado College takes on a strong No. 7 Cornell team in its first road trip of the season (No, Air Force does not count).

Minnesota State readies for its final campaign in the old WCHA. They travel to St. Cloud State.

Here is a look at the Wisconsin at No. 14 Minnesota Duluth series from a Bulldogs perspective. Wisconsin senior Derek Lee, UW’s power play quarterback, is out this weekend after a scooter-car collision.

Nebraska Omaha goalie John Faulkner is playing well so far. UNO hosts Bemidji State.

Hockey brought in big money to the Denver economy last weekend. Look for goalie Sam Brittain to start Friday against visiting Michigan Tech with Juho Olkinuora. Here is a preview focusing on Michigan Tech.

Here is all you need to know about Alaska Anchorage at No. 4 North Dakota.

Minnesota plays the USA U-18 team tonight and Canisius, which tied Air Force 1-1 on Thursday,  on Sunday. The Gophers will rest a few dinged up players.

In pro hockey, the ECHL Colorado Eagles are asking fans to nominate their family members or friends who they feel qualify as “Hometown Heroes” as part of Military Appreciation Night.

If you know of someone who deserves to be honored and recognized for their incredible efforts of military service, please fill out the attached form and return it for consideration to the Colorado Eagles by the end of business on Thursday, Nov. 1.

Three nominees will be chosen from the forms received, and honored (one per period) during our annual Military Appreciation Night on Wednesday, Nov. 7 at the Budweiser Events Center.  The honorees will receive free tickets to that night’s game, along with admittance for select family/friends.