Notebook: Winkler shines, line changes pay dividends

forsaleThis weekend’s unsung hero: Scott Winkler

The Colorado College senior may not have registered a point on Saturday’s scoresheet but coach Scott Owens rightly credited the Dallas draft pick for his efforts in the 5-1 home win.

“(Scott Winkler) didn’t register a point but his line was up against the (UMD freshman Tony) Cameranesi line all weekend,” Owens said referring to the Bullddog’s top-scoring line. “His line (including wings Archie Skalbeck, Jared Hanson) did a good job defensively tonight. We had nine blocks in the second period and Winkler made a big one during that span. That was huge”

Winkler and senior captain William Rapuzzi both created screens for defenseman Mike Boivin when he skated over a step and snapped off a wrister that beat UMD goalie Matt McNeely high glove side for the 1-0 lead.

Lines change-up pays dividends

After Friday’s 3-2 loss, the CC coaches shifted around the Tiger lines and, at least for now, looked like a good move.

Charlie Taft added more speed at right wing on the Rylan Schwartz line, which includes left wing Alexander Krushelnyski.  Those three recorded six points with Krushelnyski (two assists) ad Schwartz (three assists) generating three apiece

Moving Rapuzzi to the third line with freshmen Hunter Fejes and center Cody Bradley added more offensive potential with the senior providing some savvy and an ability to create offense off redirects. That gave CC three lines with considerable offensive ability.

It paid off. Rapuzzi’s goal early in the third period off assists from Bradley and Fejes clinched the win.

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CC battles back for 5-4 road OT victory

Junior Alexander Krushelnyski one-timed a pass from behind the Wisconsin net by Charlie Taft for the game-winner 25 seconds into overtime as Colorado College defeated host Wisconsin 5-4 at the Kohl Center.

Taft knocked down a pass by Wisconsin goalie Joel Rumpel and immediately passed toward the front where Krushelnyski was attacked the net.

The win, CC’s first in OT since Dec. 16, 2011 at Minnesota State (David Civitarese), ended a three-game losing skid.

“This was a good character win,” CC assistant Joe Bonnett said in a radio interview afterward.  “You have to respect our determination tonight. The Kohl Center is not an easy place to play when the students get into it.”

Wisconsin jumped out to a 2-0 lead, scoring only 89 seconds into the game after the puck deflected in off a CC defenseman’s skate.  The Tigers (4-3, 1-0 WCHA) did not look sharp but shook off their slow start by dominating the second period.

CC freshman Hunter Fejes scored his first goal as a Tiger and CC added a power-play goal by defenseman Mike Boivin, his first of the season, to tie it at 2-2 headed into the third period. CC, which out shot the host Badgers 17-7.

Wisconsin (1-3-1, 1-1-1) scored a power-play goal less than a minute into the period before CC responded and took its first lead of the contest. Scott Winkler one-timed a pass from the corner by Krushelnyski to tie the game at 3-3 and senior captain William Rapuzzi added a power-play goal with nine minutes left for a 4-3 edge.

Rauzzi hauled in a long pass from defenseman Eammon McDermott from inside the CC zone and got behind the Badgers defensemen for a one-on-one chance against Rumpel.

“Eammon McDermott continues to dazzle with his long passes,” Bonnett said. “Winkler is a big guy with a strong stick in the paint.”

It was Rapuzzi’s third goal, matching his total from his junior season, which included two empty-netters.

Wisconsin would answer when Keegan Meuer batted in his own rebound with about four minutes left to force overtime.

No. 7 Cornell sweeps No. 19 Colorado College

No. 19 Colorado College refused to quit but also could not stay out of the penalty box in a 3-2 loss at No. 7 Cornell Saturday night.

CC senior Scott Winkler intercepted an errant Cornell pass and fired the puck in off a Cornell player moments after the Big Red scored its third power-play goal of the night to make it 3-2 with 12:09 left in the nonconference game.

“There are some holes in our game; giving up five power play goals and not scoring on ours caught up with us,” said CC assistant Joe Bonnett.”It is something we will continue to work on. Thorny (Josh Thorimbert) had a good weekend.

All five Big Red scores came with the man advantage this weekend. Charlie Taft scored the other Tiger goal.

More Thursday reading: Enga, WCHA notebook, NHL family links, CC-UMass Lowell connections, Denver, Air Force preview video

Former Tiger R.J. Enga, an assistant with the USHL’s Chicago Steel where CC commits Christian Heil, Jaccob Slavin and Alex Roos play, will serve as an assistant for the U.S. team at the World Junior A Challenge next month.

Here is my first USCHO notebook on the WCHA. I wrote the portions dealing with Alabama-Huntsville, the arrested ref, senior Joe Howe, Denver and part of the Omaha arena blurb.

Three Tigers’ fathers all played in the NHL. The Gazette looks into how that affected the sons, Cody Bradley, Alexander Krushelnyski and Charlie Taft.

Here are the weekly CC preview notes.

Former Pikes Peak Miner and Colorado Springs native Josh Holmstrom said he is excited to get to play in Colorado for the first time in his college career at No. 10 UMass Lowell. I plan to write a feature on him and his older brother Ben Holmstrom, now in the Flyers organization with Jeff Dimmen and Mike Testwuide, for next week’s Woodmen Edition.

Lowell head coach Norm Bazin and associate head coach Jason Lammers both served as assistants under CC coach Scott Owens, which is partly why this series became possible.

Denver’s Nolan Zajac chose DU despite his older brothers going to North Dakota. Their father Tom was a Pioneer in the 1970s.

Air Force coach Frank Serratore talks about last weekend and the upcoming CC and Denver games in this video:

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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.”

UNO’s Megna leaves for the pros

Colorado College’s Charlie Taft tries to steal the puck from UNO’s Jayson Megna. Megna, who made the WCHA all-freshman team in 2011-12 after recording 13 goals and 18 assists for 31 points, becomes another high-profile offseason departure for a Maverick program that slumped at the end of a 14-18-6 season. CHRIS MACHIAN/WORLD HERALD

Jayson Megna, UNO’s second-leading returning scorer, has decided to turn professional with one of three NHL organizations and won’t return for his sophomore season.

Megna, who attended development camp with Pittsburgh earlier this month, said he’d decide among the Penguins, Bruins and Jets this weekend. He said he received six or seven offers in all.

“Obviously it was a tough decision for me to leave school after playing there for a year, playing with my brother (defenseman Jaycob) and my other teammates,” Megna said. “I loved it. But I made a decision that I think is best for me and my career.”

It is another big hit for the Mavs after losing captain Terry Broadhurst to the Blackhawks earlier in the offseason, and his brother Alex, who decided to go to major junior instead.

For the rest of the Omaha World Herald article by beat writer Rob White, click here.

Here is a list of the 12 early departures from the WCHA so far this offseason as compiled by the Grand Forks Herald’s Brad Schlossman.

Saturday reading: UNO goalie tweets he’s OK; Pairwise update; more CC info

UNO goalie Ryan Massa, who was carried off the ice on a stretcher after a collission during overtime, tweeted from his motel room later Friday night that he was OK.

Nebraska Omaha goalie Ryan Massa, pictured at left, is okay after being taken from the ice on a stretcher in Omaha’s 2-1 overtime win Friday. That’s wonderful news.

Think those nonconference games are important? Consider that Minnesota, which is tied for the WCHA lead but played some soft nonleague foes (Sacred Heart, Niagara), would not make the NCAA Tournament if it started this morning according to the Pairwise rankings. No. 1 Minnesota-Duluth, No. 12 CC and No. 13 Denver would. Don’t get too excited, it’s Jan. 21.

Here’s more on Michael Morin’s foot injury and a video interview of Tim Hall, who scores his first career gamewinner Friday night. The Gazette says Charlie Taft will take Morin’s place on Saturday.

Here’s the Gazette’s game story, rightfully giving goalie Josh Thorimbert and the skaters in front of him their due.

Minnesota bemoans its lack of offense in the 2-1 loss while the stink from last weekend’s handshake line scuffle against North Dakota continues. Here’s the GF Herald game story on UND’s road loss at SCSU.

Penn State released the architects’ renderings for their new arena.